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mistermikev

Flamed Maple Strat (Parts) Build

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Wanted to start an official build thread for this project.  I had posted before regarding questions I had so hopefully you'll forgive what might seem like a double post.  Will try to keep this thread focused on evolution...

here is the body I bought - not bad for $178.  Its a wd 3A flamed maple that has a good split in the back by the control area which I will need to fill in.

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as posted elsewhere my intended wireup...

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This weekend I went to rockler here in phoenix.  I just found out we had one and man... I could spend years in that store.  Staying on point: I bought a piece of 1/8" maple that had a little bit of flame on it ($13).  I built it into a trem rout cover and a control cover.  Not exactly skilled workmanship as my string holes are 'compensated' (feature not a bug) even though I used a drill press.  Didn't bother clamping down my material so - lesson learned!  Anywho, good enough for the likes of me so here is what that looks like:DSCF2586.thumb.JPG.08638827d8c79dcd5114dc8ff019268f.JPG

also, in the background is a simple jig I built for my dremel router base to use in cutting the 5 way slot once my bits arrive.

 

Here's a shot of the body with the babicz bridge I bought (got a deal on amazon for $117! plus signed up for a card so got $40 off).  Wasn't thrilled with the amount of 'wobble' in the posts (when not screwed all the way in) that came with it but I guess the general consensus is it doesn't matter.  I bought some wilkinson locking posts but they don't fit as smooth so... I figure I can add washers if I need to raise it - to keep it screwed tight so they don't wobble. 

my parts bin on the right... so far have a graph tech nut, some gotoh sgs 510z magnum locking tuners, a 5 way super switch, a 4p3t rotary, some gold pickguard screws and a neckplate and screws - so far.  Have two texas specials and a seymour antiquity middle in my 'misc' pickups bin so... waiting on a musikraft cbs neck that should be about 4-6wks out yet.  will update as I go! 

Thanks for watching!

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Hello friends... got my neck today and have some questions:

heel is just a hair too large to fit in this pocket and ends are more square.  a heavy 1/32 too wide.  Now, I could A) sand the neck till she fits or B ) create a template based on the neck and rerout the pocket.

I have some ideas on how to make a good pocket template using the neck, some tape, a 1/4 piece of board with a rough pocket cut out, and some epoxy.  fill in the blank, let dry and clean up the edges. there is the risk that i get epoxy on my neck if I'm not careful and it's a biotch to get off.  could use bondo.

The flush cut bits i have (red devil and stew mac): the cutting edge overhangs the bearing by a hair... so I'm concerned I take away too much and end up with a sloppy pocket.  I think I stand a little better chance with a sanding block.  IF IT WERE YOU - WHAT WOULD YOU DO? 

i will sleep on it tonight...

new neck:

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starting to look like a gtr below.  shout out to evilbay gent I got the flamed maple pckup covers from!

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3 hours ago, mistermikev said:

I have some ideas on how to make a good pocket template using the neck, some tape, a 1/4 piece of board with a rough pocket cut out, and some epoxy.  fill in the blank, let dry and clean up the edges. there is the risk that i get epoxy on my neck if I'm not careful and it's a biotch to get off.  could use bondo.

Too complicated. All you need is a couple of straight edges and a few clamps.

Check out the article in Sustain Magazine on page 24 about creating a universal neck pocket jig.

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thank you gentlemen.  I'm going to guess that's a vote for "router it".  was thinking last night... I could test fit on a template and always add some tape to bring it tighter if I need to.

good article and very similar to a few threads I've watched on you tube (I'm sure that is where the youtube folks got the idea).  just thinking out loud here but unfortunately I don't think it would quite work like that for me since the joint is so close it's hard to get the neck to sit on the body  without half dropping in (if that makes any sense). 

in my case, both neck and body have a rounded heel.  square isn't going to be right (although it is covered by the overhang) so I'd have to make the middle board a radius.  right now the rounded edges match pretty good but the corner is more square on the new neck.  I suppose I don't need to route that part and could just use the middle board as a stop assuming I could get the neck set on there.  certainly would be a lot less work and avoid the risk of getting epoxy on my neck so thanks for that!  (Still going to use this idea for a control cavity template so - "the south will rise again"!)

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I would sand it till it fit....but I'm not know for doing things the way everybody else does.:D

If taking the square out of the heel moves the neck close to the bridge, you want to check that it does not mess up your scale length.

SR

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thank you all for your help.  I was looking at it this morn with a clear head... got out my 64ths ruler and making comparisons and thinking - I was way off with thinking it was a strong 32nd bigger... more like a light 64th, if that.  So I got out some 220 and with relatively little effort I got it to go in.  still a little tight so will sand in prep for a little expansion from true oil, but nice fit.

on to the next step!

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so... looking for vote: add some brown to tru oil and hit the neck with another few coats or leave as is?DSCF2606.thumb.JPG.ea9d31f04d11d3faa8688b611274fa49.JPG

got quite a bit done this weekend... put my studs in, mounted the trem spring hook thingy, had to router out my control cavity a bit to fit my knobs where I wanted them, rebuilt a little plexi piece to hold my dummy coils, more finishing on the neck, and bought some 1/2 flamed maple to build the knobs.  started finishing the body at which point I was really surprised at how different it was th an the neck.  The wood for the neck didn't soak up much... this body just keeps drying as I pour loads of true oil on it.  love the color had I known I would have sprung for a roasted neck.  you live and learn.  So at this point... feeling like I'd like to darken up the neck a bit.  I can add some dye to the tru oil... and I think that should work... any suggestions would be welcome.

said pickup bracket and earlier attempt below...

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testing some mixing... keda dye plus true oil plus acetone... keda is water based so I should've known that wouldn't work.  dumped it.  guess this venture is either going to involve a trip to the hardware store for ??? or I'll have to order something.  open to suggestions... would really appreciate.

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I have not found anyway to add dye to Tru-Oil. What does work is spraying a layer of dye on dried Tru-Oil and then covering with more layers of Tru-Oil.

BTY, I find your new avatar much easier to look at.:)

SR

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scottR - hehe, I changed my facebook avatar because I was getting zero responses trying to buy a router on offer up.  Figured the zombie face may have been putting folks off!  Not sure this was an improvement as I'm told I look fairly unhappy.  I've already changed it to one where I'm smiling... I'm guessing that one hasn't trickled out yet. 

Anywho, thank you for your advice -echoes what I was suspecting.  I did some experimentation with differing things - some minwax pecan poly,   the dye, etc.  None was satisfactory. 

Also, the acetone/dye/tru oil I poured out over sawdust in my garbage can gave me a pounding headache.  I'm so stupid.  I leaned that lesson once long ago.  working at a cab shop my boss, as a joke, asked me to grab a wrench that was sitting in some solution at the bottom of a barrel.  That was a mean joke because it was acetone and it nearly knocked me out.  20some years later - confirmed - I'm still stupid.

probably for the best as since I've had some time to sit with it... I think I'm over the shock of them being so different and onto being 'ok' with it as is.  With the pickup covers and knobs bringing the lighter color into the body I think it looks ok... just not what I initially envisioned.

 

 

Did some more work on my knobs... inlayed some abalone to match the fretboard.  My first 'inlay'.  Not perfect but it'll do.

Have some ideas on a switch tip... need to get a plug cutter so... to be continued.

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so... finally got her finished.  below is a shot of my pre-wiring.

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Still have some dialing in to do...my wiring worked right out the gate.  I've included an updated version of the drawing - only change was I had made a mistake naming one of the wries and I redrew the ground wires for clarity.

I knocked the poles out of one of three dummy coils and am going back to nock out the poles from the others when I get to it.  seem to get more hum from them.  not sure if it's something to do with the poles or just due to the series wiring vs parallel?  afa series vs parallel on the non dummy pickups I absolutely love it.  much more output but less highs.  perfect for in front of my marshall.  3rd mode is even more output and fat.  really happy with that as well.

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knobs and 5 way tip turned out pretty nice for a first time shot.

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"Texas Stratovarious(parts)" get it... it's a strat made of various parts!  haha!  I've copyrighted that and if you use it I will sue you for all your guitars and amps!

The gold foil logo was next to impossible for me to get 100% right.  In the end I settled for one with a few minor blemishes.

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and here she is... my wife's first comment was "that neck doesn't match that body".  She's right.  and the headstock yellowed a bit with the poly I put on to seal in the decal.  All told, pretty happy with it. 

Plays amazing - really have to hand it to musikraft - didn't even do a fet level cause I figured I'd see how it played... keep in mind I like very low action.  no buzz whatsoever.  neck is ridgid as all hell.  one small adjustment and it has been rock solid.

trem/tuners stay in tune better than anything other than a floyd.  it is way better than my guitar with 6 hole and graphtec + sperzels + 4 springs.  Gotoh tuners are easily the smoothest I've ever felt.

thanks for all the support and reading my blathering on!

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oh, and a few notes on finish: the body is nbto (nuthin' but true oil).  I'll never do that again.  what a gigantic pain in the u know what.  it is very glossy, but has small imperfections.  I may have to try to hand buff them out.  kept sanding through layers of tru oil with 2k grit paper.  then you'd get white lines where one layer stopped and the other started - even after buffing.  tru oil is just too thin to really wet sand.  If I put it on thick I'd get 3d finish where the tru oil would bunch up.  put it on thin and you'll burn through with any sanding.  ultimately, I built up enough finish to wet sand and still have finish underneath.  then a final thin 2 coats with no wet sanding. 

 

Edited by mistermikev
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Not sure how I've missed this.  It looks great! 

The colour difference between the neck and body looks perfectly normal and natural. They are different woods and therefore look different - it's that simple. 

If you've seen @ScottR 's latest thread you will see a master at work with tru-oil.  Generally, though, what you have described is a normal phenomenon with finishes that don't melt into each other (as, eg, nitrocellulose does).

  I use standard polyurethane varnish which also doesn't melt into previous coats.  My technique is exactly as you describe -enough coats for it to be thick enough to be able to flatten without reaching wood, then a very fine grit final wet flattening, then one or two final gloss finish coats with no flattening.  The previous work gives you the evenness, the last couple of coats gives the gloss.

Once completely hard (min 2 weeks), these finishes can generally be polished, but usually can't be buffed - doing this will cut through the top gloss coat and into the previous layers, showing up as the contour lines you describe.

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thanks for the response, sorry, must'v missed it. 

i appreciate the encouragement on the neck/body difference.  it has grown on me and others comments helped for sure.

90% of what you said to me makes sense with my trials and tribulations except 1 part.  it seems to me that with poly... once we are above the wood... I can wetsand and don't have to worry about wetsanding through one coat and into another... ie as long as I don't sand down to wood it is ok: once I buff/polish you won't see the transition between the two layers. 

with to... you have to be able to wetsand and not break through the top most layer - even if you don't break through to wood - you have to maintain that top layer - which I found virtually impossible. 

just leaves polishing and or buffing.  seems like you have to lay it on so thin that it is smooth w/o wet sanding at all.  maybe that's what you meant, or maybe I just didn't find a way to do it.  lot of imperfections in my final layer that you won't see unless you catch the light just right.  again, if I had to do over I'd just poly over the top and do my normal wetsand routine.  the to does not seem to suffer the yellowing - which I like, but the amount of work is just redic.  not doing that again!  going to look for some better quality poly that hopefully will remain more clear.

thanks again - I can't tell you how much I appreciate the response! 

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14 hours ago, mistermikev said:

thanks for the response, sorry, must'v missed it. 

i appreciate the encouragement on the neck/body difference.  it has grown on me and others comments helped for sure.

90% of what you said to me makes sense with my trials and tribulations except 1 part.  it seems to me that with poly... once we are above the wood... I can wetsand and don't have to worry about wetsanding through one coat and into another... ie as long as I don't sand down to wood it is ok: once I buff/polish you won't see the transition between the two layers. 

with to... you have to be able to wetsand and not break through the top most layer - even if you don't break through to wood - you have to maintain that top layer - which I found virtually impossible. 

just leaves polishing and or buffing.  seems like you have to lay it on so thin that it is smooth w/o wet sanding at all.  maybe that's what you meant, or maybe I just didn't find a way to do it.  lot of imperfections in my final layer that you won't see unless you catch the light just right.  again, if I had to do over I'd just poly over the top and do my normal wetsand routine.  the to does not seem to suffer the yellowing - which I like, but the amount of work is just redic.  not doing that again!  going to look for some better quality poly that hopefully will remain more clear.

thanks again - I can't tell you how much I appreciate the response! 

I suppose there is poly and there is poly.  The type of polyurethane I use definitely does not melt into previous coats.  Each layer dries hard and is coated by each subsequent layer.  The layering is therefore there if you sand or buff down in the final stages.

Whether you see the contour lines is a different matter.  If each layer if left gloss, then, with heavy buffing and cutting, it is possible to buff through gloss to gloss but the effect won't be so obvious.  However, if you flatten at regular intervals, then you can, with harsh buffing, cut into successive layers of matt and gloss.  I'll try and find a photo of what that looks like :)

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thanks for the response. 

nice description ala buff through gloss to gloss.  I wetsand with 1k and up... so no real matte layers.  I hear ya tho... if you wetsand with 600 and then break through... yeah - you will see the transition. I've made the mistake in the past of wetsanding with lower grit and not bringing it up to 1k and under the gloss - even w/o breaking through - you could see a slight 'haze' if you look at an angle. 

I dunno, all I'm saying is it seems to me a lot easier to do poly after to and get a completely flat finish that is high gloss.  my only complaint with that is the couple of store bought types I've tried have yellowed a bit.  Prob my fault for using minwax and other common poly.  what do you use?  I don't have a sprayer so... I think next build I will try some reranch can laquer or perhaps a better poly.  I think spray works best for me afa final layers.

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