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norm barrows

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  1. After painting the neck it was time to try some clearcoat. I tried some spray lacquer I got at true value hardware. It tended to dissolve the silver paint. So I quickly finished a single light coat on the front, and set it flat to dry, and hoped the silver paint didn't run. Once it dried it was ok. One of the spots where the lacquer really dissolved the paint - but it dried ok. The other bad spot. It too dried ok. It was obvious lacquer would not work. But I was lucky, and did not have to re-mask and re-squirt. Today I picked up clear rustoleum spray enamel, minwax water based acrylic, and minwax spray poly to test on the silver painted scraps from the earlier paint tests. I also need to get some non-water based acrylic.
  2. Here's the headstock after being squirted with silver.... And the back of the neck. The top, sides, and ends of the fretboard were (and still are) all masked off, so there will be clean rosewood when the masking finally is removed.
  3. After painting the body, I waited a few days while I decided what to do with the neck. It seemed awfully plain in just a solid blue stain. I considered a silver skunk stripe or a triangle with the base at the pocket and the point near the headstock. But after consulting with my friend, we decided to try the outline effect on the neck as well. So the first step was to mask and mark off the neck... The headstock, masked and marked off for trimming.... Then it was exacto knife time again. Magnifying glasses help with fine detail work. Here's the back after trimming.... And the headstock, trimmed, and ready to squirt...
  4. Once the outlines were all marked out, the masking tape was trimmed using an exacto knife. The front side - masked, trimmed, and ready to squirt. The back side - masked, trimmed, and ready to squirt. So then it was off to the "paint shop". It only required one coat to get decent coverage. Krylon metallic silver is hogh flow, and rather thin, very similar to Testor's silver, used in painting models. Once the silver dried for a few hours, i removed the masking. The front, with masking removed. And the back side.... Overall I'm pleased with the results. Some of the curves could have been a little smoother, but my friend likes the "custom look" of the slight imperfections.
  5. The front of the body, all masked and marked for final trimming... The back... A closeup of the trim lines made with the marking tool. Everything outside the lines will be cut away with an exacto knife, leaving the center masked off, and the edges exposed.
  6. I used a bit of plywood, a pencil, and some CA glue to create a marking tool The Idea was to run it around the edge of the body to mark off where to mask the front and back for painting. Unfortunately, I only got a little bit marked off, and the pencil came unglued. So i did a rough masking by freehand, which will be cleaned up with an exacto knife. But I decided to try the marking tool again, rather than doing the exacto knife trimming by freehand. So I sanded down both the pencil and plywood, fully coated the mating surface, as oppose to a thin bead as before, and once that dried i ran a bead down each side where the pencil and plywood meet. Hopefully that will hold, and i can mark off the tape, trim it, then squirt. I also ordered a different kind of silver paint to try - chrome enamel, as opposed to metallic silver enamel or metallic silver lacquer. I'm not sure what I'll use for a clearcoat. Acrylic would probably be easiest. But I have some spray lacquer, brush-on lacquer, and brush-on poly to use up.
  7. The blue is a very good match for the blue on the official Cowboys stuff I got for the guitar. The large star was purchased just to get a proper color sample of the blue. The small star was planned for the neck plate. I later discovered the guitar has a contoured heel with no neck plate. I may use the small star elsewhere. A leftover silver selector knob from the tele clone build will replace the OEM black knob. I wasn't sure if the pickups would be painted silver or blue. But since the center of the body is blue, the pickup rings wil definitely be silver, so I painted them. I was thinking that all silver hardware might be enough, and the guitar might not need a silver border on the body, but its just too much blue. So it will get a silver border on the front and back, and silver on the sides, similar to a burst, but without the fade, just masked off and squirted.
  8. I sanded the whole guitar down to bare wood using 60 grit. The "sealer" was clear, about 0.2 to 0.4 mm thick, and created a white powder when sanding, which smelled like juicy fruit gum. It was very hard. even 60 grit and a power 1/4 sheet sander barely scratched it. I considered the power planer, but just kept sanding. Then I mixed up some blue dye. Keda brand, an entire pack of blue with about two shots of water. It looked plenty dark in the jar, and on the applicator (papar towel), but the guitar came out aqua blue. Keda black dye is actually a very very dark blue. So after drying overnight, I took half the remaining blue dye, and added a small amount of black dye power (half a pea's worth). I then applied this over the aqua. I really lucked out. The result was Cowboys Blue. Its a surprisingly dark blue. A closeup of the color The back turned out just as nice.
  9. I finished sanding off the silver, using 100 grit. Apparently the body is 3 piece, not laminated, fairly soft wood, and has a thin hard sealer coat of some sort. All my sanding so far, and most of the sealer is still there. I'm going to step down to 60 grit, and get all the sealer off.
  10. I was hoping for a more "stain" type effect. If I had decided to just go painted finish from the get-go, I would have just scuffed the OEM white finish, then shot it in silver, And in general, I would have simply pretended I was doing a show car paint job, as opposed to a guitar finish. But I want to see some wood grain. I've almost finished sanding off all the silver with 100 grit. just a little hand sanding of horn cutouts and sharper edges left to go. I'm still confused about the body. Its seems to be three piece. some parts are smooth and flat like a chopping block. and some parts - where it seems "sanded through" - are like balsa wood in texture - open coarse grain. but light/drak grian line cross between the two parts, so it seems to be one piece of wood, just very hard and very soft in places, that have nothing to do with the grain. would shellac or something account for that? the hard parts are almost like a laminate. i really need to post a proper question in the finishes forum. .
  11. perhaps transforming any leg bars or strap bars into horns and cutouts in the body, while I was at it. This body I made for the "Ergo 12" started as a neck and a big rectangle of cardboard. I cut away (and taped back on) cardboard until I got the shape I wanted, then transferred it to plywood. But it will likely have balance issues. That's a '69 fender acoustic 12 string neck, and it weighs a ton with a dozen tuners installed.
  12. better for me personally, that is.
  13. Unfortunately, unless you're copying a known design, its hard to tell exactly how bad neck dive (IE imbalance) will be until you try. chambering and lighter wood below the desired center of gravity (CG) will work against you. above the desired CG it works in your favor. so where is the desired CG? where it causes the guitar to balance on your right leg at the proper playing position and angle, all by itself. And, it seems that location is directly above the leg cutout at the centerline of the guitar, when the guitar is at the desired playing location and angle when seated. This puts it a bit above the leg cut out. On most guitars, this is near the neck pickup position. and most guitars have an actual center of balance at about the 20th fret - very close to the neck pickup position.
  14. I'm leaning towards shorter AND shifted left. I do a lot of semi-palm muting, so i rest my wrist just behind the saddles. So for me the "picking area" is at the bridge pickup. When i sit down to play air guitar, my right hand rests on my right leg. So to put the picking area where i want it, the leg cutout needs to be at the bridge, not the middle pickup, IE about 4 inches to the right. this shifts the entire guitar 4 inches to the left. This actually makes balance worse, but playing position better. So now your guitar sort of has a 4 in longer neck, and a 4 inch shorter body - from a balance and "how far does this thing stick out?" point of view. Add 4 inches to the bottom of the body, and it sticks out no more in that direction -. you just have a long neck - and better balance, and a 4 inch longer moment arm to hang weight off of.. By shorter, i mean overall length of 3.5 feet as opposed to 4 or 5 feet long. 3.5 feet is still longer than most standard guitars, which seem to tip the scales at 3.25 feet. If I were you I would make a cardboard "neck template", and a cardboard "body blank". I would tape the neck to the body, then cut away material from the body until it fit me and placed the neck where I wanted it when seated. This would get me a basic body shape. From there I'd probably go with a cheap prefab neck, and cheap wood for a test body. I'd use that to work out balance when seated. So now it fits me, and balances when seated. Then I would figure out where the strap needed to be for balance, adding strap button arms as needed for testing. When that's done, I have a guitar that fits me, is balanced sitting, and hangs correctly standing. If it looked good enough, i might leave it at that. If not, i would likely use that design to build a nice one with more expensive parts.
  15. First tests are not promising. The mic works, but is not loud. Feedback is an issue, but can be controlled with the EQ. The mic's frequency response curve has a lot of treble and upper mid, with almost no bass. With the addition of a booster pedal and an EQ pedal it might be ok. But I'm starting to think full range recording mic of some sort.
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