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Andyjr1515

A Bitsa Dreadnought for me :)

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Hi

Over the years, I have accumulated a fair bit of excess wood.  Generally pieces where I've thought 'Ooo - that looks nice.  Might be able to use it!' and also where I've over ordered for a project 'just in case' and ended up with stuff left over.  And the trouble is that commissioned builds tend to need specific woods that the commissioner wants.

So, in that I have a bit of a welcome break (other than a re-body of a Cort Curbow coming up) I had a root around and found this:

_MG_5857.thumb.JPG.b677c490251b3aef3aad4a5288432fcf.JPG

It's a spare bit of lacewood (London Plane tree, specifically) that I bought as a spare set in case I snapped anything in making Chris's dreadnought acoustic a couple of years backIMG_7689.thumb.JPG.cca5a896e4c0740fbf81b3bbf3a48339.JPG:

 

And I've got a few offcuts of neck wood including a mahogany set and a maple set.  And an offcut of Macassar ebony for a fretboard, just long enough for an acoustic:

_MG_5850.thumb.JPG.762d5a56058fd245e6d06c050b24928b.JPG

 

And I don't have a dreadnought myself so...

 

...unless I snap the sides trying to bend them, I'm going to build myself a bitsa dreadnought :)

 

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And that means remembering all of the quirky acoustic things.

Like the fact that a straight line taper to the sides:

_MG_5867.thumb.JPG.1c760689fd58449cb4668fc0b2d32200.JPG

..would result in a 'v'shaped back:

 

 

_MG_5869.thumb.JPG.73e673fd0d67f74c1e633299d626de9d.JPG

and so the sides have to be shaped something like this:

_MG_5876.thumb.JPG.9f43a35d9c935220971ca8acb5dccb09.JPG

 

So that's what I've done:

_MG_5877.thumb.JPG.aecd5992ef784a81a830d62c386e79a9.JPG

 

...before getting out the dreaded bending iron:

_MG_5881.thumb.JPG.5854057b079e29c74b228eadec947401.JPG

 

Basically, if I break the sides, it's all off but if I don't, we have a new project!

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that lacewood guitar above... huba huba.  I'm going to watch this thread for sure... not that I'll ever build an acoustic but I'm betting there is a ton of stuff an avg joe like me can take away from it.  Still trying to wrap my head around the taper above!;)

 

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6 hours ago, mistermikev said:

that lacewood guitar above... huba huba.  I'm going to watch this thread for sure... not that I'll ever build an acoustic but I'm betting there is a ton of stuff an avg joe like me can take away from it.  Still trying to wrap my head around the taper above!;)

 

Well - I thought exactly the same thing after a couple of years of modding and making solid electrics and basses.  Then a guy posted a detailed step by step build diary on a forum like this and I thought, 'Actually, that might be just possible!'

Yes, it was quite a learning curve and yes, I had to make a few jigs and stuff (and you know me - I don't even like making routing templates!) but this was the result:

IMG_2917.thumb.JPG.29300fa0805e14236d3c28aad3c775b9.JPG

IMG_2914b.thumb.jpg.7432b7424e4425726d1480e849fab6f5.jpg

 

To be honest, I'd have been over the moon if it had sounded like a rubber band stretched over a baked bean can - but it sounded (and still does) brilliant!!!!

The trick, I reckon, is to get a decent detailed drawing (there are a number of good ones about) and follow every detail, tip and hint.  I'm known for being a bit of a rebel with some of my builds, but with acoustics I follow the conventional wisdom every time!

So yes - cut your teeth on a few more solid / thinline builds but, based on what you've been turning out recently, this is WELL within your capability ;)

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1 hour ago, Andyjr1515 said:

Well - I thought exactly the same thing after a couple of years of modding and making solid electrics and basses.  Then a guy posted a detailed step by step build diary on a forum like this and I thought, 'Actually, that might be just possible!'

Yes, it was quite a learning curve and yes, I had to make a few jigs and stuff (and you know me - I don't even like making routing templates!) but this was the result:

IMG_2917.thumb.JPG.29300fa0805e14236d3c28aad3c775b9.JPG

IMG_2914b.thumb.jpg.7432b7424e4425726d1480e849fab6f5.jpg

 

To be honest, I'd have been over the moon if it had sounded like a rubber band stretched over a baked bean can - but it sounded (and still does) brilliant!!!!

The trick, I reckon, is to get a decent detailed drawing (there are a number of good ones about) and follow every detail, tip and hint.  I'm known for being a bit of a rebel with some of my builds, but with acoustics I follow the conventional wisdom every time!

So yes - cut your teeth on a few more solid / thinline builds but, based on what you've been turning out recently, this is WELL within your capability ;)

that is a beauty.  nice work.  I appreciate the encouragement... leaving that in the 'someday' bin.  can't wait to see how this one turns out!

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Sides trimmed and mahogany front and back blocks glued on:

_MG_5889.thumb.JPG.50fab77f9bc0df55891465437844d0f7.JPG

 

And the (unsanded) back also cut - leaving it oversize to allow both wiggle room and for the contraction when it is dished to its 15 foot radius:

_MG_5890.thumb.JPG.68a7ff821a664df318f33dfa3d5a0440.JPG

Much of the build will be done with the sides remaining in the mould:

_MG_5892.thumb.JPG.cc9207b3b633642ed1668a0615a8a63f.JPG

The top wood (sitka spruce) and bracing / kerfing wood is on order so not much more can be done on the body at the moment.  While I'm waiting for the wood to arrive, I'll start on the neck and fretboard.  Busy tomorrow but I should be able to make some progress on Wednesday

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1 hour ago, Andyjr1515 said:

Busy tomorrow

I'd say you've been moderately busy today....

No grass growing under your feet.

SR

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No grass growing anywhere near Andy at the moment. He's like a guitar-building demon possessed.

Would that matched piece of blackwood I gave you a couple of years back be big enough for the rosette?

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2 hours ago, curtisa said:

No grass growing anywhere near Andy at the moment. He's like a guitar-building demon possessed.

Would that matched piece of blackwood I gave you a couple of years back be big enough for the rosette?

Funnily enough, I was looking at those pieces a few weeks ago wondering if they could be used for the lightweight bass I just finished as the headstock p!ate...

Hmmm...it's a thought.  I'll have a look :)

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I mean, no need to base your design choices on my loaded suggestions. But y'know. Free timber 'n stuff... :unsure:

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Bit more progress.

Got the radius jig out again and the G&W mitre box and made me a fretboard!  It's from a Macassar ebony offcut and is (only) just the right size!

_MG_5894.thumb.JPG.d15e0421b592fb59ebb13e77d7442f38.JPG

 

_MG_5901.thumb.JPG.83bd60704d06eea707d9f01a5f15b78a.JPG

_MG_5908.thumb.JPG.850642ae90f7dabc1ead6cd9d475d94c.JPG

 

The maple neck offcut is a bit slimmer than the mahogany one and would need me to be - ahem - 'inventive' with the neck heel, but I think I fancy maple to offset against the lacewood.  So, using the newly assembled router table for the first time in anger, got the blank slotted for the truss-rod, and then cut the basic outline on the band saw:

_MG_5920.thumb.JPG.2c10356aa17d6fa40a6983e78a025e50.JPG

 

The router table fence allows me to add an offset to one side to use it as a jointer.  I used that to prepare the sitka spruce top for joining.  Worked a treat!  Here it is being clamped for joining.  Only the three sash clamps are applying any pressure - the other clamps are being used just fixed lightly to hold it flat against top and bottom cauls.

_MG_5923.thumb.JPG.1e26da99999135cc9793824708f5a7d5.JPG

Then to thicknessing.  I decided to try a method I saw a classical guitar make use.  Unusual in that it starts with a block plane!

_MG_5926.thumb.JPG.fd4524afbedc1390df8ac362f18f55e5.JPG

First cross grain, then diagonally and then with the grain.  I wasn't expecting this level of finish straight off a block plane!

_MG_5931.thumb.JPG.93f83f83dc6c2543d8b9e650058e8dfd.JPG

 

The block plane got me from 5mm to about 3.5mm and then used a scraper and large sanding block to get me closer to the 3mm approximate 'target':

_MG_5937.thumb.JPG.cf865e4aaa81bc9555b33d823c85797b.JPG

 

It has a touch more to go.  I'm now working on tap tone rather than a specific target thickness (per Richard O'Brian Luthier Tips du Jour).  From the flex at the moment, I reckon I will be there at about 2.7mm but will set a lowest thickness at 2.5mm regardless of tap tone.

In the meantime, I've started installing the kerfing. 

_MG_5939.thumb.JPG.c1ba51780d53f0725697047928da28d5.JPG

This is set a touch above the edge of the body sides and will be sanded to shape on the radius dishes so that it mates properly with the dished top and back.

 

 

 

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Damn, Andy.

Your sawdust doesn't even have time to settle, and you're off to making a new flavor.

SR

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Bit more progress in between the distractions of normal life!

The second side of kerfing strips was completed:

_MG_5942.thumb.JPG.55875673f18c34af6d5a761a9fcf71be.JPG

 

...and then back to the top to get it down from just over 3mm to closer to its final thickness.  My hand arthritis is causing me gyp at the moment so I brought out the Stanley No.80 scraper plane into action.  I'd forgotten what a useful plane this is!

_MG_5946.thumb.JPG.73d6bcebd531022b3d8d207a8a31e8d6.JPG

 

It made short but controllable work of the final thinning.  After each pass, I picked up the top from an edge and rapped it with my knuckle.  It had passed from drum thump to drum thump with one harmonic to drum thump and multiple harmonics - probably just going from 3mm to 2.8/2.9mm ish.  Then one last pass and a change again - now even running my hand across the grain was making it ring out.  So I've stopped.  It's probably just under 2.8mm.  Now I must stress I don't fully know what I'm doing on this sort of thing - I reckon to do that you have to sacrifice at least one top (or guitar) by taking it up to the 'oops - too far' - but I know from my last build that this is going to be strong enough and will be capable - if I get everything else right - of producing a nice sounding guitar.

Here it is laying on top of the 25' radius dish:

_MG_5951.thumb.JPG.54f8a85ab4915a7719ab79930aa1edb8.JPG

 

I was worried that the top might still be a little too stiff (and therefore too thick) but it presses into the dish no problem - the go-bar deck certainly won't have difficulties.

What is nice is that for the last dreadnought I built, I marked the brace positions on the radius dish so that I could sand them to the correct radius for each position.  One less job this time around :D

 

_MG_5953.thumb.JPG.4f51ce6c0765fd1d534e8c6b2ca88176.JPG

Next task is the sound hole - but before you can cut the sound hole out you have to sort the rosette!

And a certain Tasmanian member of one of this very forum, @curtisa , on a visit with his lovely wife to UK a year or so back, presented me with a few nice sample pieces of local Tasmanian wood and the challenge 'to incorporate this onto one of your builds.'   No pressure, then.

Well, Andrew - I reckon one of the book matched pairs might do for the rosette!

First I thicknessed it on my bodge-home-made-job thicknesser jig:

_MG_5957.thumb.JPG.c676a3be9e6fc672806b1e45005cac84.JPG

 

Looks nice.  Which wood was this one, @curtisa ?

_MG_5966.thumb.JPG.f8df963a823b229af36db8a9a2dfc924.JPG

It's gluing at this very moment.  In the morning, I'll see if I can cut out the circle without wrecking it! 

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Hmmmm...scrub up nicely do those Tasmanians:

_MG_5967.thumb.JPG.d55a7b9e6be5262378596aadfe8de852.JPG

 

:)

 

Better not wreck it now...

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diggin this thread. reminds me I want to build an acoustic one of these days. need to tool up first. cam clamps and such. I have the plans for the clamps- just not the time right now. 

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So, time to add a swift:

_MG_5973.thumb.JPG.c17f39e2a3d315a77abf4072b7968b7b.JPG

...and cut out the rosette ready for installing:

_MG_5981.thumb.JPG.fe3ba21be49d6c4aae7be0a303066ffc.JPG

 

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7 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

And a certain Tasmanian member of one of this very forum, @curtisa , on a visit with his lovely wife to UK a year or so back, presented me with a few nice sample pieces of local Tasmanian wood and the challenge 'to incorporate this onto one of your builds.'   No pressure, then.

[TheFonz] Ayyyyyyyyyy! :thumb: [/TheFonz] Nice work. I'd actually forgotten which timbers I gave you, so I got a bit of a surprise when I saw that pair. Bonus points for using it in an offset rosette.

 

7 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

Looks nice.  Which wood was this one, @curtisa ?

That'd be a bit of burl eucalyptus (not sure which variety), from the same slab that became one of my WonkyFrets builds. Looks like it will need a bit of filling with tinted epoxy or CA before it gets fitted into the top.

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Onto the installation of the rosette and purfling circle.

This is a bit scary because it's got to be spot on.  And it involves routing a couple of mm out of a top that is only 2.7ish mm to start with!

First was to use the asymmetric holes in the centre of the cut out rosette as the template for a couple of similar holes in the top:

_MG_5985.thumb.JPG.cf8279798623325ce0e927309aabd8cf.JPG

Then remember not to cut out the centre until I've routed all of the other bits!

First I routed the edges of the rosette - the inner using one of the pivot holes and the outer rout using the other one  :

_MG_5989.thumb.JPG.62e7af28f00cd7ef3cb78a85efcf24a9.JPG

So - what's going on on the right hand side?

Well - it's a good illustration of a little tip for acoustic guitar rosettes: leave the join lines / gaps and test the rout position always at the neck end of the circle. 

Why?

Because that will be covered by the fretboard

And so if you c**k up your measurement, measuring from the wrong side of the router bit:

 _MG_5988.thumb.JPG.b21fde7e3e3e123fa8f2e9a96249e266.JPG

...then you can correct it for the full circle and the pink torpedo up won't show because the fretboard will be over it 

Anyway - trying to remember which pivot hole to use far which area, I indexed the router a couple of mm each time each way to clear out the wood in the centre so I could fit the rosette

Then a 1mm slot on the outside for some purfling:

_MG_5991.thumb.JPG.c63a5e8a93dfbdaf1b87412af8145e63.JPG

 

Then installed the purfling - it bends easily round this kind of radius dry and cold - and then some very careful scraping to bring the whole rosette down to top level and finally a deeper rout to cut out the sound hole.  And here we have it:

_MG_5994.thumb.JPG.3d268fee954466dd1a8193cb38c1d8be.JPG

 

It's lucky that the c**k up slot is going to be covered, otherwise I'd have had to have added another piece of laminate as a 'feature' 

But luckily, on an acoustic, the fingerboard (or in my case it will be a stick on end magnetic pickup from a Shadow dual system) goes right up to the sound hole:

_MG_6000.thumb.JPG.f5c6ac661afa87a8ff6b3d30be597f7a.JPG

 

I've said it before.  Many regular builders will agree that we still make as many c**k ups as when we were beginners - it's just that we get more skilled at sorting out the consequences and hiding them! ;)

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16 hours ago, curtisa said:

[TheFonz] Ayyyyyyyyyy! :thumb: [/TheFonz] Nice work. I'd actually forgotten which timbers I gave you, so I got a bit of a surprise when I saw that pair. Bonus points for using it in an offset rosette.

 

That'd be a bit of burl eucalyptus (not sure which variety), from the same slab that became one of my WonkyFrets builds. Looks like it will need a bit of filling with tinted epoxy or CA before it gets fitted into the top.

It looks nice dry - but with the finish applied it's going to look very special.  It has some hints of pink in with the browns.  Beautiful.

Ref the gaps, I just use the tru-oil slurry as a filler.  Works a  treat :)

Challenge met? :wOOt

 

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2 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

I've said it before.  Many regular builders will agree that we still make as many c**k ups as when we were beginners - it's just that we get more skilled at sorting out the consequences and hiding them! ;)

Yup!

SR

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