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Finished! Alembicesque - No 1 of Brace (2) of Six String Electrics


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@Prostheta commented on the swimming pool of a control chamber earlier.  One of the reasons for that is that there's a lot of hardware got to be crammed in! :D

This is without an extra three way switch, battery clip and the edge of a double decker P90 that will come into the chamber also:

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The other reason is to cope with those slightly pesky click-in wiring looms for the pre-amp.  This sort of stuff is usually an absolutely pig to cram into a 'normal' chamber.  As for allowing the cable to come out vertically from the back the small three way rotary switch, that's the mark of a designer who's never actually tried to fit his creation into a guitar....

I still rate most Schaller products ...but really?

Not to mention the lovely looking bridge that was a pig to fit that I now realise takes 30 minutes and a brand new set of strings every time just to thread them through the body... 

But onto less irritating subjects (it's OK - I've taken some tablets to calm me down), all bits in with still some wood to take out of the control chamber (ignore the flour on the 'I never would dream of using the kitchen scales, dear' ;) ):

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I reckon we're looking at comfortably less than 6 1/2 lbs finished

 

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And first coat of gloss is on :  

It's stretched the patience, understanding and tolerance of MrsAndyjr1515 to the limit, but I've worked like a Trojan to try to get this finished to be able to enter this month's "Guitar of the Month"

Hi Now that the ultra-modern bass is complete, it's back to my first love...6-string electrics.  And I'm building two of them! The first, is an Alembic-esque build for a long-standing member

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Nice saving on the neck, I had the same problem some guitars ago... but still don't understand how you could fix it.  So the fingerboard was too narrow and you've added a binding... but what about the neck itself? Did you add any extra wood to the sides as well and then you made the neck pocket a bit wider?

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28 minutes ago, Andyjr1515 said:

Not to mention the lovely looking bridge that was a pig to fit that I now realise takes 30 minutes and a brand new set of strings every time just to thread them through the body... 

That fine looking bridge does have several quirks, does it not? I've got two, and one of those was an accident, but I'm pretty sure I'll never have three. I took the time to enlarge the string holes in each saddle to counter this particular problem.

SR

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9 minutes ago, ScottR said:

That fine looking bridge does have several quirks, does it not? I've got two, and one of those was an accident, but I'm pretty sure I'll never have three. I took the time to enlarge the string holes in each saddle to counter this particular problem.

SR

Yes - a poor design in many ways.  Even down to the rear bush being 13mm!  Our leading machine tool distributor chain don't even do a 13mm Forstner!!!  In the end I had to use a brad-point drill but far from satisfactory for a bush.

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14 minutes ago, psikoT said:

Nice saving on the neck, I had the same problem some guitars ago... but still don't understand how you could fix it.  So the fingerboard was too narrow and you've added a binding... but what about the neck itself? Did you add any extra wood to the sides as well and then you made the neck pocket a bit wider?

Well it's a through neck - which was one of the main challenges!  So the binding strip had to be let into the figured top which took a bit of nerve and hope.

The lucky bit is that the neck wasn't fully shaped at the sides, so there is still a smidgen of maple to come off as I chamfer the bottom of the binding for a smooth transition.  In fact, it's my very next job....

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This probably illustrates easier.  The binding was glued to the straight and square side of the fretboard, leaving a 2mm step along the join with the neck.

Using a scraper, and the fret-ends as the limit at the fretboard level, I scraped at an angle to taper the binding at the neck profile angle and lose the step.  You can see an area still to do on the righthand side of this photo:

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The bit of luck is that if the fretboard had already to been shaped to the flat 'C' it will be when finished, instead of the slight 'D' it was still at, I could not have hidden the step where the binding meets the maple as a smooth, continuous curve - there would have been a kink in it.

 

Phew! :)

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Final build task before starting the finishing is tidying up the neck profile.

I will do one last tweak once the guitar is finished and all strung up but to get it pretty close, I go by feel and then, holding the guitar a bit like a back to front cello, I use a scraper - drawing up the neck length very lightly - to take away any lumps or bumps along the length or facets around the profile curve.
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And that's it! Basic build is complete and finishing has now started

I use a variation of the tru-oil slurry-and-buff method as a combined sanding lubricant, grain filler and sealer. The body will actually be gloss varnished eventually, but I have found this method to be just as good as a gloss prep method as a finished method in its own right

The only difference (if at all) is that I probably use coarser abrasive cloth at first - typically 120 grit but sometimes even 80 grit.

This is the first application following the normal 'final sand':
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Five minutes later, I have this:
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And then fifteen minutes later I have this on the back and neck too:
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The slurry from the sapele, wenge and purpleheart will, if not wiped off, discolour the maple, so I always wipe off the wet tru-oil from the maple even before I start the actual slurry and buffing.

When dry - this will look a bit naff - as the oil soaks in differentially. I will probably repeat with a coarse grit once more, once it has fully set, before starting the proper slurry and buffing Sunday/Monday-ish

In the meantime, to MrsAndyjr1515's delight, there are a couple of small guitar and bass jobs that have been waiting a while that I'll be getting on with. :hyper

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I have to echo Carl's question here- and let me get this straight- you finish sand- I assume to something in (at least) the 200 grit range (220/240)-and then when applying the finish you  go back to 80 grit? man that seems like a lot of work if you are introducing that deep a scratch into a finished sanding job. I guess though it fills up the grain eh?

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4 hours ago, Prostheta said:

Wow, now that IS coarse. Do the lower grit scratches not get "locked in" with the filling? I couldn't imagine using anything less than 180-240 myself!

 

49 minutes ago, Mr Natural said:

I have to echo Carl's question here- and let me get this straight- you finish sand- I assume to something in (at least) the 200 grit range (220/240)-and then when applying the finish you  go back to 80 grit? man that seems like a lot of work if you are introducing that deep a scratch into a finished sanding job. I guess though it fills up the grain eh?

No - surprisingly it doesn't seem to add scratches.  In fact, since I started doing it like this all of my grit scratch issues have gone away!

I can only think that it creates SUCH a slurry, that the whole surface of the timber mushes up.

Like always, I would never say 'this is the way to do it' because it sort of defies the conventional wisdom - and conventional wisdom, by and large, is held for a darn good reason.  But this is a day later - if I'd been going for a satin finish, it would actually be done!!!! :wOOt

So - in just two days - all with slurrying: one run with 80 grit; one run with 120 grit; two with 180 grit; final one with 400 grit:

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Bonkers, isn't it ;)

I'll be leaving this now for a few days for the tru-oil to properly harden ready for gloss coat of the body and headstock plate to properly bring out the figuring.  The neck will be left as above to retain the silky-smoothness.

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It is! The proof is always in the results. If it works yet you can't describe specifically as to why, it doesn't matter too much. I wonder if the surface tension of the oil on the paper prevents it from biting into the wood as much as it would dry? I wonder if wet n' dry paper would work differently?

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3 hours ago, Prostheta said:

It is! The proof is always in the results. If it works yet you can't describe specifically as to why, it doesn't matter too much. I wonder if the surface tension of the oil on the paper prevents it from biting into the wood as much as it would dry? I wonder if wet n' dry paper would work differently?

Not  sure.  I'm actually using pretty heavy-duty stiff and cloth backed abrasive.  I don't think it softens at all but the slurry very quickly fills between the abrasive grit pieces which must help.

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4 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

the slurry very quickly fills between the abrasive grit pieces which must help.

I suspect this nails it.

I have often noticed fine-ish grits become polishing cloths once they get loaded with sanding dust, especially if you are sanding/leveling a finish. That may play a big part in how such a high polish is attainable using micromesh dry.

SR

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5 hours ago, ScottR said:

Good lord Andy, you saw that post already? You are quite the night owl sir. I'm getting ready to call it a night and you are at least six hours deeper into the evening than I am.:blink:

Gotta love having friends all over the planet.:)

SR

Got caught up watching a film that I should have left for another evening!  I regret it this morning, of course.... :)

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9 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

Got caught up watching a film that I should have left for another evening!  I regret it this morning, of course.... :)

..and the only reason I watched it, @ScottR , was because it had James Caan in it and - the story being far too long and improbable to be worth relating or listening to other than over a crate of beer in a hut cut off by snow somewhere in the wilderness - I have a special affinity towards James Caan as there is a better than 90% probability that a short cameo scene in one of his films from the late 90's was written by me...

 

Quite....

:rolleyes:

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1 hour ago, Andyjr1515 said:

..and the only reason I watched it, @ScottR , was because it had James Caan in it and - the story being far too long and improbable to be worth relating or listening to other than over a crate of beer in a hut cut off by snow somewhere in the wilderness - I have a special affinity towards James Caan as there is a better than 90% probability that a short cameo scene in one of his films from the late 90's was written by me...

 

Quite....

:rolleyes:

I like James Caan too. But I don't have a cool story or a scene writing incident to go along with it.

That's awesome!

SR

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2 minutes ago, Prostheta said:

You mean you're not 100% sure? How can that even be?

As I say, it's a tale for when you're cut off from civilisation with no TV, no internet, no phones, once the I-spy has gone round the alphabet at least ten times and drinking beer is the only other way of passing time...

Let's just say it's a long and tortuous saga involving Francis Ford Coppola, James Caan, an unknown Hollywood producer and me ;)

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