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Issues With My Guitar Body


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OK guys,

I got the blank from THIS thread squared by a carpenter on a power planer and thicknesser machine.

He also cut the blank in three pieces that I intend to glue and make my future guitar body out of.

First problem:

Even though the blanks were squared on a machine, there is still a gap.

I mean, when I put the blanks next to each other, there is a slight gap in between them.

It is maybe 0,5 mm or something or maybe even less, but still a freaking gap.

I wanted to use PVA glue this time and not epoxy but it seems that with the gap present, this will not be possible and I will have to use good old epoxy again, like I did on the pine body.

Or am I wrong?

Is a gap of 0,5 mm neglectible? Should I rely on the fact that the clamps will squeeze the gap an make the two wood surfaces meet each other or is it a no-no?

Second problem (or more like a dilemma):

s5002450tt4.jpg

OR

s50024502mk4.jpg

Which way would be better and what issues may appear if I choose either of them?

And last but not least:

Should I put veneer as a top?

I know that if I use PVA glue to join the three basic parts, there will be a huge chance that my finish will crack with time at the joint lines because the parts will start to "creep". So, I guess a thin veneer top would be necessary.

But what if I use epoxy?

Epoxy, unlike PVA, does not creep and gets rock-hard, so I guess it will make the use of a top unnecessary.

What would you advice me on these three issues?

Thanks!

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Why do you believe that the finish will start cracking if you use a PVA glue? Many of the guitars on here are built using Titebond, with no such issues? I could only see that happening if the joint was poorly made.

CMA

OK, ignore this part.

Let's indeed focus on the joints and on the 0,5mm gap that is between the two "squared" surfaces.

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First problem:

Even though the blanks were squared on a machine, there is still a gap.

I mean, when I put the blanks next to each other, there is a slight gap in between them.

It is maybe 0,5 mm or something or maybe even less, but still a freaking gap.

Therefore the obvious answer is that they are not square...just because the ran it on a jointer, doesn't mean it's gonna be perfect.

Invest in a hand plane, learn to use it.

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Issue 1: gap

The guy who did the work didn’t get a 90degree flat edge when he joined it. You could try flipping the middle piece over. If he joined it at an 87degree angle, the flipping one piece could close the gap. If you are painting it or putting a top on it there really isn’t an issue. Just use filler to bridge the gaps. In some cases a small gap will be taken care of when the pieces are clamped and glued.

Issue 2: creep

I use and have always used good ol’ Elmer’s woodworking glue and I’ve never seen a finish crack due to creep. Elmer’s and titebond rarely creep if the joint is done sufficiently. So, putting a top on it might be a better ide to cover up the joint since it isn’t 100% square.

Issue 3: How to position the body on the blank

Again, are you painting it? If so save yourself time and make the body fit what you have. However, if you want the lines to be straight (which I personally would do) you can just cut a piece of excess from the bottom tip (a price that has been joined) and use it.

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First problem:

Even though the blanks were squared on a machine, there is still a gap.

I mean, when I put the blanks next to each other, there is a slight gap in between them.

It is maybe 0,5 mm or something or maybe even less, but still a freaking gap.

Therefore the obvious answer is that they are not square...just because the ran it on a jointer, doesn't mean it's gonna be perfect.

Invest in a hand plane, learn to use it.

I do have a hand plane. Several of them, including a power hand plane.

Problem is that I don't know how to use it to make the joints better than the joints a professional machine has made.

Any tips or tricks?

And most importantly: what is an acceptable gap size between two wood surfaces that are about to be PVA glued?

I may be OK to go with that 0,5 mm gap.

Edited by DrummerDude
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0.0mm

You have hand planes? Practice.

+1

Seriously dude, why bother making a guitar with effing gaps in the body blank. Learn how to joint the pieces or don't build the guitar at all. You could also follow the advice of one of the posters here and flip the pieces, hoping that both pieces are jointed the same way.

For the body positioning, I would go for straight grain. Just doesn't make sense to have the strings going at an angle compared to the grain. That HAS to have an adverse effect on tone.

:D

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Thanks guys.

If 0,5 mm is too much for using PVA glue, then I will just use epoxy for joining the body parts together.

Have no time to learn how to precisely use a hand planer and make the parts match with no gap in between them.

I also doubt that I can do this without screwing anything else up.

@zyonsdream, I've already tried to flip the blanks in many different positions, tried as many combinations as possible.

Alas, no matter how I position them, there's always a gap in some part of the joint.

Abut the extra piece: yes, I will use one of the leftovers, of course.

It is not what extra piece to use and where to get it from the real issue here.

It is which way to go - with or without an extra piece.

An extra piece would mean one more joint line. Ie.e. possible troubles.

On the other hand, aligning the body at an angle seems awkward to me.

@guitar2005, This is very interesting what you say about the body grain and sound of the guitar.

More info on this is welcome!

Thanks!

Edited by DrummerDude
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Since I see that patience has flown out the window, I would recomend going with a painted body to hide the flaws. Which means you can go with the body angled on the blank so you don't have to add another piece of wood. My question though is, if you decided ahead of time to build a Rhoads Vee, why not do a layout of it and figure out if you have enough wood for the blank. If that was the only wood you had, you should have though about the body style a little more.

Now, instead of taking the quick and dirty way out you still have options. First it does not take that long to learn to use a hand plane. Especially in this day in age with the amount of info available on the net. Secondly you can just find a nice flat work surface and glue or tape down a piece of 60 grit sandpaper that is a little longer than the blanks. Then just run it back and forth by hand. 0.5mm is too much of a gap for a clean joint, but with 60 grit paper, you'll remove that gap in no time.

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Thanks.

It is going to be a painted body, sure (jet black to be more precise).

Guess, there is no beauty in transparent finish on beech anyway.

The sandpaper idea appeared to me but then I remembered the ruined headstock on one of my other guitars. Tried to square its parts the sandpaper way and ended up with a bad joint.

Will try to find a tutorial and learn how squaring is done by a hand planer.

But it is skill, not info that I lack.

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But it is skill, not info that I lack.

nope, its the patience to learn new skills that you lack!

do you think any of us actually managed to make playable guitars without taking the time to learn some basics first!

You say you dont have the time to learn how to join wood properly - why not? whats the rush? If thats true then you should consider buying pre-glued blanks - or even ready made guitars :D

It may take a little time to get right but the guitars you make will be much better, and you will still have that new skill for the next guitars too!! - surely thats worth a little boring time spent sharpening and practicing with a plane.

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I would suggest that you go back to the carpenter who did the joining and ask him to redo his work. and while you're there, make sure that there is no gap between the pieces. it would take no more than 5 minutes to do it right.

and one more glue joint only means more possible problems if you do it wrong.

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I have to agree with Wes on this one. I never touched a handplane until one of my current builds. Once I had the blank glued up, I had to remove the cupping that occured from gluing. And at 17" wide it was not fitting through a 12-1/2" planer. So my onnly choice was to do it by hand. I spent an evening sharpening that blade on two hand planes and a few hours on the net searching on how to use a plane effectively. It is not a difficult skill to learn. Especially on wood that is not full of knots or difficult grain, which yours looks pretty clean and straight forward. Two evenings of work and sweat and the body is just a flat and level as I would have out of the planer. So if you take your time to setup and learn the proper techniques, you are going to loose 3 or 4 days. That is not a whole lot.

You are not building this for a customer, so where is the rush to get this done. I have spent 3 months on the two guitars I am currently building and am just ready two dye them now. This is not a hobby to rush through if you want quality results. I would think a quality product that you can be proud of would be more important than getting done 4 days earlier. Learn how to use your tools properly and you'll enjoy using them more. I absolutely fell in love with using hand planes. All it takes is a little patience.

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A carpenter did this? I hope you didn't pay him. That's really unacceptable work.

I don't know if anyone has asked, but have you bothered trying to flip the pieces about? --It's possible that with the right combination everything will fit together.

Second, you do indeed have enough wood to form the point--you'll have plenty of cutoff when you cut the body shape, just use some of that to add the pointy bit. Of course, you'll want to make sure the joint is perfect for that.

But if you do decide to go for an angle --I have seen at least one luthier claim that it's best to try to have the grain as long as possible going through the guitar. Which means, of course, that he always builds his guitars on an angle relative to the grain. In your case, all you have to do is flip those pieces of wood over, and your body shape will fit and follow the longest grain.

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Yeah, a carpenter (and a very experienced one too) did that.

I told him that I will pay him after I glue the pieces together and bring the body back to him for evening. I will never go back to this guy, of course.

He screwed My Awesome Body Blanks and caused me a whole lot of trouble.

I don't pay for trouble.

Nope.

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1: draw a line with a ruler app. one millimeter from the "bottom" of that curve.

Maybe both pieces of wood are curved.

2: adjust your plane to absolutely minimum "response"(??? i'm from Denmark, and I dont know the exact word.... pardon)

3: start at the ends, taking precaution that you strok in the right direction. (to avoid chipping)

divide the distance from the middle of the curve to the ends into 5 to 10 pieces, starting at the ends. then......

a stroke at "sector 1" then sector 1&2 then 1-2-3- then 1-2-3-4 and so forth. always make sure that the plane dont tilt. (if you are skilled with a pencil and a ruler, you can draw the line on both sides of the blank to prevent overdoing the one side. you can also use an "angle" (???) 90degrees observe if light slips under. If that's the case you have to work the dark areas)

4: when you've reached the pencil line you are almost there. now you stroke with the plane over the full lenght. and this is where you must make sure that the tool is peak-fitness-conditionally sharpened. Keep your tounge straight in your mouth and concentrate.

the following is of utmost importance. this is what nobody else tell you when they say: go practice.

I : control your breath. dont "cloze your throat" if you do your heartbeat will cause your chest to Bump causing loss of controll over your arms.

(a little like: breathe in/breathe out Daniel-san) Now try to fill your loungs and hold your breath without "locking your breath". If you lock and pay attention you will feel your blood preassure rising, and that's no good. you dont need to use that much force anyhow.... this isn't weight-lifting...

II : remember BALLANCE Daniel san...... Keep your feet slightly angled and apart. you can feel it when you do it right.

III : use no down-force on the plane. You can't keep a constant vertical pressure while moving back and forth. The plane itself will do that for you.

IV : maintain the same cutting speed with each stroke. You may well stroke with different speeds from stroke to stroke, but everytime you stroke, you will have to maintain the same speed during the stroke.

V : this fifth advice is the most important. without it you will never achieve your goal, and you might as well consider giving it up.

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF !!! CONVINCE YOURSELF THAT YOU CAN DO IT !!! DO IT JUST LIKE IT WAS JUST ANOTHER DAY AT THE OFFICE !!! TELL YOURSELF THAT THIS IS A THING YOU DO JUST LIKE SHAKING YOUR PINK WILLIE AFTER A GOOD PISS!!! REALLY !!! IT'S NO BIG DEAL !!! ONLY OBSTUCTION LIES WITHIN YOUR BRAIN..... A LITTLE THING CALLED "AMYGDALA" (prevents you from jumping off a tall building because you just lost your wallet an want to be the first to pick it up from the sidewalk..... actually the main cause of our very existance as a species. If you think: this could go wrong you're almost ceartain that it will if you think: this is going to be a success, you are also almost certain that it will be. your mind is more powerfull than you think if you concentrate)

I hope this is of any use for you, and if you want to achieve something nice, believe that you can do it yourself and dont put your wood in the hand of an electric carpenter...... trust in yourself. when you craft something with machinery, the result can only be as good and precise as the machine. and a machine can never be as good and precise as your hands and mind. Fast maybe...., but never precise.....

by the way..... this guy www.morch-guitars.dk don't rush into anything, and he makes a living of it he finishes like one guitar/bass a month.

Edited by vildskud
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You have a large section of wood "behind" the V that will be cut away (as others have mentioned, more than plenty to grab an extra piece to glue on)

Last time I was preparing two pieces to be glued, I had a small gap and was ready to go to work on resolving that, when I realized that by moving my pieces,sliding one against the other, I could eliminate the gap. This worked out because I was building an asymmetrical design, so I didn't need the full width of the blank in any one area. (At no point in my design did things go the full width from the center line at both the top and the bottom)

Maybe by sliding your pieces around you can either eliminate the gap whilst still being able to fit your body shape into the resulting glue up, or move the gap into the area that's going to be cut away anyways? Again, I don't know exactly how the gap is presenting itself in the wood you have, so this very well may not work, and if it appears to work, you're going to want to closely inspect to make sure it doesn't present problems further down the road.

(i.e., kind of like this bad drawing:

glueup.jpg

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Personally, I take out those small gaps with a true surface using either a tablesaw fence, or a 90 degree iron bar and use 120 grit sandpaper. Then switch to 220 and they're ready to glue after I clean the wood dust off of them. Look at how I have the iron bar set up in this picture, I wouldn't use a surface like this to joint something, but it's the same idea.

FingerboardWoods11.jpg

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I read through this, and I just don't know what to say. First thing that came to mind was, why is this guy trying to even build a guitar if he can't deal with a body joint that is a half a millimeter or less out :D . Reading further I just got more confused. DD you are quite an Enigma to me.

Rich

P.S. Just out of curiosity, Do you know what the moisture content of that wood was before it was jointed and where it is now? How long ago was it surfaced? Since you are talking about joints that are half a mm or less out and this wood is know for high volumetric changes due to changes in moisture content. Maybe your "very experienced" carpenter didn't screw up so bad? Why you wouldn't check the joints when you picked the boards up (hold them together with a light source behind them, takes maybe 10 seconds). Have you asked him to try to get a better joint? He spent time working for you, if it is close but needs a little improvement you should let him take care of it. You should definately not screw him over by telling him you will pay him when you come back and then never return.

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@vildskud, thank you for this very thorough answer, man.

It's a tutorial by itself.

I will pracise those techniques when I get the chance to.

Meanwhile, since it's been like 6 months or so since the day I started and my guitar is not even close to ready, I glued the pieces using epoxy.

If everything is OK, the epoxy will harden the way I want it to (really keep my fingers crossed about the right epoxy to hardener propotion being right because I had troubles with this before).

@fryovanni, The moisture is below 6%. This is what the old woman at the wood yard told me.

They dry the lumber there. Have their own kilns, steam dryers and all.

The carpenter did the squaring 2 days ago.

I checked the pieces while I was there and pointed out the small gap.

He said: "It's OK, the glue will fill it up"

I like to ask even for the smallest and neglectable details and even about things that I already know, so I came to ask here, on the forum, and asked about the gap.

Apparently, it turned out that the glue will not fill it up after all.

I guess the confusion comes from the fact that the guy is using elastic, gummy, resin-like glue for his joints. Maybe his glue indeed does fill the gaps.

I tried to explain that I will be building a guitar and not some chair and that I will be using regular PVA glue, but he just stared at me and looked like he was ready to cut my throat with a portable bandsaw.

I guess he didn't like me much because I interrupted his beer drinking trip.

He was talking to the hop god when I broke his meditation.

NOT good...

Edited by DrummerDude
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Why you wouldn't check the joints when you picked the boards up (hold them together with a light source behind them, takes maybe 10 seconds). Have you asked him to try to get a better joint? He spent time working for you, if it is close but needs a little improvement you should let him take care of it. You should definately not screw him over by telling him you will pay him when you come back and then never return.

+1

maybe you should go back there, ask him to joint it again, check to see if there's a gap, pay the poor guy and then go home to glue everything.

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