This month's Guitar Of The Month vote is now open....if you're a registered member, head over to check out this month's builds and let us know which you think should be the winner!

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  1. Today
  2. Thanks pariahrob! I'm super happy with how it tuned out. I finished it all up today and will it will be going off to guitar house of Tulsa next week. specs are as follows. 25.5" scale length, Sapele body, quilted maple top (dyed purple), 3 piece sapele/curly maple neck, curly maple headstock, Birdseye maple fretboard, quilted maple truss rod cover (dyed purple), Arete bridge with graphtech saddles (powdercoated white), Sperzel locking tuners, dual action truss rod, 24 nickel silver medium jumbo frets, suhr ssv neck pickup, suhr ssh+ bridge pickup, 1 volume/1 tone/3 way toggle, odies oil and odies wood butter finish,
  3. I figure I'll go ahead and try for my first guitar of the month, so here goes. My names Tim, I'm sure a bunch of you know me as 2.5itim around here. I build guitars part time under the name Arete guitars here in the Tulsa area. this is my N12 model there's a build log on this guitar that I'll post at the bottom of this post, my build log is all over the place so good luck finding it lol. this guitar will be going to guitar house of Tulsa to be sold thru them next week after I get professional photos taken care of. specs are as follows. 25.5" scale length, Sapele body, quilted maple top (dyed purple), 3 piece sapele/curly maple neck, curly maple headstock, Birdseye maple fretboard, quilted maple truss rod cover (dyed purple), Arete bridge with graphtech saddles (powdercoated white), Sperzel locking tuners, dual action truss rod, 24 nickel silver medium jumbo frets, suhr ssv neck pickup, suhr ssh+ bridge pickup, 1 volume/1 tone/3 way toggle, odies oil and odies wood butter finish, thanks for looking!!
  4. that bites about the Watco Japan product CJ. The Watco Danish and Teak Oil products in the states dry over night (or quicker) and are so easy to use and give really good results. hopefully it dries sufficiently and works out. its coming along nicely otherwise. Mt Fuji!
  5. @Prostheta Thanks for this. I think this would work well for me. Something like this: I'm not sure what they call that switching jack.
  6. Yesterday
  7. Two weeks and Page 2 ... My wife brought back from Hawaii something that was holding up finishing the body ... TransTint! I wanted to color the grain, so used a brush on 2-part urethane sanding sealer with a few drops of bright red. (I actually tried about 10 other colors on scraps) While this stuff has wicked fumes, it fills the deep pores better than anything else I've tried that is transparent. It cures real quick, and scrapes back and sands very nicely in about an hour. This is the first coat, and one more might do the trick. I will (rattlecan) spray a clear light amber urethane made by the same company, so the body may actually be done soon! The neck is still very slightly tacky from the Watco Oil Finish ... don't think I'll use that again. I hope a few coats of wax will fix that, but will give it another week while finishing the body. Everything else is done, ready to put together. I'm excited!
  8. I'm definitely a fan of those back contours. Very cool and interesting usage of the chippers to achieve that heel area
  9. Whoa. That's totally cray cray. But in a good way...
  10. Just for fun: I've done quite a bit of work on the top. It's close... I've also been working on a test finish. I wish I had a larger piece of redwood to play with, it's tough to get an idea of the full effect with such a small piece. The colors on these pieces are Brown Mahogany, Dark Vintage Maple, and Honey Amber. I'm afraid the Honey Amber may have pushed everything a bit too yellow. It's tough to tell with the cherry, as it will continue to darken over the next few weeks. I also sanded off the awful baking soda mistake, which left some muddiness in the pores. This is garnet shellac, transtint dyes mixed in water, two spray coats of clear shellac, and a couple of coats of Tru Oil. It certainly has a vintage look, but I'm not sure it's quite the direction I want to go.
  11. Have you see the mono/stereo output of the Rick-O-Sound circuits? That sounds like it would be the perfect fit for your requirements.
  12. So this is where this morning's tinkering got us. Bracing lattice for the back and a bit of an experiment. Thinner, lighter and taller than the first, but more coverage and therefore (hopefully) more support. The plan is to leave this at near enough the height it is. As the bracing is quite visible through the offset soundhole, perhaps I'll cap with some of the maple cut for purfling.
  13. I use D'Addario and have for years since I thought I'd splash the cash on a whim to see if they were better than Ernie Balls... I did not regret it. Never had one snap unless I've done alot of tuning up and down and they were old. Tried Dean Markley too, probably second to D'Addario for me personally. I've used almost everything from 9's to custom gauges (12, 16, 22w, 34, 44, 70.) and never been disappointed like I was when I got a new set of the Ernie Balls and immediately during tuning had the high E snap... That happened way too often!
  14. That Ziricote top now glued to a Sapele body, shaped and edges rounded over (going for traditional styling with this one). Neck is also Sapele (three-piece) with Ziricote headstock veneer.
  15. The SS-101 James Hood Custom Guitars is based in Carlsbad, CA and does all design and building right here in the USA. The company was founded this year and wants to participate in elevating your music making experience. The company believes that great instruments don't always have to have a big price tag. The guitars we build are a result of over a decade of fine instrument repair, modification and design. The ownership has spent thousands of hours simply listening to and implementing customer requests in their own instruments all the while taking note as to what works well, and what doesn't. With guitars, we eat with our eyes first, then we truly determine value after performance and sound. We strive to satisfy each of these steps. Our designs are familiar, but not 'weird'. They are presentable at home and on stage. Their finishes are finely cut and polished, with all details tidy and straight. The contours are subtle but applied specifically for performance and styling. The play is second to non and suitable for a wide range of player in genre and skill level. The soft c neck is again familiar, but enhanced greatly with subtle adjustments for performance purposes. The 24 3/4" scale is also familiar, with a 12" radius and excellent intonation. The medium/jumbo Jescar frets are dressed perfectly and specifically to the guitar itself for comfort, intonation and performance. The handmade bone nut has perfect deflection, and keeps the strings close to the fingerboard for easy access.The feather light Wilkinson bridge also helps keep the intonation perfect, and also sings with the guitars natural tonal capability. The Porter P90's are a juggernaut full of organic tone and growl wide open, then fat and jazzy when rolled back. Thank you for reading!Make your own with our Online Guitar Designer here: SpecificationsAll Mahogany Neck and BodySet Neck Deep Tenon ConstructionGrover Mini Rotomatic Tuners in ChromeHand Made Bone NutRosewood FingerboardHand pressed and dressed Jescar Medium/Jumbo fretsPorter P90 Pickups Vintage in Neck and Classic in BridgeWilkinson Adjustable Wraparound Bridge in ChromeAll CTS and Switchcraft electronics and vintage wireElectrosocket JackplateYour Choice of Strap Button SystemCustom Poly Finish in Daphne BlueCase and Certificate of Authenticity included (low serial number)
  16. James Hood Custom Guitars are here! We're small production in Carlsbad, CA and have been building officially since the beginning of the year. Checkout to build to suit with your specs online now. Our models start at $990 with two pickup options starting at $1295! The image upload limitations don't do photos justice! Please come by the site to see and Tell us what you think!
  17. Indeed there are! Morrells for example make waterborne UV curable lacquers that unfortunately you can only buy 20L at a time, waaayyy more than most people who build alot could use in a few years. And of course there are the companies that sell UV cure polyester, vinyl ester and epoxy resins that are great because before dust has a chance to settle it's cured. But they all have the witness line problems with the possible exception of Morrells, but I haven't looked into it because I don't need 20L when this is my first build and I may not get around to a second until next year... Even then. There is a surprisingly large market gap here, not just for people who build guitars but all woodworkers. Especially the impatient ones like me . Sunlight or atleast low level UV cured lacquers would be a dream come true since guys like me who don't have access to a reasonable spray environment or a place to hang things for a few weeks/months while a finish cures would love them! If I do come across anything I'll be sure to let everyone here know about it. Something you could decant into a Preval unit for example would be great. And yeah... Our weather here isn't the best, It's either raining, too cold, too humid, too warm or too windy. I'll definitely give the poly tutorial you gave a go as it appears to be easy enough to get on with. I'll maybe try it with a lacquer too since my compatibility test came out better than my real finish.
  18. There are some very exciting new products around - but many as you say are nigh impossible to get hold of at all, or in smaller quantities. It's worth pursuing some of the options you're already looking at. Ronseal meets my needs - but it isn't 'nail dent' proof to quite the same degree and, as I say, definitely doesn't 'melt in'. Possible to do outside on a calm, still dry day (mmm...I can see the flaw here already), the Manchester Guitar Tech nitro spray range are excellent - albeit very expensive compared to some other finish methods.
  19. Do you think you'd gain much advantage using toothed pattern cutters them with wood? Took the No7 plane for a spin this morning while cutting back braces. This thing always brings a smile to my face.
  20. Holy cow... That is one nice finish! The stuff I was referring to is the slightly-better-than DIY store stuff. I used Polyvine Acrylic Lacquer on a test piece and after 3 days it was hard enough to sand and after 5 was extremely difficult to put a nail dent in, and I layed that stuff on THICK and probably trapped the solvents in. Or there is an acrylic urethane that a luthier supply store sells which is nice as trying to find it in bedroom builder quantities is near impossible. The problem I have with finishes that don't "melt" into the other layers is I'm not delicate with sanding or levelling no matter how hard I try. Your process appears to be more ideal for me though as there is less room for my errors! Plus it's bedroom friendly and you've explained it so thoroughly that it's basically a step-by-step varnish by numbers that I'm sure even I would find hard to mess up. I'm currently looking into the chemistry of UV cured finishes in the hope I can find a way of making a lacquer cure by sunlight like Solarez but that has the ability to "melt" to the layers underneath. I imagine it will be a fruitless effort since I'm not a chemist and have no desire to dedicate years of my life to become one but something like that for bedroom builders would be an awesome way for people to get high quality finishes in less than ideal conditions. I think I might grab some poly and use your technique on some scrap pieces of wood to see how it goes... I could really use an easy bedroom finish like yours... Plus it's beautiful so that helps too .
  21. I figured that tagging you in for input rather than simply pointing to your tutorial would be best, Andy. Good show!
  22. Oh - there is one thing though that I refer to in the tutorial but is worth emphasising: Polyurethane varnish doesn't 'melt' into previous coats in the same way as nitro, etc does. Each layer is a separate (though fully bonded) layer. Therefore, the final couple of gloss coats is just that - the final gloss finish. You can polish, but you can't buff up to a shine - trying to do so will wear down the fine layers to the ones below and you end up with unsightly contour lines. Hope this helps
  23. Hi, Mike I use good old-fashioned Ronseal Hardglaze Polyurethane varnish. It thins with white spirits just fine. Having said that, they have recently changed the formula a touch to bring it down from 'Very High" volatiles to "High" volatiles and I'm not sure you can quite go to the same degree of thinning without getting other issues. Still OK to about 30%, though. I've also recently used it un-thinned (the new formula does seem to be a touch thinner) using a simple cheapish artist's fan brush, with pretty good results. This is the brush I used: ....and this was the result: I really can't get on with acrylics sold in DIY outlets - they seem to stay soft and tacky. A lot of the commercial finishes tend to use multi-pack products or accelerated UV curing, etc.. Much of the available household stuff I find on the very edge of 'fit for purpose' at best. There's a guy on one of the UK forums who gets spectacular results with wipe-on Chestnut Melamine, but it is far too fumy to use in the house...
  24. Damn straight there is merit to this! Since you're in the UK, what brand of poly do you use? Every can I've seen says do not thin or not recommended. Also, have you tried this with lacquer? There are acrylic, acrylic/urethane (PRS use this one) and the nasty ones such as melamine and cellulose that are all readily available and in non-aerosol form. Those would maybe mitigate the witness lines if I'm correct in my thinking. Either way, I would like to be brought up to date! Your description in that tutorial was extremely helpful and thorough. Thanks, Mike.
  25. Hi! Sorry - been a bit distracted the past week and have only just picked up on this. In terms of tips, I did a tutorial a while back - it's here I've wiped-on gloss and satin varnishes for many of my builds having been frustrated by lack of spray facilities and a few disasters trying to use other techniques. Like all approaches, there are tips and tricks that make the difference... and I'm still experimenting...but this approach can cope with full gloss, satin or matt polyurethane varnishes and can be done - as the 'Bedroom Builders' title suggests - in a spare bedroom with the very minimum of facilities. Shout if you think there is merit and I'll bring you up to date with some of my further conclusions and trials. Andy
  26. Greets, I'm trying to figure out how to, or even if it's possible to create a dual output wiring that can also work in a more conventional way. What I want is to wire the neck and bridge pickups to individual outputs, like two lots of this: but still be able to use it in a more conventional way with a single cable like this: So if I had two cables plugged in the 3-way switch would do nothing and the neck and bridge pups would go to individual outputs, but if I had one cable plugged in then the neck and bridge pups would go to one output depending on the 3-way switch position. I can't get my brain around it. I'm happy to add another switch if needed. THANKS!
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