Rock & Roll Memories

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Woodcraft’s 21st National Sales Conference and Vendor Trade Show was held in Cleveland, Ohio, this May. The home of The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame provided the perfect inspiration for the 2018 photo prop – a bigger-than-life electric guitar.

I teamed up with Product Development Manager Ben Bice to make the 8' standing instrument a few days before the show. Ben used two ¾" x 30" x 48" Baltic birch plywood sheets for the construction of the guitar, which he cut with a jigsaw from my sketch. One piece was used for the main guitar body, and the other piece was used to create the neck and a stand to hold the guitar upright. Ben used a ¼" round over bit to slightly round edges, and he sanded the entire piece so it was ready to be painted.

Once the guitar was handed off to me, I used General Finishes Java Gel Stain on the front and back of the neck, as well as the kickstand piece, to allow the woodgrain to still be visible. I brushed it on with a foam brush and then wiped it off with a clean rag, leaving behind the darker, enhanced grain.

We wanted a really bright color for the body of the guitar so that gave me a chance to try Unicorn Spit’s Purple Hill Majesty—a bright “Purple Rain” kind of color. Oh, and it’s jasmine scented! Having never used this strangely named gel stain and glaze before (and not following the directions…ahem), I should have prepared the wood before applying it for a smoother application. But since I didn’t, I went right to work.

General Finishes Java Gel Stain

Shop Java

A Unicorn Spit experiment

Shop Paint

I also used White Ning Unicorn Spit to blend with the purple to give the guitar a little more dimension and add some lighter highlights. I kept the darker purple towards the edges and blended in lighter toward the center. I sprayed on some water to keep the paint moving as I blended. Once dry, I applied three coats of General Finishes HP Gloss Topcoat. I was going to attempt to paint the pickguard and pickups—but we came up with a much better idea!

A local sign shop was able to print the entire pickguard, strings, frets and everything as a two-piece decal! Yes! That made life a lot easier than trying to paint all that detail.

For the tuners on the head, we upcycled some thumb studs from band clamps used in dust collection. I painted over the blue with General Finishes Argentine Pearl Effects. Woodcraft graphic designer Bob Etter, a music aficionado himself, had a little “fun” with his modified “Fender” logo that became “Funder.”

Then all we had to do was haul it from our corporate office in Parkersburg, West Virginia, to Cleveland for the annual meeting.  

GF Pearl Effects transformed these thumb studs into tuners

See Pearls

Adding a twist to our Fender

Craft Knife

Gary Lombard, Woodcraft’s VP Retail/Franchise Development, is shown here reminding the conference attendees—store owners and managers—to sign the guitar.

Product Development Manager Pete Collins (left) and The American Woodshop co-host Scott Phillips (right) take turns making their marks on the guitar.

The guitar has now been returned to Parkersburg with many signatures. It hangs in the Woodcraft corporate office along with a plaque and a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame pass designed for Woodcraft’s visit to the museum. A very nice way to commemorate our time in the rock and roll city.

Connie Harmon, Woodcraft’s Franchise Compliance Manager, has been organizing the annual meetings with perfection since the very first one. Together we came up with the guitar idea and it was a hit! Here we are in front of The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in our rocker attire.

Special thanks to my other partner in crime Ben Bice for his help with another cool collaboration. Here are two other joint projects we worked on together:

Pumpkin Stack Growth Chart

Telephone Gossip Bench: Part II Inlay

Rock on, friends!

We hope you'll be inspired!

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