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kwakatak

Remember that build I was gonna do?

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Winter is here in Pennsylvania and they're calling for a Polar Vortex to make this a cold one. My furnace is already kicking on with great frequency and judging by sinus problems and increased phlegm the air is getting pretty dry so woodworking should be placed on hold until such time that the RH can get above 35%. I have mentioned to Santa that I would really like to have an Aprilaire 600 whole house humidifier put on my furnace to at least make it easier to breathe.

 

In the meantime, I did take an inventory of things and am trying to get my head back into this by envisioning the goal:

 

D924849D-D8E1-4B0D-939D-8EE23E8265AE_zps56h3efey.jpg

 

Besides the low humidity, the two major roadblocks are what to do with the bridge plate. As I've said, the top is borderline on stiffness so I have to be creative and less "traditional" with regards to the lower bout. I'm really hesitant to use and oversized bridge plate though.

 

79E6A971-3754-4ED0-AFAE-A64C1C4AE235_zpsdoydinjd.jpg

 

In the meantime though, I could at least be putting some reinforcement on the sides in order to finalize them to accept the plates. Last time I used walnut side braces to reinforce mahogany. This time around I'm anticipating a much heavier guitar and am thinking of using excess spruce scrap from the bracing: Just to be anal retentive, I'm placing it to abut the ladder bracing on the back. I intend to glue the top on first though in order to pay closer attention to voicing.

 

7618457F-FE37-44A7-B188-14783A9F7BEF_zpsvfft3hnm.jpg

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Well, this thread got buried and I had to do some digging. Thanks to Photobucket all the links prior to the following are broken - as are those in the thread for my first build. I've since moved on to Flickr.

 

Suffice it to say, since last I posted on this thread I have braced both the top and back. The bridge plate is spruce but will have a smaller rosewood plate that will go on very last. This week I began gluing on side braces and will be putting a patch inside the upper bout to reinforce the side for a sound port. I was also able to fit the neck tenon into the body mortise. I have yet to notch the topside kerfing for the braces and put on the flamed maple end wedge but soon enough the box will be closed.

 

For now the pieces all fit inside the TKL jumbo sized case I bought, which worried my wife because she thought when it came that I'd actually bought a completed guitar. The silly woman! I've been building it under her nose for 5 years now!

 

37294107606_892b0d8bb7_z_d.jpg

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I thought I just did? I'll be sure to keep up on it. I'm going to be doing the end graft next. I have a nice piece of flamed maple for it that will match the body binding.

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Update: I've been working on aligning the plates (focusing on the top) and notching the kerfing on the sides to lock things into position. The top is almost ready to be (FINALLY!) glued on. I don't have any way of regulating the RH in my home so this couldn't come at a better time: the temperature dropped these past few days and the heat's kicked on. RH is currently in the 40% range so they will now be living in the case full time when I'm not working on them - just like my *real* guitars!

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I apologize for letting this project linger on for so long. I've been wrapped up in family matters, home improvements and getting back into playing that this sort of got sealed up. Not having any way to humidify my workspace led me to err on the side of caution and just case it. That being said, in the coming month I'm going to be picking this back up. Here's what I have planned:

 

1: reinforce the inside of the upper bout with a rosewood/birch veneer so that I can cut a sound port. I have the pieces (piece of an orphaned rosewood side) but need to figure out a way to bend the rosewood without the use of a fox bending machine. I have the MDF form and a spare clothes iron and am wondering if that would work? Since I have binding yet to do I'm thinking that I should probably try to make a hot pipe type bending apparatus.

 

2: closing the box. I need to make some more gobars for my gobar deck though. Last time I bought so posts from the home and garden section at Lowe's but one broke and speared the top of my first build. I need to locate some nylon rods and re-engineer my DIY go bar deck so that I can adjust the height.

 

3: I'm thinking a cheap router table with a flush cut but would make for a good father's day present! (Hint hint, honey!)

 

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OK, here's an update and a statement: no more apologies. This has been shelved many times but never truly abandoned. Life has just gotten in the way and I've been distracted from it. Here's what's been happening with this:

 

1: I needed to adjust the geometry on the upper bout of the soundboard. I searched and found a way to set the neck angle by basically sanding the rims where the upper bout of the soundboard will go so that the upper bout will be flat with the proper angle for the string height. It involved not only sanding but routing away grooves into the neck block for the A frame braces to "lock in." In the end, I think I got everything where it needs to be:

 

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2: I also modified my gobar deck so that it's now adjustable (thanks to the addition of threaded rods as the "legs," put some peg board on the underside of the roof and bought a set of cheap nylon rods from Harbor Freight to act as gobars. It works well.

 

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3: I also added a whole house humidifier to my furnace, keeping the RH inside my house from crashing too badly - though the Polar Vortex did impact it briefly. Where the RH dropped to below 15% in December, it now rarely dips below 32% - which is good enough for me to keep tinkering with wood.

 

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BTW, my wife asked that I make her a wine rack for her collection.

 

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In doing so, I realized that I had the makings for a set of spool clamps:

 

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The only set back is that there is a crack in the back that I need to seal up prior to gluing it to the sides. Once the back is on I will then be able to forego using the mold and glue on the top using the clamps on the upper bout as above.

Edited by kwakatak

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in anticipation of sealing that crack I've had a pint of 1lb cut shellac dissolving for the past few days. It should be ready to go in another day or so. Meanwhile, I've been re-examining the fit of the back and trimmed the plate with the new bandsaw blade.

 

I've been following Kinkade's book (mostly because it has lots of pictures) and for this step he uses a caul to clamp the plate to the sides. I'm tempted to try my hand at making one. I have a lot of scrap to play with, including some excess peg board that may do the job. I've said it before and I'll say it again: sometimes making jigs is as fun as building - maybe even more so because if you screw up a jig it's not as big a loss.

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Posted (edited)

I closed the box last week and trimmed the edges off the top and back. Next up my least favorite part of the process: routing for the binding.

 

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Edited by kwakatak

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LOL! Me too. I started it 7 years ago! I'd love to finish it before I die - or at least as a 50th birthday present to myself.

 

Meanwhile, three things come to mind:

 

1: I am contemplating on digging out the abalam ring and replacing it. I sanded away too much at it. I would have to somehow deepen the trench though. I also need to fill in some rosewood that chipped out while routing the ring.

 

2: the headstock is slightly too thin; the tuning machines' posts have too much clearance. I had two other bookmatched sets of ziricote for the headstock. Once I even out the back of the headstock and resolve the transition to the shaft of the neck I will be putting a back plate on. I'm also contemplating on binding the headstock as well. It's been 7 years; I might as well go all out.

 

3: I'm thinking about what I want to do with the body binding. I've got an urge to make a run on abalam. Last time I went with wide purfling because I'm a menace with a router or Dremel.

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Bad news: it's not finished. Not sure anybody cares but here's an update:

1: I visited Tim McKnight in June and had him look things over. He told me the top is thin so take it easy on final sanding. He also instructed me how to set the neck angle - and had me sit down and do it myself. He got his hands a little dirty on it too, but mostly to show me how to be more efficient. Tim's an engineer. I went to school to draw pretty pictures.

2: I built a jig to route the binding channels. It's not one of those precarious tower jigs that they sell at Stew Mac. It's more along the lines of what they use at Martin and Larrivee. Let's see if the good old fashioned IMG tags work:

48081815268_a21f6b3108_z_d.jpg

I shot a video of it but it's too dry for YouTube. Here are the results in IMG form:

48253292072_f899040796_z_d.jpg

Long story short: the cut is slightly rough but otherwise it is adequate. The laminate trimmer is a cheapo model and the router bit is from a jig I bought to rout out hinge pockets on some doors I hung in my house. I'm not about to give LMI or StewMac tons of money for what I can make out of plywood and stuff I can buy at Ace Hardware for nickles and dimes.

3:  I also built a bending pipe, bought a propane torch at Lowe's and bent the flamed maple binding. Again, I shot a movie that's too dry for YouTube - I'm not about to take a copyright strike for background music and waste my time adding tags and making thumbnails in Photoshop. Basically, in about 10 minutes and using Windex as a moistening agent I was able to bend all 4 strips without burning or breaking them.

48623518012_56f5f75774_z_d.jpg

Now, for my confession: I skipped a step and it's complicated things. I didn't install the end wedge before closing the box. You can see the void in the IMG above. I got a little fancy with the design and it's bitten me in the @$$. I can't glue in the binding until I have that done. I can still dry fit it though and at least that looks good so far:

48611430073_c0ba85dfe3_z_d.jpg

I'm really close to finishing assembly of the box. Pretty soon I'll be burnishing the ol' scraper and truing the sides in anticipation of playing with chemicals to make it all smooth and shiny.

 

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Cool looking guitar. I do hope you get a chance to finish it eventually. :thu:

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You have some good skills there!  I have built a couple electrics in the past. But I've never even attempted an acoustic. Looking good, can't wait to see the finished product.

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I need to modify my binding channel jig to improve stability of the guide but it's nothing that a little fine chisel/file work can't fix. There are some imperfections in the top, but given that this is only my second build I'm satisfied enough to move forward. I'll take a picture of how the end graft came out later.

48670012121_f1eba986d2_z_d.jpg

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My laptop died and I can’t figure out how to link to Flickr via their mobile app so I have to upload here. 

Here’s how the end graft turned out. Mind you I still have to scrape things flush and pore fill do hopefully those gaps will be filled: 

Note that the router bit took a chunk out of the maple so I had to graft in a patch. 

598FA8F3-0B93-4ED8-94EE-1E7F9CEA9D7B.jpeg

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Something similar happened with my binding router jig. I need to figure out how to fill in the gaps. I will be modifying my jig with a wider guide/fence with a larger bit because the existing setup it not stable, causing “drift.”

 

38C18AE3-4BEE-4F5C-989B-F72F33894F3A.jpeg

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A762CE96-D278-4F36-89C0-A96B908E27CF.jpeg

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3 hours ago, kwakatak said:

Something similar happened with my binding router jig. I need to figure out how to fill in the gaps. I will be modifying my jig with a wider guide/fence with a larger bit because the existing setup it not stable, causing “drift.” . . .

Ouch! Sorry to hear it. :(

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Sorry about your binding issues, Neil.   I learned a long time ago that cheap tools were often a mistake - I bought the hundred dollar StewMac binding router bit set when I built my first guitar and I bought their "precarious" tower rig when I built my first archtop.   Those tools have routed and bound 25 instruments to date and I can honestly say I haven't had a problem.   I keep thinking I should buy a new sharp bit for my next guitar, I think I've amortized the last one.  

Ps - you didn't say if you sealed the edge with shellac or something but I find it helps with chip out and the fuzzies.

I should clarify something.   When I build a flat topped guitar all I need for binding channels is a laminate trimmer and the SM bit set.  It has enough bearings to do any binding/purfling combination I've ever wanted to do.  The top is flat enough that I just use the base of the trimmer, when I do the back I tape a little 5 degree shim on it to compensate for the dome.   As long as I'm careful with the direction of cuts and brush a little shellac on it the channels are nearly perfect.

On an arched or carved top/back instrument the router can't jut ride on the top or back - it needs to float and that's where the precarious tower comes in.   Again, it works perfectly.

Edited by Freeman Keller
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Finally, the headstock needs some attention. The back is not flat and it’s a tad too thin for my liking so I’m filing/scraping away and creating a volute. I have several sets of book matches ziricote face plates, which match the one on the front of the headstock. This one is my choice for the back of the headstock:

 

8F97BAD0-F49E-451F-AD3F-FE6CD295026D.jpeg

41FD7AB7-2FCB-4495-BBB3-4252935D0DB2.jpeg

2A76C73E-CEC7-4D54-B4FE-3E545B99FE54.jpeg

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34 minutes ago, Freeman Keller said:

Sorry about your binding issues, Neil.   I learned a long time ago that cheap tools were often a mistake - I bought the hundred dollar StewMac binding router bit set when I built my first guitar and I bought their "precarious" tower rig when I built my first archtop.   Those tools have routed and bound 25 instruments to date and I can honestly say I haven't had a problem.   I keep thinking I should buy a new sharp bit for my next guitar, I think I've amortized the last one.  

Ps - you didn't say if you sealed the edge with shellac or something but I find it helps with chip out and the fuzzies.

I should clarify something.   When I build a flat topped guitar all I need for binding channels is a laminate trimmer and the SM bit set.  It has enough bearings to do any binding/purfling combination I've ever wanted to do.  The top is flat enough that I just use the base of the trimmer, when I do the back I tape a little 5 degree shim on it to compensate for the dome.   As long as I'm careful with the direction of cuts and brush a little shellac on it the channels are nearly perfect.

On an arched or carved top/back instrument the router can't jut ride on the top or back - it needs to float and that's where the precarious tower comes in.   Again, it works perfectly.

I am definitely going to upgrade the laminate trimmer and router bit, but I need to limit jig size because my space is limited. 

By the way, I did indeed seal the top with shellac. Tear out was not a problem; I had StewMac’s binding cutter diagram hanging in view and even chalked in big arrows on the guitar in order to only cut on the “descent” of the curves. 

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