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komodo

The Black Queen

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nice trick adding the ebony dust to the glue... storing that away for later.  top is 2 die for.

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Sharpened my new old gouges, then every single plane blade I have, then every scraper.

 

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Glued up heel block. 

 

 

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Slow but sure. Solid ebony neck truss channel routed and fitted. Getting ready for some inlay and fret slots.

Sidetracked by a Facebook marketplace score, three old skool rack units for $25 the guy thought were dead. Replaced battery, replaced two small caps and reset a ribbon cable and all works great. Going through hundreds of presets of too much chorus, too much gated reverbs, etc. Awesome 80-90s goodness.

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Here’ my fretboard / crosscut sled. Waxed oak rails, Stewmac blade with stabilizer plates, Stewmac notched template for 25” scale. Double stick tape. One pic shows how I line up the template on the bottom and then stick the blank on from the top so I can get it square and see where the cutline is. Flip it over and cut as you move it up the notches. Perfect and fast.

 

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Too cool man. I'm sure it'll cause you to get into more mischief now you're bought in 😉

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Did rough fretboard radius and started drilling “stars”. Have a new design instead of the 12th fret inlay, sort of a negative space black hole planet thing.

Had 5 carbide bits, broke all in short order, they are only .040”. Found 40 on ebay for $10 so I figure that’ll get me through the board LOL.

I need to get this pig done soon so I can spray while I still have some weather. Life has been SO busy.

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I found that these cutters are very poor at evacuating material in enclosed cuts, and any runout at all on the spindle causes them to break pretty much instantly. I am sorely needing to upgrade my pantograph with a "cheap" DC spindle from the usual scumbags. The rated runout is less than the ~0.5mm that Dremel tools have. Seriously, that bad.

Quite likely, it's the difficulty in evacuating material that is the issue with breakage....does that seem to be what you're seeing?

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BTW - if your next declaration is that you're feeding optical fibre into those....man, you have my undying respect but not a large degree of envy given how batshit insane the work would make anybody.

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It does not evacuate wry well at all, but when I pull it up it brings the material with it and easily knocks off with just a tiny tap. You are correct on runout, my spindle is good, but even a slight difference when you clamp the chuck on the bit can break it.

I am NOT doing fiber optics!! I’ve got glow powder, will fill and CA, just like the ebony filling trick.

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11 minutes ago, komodo said:

I am NOT doing fiber optics!!

This is BY NO MEANS a suggestion! I just got wondering if you could glue a thin strip of perspex between the fretboard and the neck and fill the holes with clear resin. And have a single led light the whole thing up at either end.

I can already think about issues like what kind of glue would you need, would the glow transfer from the perspex to the resin etc...

Which all could be solved by using resin only, both for the back/mid plate and the holes as well as for glue. That would be difficult but awesome, don't you think?

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LOL all suggestions are welcome.

The glow powder I picked shows as white when in the light and glows when in the dark. Already did tests, works great.

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They look a lot like solid carbide PCB drills, which should really be run at very high RPM (15000+) in a CNC spindle. As others have noted you need extremely tight control of runout, plunge speeds and perpendicularity with the workpiece, otherwise you're just going to end up with 40 broken drills. 

There might be enough similarity in material between fibreglass reinforced copper PCB and ebony to make the drills work, but you need to up the speed a lot to pull the swarf out of the hole and plunge the bit relatively slowly. It's not the sort of thing that's likely to work well in a standard drill press.

0.04" is only a bit over 1mm. You might fare better with a standard HSS 1mm drill bit? Cutting and flute geometry will work better at lower RPM, and HSS is a bit more forgiving with flex compared to solid carbide.

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In the end I was able to get everything drilled with only 5 more deaths. The real trick was the runout, mostly in how it was chucked. Once I had a bit placed in there I would hand tighten and then check it visually. You could easily tell if it was off at all, and then would loosen, spin the bit and reset it. They only needed a couple light turns of the chuck key to hold, if I tightened further it would sometimes throw it off (this is a good press). As @curtisasaid, plunge speed also factored in the breaks.

Loading the holes with glow powder was interesting, as it doesn't want to stay in there like ebony dust would. It;s very dry and granular, like super fine sand. After filling, I'd tap the board several times to settle, then fill again before flooding with CA. Im still sanding it off to evaluate, but in the light I don't love it - it needs more varied star shapes. Then I turned off the lights and it's breathtaking. So, we'll see. 

I;m feeling a real sense of urgency to get it done so I can spray this year. I'm debating whether to spray nitro on the top and oil finish neck, back and sides.

 

 

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Unlike srbf, Ebony tends to become sticky with heat. That gums up the gullets of cutters, retains heat and induces more. Clearance becomes a problem. Glad you got over the finish line though! Heavy on the nerves when you start getting low on cutters.....!

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Slightly changed my plan around the neck joint, so I redid the heel block. Neck is set into the body a little more.

Rough cut the top and bottom body halves. The maple is extremely dense, the ebony is like steel and the swamp ash is like styrofoam. Weight of both halves as-is: 5lb 11oz. I was worried it would be too light! This is going to be a small and thin bodied guitar, with regular weight. Perfect.

Still considering chambers.

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This build is weird. It doesn’t seem that hard,  but every turn seems to have some aspect that isn’t straightforward. The Trisonics are very shallow, pretty much surface mount. But they had little tabs on either side that should be covered. I could do rings of a sort? With screws? IDK

The RS trem was originally top installed, I’d like to do rear, but with a carved top. Hmm.

Sorting neck angle and pocket, but fretboard end detail is going to complicate that. 

I’m leaning towards going with a more tradition carve top now, but going back to chambers. F hole or not? 

Anyhoo, I’ve gone and bought a vintage Stanley Bailey No 6 because it seems like a good time to justify another tool.

I’ve pinned the halves together, sanded the edge and am building templates. Slow and steady.

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Brothers and sisters of the wood - I’m still alive, and believe it or not, no matter how busy I am with life (very) this guitar consumes my every waking thought, 

It’s idiosyncrasies have thrown me repeatedly, but I will not stop til it is of this world! ha ha!

The RS trem will be top mounted, at a 3.5 degree angle to account for the top carve. Also, It will have an ebony cover, my solution for having access to trem adjustment and maintenance as well as to the mounting block/knife edge - which the original Red Special does not have. Screws or magnets, not sure yet.

I’ve gone  back and forth on a typical carve vs the ESP carve, and settled on the ESP as it will mesh well with the tailblock / cover. 

Templates made for the trem route and Trisonics, Crazy 3.5 degree trem route done. I’m going to route and insert an ebony block inside to mount the knife edge against, my thought is tone / wood coupling with the rest of the ebony “spine”. Pics will help explain when I do that. 

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Bottom side of the top.... with the route for the ebony block. A shot of it together with knife edge in place.

 

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Top and bottom now glued together. The glueup gods did not smile and I’ve got a glue line on the bottom inner curve. It should be hidden once dyed.

The uncarved body, unshaped neck, all of the hardware weighs in at 10 pounds. This is encouraging. After the. neck is shaped and top carved that should go down a good amount. #1 goal is balance, but if it came in at 7-8lbs, I’b be thrilled. My guess 8.5.

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