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Andyjr1515

Dreadnought Acoustic

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I got the body right down to the bare wood, and a little bit further for luck to make sure any residual coating would be fully sanded away:

Eu4DqSNl.jpg

 

Difficult to see in the shot here, but actually there are definite darker areas in the grain.  I re-sanded those areas just in case but they are definitely in the wood.

I then did a tru-oil slurry to act effectively as the sanding sealer.  And yes - the same patterns in the same places.  I've darkened the shot a little which exaggerates the effect a little :

M4zfs3Ql.jpg

 

So my conclusion is that the funny markings was nothing to do with the egg white in terms of fast-ness or moisture but is simply a quirk of the grain of the wood.

It will be interesting when I get to the re-varnishing if it shows up the same way.  I'm pleased the egg white still ticks the boxes, but I'm also pleased for the peace of mind in doing it again with my normal method :)

It was a dry day all day (again!) so I abandoned the household chores and finished off the neck volute and heel sanding.  The profile will be fine tuned when the guitar has been fully assembled.  

PZwgBdVl.jpg

 

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So three thin wiped-on coats of polyurethane varnish has given me this:

6OvzHqDl.jpg

 

That'll do :thumb:

 

 

 

 

 

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36 minutes ago, Prostheta said:

Again, I am in awe of how well you manage to squeeze a finish out of wipe-on Andy.

Thanks :)

It's taken a while to iron out the foibles and get a feel for the best way to go about it.  This is probably my best result with so few coats on such a large area, so I must be learning some of the right things.  Knowing when to stop is also a learned skill :rolleyes:  

It's perfect for me, though.  If I was having to spray, I'd be waiting months for the right weather conditions outside and, during that tiny window of time when conditions were OK, I'd be trying to learn the similar foibles and tips and tricks for spraying.  Honestly, life's too short, however much I like a nice spray finish.

  As it is, other than now waiting the obligatory couple of weeks for full hardening, three days has done it from bare wood to finished varnish during which we've had sun, wind, torrential rain, gales, sun, bit of sleet and more rain outside :)

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You mentioned compiling a how-to a while back on this subject or similar. Do you think that these skills and things to watch out for can be distilled?

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2 hours ago, Prostheta said:

You mentioned compiling a how-to a while back on this subject or similar. Do you think that these skills and things to watch out for can be distilled?

Yes - thanks for the reminder!  There's quite a bit of waiting for varnish to dry, etc, now so I'll try and catch up on one or two of those kind of things :)  

I get easily distracted so give me a nudge if too much time passes ;)

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You and me both. In my case it's trying to deal with a million and one things whilst only having the capability to apply myself to two or three at best....

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So, after all the debate about the marmite issue of scratchplate or not, actually I'm probably going to finish it without and give the new owner the option (I'll probably use some of the Taylor non-glue clear removable ones for him to try out the guitar without scraping the top at first strum) :D:rolleyes: 

The reason is that, while I was waiting for the sides to fully dry after their final varnish coat, I did some tap tuning tests.  You see, @ScottR , I do sometimes take notice of members' concerns

Now, bearing in mind this was just the body, sitting on a shoebox on some jiffy:

  • No pickguard, full drum sound with very obvious harmonics and sustain
  • This lacewood pickguard just laid in place, loose. Muted drum sound, NO audible harmonics
  • I cut out the same shape in 0.6mm veneer and laid that one on. Back pretty much to the original full-range sound
  • Back to the lacewood guard, this time lifted off the top at the sides with a couple of pieces of thin foam and touching at the soundhole, a bit Les-Paul-ish. Pretty much back to the original full sound.

So I am now persuaded that the pickguard might tangibly affect the tone - especially at its present thickness and weight. 

I also showed it to MrsAndyjr1515 and she definitely prefers it without pickguard - with the finish now finished, it is indeed a lovely piece of wood (I'll post some pics tomorrow when its light).  Plenty of chatoyance :thumb:

So (remembering this is a surprise special birthday present for our old-gits-band's vocalist in July) the plan is now:

  • give it to him without pickguard. Take a non-glue Taylor clear film one with me as a temporary measure in case he's too worried about scratching the top on his first 'thank you' strum!
  • fit him a glued clear one if he wants a pickguard purely for protection
  • give him the lacewood one, fitted with les paul brackets and, if he likes the look and wants it fitted, I will fit it for him with brackets so the only contact point with the top is a couple of places at the soundhole (which is internally reinforced anyway so is not a resonating feature).

In terms of the overall build, the body varnishing is done, waiting a week or two to harden fully before:

  • Gluing the neck
  • Gluing the bridge
  • Double checking the heights and gluing the fretboard (with or without maple veneer demarcation depending on height)
  • Installing pickups, preamp and jack
  • Fitting tuners and saddle
  • Stringing up
  • Fine tuning neck profile shape
  • Tru- oil the neck

That really isn't much left and - more to the point - relatively few things I can do that could wreck it altogether!!!!

By the way, @Prostheta ref the 'how to / tips and tricks' on wipe-on, do you want me to PM you a draft so you can decide where best to post it (and make any amendments or format changes you think might enhance the topic)?   Subject to the normal vagaries of planning such activities, I should be able to get  a wipe-on varnishing draft (and also an iron-on veneering draft if you want to consider one of those too) done by the weekend... 

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I like that sometimes :D.

I was thinking about the "finger rest" that I'm going to be building in the weeks ahead and wondered if that might not be a solution for your lacewood pickguard. The LP style brackets sound like a good solution.

SR

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Wipe-on tutorial is in progress :)

In the meantime, the varnish on the body is hard enough now to start the final stages, starting with fitting the neck.

Here's the body...the top will get a touch of final treatment (more later) but this is broadly what it is going to be looking like:

FWWa9Pul.jpg

TSzHk9xl.jpg

vdPGJJUl.jpg

The small light mark in the middle of the bottom waist is a small bear-claw in the grain.  The other light patches are reflections.

Then, after a final fit check, the neck was glued, hammered and then clamped to dry:

ghGYgFGl.jpg

 

Now the varnish has fully dried and shrunk, top will have its final two stages - wet and dry 2000 grit used wet followed by the final wipes of thinned varnish.  Then it's left for a couple of weeks and simply polished with Meguiers Ultimate Compound.  For reasons I will explain in the tutorial, you do NOT buff this type of varnished finish.

It's fortuitous that I have that final stage to do....you might be able to just see to the left of the clamp a bruise in the top....yes - dropped the clamp :rolleyes:  I'm quite relaxed about it as I think it will be pretty invisible in the final look even though it's irritating that I let it happen!

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However good you are as a luthier cannot prevent meteorites crashing through the roof and dinging your workpiece. :mellow:

I read a while back that "varnish" was often formulated using a mixture of linseed oil and shellac. The oil makes the shellac resistant to the things that mess up French polishing (which was usually mastic/sandarac anyway) whilst the shellac bodies up the oil. Very interesting.

On some level this sounds like going totally organic and food-safe. Proper tree hugging, if we weren't hacking their corpses to bits and ritualistically painting them.

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1 hour ago, Prostheta said:

However good you are as a luthier cannot prevent meteorites crashing through the roof and dinging your workpiece. :mellow:

I can see that one has to be philosophical when the trajectory of a piece of rock that has been travelling in free space for 30 or so billion years coincides with ones planet, nation, roof and project at that exact same moment...but I think not checking that the clamp was secure before moving the guitar around to check everything was OK was stacking the odds more in fate's favour :lol:

1 hour ago, Prostheta said:

On some level this sounds like going totally organic and food-safe. Proper tree hugging, if we weren't hacking their corpses to bits and ritualistically painting them.

 I think....well....how shall I put it....maybe a holiday is overdue? :D

 

On the topic of meteorites, I think I am right in saying there is only one recorded instance of someone actually getting hit by one - a lady - I think in the US - who was hanging out the washing and got hit on the arm by a small one... now that really is being in the wrong place at the wrong time :)

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Out there in the frigid cold of space is a clamp with your name on it, Andy.

Holidays are no fun. A distraction from the mission.

Yeah, that's true as far as I am aware! Thing is, the word "recorded" is important here. There might have been a 1500-strong anonymous Mongol horde wiped out hundreds of years back by riding left where they should have ridden right. I challenge you to prove how this could not have happened. Conclusively.

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Not a lot to show, but actually not a lot still to do :)

The next job - hopefully tomorrow - will be fitting the fretboard.  Now the neck is on properly, I've been able to quadruple check the angles and heights and am pleased to find that I can fit the 'feature stripe' under the fretboard.  It is a length of maple veneer:

CfThL13l.jpg

 

I don't recall actually seeing this on a guitar neck before, although I'm sure it's a very well trodden path.  Whatever, it should link in nicely to the bwb stripe on the binding....

After this it's fitting the bridge and then final bits 'n pieces :)

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I did the repeated final coat of the top varnish today....looks a LOT better.  Useful timing because I've just got to that bit in the draft tutorial...

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Today was fitting the fretboard.  

I had already applied the veneer to the back of the board, so now it was a case of a quintuple check of the fretboard positioning and an final check that, when all was clamped down, the action was still going to be in the right place!

As normal, I used violin clamps again, with a piece of offcut wood at the back of the neck as a protector and to give the clamps somewhere to tighten against.  This was the final dry-fit check:

4sIcOHBl.jpg

 

Action should be spot on!

Next was application of titebond extend (the modicum of extra sliding time before it grabs is useful) and some heavyweight clamps for good measure:

G3b0vzFl.jpg

 

This weekend is fitting the bridge!

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Andy, did you assemble your multi-ply binding or did it come like that? I've got some multi-ply binding to do in my current project and it's in multi-pieces and that will be a first for me.

SR

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40 minutes ago, ScottR said:

Andy, did you assemble your multi-ply binding or did it come like that? I've got some multi-ply binding to do in my current project and it's in multi-pieces and that will be a first for me.

SR

Hi, Scott

No - I bought it as bonded multi-section.  The purfling on the top was bought as bwb:

jCsApNLl.jpg

And then the binding itself was bought as rosewood with a boxwood and black/boxwood/black stripe already bonded:

eDOxqgTl.jpg

 

 

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Onto fixing the bridge.

I have used a fairly standard approach for this.  The only variation from when I did the OM is that I had bad floating issues with the OM when I was trying to clamp the glued bridge, so this time, after checking and checking and rechecking the bridge position, I drilled a couple of undersized holes in the two E string positions to put some temporary positioning pegs in:

BJ4h6jil.jpg

 

Then scored round the perimeter:

cTZDjq4l.jpg

 

Then scraped off the varnish:

Ff6qxr1l.jpg

 

Added some masking tape:

3F0RtZDl.jpg

 

Then added the titebond and positioned it using the pegs for an initial clamping and glue squeeze out:

5XJjlU4l.jpg 

 

Then pulled out the pegs, popped a larger caul underneath and a top caul I made last time to clamp the main area, using the captive screws to push the sides fully down:

1ewGQXYl.jpg

 

Last job was cleaning up the final squeeze-out and removing the masking tape.  I'll be leaving this clamped up overnight...just to be sure :D

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On April 6, 2016 at 10:58 AM, Andyjr1515 said:

Not a lot to show, but actually not a lot still to do :)

The next job - hopefully tomorrow - will be fitting the fretboard.  Now the neck is on properly, I've been able to quadruple check the angles and heights and am pleased to find that I can fit the 'feature stripe' under the fretboard.  It is a length of maple veneer:

CfThL13l.jpg

 

I don't recall actually seeing this on a guitar neck before, although I'm sure it's a very well trodden path.  Whatever, it should link in nicely to the bwb stripe on the binding....

After this it's fitting the bridge and then final bits 'n pieces :)

That looks outstanding. I'm probably/maybe/definitely going to steal this idea :)

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8 hours ago, ScottR said:

I like the captive screws idea.

SR

Thanks, Scott.  I can't remember where I saw this but realised immediately it would solve one of the challenges of fixing acoustic bridges firmly to the top.  

If I do another acoustic , however, I'll use a stiff hardwood for the block itself....this maple did the job but was bending a bit too much.  It's a clever idea, though

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The various usual burdens and tasks of life has got a bit in the way of progress, but there really isn't a whole lot more to do and things are being ticked off each time I get the odd hour or so to work on it.

I've drilled and taper reamed the bridge pin holes:

NgDehZHl.jpg

dSuub8Nl.jpg

 

I've levelled the frets - call me uncannily perceptive, but I reckon a few of the upper frets and some more down the bottom end are a bit high....

QoDndyKl.jpg

 

The once they were level, a bit of crowning:

GQYtuZAl.jpg

 

I rough them out with the Hosco fret file, but then wrap micro web of decreasing grit round the file to do a progressive polish.  The edges of the ebony fretboard still has to be rounded so I should lose the rough and chipped edges in this shot.   That and a bit of slurried and buffed tru-oil on the fretboard:

LwYvee9l.jpg

 

The gap in the rosette will be covered by the pretty invisible black fretboard shaped magnetic pickup of the Shadow Doubleplay system.  This is fully blendable with a standard peizo strip under the bridge saddle.

I'm hoping the tuners will arrive in the next couple of days so I can string it up before the weekend to do the final adjusting.

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