Long story but basically was on a Fountainhead kick and decided I needed a fretless guitar. Considered buying something cheap and modding it but didn't see anything I liked much, plus I'm OCD about matching guitar, so I decided it'd be fun to try a Parker style build to match my two main players.
Being bolt on instead of the set neck like a real Fly, plus not planning on attempting a carbon fiber layup this early, I didn't do the full back carving but I got the top as close as possible. I also got lucky with an especially light piece of mahogany.
Here's the original haul. Fretboard started out as 1/4" 6061 aluminum bar stock ~36"x5x" (Thanks Metal Supermarket!) and the 8/4 plank of African Mahogany that would be the body. The thing on the right is maple for another build.
I build guitars ~10 years before I got the CNC, so I'm big on letting the CNC do what it's good at and letting the hand do what it's good at. So in this case, I let the CNC do the main outline, the pickup routes, the neck pocket, etc.
So, off to the Shapeoko.
Just recently (well, in the last six months) got into letting the CNC do the neck carving. This one is based on my favorite 6-string neck profile, the Super Wizard. I let the CNC do the precision work like the neck tenon, then some rough outlining and left the final shaping to sander.
Oh, and the neck is a piece of Phillipine mahogany as opposed to the African mahogany of the body. The Phili is noticeably more "brown" and open grained and heavier. The African has a more golden hue, tighter grain and noticeably lighter.
Kind of mocked up before the top carve. The fretboard tappered but not contoured yet. The CNC+ballnose did NOT like doing the contouring but more on that later.
This is after initial carving. I used a flap disk for some heavy removal, also a saw and chisel, then spokeshave/rasps for some of the fine stuff, eventually up to 80grit on the mouse sander and I think I was up to about 120grit by the time I snapped this.
The wood had some imperfections. Some of it I was inclined to leave, some of it filled, some of it I chased (there's these vertical scratches behind the bridge) and they kept going and going, so I decided to leave those too. Nothing there that effected stability or killed the look enough to bother me.
Here's a test of it, I think this is after sanding to 240grit and just rubbing it down with alcohol. That gives you an idea of what it looks like finished but also is good for raising the grain before your last couple sanding stages. This starts to highlight the koa-like golden hue.
This part was a bitch, so there's minimal documentation but basically put a 16" radius on the fretboard. Tried the ballnose and the motors did NOT like any amount of plunging into it. I did a full operation of that and it basically left a couple scratches and no real carving. I decided to try the same carve based on the ballnose but stuck in the square bit, and THAT worked.
It was ugly ugly ugly and I ended up having to sand it by hand with a radius block from 40 grit up but I got there. I believe it was like... 40, 60, 80,100,120,200,240,300,500,800,1000,1200, 1500, 1800,1200 then 000, 0000, 00000 steel wool. It was hell but here we are with no polishing.
A bunch happened between here and it being finished but not much documentation. Finish sanding, fitting, drilling, etc.
For the logos, I always liked the little 'Fly' behind the headstock, and since this is partially inspired by Bumblefoot, I decided to put a little Bumblefoot bee on the back. Also decided to get 'cute' with the headstock' design.
Fretboard as fret markers on the side and 'dimpled' fret marker dots.
For finish, this got Polycrylic. I didn't want to get into the full nitro/2k spray rig for this and decided to try something new. The Polycrylic claims "no runs" and they're full of shit It runs, it goes on sloppy and ugly with a nasty purple hue. BUT, it dries really nice, which is what matters. It self leveled pretty well and I liked being able to use water for cleanup. It got wet sanding up to ~500grit, then steel wool and then scotch brite to flatten it but keep some sheen.
Pickups are a Tone Zone and Air Norton combo I had laying around. They may or may not stay but I do like the look. I was broke by the time I got around to completing this, so the tuners were nabbed off of one of my Parkers that has been waiting to be restrung anyway.
Bridge is, idk, no-namer flatmount I chose because I thought something that strung through the top only would sustain better. Knobs are some NOS Parker CS knobs I got from Gman.
Anyway, finished pics: