Sunday, May 22, 2011


I spent some time today transferring the sketched design on paper onto the actual wood body.  Here are the general steps I followed:

  • Scaled the sketch to be 1:1 (i.e. actual size) to match the real guitar body.  I did this in Adobe Illustrator.  I found an old engineering drawing for the original Strat body on the web and it had overall length & height information for the body.  So all I had to do was scale up the sketch until it matched those dimensions.
  • Printed out 1:1 paper of the design - the actual body is about 18" x 12.75" so I didn't have access to paper that large.  I could have gone to Kinko's and printed it, but instead I just printed it on two pieces of paper (11" x 17" each) oriented vertically, and then taped them together.  This gave me a 1:1 sized copy of the design.
  • Next I bought some 9"x13" sheets of carbon paper ($2.99 @ Hobby Lobby) and taped them to the guitar.  I used 2 sheets.  Once those were taped on, I cut out the 1:1 paper copy and taped it on top of the carbon paper:
Started adding graphite paper
1:1 paper copy taped on top of graphite paper on top of body
  • The next step was to simply trace the design and the graphite paper copied it onto the wood body.  This worked great.
Concept transfered to body using graphite paper (and tracing the design)
  • Finally, I assembled the input jack plate, pickups & pick-guard, and the bridge.  I was worried that the sketch was overlapping some of these hardware items, so I wanted to check them to make sure they weren't overlapping before I start carving the wood.  Cause that would suck...turns out it did overlap in a few places (whew...good thing I checked) so I just erased the problem areas and re-drew them so they don't interfere.  Here is the result:
Design copied to body with hardware installed
So at this point, I think I'm basically ready to start carving.  However, it probably will be at least a week before I can start that process.  I need to do some YouTube research on how to carve since I've never done this before.  People keep telling me I should practice on some scrap wood first, but I'm just going to jump right in and try to learn on the fly.  Might be a total disaster, but hopefully if I just take my time it'll turn out OK.  Also, I don't actually have any carving tools.  I'm gonna order a set on Amazon tomorrow and hopefully I'll get it by Friday and can do some work this weekend.

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