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  1. #1

    52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Here is a conversion I am doing for a customer. The guitar has had a refin to all gold. Lots of great things ahead so let's get started.
    Ready to strip:





    What a great find! The top is booked matched and 3/4" off center. This will make a great plain top Burst.


    OK on the down side. This is why I don't like to buy all gold refins. There is a 1/16" shim in the neck pocket.


    And about 1/16" of wood filler in the neck joint and the body has been sanded way out of profile. I'll deal with these 2 issues later.


    First I'll steam the neck out. I pull out 4 frets and bore 8 small holes into the neck pocket for my needle.


    A little steam:


    The neck pops right out with a little pressure from my jig.


    Here is another issue. You can see there are bit marks into the neck pockets bottom and sidewalls. These can all be fixed but I'm wondering if the neck is original to the body? Either way it will make a great old LP when the project is completed.

  2. #2

    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Cool, Boogie! I love your projects. Thanks for sharing. Can't wait to see what's next...

  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member pinefd's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Quote Originally Posted by Electric Lloyd View Post
    Cool, Boogie! I love your projects. Thanks for sharing. Can't wait to see what's next...
    +1!!! Go, Jim, Go! Great project, and great candidate!


    Frank

  4. #4

    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    great stuff Boogie- keep it rollin' thx

  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member Rev.WillieVK's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Definite re-neck:



    Shim or no shim, it should look more like this:


  6. #6

    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Let's go Jim !!!
    Jean Christophe

  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member J.D.'s Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Evidence is pointing toward a non-original neck.

  8. #8
    Les Paul Forum Member The Stumble's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    i remember this one from ebay it had been for sale here in the uk for a while and i came very close to buying it myself but far too many red flags towards a reneck

    believe it or not the first thing i noticed was the 12th fret dot markers .....
    they were simply too far apart and as they say the devil is in the details


  9. #9

    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Wow, very cool thread. Look forward to seeing this through to completion, this is the type of thread where you really learn stuff. Thanks for sharing boogieongtr

  10. #10
    Les Paul Forum Member Scott Lentz's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Jim, the neck may be an original neck that was reset in that body, that would explain the lack of fit and the filler on the top side of the neck. The mortise on the guitar is not kosher, drill marks and all. I especially like the bottom of the neck, is very telling in why it was removed so easy!

  11. #11

    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Thanks everyone. Even with the few anomolies I think the guitar will be a great player.


    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Lentz View Post
    Jim, the neck may be an original neck that was reset in that body, that would explain the lack of fit and the filler on the top side of the neck. The mortise on the guitar is not kosher, drill marks and all. I especially like the bottom of the neck, is very telling in why it was removed so easy!
    I'm sure the neck is an original 50's neck but probably not the original neck to the body. The lack of glue is why it came out in about 3 minutes.

    Next up is to clean the original pickup routes so my plugs have fresh wood to bond to. I use a 1/2" router bit and enlarge the pickup cavities by 1/64".


    I cut the mahogany/maple plugs and use a 1/4" radius bit to round the corners. This will make a perfect fit.


    Plugs made, dry fit and ready to glue into the body.



    Plugs glued in


    Plugs sanded and ready to move on.

  12. #12
    Les Paul Forum Member MapleFlame's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Great job matching up the grain lines. The plugs are one of the best fitting I have seen. Thanks for sharing.
    Last edited by MapleFlame; 10-10-11 at 07:04 PM.
    Top carves are sexy

  13. #13
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    This is amazing!

  14. #14
    Burst Detective! zorglub!'s Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Really cool to see the process, thanks!

  15. #15
    Les Paul Forum Member latestarter's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    And a thanks from down under too...keep up the pics please!
    Otherwise known as Grant.

  16. #16

    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Quote Originally Posted by MapleFlame View Post
    Great job matching up the grain lines. The plugs are one of the best fitting I have seen. Thanks for sharing.
    Thanks Steve, it took me 3 hours to find the plug for the bridge cavity. I went thru a lot of maple to find a piece that would match the tops grain lines. It's not perfect but a good match IMOP.

  17. #17
    Les Paul Forum Member latestarter's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    And to think 90% of it will be routed away...that's a professional approach. Well done.
    Otherwise known as Grant.

  18. #18

    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Great work, keep the pictures coming!

  19. #19

    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Quote Originally Posted by latestarter View Post
    And to think 90% of it will be routed away...that's a professional approach. Well done.
    I do each project as if I were doing it for myself and that's how I would want the job done.

  20. #20

    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Next up I cleaned up the bottom of the mortise and added a piece of mahogany. When I route the new 4 degree neck angle this will make certain the neck has a solid bottom to glue to. I also heated the binding and pulled it back for the next step.


    I want the new neck angle to be 4 degrees so I use a jig and a digital level to get the correct angle.


    I use a router and take 3/32" off the body thickness to get the 4 new degree body angle. I tape off the binding to make sure it doesn't get damaged.


    Now the body has a perfect 4 degree neck angle.


    I next have to make the binding channel 3/32" deeper. Inside of horn


    Body side


    Glue binding back on.



  21. #21
    Les Paul Forum Member MapleFlame's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    great progress pics and very informing.
    Top carves are sexy

  22. #22

    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    don't know if it's a '50s neck or not, but the FB looks like it is.

    ...to me.



    ......in pictures.

  23. #23
    Les Paul Forum Member latestarter's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Any chance of a headstock face photo boogieongtr? Again, thanks for taking the time post this.
    Otherwise known as Grant.

  24. #24
    Les Paul Forum Member keef's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    That bridge plug is frikkin unbelievable! Almost too bad it will be routed.

  25. #25

    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Quote Originally Posted by keef View Post
    That bridge plug is frikkin unbelievable! Almost too bad it will be routed.
    it IS!


  26. #26

    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Today I'll work on the neck. Instead of using shims I'll glue a solid piece of mahogany to the neck. (The shims in the pic are from the guitars reneck)


    I use LMI luthiers glue that dries crystal hard like hide glue for the repair.


    Repair made to neck tenon.


    I need to change the 1952 neck angle of 2.8 to a burst angle of 4 degrees. I use the angle of my 1960 burst as my guideline.



    Here is a jig I made so I can use a small router and a straight cut pattern bit.


    Making the new angle.



    Here is the neck fit right from my jigs. I'll do a final fit later.


    A perfect 4 degree burst angle.

  27. #27
    Les Paul Forum Member Joe Desperado's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    I use a similar 4* jig too. Thanks for sharing!
    Last edited by Joe Desperado; 10-13-11 at 08:46 AM.

  28. #28
    Les Paul Forum Member Zoomer's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Awesome work --- thanks for the pictures - this is one of the reasons I love this place so much !!

    There is no such thing as too much flame !!!

  29. #29

    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Quote Originally Posted by boogieongtr View Post
    I use the angle of my 1960 burst as my guideline.
    Now I'm jealous!

  30. #30
    Les Paul Forum Member ourmaninthenorth's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Just love to watch these threads unfold. Thanks for posting.

  31. #31

    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    For the final fit of the neck I use a 2 step process. Step one, sand the neck with 100 grit sand paper glued to a piece of maple.


    Final sand with 150 grit


    Dry fit looks good.


    I'll also do a few repairs to the body. The end of the body was sanded way out of profile.


    I glued a piece of mahogany to the body.


    I used a piece of flat grain mahogany to the end grain of the body for a good bond.


    And for my trademark. I use a mahogany plug where the 3 holes from the old trap tailpiece.


    Plug sanded.


    I want to make sure the radius on the back of the body is even so I use a 3/16" radius bit and touch it up.

  32. #32
    olgabowl
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    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Quote Originally Posted by boogieongtr View Post
    I use the angle of my 1960 burst as my guideline.
    Sure is nice having the right tools around...

  33. #33
    Les Paul Forum Member marshall1987's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Quote Originally Posted by olgabowl View Post
    Sure is nice having the right tools around...
    Roger that. And utilizing custom jigs, tools, and pieces of quality "filler" wood elevates this project to the expert level. I commend your professional woodworking skills and talent that enables you to pull off a restoration project like this. Simply amazing. I can't wait to hear a final tone report on the finished guitar.


  34. #34

    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Incredible work & documentation, Boogie! Are you a pattern maker? Your jigs & tools combined with your thoughtful approach are first rate!

  35. #35

    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Quote Originally Posted by Electric Lloyd View Post
    Incredible work & documentation, Boogie! Are you a pattern maker? Your jigs & tools combined with your thoughtful approach are first rate!
    No, but after 28 years of woodworking you learn a few things along the way.

    Before glueing in the neck I'll clean up the binding a bit with some 400 gritt sandpaper. From this:


    To this:


    Next up I'll glue the neck in using hot hide glue and a clamping jig I made. The jig allows me to apply pressure to the end of the neck into the mortise as well as downward pressure to the neck into the mortise.



    I also use 6 degree shims under my clamps that apply pressure into the neck mortise. IMOP this is the most important joint of a LP so I go to great lengths to get a perfect fit and great glue job.


  36. #36
    Les Paul Forum Member J.D.'s Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Really cool documentation.

    I've seen you do the tailpiece square plug previously and was, and still am, curious as to why you chose to not use circular dowels in each individual hole?

  37. #37
    Les Paul Forum Member MapleFlame's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Very nice Jim. Great detail used to show the clamping process.
    Top carves are sexy

  38. #38
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Where did you get the block that you mortised into the end to cover the ground channel?

  39. #39
    Les Paul Forum Member MWR's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Just amazing work and care!

  40. #40

    Re: 52-59 Conversion, Amazing 2 piece Plain Top

    Quote Originally Posted by J.D. View Post
    I've seen you do the tailpiece square plug previously and was, and still am, curious as to why you chose to not use circular dowels in each individual hole?
    I started doing this on my conversions and offered to my customers as an option. IMOP I like the square plug instead of 3 dowels.

    Quote Originally Posted by JIMI55LP View Post
    Where did you get the block that you mortised into the end to cover the ground channel?
    From so mahogany I got in the 80's.

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