Guitar Of The Month – June, 2020

Written by: Kevin Strom On: Jul 6th, 2020

Congratulations goes out to Barry Whitlaw for his guitar build, to earn him Guitar of the Month for June 2020.

Barry used our TCK-1M DIY kit as the basis to create his guitar.

“I’ve been playing guitar for a long time and I’ve always wanted to buy and build a guitar kit. I had seen the guitars available at Solo but I didn’t want to do it just for the sake of doing it, I wanted the build to be unique and something special.  

When my dad asked me if I would be interested in some pieces of wood that he removed off his childhood home, a turn of the century farmhouse located in Deloraine Manitoba, I knew right away what I was going to do. I immediately went online and ordered a TCK-1M DIY Electric Guitar Kit.

Using a 1” Forstner bit mounted on a drill press, I hollowed out the front of the guitar to a depth of 5/8” so the top of reclaimed wood would be flush with the sides of the body. I decided to keep a quarter inch of the body to provide strength to the overall guitar and not leave the sides of the reclaimed wood exposed. The inside edges of the body were cleaned up with various size chisels and a lot of 80 grit hand sanding. 

To inlay the reclaimed, I organized the pieces to ensure that some of the cool features, nail holes and knots, would not be lost during the process. I started with the two centerpieces and worked my way out. There was no real method to making the pieces fit, just a lot of measuring and small cuts using a band and scroll saw. The rounded edges were refined to fit using a drum sander. All the pieces were secured in place using a thick layer of wood glue, I did not apply glue between the boards because I didn’t want to run the risk of having any glue squeeze out the front. 

The back of the body was roughed up with 80 grit and stained Minwax dark walnut which gave it a beat up leather kind of look. I applied four coats of Watco Satin spray lacquer, and the front got two coats to protect the aged look of the wood.  For the neck, the fretboard and 1/4” along the sides were taped off, I applied the same walnut stain to the rest of the neck. It was a quick rub on rub off method until I got the colour I wanted. I freehanded the name on the headstock and burnt it in with a wood-burning pen and the neck then got two coats of the same spray lacquer used for the body. The fretboard was left unfinished. 

Assembly was pretty straight forward. I added copper tape inside the pickup and control pockets to reduce potential hum and followed Solo’s online video and instructions for the wiring. The neck pickup ring was made a piece Thuya Burl cut out on the scroll saw. Although I do plan to have a professional set up done at some point,  I was able to dial it fairly easy and it sounds and plays amazing. 

The name ‘Clarybelle’ is in honour of my grandparents, Clarence and MaBelle, the owners of the house. 

It was a fun build and I’m thrilled with the outcome of the guitar. I’ll definitely be ordering another one soon!”

– Barry Whitlaw

3 Responses to “Guitar Of The Month – June, 2020”

  1. rollie396 says:

    Very nice as an original idea!

  2. KenBC says:

    Great looking guitar. I like how deeply the body has been carved out. And the rough sanding on the back matches the front perfectly. Excellent!

  3. chorndog says:

    That’s a great looking guitar and a fabulous heirloom!

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