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beltjones

First Build, so many lessons learned

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Oh, that wenge piece I rebleached is much lighter. I'm going to try one more application of the bleach to see if it will get even lighter.

oRWexZA.jpg

 

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That looks a lot more like what I've seen before. I think you can get the earlywood a shade or two lighter. The latewood stays pretty dark though. I'll be interested to see if bleach has any effect on the texture and working characteristics.

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1 hour ago, Prostheta said:

That looks a lot more like what I've seen before. I think you can get the earlywood a shade or two lighter. The latewood stays pretty dark though. I'll be interested to see if bleach has any effect on the texture and working characteristics.

To be fair I'm going to do 99.9% of the working prior to bleaching it, if I even use it at all. If it goes on the wenge top I'll do the whole carve and sanding first, then bleach, then a very light sanding to take off any grain that was raised during the bleaching, then finish. 

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Ok, I got the headstock all thicknessed, and the volute shaped about as well as possible for now. Of course, because I can't leave well-enough alone I had to try to scrape out one more little scratch, and I did something stupid. If you look carefully you will see the evidence in this photo.

IYr5KzH.jpg

I was using a card scraper and this chunk of grain just popped off. :(

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In my haste I super glued it back on, but I think I should have used wood glue because the super glue dries so dark. 

tie17KN.jpg

Ok, with all that sorted (for now) I'm getting ready to attach the body wings. I guess I could just align everything and glue and clamp it, but I'm not that confident in my clamping skills that the wings won't move around while the glue is still wet. So I used my brother's drill press to drill two holes through the neck blank, and then I took time to clamp the body wings, one at a time, exactly where they are supposed to be on the neck blank and drilled into them. I'm going to use a couple of walnut dowels as pegs to hold the body wings in exactly the right spot as I glue everything up.

IRUJQfn.jpg

epitcJI.jpg

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Ok, another lesson learned.

I attempted to glue up the body wings tonight and it was a bit of a mess. 

I first did a test fit to make sure everything lined up, and it did, which was great. I coated the dowels in titebond 3 and inserted them into the holes in the neck blank. The dowels fit tight, but I figured the glue would act as kind of a lubricant until it started to set up. Well, I got the dowels about halfway inserted when the glue totally locked up. I tried bumping the dowels with a hammer, and then tried to remove them with a pair of pliers, and ended up having to drill them out from the other side. That delayed things as I had to remake two 4.75" walnut dowels.

So I tried again, this time with Titebond Polyurethane glue which IS like a lube until it starts to cure. The dowels went in no problem, but then I remembered why I wanted to use titebond 3 in the first place - I'm all out of nitrile gloves. Oh well. So here's the dowels inserted and glued up.

M4HCCoy.jpg

This being my first build, I can't help but feel like ever decision I make is a make-or-break kind of thing, even the choice of wood glue. So I was concerned about "mixing glues," and ended up using the polyurethane glue to attach the first wing as well. 

LZyO3Mu.jpg

Not my best clamping job. I definitely should have planned this part out better. Oh well.

Finally, I spent about 20 minutes scrubbing all the glue off my hands, which is way less satisfying than peeling titebond 3 off.

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Oh boy, okay. I picked up on this post just as I was about to head out of the door and there was a lot to cover....I've only just gotten home. Right.

Glue choice was the first thing. Titebond I, II and III have different end uses related to where the workpiece will be in service rather than each glue having a "better" strength than the next. It doesn't help that Franklin label III as "The Ultimate Wood Glue", giving it a misleading air of being better than I and II! II is designed for use in areas that may have variable ambient moisture such as on a porch, bathroom, etc (BS EN 204 D2 spec). Since wood moves in reaction to environmental moisture, the glue needs to do so as well. II has a slight degree of creep in-built as a property. III moreso, in that it is designed for direct moisture contact or wet areas which is more or less BS EN 204 D3 spec. I made an Iroko outdoor lantern which was glued with Titebond III and that comes into direct contact with rain and this morning, -24°C temps.

Ideally a guitar benefits from a glue that does not creep, eg. Titebond Original/I. Polyurethane (D4 adhesive) is not a guitar-maker's adhesive, however it can function as one. Even though it works, they expand whilst they cure (even pushing themselves into endgrain) are super-messy and more toxic than one wants to make a habit of. Use gloves next time, as it will absorb through the skin and via airways. Nasty stuff.

It's possible that the dowels locked up because of hydraulic pressure within the hole (common) or the wood wicked away moisture from the glue quicker than you would expect.

That clamping looks good enough. PU glues foam up and work as gap fillers, which isn't the best of things but means that the joint here will be good. If it were a standard Titebond glue I think you'd still be fine if the clamps were lunched down tight. Those clamps look like they're good for 500-750lbs each, which over a surface area of about 12" x 2" (guess) is about 80-120PSI.

I hope that the glueline is nice and clean. If you've got some Titebond Original kicking around, I'd urge to use that in preference to PU or Titebond III. Sorry to be the bearer of less than good news!

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This is why I come here. 

I honestly thought that titebond 3 would be stronger than titebond 1. Damnit. 

The dowels locked up as I was inserting them through the open-ended holes in the neck blank, so there wasn't hydraulic pressure. The first set of dowels was pretty tight in the holes though. You know how when you clamp with PU glue everything is sort of slippery at first, and the pieces will move if the clamping pressure isn't dead straight, and how when you clamp with titebond as soon as the excess glue seeps out the glue begins to set up and the pieces no longer slip, well that's what happened with the dowels. 

I don't have any regular old titebond, but I guess I'll go pick up a bottle when it's time to glue the top.

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Titebond III is still very very strong. The characteristics of the glue are the reason one might choose a different glue from the range. In this instance, Original is king. I've never had Titebond III set up that quickly, though I rarely it use it to be fair. Original sets up pretty quickly if the joint isn't thoroughly wet, which is great if you're after a simple non-critical rub joint. I do that a lot in jigs where I'll be securing components with screws anyway. It's true though. Once you've squeezed out enough glue, the retaining suction and quick setting up keeps things pretty much in place.

I don't have the specifications on hand (they're online anyway I think) for the comparative strengths of Titebond I-III however it's far beyond what is needed. Well prepped and glued, wood will fail before the joints do. At least, longitudinally. Creep is the largest issue, but in body wings....meh, not so much. Maybe in a neck joint or scarf, or as a visible glue line. A lot of people tend to obsess over cold creep, going to extraordinary lengths to say that Titebond I creeps all of the time yet not presenting any supporting evidence other than anecdotal....maybe when the joint get hot, like in a car in the sun. People are funny....

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I have seen Titebond I creep in captured joints like a neck pocket. When humidity is high and the neck wood swells and the body wood swells the pocket shrinks and the glue line will swell a bit. It is being squeezed and it has nowhere else to go. I've read that TB II & III are slightly stronger than the original (less than 10 lbs, I think). One of the reasons we still consider original the best for our job is that it cleans up with water. It is possible to get squeeze-out out of pores and keep it from ruining a dye job. Not so with TB II & III.

SR

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Ok, question for you guys - 

Would you use the hole saw to simply drill out the cavity for the switch, or drill a hole in some MDF and then use that as a template and go at it with a forstner bit and finish with the router?

I'm afraid if I just drill into the wood, even if I put a piece of wood up against the guitar, I'm going to have some tearout.

Edited by beltjones

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I'd use the holesaw to make the template and forstner bits/router to do the actual cutting.

Holesaw is fine if you want to drill all the way through something to an approximate diameter, but if you want to create a blind cavity you'd still need some way of getting the partially-drilled 'plug' out of the cavity that the holesaw leaves behind if you drill to less than the full depth.

You could holesaw drill all the way through if you're going to glue a top wood onto the body later, creating the sealed cavity artificially, but chances are you'd still need to deepen the cavity afterwards so that the switch could protrude through the front by the right amount, in which case you'd be breaking out the router again.

Consider also that a holesaw is primarily used as a quick way of putting holes in something where precision or appearance isn't super important. They're great if you're a plumber who needs to put a pipe through the back of a kitchen cabinet or an electrician installing cable glands in the bottom of a steel enclosure.

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Ok, a little progress and experimentation.

I got the body all glued up. Next I'll plane the top (well, what is the top currently) flat and prepared to join to the actual top. It's pretty flat already, it will mostly be removing all that glue squeeze-out and looking for little high spots to take down. Yes, I did use PU glue because that's what I had. I did use gloves this time...


XHiPayy.jpg
I also started experimenting with finish options, just because I was at a standstill waiting for the glue to set. The top will be wenge, as a reminder this is what this piece looked like before bleach:
Y2Ao9CH.jpg
And this is after bleaching. (Note: it's a little blotchy because I think I didn't do a great job of applying part B on coat 3)

8UJWVsR.jpg
And this is what it looks like with some finish on it, post bleaching.

teoGYPW.jpg

The piece for the top has a lot more pattern in the grain than the scrap I used to test, so the contrast should be more pronounced. 

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The Wengé looks great. If you're going to use PU anywhere else, avoid the Wengé. When it foams up, you can bet it'll force its way out through the pores.

What made you use PU in this build anyway? I hope nobody specifically recommended that you use it, otherwise I'm going to have to go out and buy a horse's head from the supermarket. :lol:

Seriously though, it isn't a good glue to be using in instrument builds. PITA to clean up and doesn't tend to produce invisible glue lines amongst other problems.

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1 hour ago, Prostheta said:

The Wengé looks great. If you're going to use PU anywhere else, avoid the Wengé. When it foams up, you can bet it'll force its way out through the pores.

What made you use PU in this build anyway? I hope nobody specifically recommended that you use it, otherwise I'm going to have to go out and buy a horse's head from the supermarket. :lol:

Seriously though, it isn't a good glue to be using in instrument builds. PITA to clean up and doesn't tend to produce invisible glue lines amongst other problems.

I saw youtube videos where they were using PU, so that's what I bought. So far I've used it to laminate the neck blank and to put on both wings. I'll pick up some regular old titebond for the wenge top, but I'm not very close to that step yet, as slowly as I'm progressing working on this about 20 minutes per day.

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Agh, yes. YouTube. We're doing our own series which is angled to make reference to the good stuff out there (no sense in repeating what has already been said) and qualifying exactly as to why the poorer information isn't good advice. Far too much static out there I'm afraid. It's generally the case that anybody who is relatively new to a game will take all new information on without a filtering mechanism. People are just wired that way. I think that ultimately, you have to take responsibility for the information you put out there and with YouTube being a free-for-all, very few people do.

Sounds like I need this horses's head then. :lol:

PU has its uses in instrument-making, but those end uses are very limited and a little obscure. One is that PU isn't water-borne, so it introduces no additional moisture into the wood. For most this is rarely an issue as water leaves the wood given sufficient time. Another is that PU expands as it starts to cure, forcing itself into end grain and out of the joint edges. This actually makes it one of the few glues that creates a relatively strong endgrain joint. For a tail or heel block that is grain-aligned with the body, that extra bit of purchase is likely pretty useful.

I'm not a glue puritan by a long way though. You'll get cork-sniffers who can't accept the use of anything but hide glue, but I'm not one of those....there's a lot of good and a lot of best choices, but rarely a single golden standard. I use Titebond Original for most things, purely because I know its working properties, limits and advantages. I'll often just use a basic Kiilto (local brand) PVAc if I don't have Titebond available. They're broadly similar and both meant for the same end use. Can't remember the last time I used PU glue. Maybe 4-5yrs back, which would be about the time I was doing cold laminations with urea formaldehyde glues as part of my degree work....now that stuff is evil, I tell you....

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Time to start getting ready to fit the top. I made an MDF template by tracing the fretboard and cutting it out on the bandsaw and then fitting carefully with files. It took a bunch of test fittings, but my experience building 1911s came in handy and it came out nicely. 


IKmjgHa.jpg

I previously joined a couple pieces of wenge to form the top, then I used a router to copy the MDF template onto the wenge, if that makes sense. Under that 5.3lb piece of wenge is the guitar. I also put the bridge in place temporarily just to check to make sure the action is ok so far.
t7AQ1hd.jpg

And here's a close up of how the top fits the fretboard. Believe it or not there is a whole guitar under there.

mHLWSLz.jpg

Next I'll rough-cut the body shape out of the top.

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3 minutes ago, Prostheta said:

That's a mammoth top! Nicely done. I think you're plain sailing as you are.

It's 2.4 kg. I'm hoping a good amount of that weight comes off when I cut it to match the body and eventually carve it. We shall see...

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Wengé isn't light, there's no escaping that. You are going to lose over half of that weight I think.

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Top roughed out on the bandsaw. That big piece of wenge went from 5.3 lbs to 3.4lbs. Sorry, 2.4kg to 1.54kg. That helped. 

6PamlMn.jpg

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Whenever I see cuts around Wengé, all I can think of is the splinters around the rising and falling grain at the edges. That stuff is like hell when you unthinkingly brush a hand against it....

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