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I thought I had a thread on this build, but I've visited here only sporadically and took a very long break, and don't see my earlier posts. Anyhoo, I call it The Uber because I;m building it for myself as my "just for me" indulgence guitar. Nothing insane, just everything right. 

-25" scale
-swamp ash with INSANE quilt top and bottom - top is 1/2-5/8" and bottom is more of a 1/8" veneer
-black binding top and maybe bottom
-neck is I believe Madagascar rosewood, gold wire, an ebony cap, and my first inlay
-two gold PAF(like) pups. I think I bought Rocksong, when I had no money. I'll use them and upgrade as desired
-gold bridge, can't remember the brand. one of those nicer wraparound kind
-locking Schallers I believe
-probably just 1 vol, 1 tone


You can see my Illustrator mockup printed out by it to see the finish. Likely an amber/brown sandback and clear coat. I was going to do just clear, but that quilt needs to pop as much as possible. I'm open to any suggestions.


 

 

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Edited by komodo
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Thanks!

I thought I had a thread on this build, but I've visited here only sporadically and took a very long break, and don't see my earlier posts. Anyhoo, I call it The Uber because I;m building it for mysel

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That is some insane quilt! Very uniform and straight sausages. The stuff can look awesome natural if you highly polish it up and use an oil finish on it. But.....It is soooo much fun to dye to dye figured maple and pop the grain I have yet to exhibit the fortitude to go natural. A brown sandback amber tone with a tobacco burst would look sweet and keep the natural-ish theme.

This site has undergone a couple of crashes over the last four or five years and some threads or portions of threads have been lost unfortunately. This does look familiar to me. That looks to be some particularly fine work on the inlay.

This is going well, I'm looking forward to seeing it progress.

SR

 

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Hmm. Well, we have had to restore from backups a couple of times but I don't recall any major losses. Threads that haven't had posts on them for two years get archived, however they can be restored. I'll have a look into this.

It very well could have been that long. I know I had something in the inly area from this inlay, and probably discussions in the finish area on this? I dunno, don't spend any time on it!

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Cavity cut. That glitch on the cavity edge might just be ignored, or I could route and bind that inside edge. Also spent some time researching pickups. What I have now is Tonerider Rocksongs, which I'll try out first. If those are deemed unworthy, then Suhr SSH (bridge) + Aldrich (neck) are on the menu. 

Still leaning to amber sandback and clear front and back. As much as I'd like a tobacco burst, with top and bottom binding, I think the even finish and wicked quilt may be enough. The neck might receive nothing but clear in the front of the headstock and a light coat or two sanded back or nothing but oil.

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Edited by komodo
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This was a trick. Or I should say tricky. The wood was only the 1/8", enough for a cover and to be a flat veneer. I marked the cover on the raw plank, carefully slit through it in one spot with an Xacto blade, then fed my finest pearl cutting blade through it and cut by hand. This may be why I have that glitchy area at the bottom, it was done quite some time ago when it was mothballed. I've attacked several projects recently to revive them and carry them to completion.

The bad thing is I waited too long and am now racing the weather to get these ready to spray before it starts getting colder. Everyday here is just perfect for spraying outside but it won't last long.

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Progress: Today I purchased Tyvek suit, head sock, cheesecloth, denatured alcohol, etc., unglamorous critical for the job. To my delight, I already had organic vapor cartridges, alcohol dyes, and an HVLP jamb gun that I've never used, as well as three cans of SprayMax 2K. 

My finishes to this point have been a lot of Truoil, some off the shelf  rattle can lacquers, etc. I've not done any dying, and I haven't done a 2k or nitro or used the gun. I understand the concepts, and have the gear but am a little unsure how to proceed. People who have used the SprayMax 2k seem to love it and I have seen spectacular finishes with it. I don't have anything to run through the gun except some good LMI water based lacquer I got for this purpose but have been using it brushed on for lots of other projects. It's nice, but have had blushing on some things.

I'm thinking alcohol dyes straight on the wood, sand back and the base coat of yellow/amber if I do full sunburst. Seal with shellac, fill the ash pores with West epoxy I have, then the Spray Max. If I do a full sunburst, I'm not sure where to do that, After the shellac, and layers of shellac between each coat? Spray the dye with the gun?

As mentioned before, I also have another project I'm doing at the same time, the first guitar I ever built. It's really getting tweaks of how I think it should have been when I built it. Also, refinishing it to straight black. I'm not as concerned with making this one perfect, just bringing it up to speed. I could save the SprayMax for that one, or spray the rest of my water based lacquer on that one. I'm torn. 

I'm sure this is making some of you nauseous, but I have to start somewhere. LOL 
Today, I will try to get the pot holes drilled, top shaped, back binding channel routed, and solid first pass at sanding/scraping.

The other guitar just needs some shaping around the neck pocket and sanding (the pic is older before I cut the neck pocket). I should start another build thread on that one just so you can see it, cause it's a trip. My junior year in high school, I traced a Gibson korina V on a big sheet of paper (on the floor in the music store), made plans in architect class, used that to build a perfect African mahogany V body in shop class, and was ready to cut the pup holes when I flipped out and redrew the shape on the plan. I made a bunch of insane cuts to the body - waist cuts like a violin, bevels on every edge, etc. It turned into a pointy monster! It was a crappy white spray can finish with black vinyl zebra stripes (yep) for a long time. It has custom cut tailpiece and back plate that I had chromed, so needs to be solid black. It also sported some junky squarish jazz bridge, and has been rectified to a Schaller ToM. Lastly, it was 25.5" based on a replacement Charvel strat neck I bought and cut the headstock all pointy. It now has a black 24.75" Washburn V neck and recut neck pocket for the right angle. 

I'd like the keep most of this ones warts since it was #1. Before you say "omg, those bevels are jacked up", know that I was a 16yo noob, probably high, and did it HANDHELD with a jigsaw!

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Edited by komodo
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If you saw my thread in the electronics section, you might recognize this:

Notice the curious factory holes. A regular strat top jack, a side jack, AND a rectangular hole the EXACT size of a Graph Tech MIDI 13 pin jack plate. Curious indeed. $40 on Ebay, but that's another story for another day.

 

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Mind changed.

Any help with the recipe would be most welcome, my goal is not just a washed black dye, but get that brownish black. I'm guessing a heavy black dye, sandback, then thinner wash layer of brown and black? I'm not sure yet if it should be a black burst, or keep it like the Conklin 9 string and use the black binding. There's also the matter of the ash, which would look pretty sweet with a black dye, also there is already a binding channel cut on the top. This should be sweet with the gold hardware.

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Edited by komodo
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You're more or less right, yes. I rewrote one of our old articles on finishing figured Maple.

In all honesty, I think that the bottom line is about how much of the 3D movement you want to retain. It becomes a balance of whether you want it to look great at 3ft or 30ft. Have you got plenty of scrap to test on?

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This one is closest. While I don't want to kill the 3D, and I feel a sense of responsibility with this piece of wood, this is my course. After Prosthetas writeup, my Erlewine finishing book, and watching 5 million videos, I think I'm ready. I've got scraps and cutoffs of the top wood, LMI alcohol dyes and my gun setup. I'm going to get a quart of lacquer and use my 2k on the flying V.

Does this look like an acceptable rough finish schedule?

-Medium/heavy coat of black or brown/black
-sandback 50-70%
-very thin wash of amber/brown
-more dense black around the very edges fading in
-sealing coat of shellac
-3 coats lacquer and light sand w/400
-repeat 3x

This doesn't include pretesting on scraps, what I may do for binding, and what I may do for the ash sides - depending on the tests. I did just read today a technique of laying on boiled linseed oil after the dye and before the seal coat. This could really enhance chatoyance.

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Edited by komodo
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Nailing it on scrap and developing your own working techniques based on available materials, timings, etc. is a hundred times better than what anybody can tell you, even through watching videos. It's all good to have the information on hand and go into it with your eyes open, but you need to get a feel for what is happening with the wood.

I'll always be the first to say that I am no expert in finishing in that I am just not very good at it. I don't spend enough time doing it when really I should be. I know the field's whys, wherefores and the caveats but more importantly I know why I'm not good at it. I simply don't spend enough time finishing and I don't regiment myself to practice what I preach. At least, on finishing anyway. I used to be like that with sanding....

Haul out the scrap, don't scrimp on treating it like you would the finished product (let things dry, sand flawlessly with care and a good eye, etc.) and lets see how your proposed schedule works out. You can use the downtime to do grain-raising with distilled water on the guitar and knocking back the fuzzies till you get to a flawless 600 grit surface.

Problem is, you're setting yourself on a clock. This is the worst thing you can be doing right now with a procedure that requires patience, no corner cutting and the ability to walk away for a bit to stay objective about what you're aiming for and where the work stacks up against your aims. It might be worth considering getting it painted by borrowing somebody's spray booth. Are there no local painters, schools, Makerspaces or community workshops that can provide a climate-controlled finishing environment for this one? Taking the time limits out of the equation will allow you to approach this stage without clock watching.

FWIW, I prefer that Conklin bass. The finish looks a lot less dead than the first PRS. Physically rippled and vaguely nausea-inducing, just like pop music. The PRS looks like a well-done veneer or photo finish. The second PRS will have a lot more life in the top. It's still a heavy black but the wood has been opened back out properly.

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I think you will still have plenty of movement with that finish. My experience is what you lose with heavy dye is the golden luster as the figure moves whilst shifting it in the light......but the figure still moves plenty. I see the trade off being the natural luster of those curving wood fibers for color, which is why you are dyeing in the first place. I think your finishing schedule is a good plan, but do test as Pros says. I think your colors as you have them listed will be great but not a perfect match to that PRS. I see the wash coat being black with a heavier brown burst around the edges. It's going to be very cool to see what you end up with.

How are you going to treat the quilt on the back?

SR

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No worries, I will not rush this. I'm just feeling the pressure of the good weather slipping away. I had this project sitting on the shelf for a long time, so I'm moving forward at a good but measured clip.

It's funny, because the Conklin is my least favorite but it did have that brownish in there that many of the black tops don't have. People seem to like the very black and white charcoal look. I specifically want that brownish tinge in there but not BROWN. What I'd really like is the color of the 2nd PRS, and almost opaque blacks on the very edges creeping in further in the waist cuts and inside horns. My intention is to do the back identical to the front.

What I'm really wondering about at this point is the binding, and the ash sides. Also the back is completely  flat. I could do a belly cut, but would dig into that wicked quilt, and that would also make back binding tricky. I'm starting to lean to belly cut, and then after the dye is done, do a 70% opaque black tinted lacquer spray of the edges like on a regular sunburst - but only creeping in slightly on the edges. I know this is an art form and have seen the trick using the templates to keep the edges even.

As soon as I think this is it, I think about how cool the black quilted top and bottom would look against totally clean ash sides. An then the binding and belly cut thing come up again. lol

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