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ADFinlayson

Hi - Starting building #6

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A bit more process over the last few days. I've routed the neck pocket, got a good fit and confirmed the break angle is correct with the bridge.

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Stuck on the binding and trimmed it flush with the neck, gave it another going over with the radius block, cleaned fret slots out etc and Installed some 2mm white MOP side dots.

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I still haven't figured out exactly what I'm going to do regarding inlay, I've got mop blanks so will do my logo on the headstock and there will at least be something custom at the 12th. I was originally thinking something viking themed, maybe a shield, but I thought it might be cool to do something Aztec/Mayan related given the top is Central American. Continuing to carve the top while I'm thinking about it.

Carving this top isn't too bad, the wood is seriously hard and I have to hone the gouge on my strop about every 5 mins or so to keep the edge but I'm getting through it, it only likes being chipped in one direction too so I'm having to be extra careful when nearing the final dimension not to tear out. The 18mm top weighs more than the 30mm limba body so this is doing some serious weight reduction too! 

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25 minutes ago, ADFinlayson said:

Carving this top isn't too bad, the wood is seriously hard and I have to hone the gouge on my strop about every 5 mins or so to keep the edge but I'm getting through it, it only likes being chipped in one direction too so I'm having to be extra careful when nearing the final dimension not to tear out. The 18mm top weighs more than the 30mm limba body so this is doing some serious weight reduction too! 

I noted the same thing when I carved a ziricote top too. It polishes beautifully like many super hard woods. I love the crazy patterns in that stuff. Another thing I noticed is that if you can find the pore structure, you can see that the pattern has nothing to do with the grain/growth rings. Finding the rings in end grain is challenging though.

SR

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So I've been having my first proper go at inlaying MOP. First impressions are that wood is a lot easier :D Starting off with my headstock logo, I found cutting it with my coping saw to be quite tricky so I cheated and did the larger cuts on the band saw, then the coping saw where I had no other choice and finished off with my little jewellers files. It's very easy to file especially being only 1.5mm thick, however it's not much fun standing there for an hour or so with a respirator on, nasty stuff!

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I made a black glue by mixing some Araldite with a little bit of black paint powder I had kicking around. This worked really well, now I know that I can get any other colour of this paint (cheap stuff from amazon prime) to tint whatever colour I need.

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This is the result once I'd filed and scraped it all back and cleaned it up with a drop of white spirit. Well pleased!

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So with the roaring success of the headstock logo, a shape I've inlayed 5 times now - I decided to level up.. This two-headed snake thing is taken from some Aztec art. I traced the image in illustrator and shortened it by cutting out two of the hoops so that I could fit it in parallel with the frets at the 12th. The design takes up 2 frets so I layed it out on the fretboard and cut it along the 12th fret to make 2 separate inlays. I have a 2mm piece of mop large enough to do it all in one but I figured it would be easier cutting it out of 2 pieces, easier to inlay as 2 separates and also removes the issue of having to saw through the mop at the fret slot where I've already bound the fretboard.

I'm not very happy with the right hand eye, so I've since plugged it with a 2mm white mop dot and I'll redrill it once it's inlayed. My dad needed his pillar drill back so I was using a hand drill which I managed to slip with while I was drilling that hole. Also, the files I've got aren't small enough to get between the teeth so I'm inlaying the basic shape and will put in the finer details with the dremel or some sharp chisels once it's all in. Still up in the air what I'm going to do with the other fret markers but this guitar is definitely turning into a labour of love.

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Edited by ADFinlayson
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A bit more progress over the xmas break, I've got my 2 headed snake in and sanded smooth, though I need to do some detail work, which will involve scraping away the MOP and filling in with dust and superglue.

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I've shaped the headstock into my signature dinky moustache, I really like this shape and do it on all of the guitars for me, but appreciate it's not everyones cup of tea as the machine heads can dwarf the headstock a bit so on builds for friends I tend to make it a bit taller past the D and G strings.

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Since I got myself a triton spindle sander, I've been thicknessing the headstock by clamping a block of oak 15mm away from the spindle which helps me get a consistent 15mm all along the headstock. Previously I used to spend an age shaping the profile with files so I love that power tool as it makes it a 5 minute job.

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The break angle is passable but I'm not totally happy with the height of the fretboard from the body, I'm thinking I might shave 1 - 2mm from the bottom of the heal, otherwise I think the pickup ring might look a bit silly up against the end of the fretboard.

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I carved the neck tonight too, I love this two tone look the limba has, Dylan is impressed too.

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I had a go with magnets this time which was good fun, took a little while to get the grain matching done on that slither of limba that I cut of the body blank a few weeks back. I cut out the shape I wanted first, then drew around it on some mdf before roughing out and shaping the female version on the aforementioned spindle sander to make a routing template, I did the same with a smaller version to make the inner cavity route. Once my route was done, I used some pin nails, tapped them in to the body, cut the heads off so they were only just sticking out and pressed the cover down into position, that created a mark where I could drill and glue in the magnets, worked like a charm :D I am however a bit concerned about the cover warping so I'm tempted to glue on some braces for it like you would an acoustic top.

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The grain match isn't perfect, but then I don't think it could be with the crazy non-uniform figure.

I've done a belly carve on this one, the idea was that the sapwood would follow the contour of the carve round which I have sort of achieved although not as pronounced as I'd like, I'd have to make the carve deeper to make it more obvious.

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@mistermikev these are the magnets I used, £6 on amazon prime for a pack of 50 (much cheaper than good quality screws!)

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B008U9RVHS/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 

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I need to get back to carving but I'm waiting on the arrival of the collect/shank adaptor for my router. I've got a dish router bit which I'm going to use to create the PRS style pot recesses - in the past I've done the recesses with a forstner bit, a gouge and a scraper but it's a massive pain in the arse to get uniform consistent shapes when doing it by hand. Annoyingly the seller didn't state that it was an 8mm collet so it doesn't fit my router. I need to route these first while I still have a flat top so I can clapt the router down flat, then I can carve up to them.

The guitar (with machine heads on) currently weighs just shy of 8lb and I'm hoping that I can shave another 1lb off the weight of the wood given that the ziricote is the heaviest part and theres a lot of carving still to do. So I'm hoping with pickups in to not be much over 8.5lb otherwise we're in for a heavy guitar, that I'll regret not chambering.

Cheers
Ash

Edited by ADFinlayson
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I've got to say that this is the first guitar I've seen with a ziricote top, fretboard and headstock cap.B-)

Add in the black limba and it is so tasty I could eat it.

SR

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That ziricote top is looking incredible, been watching some of your builds for a bit while lurking the Crimson Guitars forums, all amazing work man.

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Thanks chaps, I'm finishing the carve at the moment. Hoping to get it blasted with the random orbital this evening, then I'll post some pics of the finished carve, I can't wait to see it myself :D

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Carve is getting there. I still need to round off the edges on the pot recesses and put in a bit of a back carve around the edge of the body which I'll do with the orbital sander. You can see I've had a bit of a mare with pilot holes - fortunately I can plug them with dowel and redrill, I've got a few mm to play with on each one and I need to move the pilot holes from the two coiltap switches (between the volume and  tone recesses slightly closer to each other.

I've done the recesses for the pots with a 1 3/4" bowl router bit but I'll just use a countersink to do the smaller recesses before drilling the final holes. 

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16 hours ago, ADFinlayson said:

Carve is getting there. I still need to round off the edges on the pot recesses and put in a bit of a back carve around the edge of the body which I'll do with the orbital sander. You can see I've had a bit of a mare with pilot holes - fortunately I can plug them with dowel and redrill, I've got a few mm to play with on each one and I need to move the pilot holes from the two coiltap switches (between the volume and  tone recesses slightly closer to each other.

I've done the recesses for the pots with a 1 3/4" bowl router bit but I'll just use a countersink to do the smaller recesses before drilling the final holes. 

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That's looking very nice.  What do you use to cut the knobs recesses? (unless you've already said, in which case just tell me I'm lazy) ;)

 

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19 minutes ago, Andyjr1515 said:

That's looking very nice.  What do you use to cut the knobs recesses? (unless you've already said, in which case just tell me I'm lazy) ;)

 

I used a dish/bowl router bit this time, in the past I used a forstner bit then carved the roundover with gouges, but that method is a PITA and very difficult to get a good result. This way was a 5 min job with the plunge router and will require much less sanding. Note that I plunged the recesses before carving the top so i could plunge on a flat surface.

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3 hours ago, ADFinlayson said:

I used a dish/bowl router bit this time, in the past I used a forstner bit then carved the roundover with gouges, but that method is a PITA and very difficult to get a good result. This way was a 5 min job with the plunge router and will require much less sanding. Note that I plunged the recesses before carving the top so i could plunge on a flat surface.

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Good solution - thanks for the info

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Got my carve all finalised and test fitted some cheap pots I have kicking around after drilling holes for them - I've found, after ruining some pots in the past, it's better to have some electronics for test fitting than run the risk of trashing the pots for final assembly. Had to make the cavity slightly deeper in places. Generally really happy with it, just a couple of issues:

1) you can just about make out in the first pic, the plug from the hole I miss-drilled previously by the toggle next to the volume - not ideal but I figured that seeing the plug up close would annoy me less than have the switch in a weird place. I'm pretty sure I can spot stain it anyway which should make it practically invisible. In an ideal world, I would have made ziricote plugs, but I don't have a plug cutter smaller enough, I did try a 3mm leather punch but it failed miserably.

2) using a countersink to make the recesses for toggle switches wasn't a great idea because it's not big enough nor have I been able to find any larger countersink bits online. So I'm going to see if I can fined a 1/2" round headed router bit to do the job a little better.

Lots of sanding to do now, then I want to fill the grain prior to glue up so I don't get glue in the grain around the neck pocket, so I'll be experimenting wit a couple of grainfillers. For now, it's back to the snake inlay :D

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Not a huge amount of progress on this one, I've been adding nightly coats of oil to #5 with the addition of daddy-day-care this weekend - mrs has to work every other weekend now which has put a dent in my garage time.

I have managed to do some experimenting with grainfiller on some limba offcuts though. Really happy with how black grainfiller came out, especially on the sapwood after a coat of poly so I decided to go with it.

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So I sanded it all back with the random orbital and a soft pad to 220, painted it with an oil-based grain filler and sanded it back to 220 the following day. Really happy with that. Back onto the inlay this week :D

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Back to fretboard inlays last night, I think I've just about successfully hidden the poorly located eye socket eye-socket by filing down a bit of mop blank and filling with mop dust and superglue. 

I was going to just have a 12th inlay and forgo anything else, but I tend to get lost up the dusty end if I don't have something on the fretboard, so I used up the last of my 2mm mop dots. I really like these, they're subtle but enough. The only trouble is that I think it looks a bit weird with only having dots from 15th onwards, so I think I'll have to order some more and inlay the rest. 

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On 1/15/2019 at 10:14 AM, mistermikev said:

dots look fine to me... kind of unique, but follow your heart on that.  "you gotta live w yourself"!

After looking at it many times over the lat couple of days... I've ordered more dots 

I've just opened an exciting parcel for my build that came in the post today too; PRS HFS pickup to go in the bridge, PRS volume, tone, rings and strap buttons and a graphtec 43mm nut. I suppose I better get it finished :D

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4 hours ago, jgordonXXX said:

Real nice! Thanks for sharing. I hope being here helps me do work half as nice as what you’ Done.

Thanks @jgordonXXX I think it's important to post the workings of our projects (warts and all) so we can learn from one an-others mistakes as well as successes.

New dots arrived yesterday so I fired them in last night, much happier with that. You can't see it but I've grain-filled the back fo the neck and I'm waiting for that to cure fully so I can get it sanded back. No doubt it will expose floors in my sanding around the heel and volute - I find these areas to be a nightmare to sand, in which case I'll be rinsing and repeating here. Before graining filling I also remove a small amount of material from the heel tweaked the break angle so it still works with the bridge height. Quick work with my no4 plane.

I've got 24 frets to cut, tang-nip and file back now, looking forward to having a go on my new fret-bender, lets see if it produces better results than my DIY bit of MDF :D

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