Archives for Finishing



Autumn 2014 – Autumn 2015MjolnirFull

Model Name: Mjölnir
Color: Clear Shellac
Body Shape: Single-cut Carved Top
Body Material: English Chestnut
Body Cap: Carved Wenge
Body Finish: Satin Shellac
Body Binding: Cream-Black-Cream
Strap Buttons: Chrome Dunlop Flush Fitting Straplok
Neck Type: Set Neck with All Access Joint
Neck Material: 1-Piece Walnut (scarf joint)
Headstock Style: Classic 3×3
Neck Shape: Uber-Wizard “C”
Neck Scale Length: 24.75”
Neck Binding: N/A
Headstock Binding: Cream-Black-Cream
Nut: Brass
Nut Width: 41 mm
Fingerboard: Ebony
Fingerboard Radius: Compound 12″-14″
Number of Frets: 24
Fret Size: Jumbo
Fingerboard Inlays: 3mm Steel Rings
Fingerboard Side Inlays: 2mm Black Dots
Neck Pickup: Bare Knuckle Miracle Man
Bridge Pickup: Bare Knuckle Miracle Man
Controls: Master volume
Pickup Switching: Classic 3-way Toggle
Hardware Finish: Chrome
Bridge: Schaller STM
Tuning Machines: Schaller Da Vinci
Pickguard: N/A
Control Knobs: Knurled Brass Chrome Finish
Switch Tips: Chrome
Unique Features:

  • Black Tahiti Pearl ‘Matt Guest’ Runic Headstock Inlay
  • Owen Jackson hand-made neck
  • Crimson Guitars hand-made body
  • Staggered ferrule, string-though carved-top body

Mjölnir was a project to achieve a guitar that would require no additional adornment other than it’s own figured tone wood. Imparting the spirit of a mythical hammer, I chose a almost entirely chromed finish of hardware to give a feel of steel. I wanted to create a soulful carved-top guitar with maximum tone and sustain; so a string-through body design was an obvious choice.

Originally planned as a homage to one of my favourite classic Metal bands, Manowar, this project was born as I listened to ‘Thor (The Powerhead’ at work. Thor’s hammer Mjölnir was an obvious symbol to base such a guitar on. Initially I had designs to inlay the Sign of the Hammer symbol across the fretboard in Mother of Pearl. However after offering up the designs to the fretboard, there was no acceptable area to apply the inlay without obscuring the image too much or damaging the aesthetics of balance. Inlaying the design on the body itself would have taken too much away from the beautifully figured Wenge top.

Therefore the fretboard was left totally blank. Visually this is beautiful for such a quality piece of Ebony, but this needed to be a work-horse of a guitar. Personal preference is paramount, and in my opinion some indication is required around the higher register of the neck. I decided to add steel-ring inlays, offset to the low E-string so that they were easily visible to the player, but as they are aligned closely with the ‘E’ and ‘A’ strings and are not full dots, to the bystander they are almost imperceptible.

The neck is a one-piece English Walnut, commissioned by Owen Jackson. This was one of two necks I sourced for the Thorn Project, so this has a very petite 41mm nut and Wizard profile. The guys at Crimson Guitars expertly took this bolt-on style neck and adapted it for a set-neck construction in Mjölnir. The neck-joint is a very comfortable all-access type, allowing fretting up around the second octave very natural.

I have yet to find superior pickups available in comparison to Bare Knuckle‘s. This time I chose a Miracle Man humbucker set, aiming for a slightly more trebly tone for achieving the ferocity of pinched harmonics. As will be apparent from my existing portfolio, I am not a fan of tone pots. I believe you can achieve all the tonal variations from the placement of the available pickups and choice of amplifier without masking the pure sound of the guitar/pickup combination. I opted for a single master volume pot in this case to limit the number of controls that would hide the beautiful Wenge grain.

Fret-end/Tang Finishing

Fret-end finishing

Here is a guitar neck I have had in storage for a couple of months now, intended for a Les Paul style guitar for our private collection.

I had it commissioned by a great luthier Owen Jackson, and had it in a wardrobe while I was finishing the body with Wudtone clear. When I recently took it out to start prepping for a headstock inlay, I noticed the Ebony fretboard had contracted slightly, causing the fret tangs to become exposed.
These can quickly be filed back flush with my new Crimson Guitars fret shaping files.

Burning Sun Les Paul Diary

Built and finished during an unforgettable Spring and Summer living in a converted barn in the Peak District…

Burning Sun Les Paul

Burning Sun Les Paul

Summer 2013spalted-gibson-white-background-small

Model Name: Burning Sun LP
Color: Burning Sun
Body Material: Mahogany body, Spalted Maple top
Body Shape: Les Paul
Body Finish: Wudtone – ‘Burning Sun’
Neck Material: Rock Maple
Neck Style: Gibson style headstock, oiled finish
Neck Shape: Modern “C”
Scale Length: 25.5”
Fingerboard: Rosewood
Fingerboard Radius: 9.5″
Number of Frets: 21
Fret Size: Jumbo
Full-body String Nut: White plastic
Nut Width: 42 mm
Fingerboard Inlays: N/A
Side Inlays: Black dot
Neck Plate: 4-Bolt gold – MG ‘Demon’ custom design
Pickup Configuration: HB-HB
Bridge Pickup: Epiphone ’57 Classic with plastic cover
Middle Pickup: N/A
Neck Pickup: Epiphone ’57 Classic with plastic cover

  • Volume 1 – Neck pickup
  • Volume 2 – Bridge pickup
  • Master Tone
  • Arcade style kill-switch

Pickup Switching: 3-way toggle
Bridge: Tune-o-matic stop-tailpiece
Hardware Finish: Black
Tuning Machines: Epiphone ‘Tulip’ style
Pickguard: N/A
Control Knobs: Black speed-knob
Switch Tips: Black

Unique Features:

    • Custom designed ‘MG Demon’ neck-plate
    • Kill-switch modification
    • Locking strap buttons
    • Treble-bleed wiring modification


This guitar body was salvaged from the manufacturer as it had a slight imperfection in the left shoulder, which had been inlaid with a mismatch piece of timber. The sponge-like spalted maple top absorbed all of the golden tones of the Wudtone Burning Sun application, and was a pleasure to apply.

I decided to add a prog-metal style kill-switch into this guitar as a prototype for one I intended to add to my own personal Les Paul. This works very well in execution for staccato-style riffs, but it just wasn’t for me so I never adopted this for my own Les Paul.

Follow the design & build diary of the ‘Burning Sun’ Les Paul…