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My absolute favorite step in the build is dying the maple, here’s some shots of the process: First coat of black.  Sanded back.  Red added.  Sanded back.  Orang

It actually came with the jeweler’s saw I bought for cutting inlays, the whole thing was quite cheap ($15-$20) but the jig and saw both work great!    Sanded it flush this morning and thank God

Hey guys n’ gals, the wood all came in for my next build so I figured I’d get this thread started!   This will be a 7-string multiscale guitar, and will have a very similar design to my most re

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Thanks for the encouragement everyone - as it turns out, I live in Maryland and we were just put on "shelter in place" orders the other day, and unfortunately I'm currently hunkered down in a location away from home and (horror of horrors) away from my tools.  Not worth explaining why I suppose, but suffice it to say I'm suddenly not sure when I'll be able to dig in on this build after all!  Things are changing hour by hour it seems.  

Hope you are all safe and healthy!

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10 hours ago, Lumberjack said:

I have never even *heard* of figured ebony

It happens. It's pretty rare, but it happens. Count it as a good day that balances one of the bad ones we all get.

Its going to be killer!

SR

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Yes, @Lumberjack - as @ScottR says, it happens occasionally :) 

I've only ever had one piece like it but - a bit like you - it was totally unexpected and - also like you - I'd had no idea up to then that ebony ever did that. 

When it was finished it was a bit more muted but undoubtedly still there :)

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Some clamping shenanigans for your Friday evening:

O2ucKjH.jpg
 

And the gory aftermath:

TUkQG4x.jpg
 

 

Somewhat related, I was hope you all would weigh in something: finishes. I’ve used a handful of different finish materials over the years and have been mostly dissatisfied with all of them, everything from lacquer out of a spray can to acrylic polys to oil. I’m thinking of finally investing in some spraying gear and trying 2k finishes like the big boys use, but was curious to see what you all use? 
 

The finish I’ve liked the most is a tung oil blend, but it can be a fairly sticky for a few months (though it feels great thereafter) and it doesn’t have the same “finality” of actually locking in a sprayed finish to protect the wood from humidity/temperature/etc.  I’ve heard tru oil dries harder and less sticky, but have never tried it. Curious to see what you guys have used and/or are still using, whether it’s sprayed, wiped, burnished, or all of the above! Really hoping to find something quick drying (under a week, a few days would be ideal), fairly durable, non-sticky and easily repeatable. 

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10 hours ago, Lumberjack said:

Somewhat related, I was hope you all would weigh in something: finishes. I’ve used a handful of different finish materials over the years and have been mostly dissatisfied with all of them, everything from lacquer out of a spray can to acrylic polys to oil. I’m thinking of finally investing in some spraying gear and trying 2k finishes like the big boys use, but was curious to see what you all use? 

I've used spray can acrylic lacquer once--stayed soft for months, teak oil once--no real protection, TruOil sprayed on once--lovely warm glow and great polish, shrinks for months. The remaining dozen+ have all been spray on nitro. This has it quirks, but I love the forgiveness of it, the high polish it takes, the ease of repair and the ease and versatility of making tints. It dries very fast and cures very slowly---perhaps 90% in two weeks, 5% more in the next two weeks and the remaining 5% over the next six months. The 90 to 95% cure is plenty hard enough to finish and play, and if you've done a great job of pore filling you'll never notice that final curing taking place. If your pore filling is slightly below the surface of the surrounding wood anywhere, you'll see the nitro sink into them over the next few months. The finish still looks killer and you will only notice in the right light and angle, but you will find it eventually.

I've been considering 2k off and on for a while as the quick cure is very attractive, but the toxicity and clean-up is intimidating, and I don't know anything about whether it leaves witness lines, or the ease of repair or the ability to tint.

So nitro with a pore filler that leaves a surface film is king for me.

SR

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I have had a few flamey ebony boards though nothing as special as that one - It tends to be African ebony I've found that has the figure, I've never seen anything other than jet black from my Indian ebony boards. Mine usually come rough sawn so it's pot luck. But I hope that has made the quilt/ebony decision easier for you, as it's a no brainer :P

Looking forward to seeing this one develop.

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@ScottR thanks for the input! I’ve been hesitant to dive into 2k for the same reasons, particularly the repair part - pretty sure there’s very little to be done about repairing that type of finish because it’s so inert, I’ve had good luck drop-filling with CA glue and buffing but that can only cover so many types of repairs. 
 

Not a very glamorous day in the shop, but still productive -  I’ve always drawn my body and headstock shapes by hand, but I really like the shapes on my last build and decided that I’d finally man up and make some long-term master templates as I move forward with various builds. I’ll be taking a new flush-cut router bit through its paces tomorrow, here’s hoping for no chipped-out horn points!

5F7O0XX.jpg
 

Rt1UT65.jpg

Laying out a custom multiscale and making sure everything lined up right proved to be much more time-consuming than I had imagined! Glad I made a template so I never have to do that again (for this scale combination at least) :P

vjNcCFa.jpg

Couple coats of acrylic clear to boost longevity and that’s about it. 

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I always enjoy watching builds done when they're very by-the-book. Seeing somebody have complete command over the process is very appealing as a spectator sport. It's funny sometimes, when you see some builders with massively-expensive setups make basic errors or have blind spots. Except when it's me. 😁

What is the geometry issue that you're experiencing with the multiscale approach? I've found that seeing the string courses, fingerboard, etc. as a simple quadrilateral subdivided by pairs of opposite edges results in perfect (as far as any guitar can be perfect) intonation. That simplification seems to make the process easier in many ways since there aren't any details to chase around. I know we provide a front end for FretFind2D, however the output from that (apart from maybe the DXF export) is less than intuitive when taken to the wood. The last multiscale I made was built up from the (Hipshot) bridge's intrinsic saddle angling, two outer scales for the high and low strings, and the perpendicular string spacing set from the nut and shortest scaled string. Everything else is equal centre spacing across the nut and bridge with fret positions interpolated laying a scale divider over the outer strings. I should really write this up....

Still, you've clearly got this under control which is the main point after all! Man, that blue guitar is so cool.

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18 hours ago, Prostheta said:

I always enjoy watching builds done when they're very by-the-book. Seeing somebody have complete command over the process is very appealing as a spectator sport. It's funny sometimes, when you see some builders with massively-expensive setups make basic errors or have blind spots. Except when it's me. 😁

What is the geometry issue that you're experiencing with the multiscale approach?

While that is very flattering, I have to admit I’m a long shot off from having anywhere near complete command over the process, or at least that’s what it feels like! My tools were cheap when they were new, but I got almost all of them even cheaper and half worn out by buying used, and I don’t even have some of the tools most folks seem to have on hand and am perpetually building jigs to make other tools do the job. Every build is an adventure of errors that I scramble to correct by hook or by crook. If I’ve gotten good at anything, it’s damage control after making a bad cut, mismeasuring something, or not planning things out well enough. I really appreciate the encouraging word though!  
 

Funny you mentioned FretFind2D, that’s what I used to plot out the scales - conceptually it wasn’t hard I guess, but getting all my lines right across the scales was tougher than I thought it would be based on only the fret locations that site churns out.  For instance it doesn’t give you any dimensions for the fretboard itself, so you have to extrapolate the fretboard outline from the fret locations that program gives you  

Anyhow, I made some more progress today, and it made me wonder what you guys do to cut scarf joints? I have been using an angled jig to run it through the table saw, but that usually leads to somewhat inconsistent results (Pictured below), and I always have a good bit of cleaning up to do before it’s ready for glue. Any other ideas out there? 

YrK38T0.jpg
 

ZosAYr6.jpg

 

Got the scarf glued and channels routed: 

Xy8mcrG.jpg
 

Cap for the headstock roughly cut out:

wVbBMI6.jpg
 

Based this slotting jig off a design I saw elsewhere, pretty crude looking but I was amazed at how much the magnets helped keep the blade steady on all the odd angles of the scale:

iaZvqPV.jpg
 

U86mJWB.jpg

Slotting with this jig went surprisingly well:

V311LUy.jpg
 

And trimmed to shape:

ulzFGxd.jpg

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5 hours ago, Lumberjack said:

Based this slotting jig off a design I saw elsewhere, pretty crude looking but I was amazed at how much the magnets helped keep the blade steady on all the odd angles of the scale:

iaZvqPV.jpg
 

Looks a little bit like the multiscale slotting jig I built some years back. I stole the original idea from here.

 

5 hours ago, Lumberjack said:

Funny you mentioned FretFind2D, that’s what I used to plot out the scales - conceptually it wasn’t hard I guess, but getting all my lines right across the scales was tougher than I thought it would be based on only the fret locations that site churns out.  For instance it doesn’t give you any dimensions for the fretboard itself, so you have to extrapolate the fretboard outline from the fret locations that program gives you  

You weren't able to print the FretFind2D template at 1:1 scale and stick the printout directly on the ebony blank?

The other option is to use Polymaker's Fretboard Design Tool, which may have a few extra tricks to help manually mark each fret location. Windows only, but it's got a lot more useful features than FretFind2D.

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Convergent thinking is always a good thing! I built more or less the same sort of angled fretting jig myself, however I think I stole the idea from @curtisa rather than it being some sort of equal confluence of thought. 😄

I embedded a series of big neodymium magnets underneath the slick HDPE surface, close enough to the outer surface to hold the blade very tightly but with no real friction. In hindsight, I think a longer "arm" would increase the resolution/accuracy of the jig, plus some sort of arc at the back of the jig that the arm can "hook" under with a cam or knob tightening mechanism would ensure better results. I need to make Mk2 at some point, I think....

IMG_20200603_101326.jpg

IMG_20200603_101347.jpg

 

I really don't know if it matters about the quality of one's tools as long as expectations are managed. That makes the difference. If you know that handplane X doesn't tune well enough to produce a jointable surface, you can at least use it for what it is able to manage. Not all tools are solutions, but they're still tools. You know, it's like I've seen people with expensive gear who still can't slot a neck for those reinforcement rods and truss rod for shit. That says it all I think.

As for scarfing a neck....I think there's a lot to be said for using a hand plane to true up both surfaces. Swing by your local headstone maker's shop and see if they have a ground flat piece of stone. Spray glue and a sheet of 80 grit produces a fine sanding board to run your gang-clamped pieces over. Just get a feel for the balance of weight being applied within the sanding area and not let it tip out and round a corner or sand heavier on one edge. A smaller piece of stone that can be manipulated by hand can be moved in small circles over the pieces clamped to the bench. Again, keeping weight bearing in the centre of the area and allowing the stone to do the work.

The problem with using a table saw to do this work is that it requires several passes. The sheer depth of cut easily produces a lot of deflection in blades with larger diameters. Each pass shaves off a little more of what was missed last pass, but the likelihood of burning on the surface increases. Even large panel saws are subject to this. Captured cuts with wood either side tend to be clean, but risky because of demands on the blade to evacuate waste within the cut (burning):

20200125_123848.jpg

20200125_123949.jpg

 

Smaller contractor type saws have thinner blades which are far more likely to deflect with higher-demand cuts. Use them to get rid of your waste and clean up by hand to maintain control over the process.

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