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Andyjr1515

Finished Pics! Phoenix Dreadnought Acoustic

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The next bit it the scary bit.  Using the same jig, I take off the hinged neck board  and that leaves the modified workmate jaws, lined with cork.  And that, my friends, is all that is going to hold the body, suspended over the cellar floor (plus a few cushions) while I route the mortice ^_^

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First check was had I got the angle right.  With the neck in place, I aim for a straight edge to JUST sit at the top of the bridge.  The saddle will then provide the required action height_MG_9173.thumb.JPG.59742b60d969fafb5aa1f4240c9b1797.JPG:

_MG_9162smaller.thumb.jpg.8dde183e71c7a089a7ae60800c339cce.jpg

 

Then a check for side to side alignment.

Before final fit, I relieved the timber nearest the tenon.  Without doing this, it is nigh impossible to get a great fit with the body:

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Then a bit of judicial flossing:

_MG_9170.thumb.JPG.e9b87c529e51d0cf39596259f8be0c81.JPG

 

...and frets installed, and fretboard trimmed to length, we are getting close to being able to glue the board and sort the fixings.

Always time for a quick mock-up, though ;)

_MG_9182.thumb.JPG.f1e5765c8b67708df263fe84daac1587.JPG

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52 minutes ago, Andyjr1515 said:

Then a bit of judicial flossing:

 

giphy.gif

 

...not what you meant?

 

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Well, you know what they say about men with big teeth...

 

 

 

 

 

 

...big toothbrushes.

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The date for my first acoustic build just took a giant leap forward.

Gotta love the swifts, so tiny and simple yet eye catching and inspiring!

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On 8/10/2019 at 6:15 PM, Bizman62 said:

The date for my first acoustic build just took a giant leap forward.

Totally agree, every time I see someone building an acoustic, it makes me want to have a go. Only thing holding me back is that I don't want to make the moulds.

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7 hours ago, ADFinlayson said:

Totally agree, every time I see someone building an acoustic, it makes me want to have a go. Only thing holding me back is that I don't want to make the moulds.

If you are happy with cheap and cheerful ones like I use, they are no problem to make.  If you're tempted, I say 'go for it!' :)

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A few more jobs done, although a touch of "two steps forward, one step back".

Got the inserts fitted and the fretboard glued:

_MG_9196.thumb.JPG.b3d8121708294da579b78c16961c3526.JPG

 

Bolted it up and was pleased with the neck to body fit:

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And then could do a much more representative check of alignment and neck angle.  Fingers crossed because it's a bit of a pig to adjust without introducing gaps in the joint once the fretboard's fixed:

_MG_9198.thumb.JPG.6391d5bda890c8b77f8e986e46de9c68.JPG

 

Ah...   Poo...

_MG_9197.thumb.JPG.726c54e6da8ae6a1e05efb08508bb3a0.JPG

 

The straight edge is supposed to be just level with the top of the bridge.  Neck angle needs reducing a bit.

You know that I said it would be a bit of a pig? ;)

Oh well...

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11 minutes ago, Andyjr1515 said:

A few more jobs done, although a touch of "two steps forward, one step back".

Got the inserts fitted and the fretboard glued:

_MG_9196.thumb.JPG.b3d8121708294da579b78c16961c3526.JPG

Ah...   Poo...

_MG_9197.thumb.JPG.726c54e6da8ae6a1e05efb08508bb3a0.JPG

 

The straight edge is supposed to be just level with the top of the bridge.  Neck angle needs reducing a bit.

You know that I said it would be a bit of a pig? ;)

Oh well...

The arc at the end of your fretboard creates an optical illusion that makes it look like you glued the radiused side of the board to the neck.:blink:

I can't help but notice that the first time you placed a straight edge across the the fretboard to the bridge, there were no frets in yet, and it touched the bridge. Now you have frets installed and it sits a bit higher.....

SR

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The other thing that's a bit of a pig is the binding.

I hate with a vengeance routing the channels for the purfling and binding for the top and backs of acoustics.  It's a real, real challenge with a spheroidal top and back when the channel needs to be square, and 100th of an inch accurate.  Stewmac (or maybe it's LMI) sell a fancy jig that a Colt Router can fit on but it is prohibitively pricey. I use the little Stewmac jig that fits to a Dremel but it's not very successful and can easily gouge up to 0.5mm wrong in most directions.

So there is a LOT of remedial chiselling to get me anywhere near fit for purpose routs.  This is one of the best areas.  Most of it wasn't like this:

_MG_9205.thumb.JPG.bddaf318e61d9c753a6ebe4e48b4be42.JPG

 

But a thing I used to hate MORE than routing the channels was gluing timber binding!  I've tried all the recommended methods - glass reinforced tape; bicycle inner-tubes stretched round; torn strips of bedsheets torniquet'd to close the gaps while it's gluing.

And trust me.  They are all rubbish.  Certainly the way I do them :)  What I particularly detest, is that in all cases, you can't actually see if the fit is OK for all of the tape, rubber and fabric so you have to wait until next day, then unwrap and you KNOW there are going to be gaps!!!!

And then, after few disappointing builds, I had a brainwave.  Why don't I do it the same way as I veneer - that is, iron it on?

And I think I'm still the only person in the world who does this.  I'm sure there are many, many reasons why it's not supposed to work - but it certainly works for me  :) 

Let me stress - doing veneering this way is a fairly normal method.  It's using the same technique for binding that is an Andyjr1515 quirk ;)

Kit is this.  I use a small modelling iron for ease - household iron works fine:

_MG_9204.thumb.JPG.f5d74a337f956995bd769bc72cd1e241.JPG

 

Principle is  : paint decent quality PVA wood glue to both surfaces; let it dry; iron it on; the PVA melts and merges, but then quickly solidifies as soon as the heat goes off; and that's it!

Great thing is that you can position it before ironing (because the glue is dry); you can position as you iron it (because the veneer or binding 'floats' on the molten glue); you can see immediately if it is OK; it is fully repeatable - if you see a gap when you're finished, you just heat it up again, reposition and let it cool.

You can see above the PVA drying on the purfling strip.  The routed channel is also glued.  Takes about 30 mins for both to dry.

Then iron on to melt the glue and press the binding into the channel - and hold in position while it cools (using a duster or cloth so you don't burn yourself on the hot wood):

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I do a couple of inches at a time.  For purfling, it takes seconds to heat up and 15-20 secs to cool enough to fully grab.

And that's it!!! :)

For the purfling, including sanding it flush (which you can do immediately) this took me 30 minutes or so.

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The binding was done much the same way.  I'm using Rocklite Ebanol  - much easier to bend than ebony.

Binding does need pre-bending, whichever way you glue it:

_MG_9214.thumb.JPG.fb90443dca6ea21cf5e50d723d04abe0.JPG

 

Same MO but, because it's thicker and wider, it takes a little longer to heat (15-20 secs for each length of 1-2 inches) and needs to be held longer to cool enough to fully grab (30 - 50 secs):

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And if you see any gaps as you're going round:

_MG_9217.thumb.JPG.0c3592243c41c91965a04f135bc8238f.JPG

Just heat it up again and reposition.  You can do this as many times as you like - it's fully repeatable.

In fact that's what I do as a norm.  I go round first, seating it as best as I can but concentrating on getting the side bond and the shape.  Then I go round a second time, again a couple of inches at a time, this time just seating it down properly - it can't lose its shape because the glue is still solid either side.

And this is the result:

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And trust me, I, personally, can't get anywhere near as good a result with any of the other conventional methods.

I'm sure it's a highly flawed method, but it works for me :)

Drop me a line if any of you want to try it too and I can explain in a bit more detail how I go about it.  The main thing to stress is that the channel and the binding must both have a good layer of glue on for it to work, and it must be a decent quality wood glue PVA - school glue isn't strong enough.

If you do try or trial it (always recommended first in any case) I'd love to know how you get on.

 

 

 

 

 

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33 minutes ago, ScottR said:

I can't help but notice that the first time you placed a straight edge across the the fretboard to the bridge, there were no frets in yet, and it touched the bridge. Now you have frets installed and it sits a bit higher.....

SR

I didn't detail that in the thread, but I compensated for that in my angle calcs

...but maybe that is where an error crept in...you know me and maths...:lol:

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A few hours of judicious scraping, floss-sanding and checking got me where I should have been:

_MG_9229.thumb.JPG.7c1f0f856bf338b20caa1b8708f10629.JPG

And still straight:

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Couple of swifts:

_MG_9235.thumb.JPG.4625e4d0c1d77962a3e2788f1fc540fd.JPG

 

And then the neck carve.  I carve necks holding the instrument a bit like a back to front cello.  Here's my kit:

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The templates were taken from Matt's favourite acoustic.

 

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Bit of work with the spokeshave, just to take the bulk away but most of the work is done with a card scraper:

_MG_9251.thumb.JPG.3a1002af83a5306c3d67683c547182c4.JPG

...and in a surprisingly short time we're getting close:

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I'll finish with a sanding block but, always time for a quick mock-up :)  

_MG_9234.thumb.JPG.ebb6ea87a22088a26e25044855b820b8.JPG

 

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is it me... or is that bigger than a jumbo/dreadnought?  love the simple beauty of it.  normally I like things gawdy like... add some diamonds on the edge, 52 inlays, etc... but this makes a good case for sometimes simple is more refined.  nice work.

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Thanks @mistermikev 

No - it's a standard size for a square shouldered dread.  The heel is a bit short which makes it look a touch deeper than it actually is and the headstock is smaller than some which maybe why it looks bigger than it is. 

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right on... someday there is a jumbo in my future or even it's predecessor (I forget - what's the one that's bigger than a jumbo?).  hard to get a sense of perspective thru a pic.  bet it will sound big!

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5 hours ago, mistermikev said:

what's the one that's bigger than a jumbo?

Mammoth? Mastodon?

10 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

A few hours of judicious scraping, floss-sanding and checking got me where I should have been:

And still straight

Didn't know they could affect your sexual orientation 🤪

And I still love the swifts! BTW, having to check for the Finnish name for swifts, I learned (or was reminded) that the name had been changed from "tar-swallow" to something that translates well to swift.

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tar-swallow... that sounds like trail jibberish (hehe).

eh, super jumbo, advanced jumbo, round shoulder dreadnought... who can keep any of it straight.

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I'm seeing Matt on Tuesday to give him a 'first fitting' of the neck profile and to firm up the amplification options. 

Then I will be able to glue the back on  :)

Clearly, until that's on, I can't do the bottom binding and finish off the tailstock, so the walnut and two vertical binding strips here are loose. but gives a decent idea of where I'm heading.  The walnut centre-piece matches the rosette and headstock plate:

_MG_9279.thumb.JPG.53964dbee38c5ea0058d8787b59bc158.JPG  

The walnut isn't actually bookmatched - that's a pencil line you can see in the photo - but I was able to find some very symmetrical figuring in the sheet offcut.

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26 minutes ago, Andyjr1515 said:

The walnut isn't actually bookmatched - that's a pencil line you can see in the photo - but I was able to find some very symmetrical figuring in the sheet offcut.

Close enough with a twist to wake up some interest. Nice find!

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It's an acoustic - so of course it needs yet another jig to be made

Fitting the bridge.  Always an area needing accuracy - but particularly with an acoustic where, basically, once it's on it's on.  Intonation adjustment is limited to the 1mm difference you can make filing the bone saddle angled towards the back or towards the front.  And so it has to be right.

I use the Stewmac fret calculator app to give me the nut to saddle distances for top E and bottom E, but a steel rule isn't really accurate enough to measure the distances AND get the sideways positioning right.


So last night, while watching the TV, I made this from some maple binding strip:
_MG_9300.thumb.JPG.34a43fe746a179f36a85a2e56c500897.JPG


 One advantage is that on straight, flat pieces of strip, it's a lot easier to get the measurements right with a long steel rule. 

 

In use, the bottom cross-member hooks over the nut end of the fretboard and the top cross member fits into the bridge saddle-slot:

_MG_9298.thumb.JPG.9428d59e3e8523ebd03eb0c9f97927b2.JPG



I line the jig up to give an even distance between the fretboard edges bass and treble...

_MG_9299.thumb.JPG.a723284023cc32fd5cef000dfc8acb9f.JPG


...and the bridge should now be in exactly the right position.  Fingers crossed ;)

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