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Remember that build I was gonna do?


kwakatak
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I wasn't sure which guitar you were talking about? if it's that old Olson dread it lives out in Wyoming with its owner. Instead, what I'm going to do is approximate the bracing pattern of my first build along with the abutted upper transverse brace a la Ervin Somogyi only this time the X brace will be 1/4" thick instead of 5/16". As you know, I love the Martin HD-35 and I'm hoping that the 4-1/2"'deep body retains the bass rumble but with the focus of a jumbo because of the tighter waist.

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I wasn't about to give this one up - and truth be told I was kind of hoping that it would draw out some of our fellow tinkerers. This forum has been so dead lately it's depressing.

 

Anyway, the neck block is glued back on but I'm waiting until tomorrow to glue in the tail block. I need to take it out of the mold to do that because there just aren't many good points to clamp all four corners of the block; the mold is only 3" deep whereas the sides are about 4-3/4". Sure, I could use a cawl but the sides have lots of play the way it is and I already split one of the sides. As with my Larrivee, thank God for east Indian rosewood's dark grain and pliable qualities!

 

Meanwhile, I just cut more shellac to use as a wash coat on the soundboard and have fashioned a homemade circle cutter using a nail, a popsicle stick and an Exacto knife blade. I don't know if my chisel is quite narrow enough to rout out the central herringbone ring so I have my Dremel with several 2 flute downcut bits that I bought online.

 

I'm proceeding VERY slowly. Sorry no pics, my iPhone took another dunking and I'm a bit tense about it.

 

OT: The iPhone still works but I turned it off and put it in a bag of rice. I'm not touching it for at least three days. My wife says if it dies I go back to having a flip phone because this iPhone replaced one that took a dip in the washing machine thanks to my autistic son's fascination with it and running water and my general absentmindedness when it comes to the whereabouts of my things at any given moment. .

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I glued in the tail block this afternoon. I don't think it's crooked this time, but if it is I'll just steam it off again.

 

Meanwhile, I've been working on the rosette. The popsicle stick circle cutter is good for cutting out the initial line but still leaves room for guesswork with regards to the depth of the channels. Scoring the outlines seemed to help somewhat but I opted to used my Dremel with a double fluted downcut bit to do the job on the main herringbone ring the right way. The Dremel brand router stand/circle cutting jig doesn't go small enough to do the inner rosette ring though. I'll need to work very carefully by hand on that ring.

 

I also tried to whittle way at the thickness of the back the other night too. It's over 1/8" thick. I'd like to take it down by 1/3 but using a bench plane to do that has really been a hassle.

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OT: I've been trying to get my 8yo involved. He's been giving everybody a lot of trouble but shows an interest in music. Since my guitars have been taking such a beating when he and his brother are around I've tried to interest him in other musical instruments that can take more of a pounding - literally. So last winter I bought the keys for a 2 octave xylophone from the local Rockler along with a 3/4" thick board of padauk. I ripped it into 1" wide planks a couple of weeks ago and am in the process of trying to figure out how to mount them so that they ring out without being muted by the mounting screws.

 

Here he is hamming it up between sessions of telling me what to do (he gets that from his mother) and how what I'm doing is wrong. You gotta love kids.

 

2A0427E2-F752-4A3E-8DE8-BA4BD05F191B_zpsza2ijj87.jpg

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*Phew!*

 

Both blocks and the new reversed kerfing are all glued in. Things look like they should have last week when I did these steps the first time. Now on to finish inlaying the rosette. It could be going a little better but I don't have the best circle cutting jig. I'm going to be using a LOT of extra purfling strips.

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Couple of tricks you probably already know - paint a little shellac around the area where you'll cut the purfling - it helps keep the spruce from tearing out. And I use a crappy little circle cutter for my dremel - as long as I go slow and use a sharp bit it does OK. Cut all the grooves for rosette and purfling, then cut the soundhole last. Good luck, I'll be thinking of you.

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Already done. I wash coated the entire top with 1lb cut of shellac flake that I bought from StewMac last year. As for the circle cutter, I started with a popsicle stick with an exacto knife to start things out then moved on to using the Dremel plunge router base's circle cutter and some new bits that I bought online. The problems I'm coming up with are:

 

1: my inner rosette ring is smaller than the circle cutter will go so.

 

2: my smallest fluted bit is wider than the purfling I want to use so I've been using a rounded bit.

 

3: the circle cutter has some play in it so the large central ring is slightly oval in spots and even though I measured, the radius for the herringbone ring is smaller than the trench I cut for it. Not a big deal but the edges are not going to be crisp.

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I have one of these plunge router things for my dremel and yes, it didn't make a small enough diameter circle. I cut part of the base off on and glued the little brackets back on with epoxy to allow it to go smaller. It does work OK (I can just barely do the soundhole with it) but its still pretty Mickey Mouse. Every time I use it I think I should get something better.

 

IMG_0986_zps0d4feaef.jpg

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Can't tell you exactly how much I cut off but this is what it looks like now

 

IMG_2619_zpss6ahaaql.jpg

 

IMG_2621_zpsb8lulxy6.jpg

 

I can get the center part (with the nail) to about 1-1/2 inches - that lets me cut the soundhole on everything I do as well as rosettes

 

IMG_2622_zpsn7rohyot.jpg

 

Its been a while since I modified it but what I remember doing was to cut as close to the little tabs that hold the bars and again as close as I could to the center part (I think I used a band saw but it could have been by hand). Cleaned up the joint, put the bars in place and clamped everything flat with some epoxy in the joint - the glue has held up fine over quite a few uses. The plunge part of the router is pretty sloppy and the whole thing has too much play for my satisfaction, but it does get the job done.

 

Hope this helps

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  • 4 months later...
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I've been focusing on the fretboard inlay for the last couple of weeks. I opted to upgrade from white pearloid crosses to abalone crosses instead. It's been a learning curve but I think I have a system down. The key is to find not only the centerline along the length of the fretboard but the centerline between each fret too. I found that masking the fretboard with tape also has two benefits. First, you can see every pencil mark better than on ebony. Secondly. when laying the inlay on the board to scribe the outlines it tends to not want to slide around like if it were placed on the bare board. Finally, go with a smallish bit and take things slow. Anyway mistakes can be filled in with some glue mixed with ebony dust.

 

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Thanks! I've been waffling on what I'm going to do with regards to fretboard binding. Originally I was going to bind it with ebony and stick a piece of white purfling between to give it a faux border - not to mention hide the side of the fret tines. Now I'm thinking maybe I'll just go with maple for contrast. That has me rethinking body binding now though. I was going to use ebony there too but now I'm not so sure. My neck has maple as a laminate so maple binding would tie in there.

 

Then there's the matter of carving the neck. I think I need to bite the bullet and buy a spokeshave. Last time I used a sandpaper roll cut open to sort of "bootstrap" the blank into a round shape. It was slow going and I'm still not happy with the neck profile of number one. Strangely, spoke shaves - and any specialized hand tool really - are pretty hard to find in brick and mortar stores. It's almost easier buying a firearm around here it seems. Please, no comments. I just want to be able to carve the neck once the frets are in. That I'm nearly ready to go on.

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I have a spoke shave that I think I bought at Grizzly Tools but I've never mastered it.

 

http://www.grizzly.com/search/?q=(spoke+OR+shave)

 

IMG_1592_zps02bcceca.jpg

 

I have better luck with a combination of chisels, planes, rasps, a sanding drum for a drill and my belt sander. One of the things that is very helpful is to make a couple of templates of the shape you want and keep working it down until they fit. I also have a hard time taking enough off - a couple of my necks have ended up pretty chunky - in one case I stripped the finish off and shaved a bunch more wood off.

 

Grizzly also sells a cool little tool that lets you duplicate curves but I can't for the life of me find it in their catalog. I think it was called a "molding duplicator" or something - you can press it against a guitar neck and transfer the shape to a piece of paper to make a template. Find a guitar that you really like the neck, measure both width and depth and take a curve with this thing.

 

IMG_1486_zps3efc7dea.jpg

 

IMG_1488_zps37cd372f.jpg

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Yesterday I worked on sanding and scraping away at the thickness of the back. I'm down to about .095" in places and am being cautiously optimistic. Hopefully I can get it down to a uniform thickness in just a few runs through Mr. Kitchen's drum sander next week?

 

 

 

Regardless, I'm getting close so my through two started turning toward bracing. I have the spruce billets split, a nice sharp plane and a small bandsaw on hand to get them to the desired thickness, length and height but the plated is still rectangular. I discovered that my plexiglass template was broken however, so I decided to leave my sides in the mold on top of the plate. It was here I discoverex that my back is just slightly narrower than the width of the body. Not by much; at the ends of the lower bout the kerf is slightly exposed; a little trickery with purfling should hide any gap.

 

 

 

Just to be sure, I laid my first guitar build on the plate and found that it wasn't all that bad.

 

 

 

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So I traced inside the mold, then added another 1/2"'for wiggle room and turned my attention to the braces.

 

 

 

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AF34279B-5A06-4030-8C43-CBBC55767336_zpspewsuola.jpg

 

 

 

All that I need to do now is radius the bottoms then I can start gluing things up.

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The back is just about ready to be braced. Maybe one or two passes in the thickness sander first to get things to a uniform .095" thick before moving ahead. I cut out the shape though to expedite the process. The braces are rough shaped to 1/4" thick by 3/4" tall but also need to be radiused underneath as well.

 

 

 

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Meanwhile, in getting the top ready I had trouble getting the channels routed cleanly for the herringbone rosette so I'm ditching it. Using random sections of the trimmed back and following a tutorial for radial rosette I've got 12 sections cut and ready to be glued together. I measured out for a ring to cover my boo boo. The plan is to borrow my friend's StewMac circle cutter because the Dremel brand one is crappy and made for too many irregularities in depth and radius of the cut.

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
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7E6BBAFE-1EFE-412A-B1E5-386658C19E78_zpsmhbq259g.jpgLast week I went over to my friend's shop and finished thickness sanding the back and sounboard. The back plate is now .095" thick and the sounboard is a tad thin at .011" in the center and just below .009" at the edges. That's as thin as I dare to go.

 

 

 

I also sanded the back braces to a 20' radius using his radius dish. The OLF MJ plans call for a 16" radius but he didn't have a 16' radius dish. I don't care for such a pronounced dome on the back anyway.

 

 

 

In the meantime, I've picked up work on the rosette. I've been trying to work around the limitations of the Dremel plunge router base's circle cutter so the inside edges of the trench and ring to be inlaid are still a bit rough. The idea is to get things close enough so that when I pay my friend's workshop I can use his Stewart MacDonald circle cutter I can finish the job. I already have it measured to take a double ring of fine BWB purfling both on the inside and outside edges of the radial rosewood ring. The darned thing doesn't want to stay together though; I've been having to piece it back together many times with CA glue.

 

 

 

 

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  • 7 months later...
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This thread is well in need of update. I've kept it up more at AGF but even then it's been lax. I've just had bigger fish to fry regarding my son with autism. Long, private story there but these past few weeks I've had time and a need to concentrate on other things so I'm back it.

 

So where were we? December?

 

OK, then. Let's start with the rosette, then touch upon the soundboard as a whole before moving on to the neck, shall we?

 

This is where we have nearly ended up:

 

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As you can see, a long far cry from the bold herringbone that I was originally going to do. The circle cutter just wouldn't cooperate so cutting a singe trench seemed easier. Cutting up scrap of rosewood in perfect angles to make 12 segments of a radial rosette proved tricky enough to have to do twice. I also bought another circle cutting jig that cost me $10 on Amazon that isn't a perfect solution - but that's what they sell purfling for: to cover up your mistakes. Eventually I got the hang of running the Dremel at a fixed depth and working slowly and at lower RPMs. I know that's still not ideal but I'm patient. Luckily, it turns out that my only major mistake will be hidden by the fretboard.

 

Moving on to the neck, I have been refining the shape of the headstock and even started filing away at the first fret area to make the neck profile there. Meanwhile, I've also glued on the headplate veneer. I actually just complete trimming it to nearly match the shape of the headstock. I've yet to get it to the desired thickness. Right now it's a tad thick and hefts like the woodle paddles that we used to make in shop class for our favorite teacher who used to practice corporal punishment. My kids don't know how good they have it!

 

 

DE806191-B8FC-499A-83B9-B5766924E7F3_zpsteyhuaws.jpg

 

Going back in time a little bit, I attended the McJam and showed Tim McKnight my soundboard. He ran a deflection test on it, handed it to his daughter - and protoge (sp) and schooled her on how thin was too thin. Tim - who I count as one of my dearest friends - then went into his wood locker and provided me with bracing that he said should tame that top that according to him is going to be bass heavy and loud. I won't post pics out of respect but the the lower bout will be overbraced with a sort of Triple X bracing pattern with an A frame upper bout bracing. He cautioned me against scalloping the bracing and instead stick with a parabolic shape - a la Larrivee. \

 

Moving back further, I also braced and outlined the back plate. With luck I'll soon be just as far along with the soundboard.

 

image_zpsrpfgxxtu.jpeg

 

After that I anticipate getting the sides ready to accept the plates. That will involve getting access to radius dishes - but given the Tim gave me preradiused X bracing I has to look a gift horse in the mouth and ask what that radius is. I have access to my friend's 28" and 20" radius dishes but they aren't necessary for closing the box, just sanding the kerfing.

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