Interesting sorta hybrid way of building guitars. I didn't know lumber yards offered those kinds of services.I make my inlays myself, indeed. I do use a CNC because to handle a 0.3mm routing bit by hand is kinda impossible haha.
I haven't sold any warmoth part since 2018 to be honest, and only via this forum. I'm thinking about selling all my warmoth LP's. I'll give them pickups, strings, and either fix them up, or sell them (aged/worn) as is. I need space. I feel like I need to move on from my past in order to focus on the future. Moving to Mexico is still an option in my book and gosh, if I go, I only can take +- 20 guitars. Not 50.
I do almost all the work myself, and what I don't do, I can do if I have to. I outsource, for example, the radiussing of the fretboard and the fretslots, because it's more cost efficient. Or the glueing of the top.I can do it myself, but my lumber yard can do it faster, and therefor cheaper. He has a 2000 euro jointer, mine is 400. That difference is approximately 200 kilos of iron, a helix cutter head instead of a blade, so the joint is cleaner, faster. He has a clamping jig for table tops, I have regular hand clamps. It's just not economical for me to have those kinds of machines.
So why bother?
But once that basic woodwork is done, (i.e.: fretboard milled, body glued up, and sometimes even the neck blank by the lumber yard, see reasons above). I do the rest. Trussrod, neck shape, headstock angle, neck angle, body carve, pickup cavities, inlay. etc etc.
I have a stack of fretboards, necks and bodies, ready to go, but my wife thinks I have enough guitars so she's asking me if I can't perhaps have fewer guitars (she lives in Mexico, is going to live in my house in the Netherlands, but there's barely enough space for me + guitars, let alone me+wife+guitars!), so I can't build those axes, unfortunately. I might be able to dump 10 with a friend, and have space again for the newer ones I wanna make, but who knows. I doubt I'll ever be able to make a living out of this, so I'll just build for my own fun and enjoyment and sell a guitar here and there.
From all that you typed and seeing the fruit of your labor, you could at least attempt some sort of custom business.
Here is an interesting one: if someone sent you a completed neck with no inlays, could you do custom inlays on it? Or do they have to be untreated to do that?
I could see a fringe market for something like that. Almost like engraved neck plates. Actually, I could see that being more viable than neck plates.
So all those guitars you sold a few years back were are your own builds? Nice!
My hats comes off for guys like you. I am sure I could do something similar as I am great with my hands, using power tools, and with attention to detail.
Only problem (well, problems. Lol) is:
1 no patience
2 I'm somewhat lazy
3 I like to play more
4 I happen to really like what warmoth offers, so following your lead, why bother doing something when I can buy for less in the long run? (Consider cost of tools, spray rig, templates, etc., plus my time) I now have a guy for custom finishes that is comparable to warmoth in pricing too.
5 time. Family and the never ending honey do list plus work limit my time.
I do love the whole building process from planning to assembling to set up and adjustment. I just do it at a the typical warmoth customer level.
Guitars are unique in that they are tools and works of art at the same time.
I wish I could justify more than 10 or so. As it stands, I am heavily weighing selling off most of my factory guitars and going all warmoth. My ibby as73g is the only guitar I have that I can't replicate easily.