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RestorationAD

Project: S9 Progress Thread 2014 - RAD

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RestorationAD    243

Starting up the new thread for 2014.

Got some great projects for this year. More multiscale madness, headless builds, another express run, and maybe some multiscale basses.

Expect custom pickups, exotic tops, and as much instruction as I can manage.

Cheers!

--RAD

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RestorationAD    243

Not going to use all of these this year but at least some.

The veneers are the most interesting because they are going to be part of a run.

Left to right

Headplates - Maple Burl Top - Quartersawn Flamed Maple (fretboards) - Flamed Maple top - Headplate

20131227_152452_zpsckzitmxf.jpg

Headplate - Flamed Maple Top - Matched Flamed Veneers - Spalted Flame top - .67" Quilted Maple Top - Spalted Flame Top

20131227_153317_zpshkhbtuu7.jpg

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RestorationAD    243

Well 2014 is here and it is time to get some things rolling for the new year. The shop will be too cold for the next few months to do any consistent work but I will try to get things prepped as best I can for the upcoming build season.

Picked up some interesting boards the other day at the wood store. The Bocote should make a nice fretboard or two and I am not sure what to do with the burl Bloodwood yet. It will need to be stabilized somehow because there is a lot of checking in it.

IMG_20140103_115203_zpsywkylgb9.jpg

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Some 8/4 Khaya (African Mahogany) that I picked up for some upcoming work. I landed a pile of veneer tops so I needed some thicker body blanks to take advantage of them. Basically I can't manage to rip a 2" strip off one edge because the board is so heavy and I don't have any rollers (note to self buy roller stands). So I cut what I can and then free it up so I can cut the body billet on the radial arm saw.

IMG_20140103_141403_zpsvzp0zvy3.jpg

IMG_20140103_141411_zpsm0icgzg4.jpg

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RestorationAD    243

I end up with 3 25" neck blanks and 4 body billets from a 6' piece. I then split the 3 25" pieces to preserve the quartersawn grain. I follow that up by ripping the billets into something closer to what I need and get some veneers in the process. No waste.

IMG_20140103_143100_zpsfpdxxjoi.jpg

IMG_20140103_144736_zpst92xjt0y.jpg

IMG_20140103_145439_zpsprrpt9ao.jpg

IMG_20140103_145902_zpsrr5fafxt.jpg

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RestorationAD    243

Adding some black lettering to the cover plate

IMG_20140104_130032_zpswajtwgdu.jpg

I am not sure why I didn't do this years ago. I have a file that I love and I have used it for years to bevel fret ends. I took all the teeth off one side when I bought it but it still had the edges. If you ever slipped with it it would dig up the frets because of this. Finally I decided to round both edges to protect from that.

IMG_20140104_130054_zpsmu3frs97.jpg

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RestorationAD    243

Headless guitar work. I am going to do more of the neck work on the CNC for this model. This is the trussrod slot. Also going to do the fret slots on the neck as well. I will still carve the neck profile by hand though.

IMG_20140104_155652_zpsiwwyuqhn.jpg

IMG_20140104_155657_zpsy4co6avp.jpg

Like everything done with the CNC it ends up being very tight.

IMG_20140104_160201_zpsys2a5vhw.jpg

IMG_20140104_160210_zps4ohdhxxf.jpg

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RestorationAD    243

So the idea is to use the pins so I can flip the neck without trying to figure out positioning on the CNC. Index pins are your friend. The template I tried ot cut from acrylic was really sloppy. It is really hard to cut plastic on a CNC with a router as your spindle. It always ends up burning and melting after a long pass. I am ordering new bits for cutting plastic and I will work on IPM feed rates to fix it. For this weekend though all I needed was a center line and pin locations.

IMG_20140104_160805_zpskzgvqyvn.jpg

IMG_20140104_160759_zpsht79m8os.jpg

Also drilled a hole so that it is easy to find when I trim it free. Then a little silicone and the trussrod.

IMG_20140104_160908_zpszaruiao7.jpg

IMG_20140104_161449_zpsmxazempb.jpg

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RestorationAD    243

Time to glue up fretboard.

IMG_20140105_121740_zpslb8fdig7.jpg

Filling some fret slots.

IMG_20140105_123545_zpsci4kcywf.jpg

If you think the CNC makes things easier I would say you are wrong. It just makes it different. I still have to clean the edges with a sanding block by hand.

IMG_20140105_124630_zpsomijk6rg.jpg

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Mr Natural    239

IMG_20140104_160759_zpsht79m8os.jpg

gotta ask- what made that burn mark in your bench? looks almost like re-bar

I like the "upside down" vise holding the neck in the other pic- I may steal that idea

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RestorationAD    243

gotta ask- what made that burn mark in your bench? looks almost like re-bar

I like the "upside down" vise holding the neck in the other pic- I may steal that idea

It is not a burn (it would be badd asss if I burned the bench with a piece of rebar though). It is a very unfortunate scrape from the dust filtration box that is now filled with ebony dust and has about 2 coats of epoxy on top followed by some metal dust and about 12 coats of lacquer.

Didn't take long for the bench to start looking really old.

I will put some shots together for the neck vise. It is a simple 2x4 thing that locks into the big vise. Then I attach a small 6" vise to it. My back can't take bending over anymore.

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ajax    3

That piece of bocote is killer, kinda busy but I love it. I have a couple of questions for you about the cnc. Did you build it or buy it ready to go? How long have you been working with it? Do you like it? The reason I ask is that people who use a cnc always seem to point out how much there is to do after the Cnc does its thing. Is it mainly accurate repeatability?

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RestorationAD    243

Did you build it or buy it ready to go?

No. Too much to learn. Too much to go wrong. I bought it from Probotix. It is a fine hobby machine for the money. Basically turn key. The entry level cost made it a no brainer. I knew the learning curve was steep and it would have drove me nuts trying to fix little mistakes made in the build process and learning how to use it.

How long have you been working with it? Do you like it?

I have had it for about 3 years? Maybe... Scott said he can't remember watching a build of mine without it recently.

Is it mainly accurate repeatability?

I hate routers. I got 7 stitches in my left index and middle finger a few years ago because of a router. I use it as a giant robot overhead pin router.

It slowed me down horribly the first year. Cut my production in half. Now I am back to where I was and I think it helps me get things done faster sometimes but I spend a lot of time babysitting it because it seems every time I turn my back on it it breaks or hoses something.

It has destroyed more guitar tops in 3 years than I have in 23 years.

It is not strong enough machine to cut properly. It does a horrible job at full depth cuts (because of the flex) so I can't do what you normally do with a CNC making a rough cut then doing a full depth clean up cut. Every time I try it bites and destroys things.

I broke 3 motors in 6 months. Not my fault it seemed to be a bad batch.

It is accurate enough to cut frets if I am careful with feed rates and make sure the Z axis doesn't flex.

I spend half of my build time designing guitars in CAD now instead of making mistakes in the shop. I do not do any 3D designs. They take too long to code up and are unnecessary. Customers always want different neck profiles, different woods require different carves.

It is not saving me time in the long run.

Once a design is done theoretically I could just make the same guitar over and over again easily. That is not the case. I spend hours improving the designs, improving the drawings, trying to perfect the process to increase accuracy.

I still do all my carves by hand. The CNC can not feel a piece of wood out and make good decisions on arcs and curves that work best with the wood.

I can't imaging building pickups without it. It has freed my mind when it comes to pickups. This has been my favorite part of owning the CNC.

It is awesome to make a template I need in 5 minutes. No more hours spent dialing in a template. This is worth the price alone.

I can build a guitar by hand with templates faster (and just as accurately) than the CNC can.

I can design 7 and 8 string multiscales at 11:00pm with a drink and watching Dexter instead of in the shop cold and tired.

It is a tool. It doesn't not make you a great guitar designer or builder.

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Mr Natural    239

RAD said- "My back can't take bending over anymore. "

Exactly why I plan on copying it- after 2 back operations I have learned to bring the work to me vs me to the work. Some of my woodworking neighbors have asked in the past why 2 of my benches are almost 40" high.

Rad- your comments on CNC with regards to pickups- let me ask this- do you think a laser machine could handle the same work you do with the CNC as respects pickups? (or maybe I should ask what exactly you do with cnc for pickups) I dont think I would ever do a CNC- but after seeing lasers cut pickup covers and shell and electronic cavity covers/etc- it got me thinking about my long term wish list retirement dreaming stuff.

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RestorationAD    243

RAD said- "My back can't take bending over anymore. "

Exactly why I plan on copying it- after 2 back operations I have learned to bring the work to me vs me to the work. Some of my woodworking neighbors have asked in the past why 2 of my benches are almost 40" high.

Rad- your comments on CNC with regards to pickups- let me ask this- do you think a laser machine could handle the same work you do with the CNC as respects pickups? (or maybe I should ask what exactly you do with cnc for pickups) I dont think I would ever do a CNC- but after seeing lasers cut pickup covers and shell and electronic cavity covers/etc- it got me thinking about my long term wish list retirement dreaming stuff.

Yes. A laser would be great for traditional pickups. And honestly the CNC is not ideal for cutting forbon. A CNC can do it but a laser is better. The thing that lasers are not good at are 3D shapes. I make bobbins from .25" ABS sheets by cutting a .125" into them and leaving a lip. Can't do that with a laser. It allows me to make a bobbin from almost any material. I have been leaning towards using Garolite for my flatwork lately rather than forbon.

Lasers make Templates.

Lasers make Flatwork.

Lasers make Baseplates. <flat ones

Lasers can Etch (do fretboards)

The CNC do all that as well as route guitar bodies and necks. I also make pickup baseplates and frames with 3D properties from various materials. I can also make covers on the CNC.

Lasers smell.

Lasers take up space.

You have to have venting and space for a laser. You need a powerful laser to do cool stuff like cut blades.

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RestorationAD    243

It is a tool. It doesn't not make you a great guitar designer or builder.

I understand that. My understanding, from friends in machine shops and cabinet shops, is that they are not all that fast either. I have never been terribly interested in them myself. In your pics it looked like DIY/kit setups I have seen online and was just curious. Thanks for the insight on how/ what you use it for, best I've read so far on what a home setup is really like. I have been a watcher on this site for a while now and have always thought your guitars come out really nice. Looking forward to watching this new batch come together.

It is not terribly fast because it is small. If I ever get around to buying a Stinger or something big like that I will be faster as I can use it properly. I could run the rough cut passes at high IPM and then come back with full finishing passes.

Thanks for watching. I hope I get enough time this year to do some crazy stuff.

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