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Finished! A Guitar Bouzouki (don't you know what one of THOSE is?)


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OK - putting a new burr on a blunt scraper.

As I have said, there are many ways of doing this and, in the end, you will find the one that suits you best.

But all methods start off with the same principle:

  1. Removing the old burr
  2. Flattening the main edges
  3. Removing any burrs formed while doing step 2

Basically, you want to start with the scraper having a completely flat edge with sharp, right angle corners.

You will then use a hard rod or similar to squash the top of the edge and this will splay metal either side.  This is magnified and exaggerated but shows the principle.  The blue is the scraper end-on.  The black is a hard metal rod being drawn along the length of one of the main edges of the scraper.  As it squashes the top of the scraper edge, a minute burr forms either side:

2077422432_Scraperburnish.thumb.JPG.f6708cc15efc3cb8ea6f19d04c25dc78.JPG

 

While this would already scrape to an extent, it's not quite at the right angle for the wood-plane effect.  And so you run the hard metal rod along the length again, but this time at an angle of around 20 degrees to bend that sharp burr edge slightly down:

1298613729_Scraperburnish2.JPG.bfc7f3e58f314194e16d405eadc15a7f.JPG

This is done along both edges so that you have two cutting edges per side.

 

So, for me, this works:

  1. It is essential that the length of the scraper edge is COMPLETELY flat and that the sides are completely burr free and square to the top.  I find that a wood block with a slot cut at 90 degrees on my bandsaw works perfectly.  You can flatten the edge on a file, progressive sandgrits stuck to glass, a water stone or - my preference - the diamond stones I use for sharpening my chisels.  I use water as the lubricant:_MG_1938.thumb.JPG.3629261e1bf1a8eff466b9f48cc2c1ff.JPG
  2. I then remove the resulting burr on the same stone:_MG_1939.thumb.JPG.df0e5890493f729a3b68987b622040ce.JPG
  3. I do steps 1 & 2 a couple of times to make absolutely sure
  4. I then clamp the card in my vice, run a teeny drop of oil along the edge and then run any round steel rod that is going to be harder than the spring steel firmly along the length, holding the rod two handed and keeping the rod completely level.  Personally, I press pretty hard and do this two or three times.   I do have a purpose-made burnishing rod for this, but the chrome-vanadium shaft of the shown screwdriver works just as well.  Some people use carbide tools instead of a metal rod...as long as it is harder than the scraper itself, it should work:_MG_1940.thumb.JPG.4155f277f8c24586dd31062b6f390375.JPG
  5. You will NOT be able to see the burr - but you should now be able to feel it.  If I can't feel a burr, I start steps 1 and 2 again
  6. Once I can feel there is a burr. then I use the same rod, again with a teeny wipe of oil, to bend the burr at around 20 degrees to the top face.  I still hold the rod two handed, put press quite lightly - it is only a teeny burr I am bending:_MG_1942.thumb.JPG.220d5fc785651ff929344dcd141c567d.JPG
  7.   I do the same to bend the burr on the other edge_MG_1941.thumb.JPG.d79fe5fec2da6a32910159852e2b830a.JPG

I then just wipe the oil off the edge (with a cloth - don't use your finger...the burr might be pretty invisible but it will cut you) and then I try the scraper on a piece of hardish wood :)

 

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I had sent P a profile gauge to take the neck profiles from his present bouzouki.  While I can't replicate these exactly because he has asked for the fingerboard to be wider and shallower than his present one, I will be replicating the 'soft V' at the lower frets (still a bit more to do here!)...  :

_MG_1949.thumb.JPG.93ee3f23f3f35ee8424032d1766911c5.JPG

 ...progressing to a more 'C' shape further down (a lot more to do here!):

_MG_1950.thumb.JPG.e1bb8b8262a391f8b64d5fb7c5495d70.JPG

Ah - that's a bit better... :

_MG_1954.thumb.JPG.5066110153daf6578aad5375ec3d76a6.JPG
Now I'm a bit odd.  I always have to 'air guitar' a build to see if the profile is right - even if I've never played a particular instrument.  While I have never played a bouzouki, I can tell if it feels as I would expect based on P's profile measurements.  Besides...it gives me an excuse to do a quick gratuitous mockup with the 2-coats-done-2ish-to do-body :) 

Bear in mind that the neck will darken and amber up a touch when the finish is put on:

_MG_1967.thumb.JPG.ca9aaadbe67555345b773a49bf57f763.JPG

_MG_1964.thumb.JPG.363e59d2993e39b86256bc690c558de0.JPG

_MG_1965.thumb.JPG.2d40f369cab15b54e43893c0fbc0844f.JPG

 The neck actually feels great even though it is significantly deeper than a guitar or bass.  The relative slimness and that V at the lower frets makes fretboard access a breeze.

So, so far so good....

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11 hours ago, Prostheta said:

I'm wondering if reinforcements are common in long-thin necks such as these?

Seems to be about 50:50 from the build examples I can see.  I think the neck grain directions and centre splice will avoid any issues, but I would have been more nervous if it had been mahogany rather than rock maple - those bottom strings are VERY taut.

Anyway - a big step forward, but DON'T y'all get too excited that another tortuous Andyjr1515 thread is at last coming to an end.  This is far from finished :D

The initial coats of varnish are on the body, hardening before the flattening and final coats, and the basic neck shape is carved.  But before doing that final varnishing, there is the all-essential check fit-and-function fettling.

With a bass and solid guitar, this is usually all handled with tweaks to the hardware - but on an acoustic, pretty much everything is hardwired and so involves sanding, chiselling and sometimes drilling!  So the best time to do that is before the final finish coat goes on. 

But in all other respects, it's a 'live' mockup.  A sacrificial set of strings, a temporary bit of bone in the saddle slot, truss rod tensioned and tuned fully up to pitch at GDAD tuning:

 _MG_1978.thumb.JPG.8c769f005e2b7441c5d566d4e5c9ae8b.JPG 

The great news is that is hasn't clapped hands in spite of the string tension!  :) 

Things that need tweaking:

- neck angle is still not right. Not a surprise as now we are dealing with real wood under real tension rather than a line on a drawing. Action is too high at a 'normal' saddle height and so the neck angle needs increasing by more filing at the heel

- the spacing of the bottom G pair of strings isn't quite right.  Allowing for the thickness of the strings, the gaps between each pair to the other pairs should be even and the lower G is about 1mm out.  While irritating that my arithmetic clearly had a flaw, it's actually quite a straightforward fix and a lot easier - again - now we have actual strings in actual place and tension to measure.

Oh...and it sounds GREAT (OK...I admit that is based on a hunch of what a guitar bouzouki should sound like ;) )

Best with headphones, but here's a quick clip:

Anyway, daughter wedding stops play for a few days now.  I'll leave it strung up under tension during that time which is a useful thing to do in any case :)

 

 

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Yep. Totally sounds like a guizouki should, as your prior experience building so many of them should tell you, I'm sure :rolleyes:;)

It's certainly a full-sounding instrument, almost like some kind of alto-12 string acoustic (with a 33% VAT on the number of strings, of course).

I feel like your next musical calling in life is going to be fronting a reformed 70s folk-rock group with that thing, Andy? Fairport Convention eat your heart out...

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  • 2 weeks later...

And loads of fiddling around with neck angles, trussrod covers, saddle heights and intonations, heel carves and side dots, we've at last got to the final finishing stage.  This is how it looks (fully functional with correct action height and intonation) before disassembly ready for the final gloss coats on the body and the start of the satin finish process for the neck:

_MG_2007.thumb.JPG.56c348d2e5847a3fbdde2f1f63ed0c0a.JPG

Below is the neck before the final heel carve.  The neck will yellow and darken a bit with the finishing.  I fitted luminlay side dots, not that P requested them, but more that the black surround sets off the black/white/black feature line so well :)

_MG_1988.thumb.JPG.af4d3b9cb17f1754e400bd4fae062e78.JPG

That dark line on the heel is a 'feature' that I've carved into.  It's too deep to carve out and so will have to stay ;)

 

 

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39 minutes ago, Andyjr1515 said:

the black surround sets off the black/white/black feature line so well

The way you do that is sublime, Andy.

The instrument is beautiful. The narrow neck takes a minute to adjust to....but no more than a minute.:)

The line on the heel adds a touch of character.

Bravo.

SR

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2 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

That dark line on the heel is a 'feature' that I've carved into.

What you really meant to say was, 'that dark line on the heel is entirely intentional and I specifically chose the timber for the neck so that it would reveal itself as a feature as I carved into it'.

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3 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

And loads of fiddling around with neck angles, trussrod covers, saddle heights and intonations, heel carves and side dots, we've at last got to the final finishing stage.  This is how it looks (fully functional with correct action height and intonation) before disassembly ready for the final gloss coats on the body and the start of the satin finish process for the neck:

_MG_2007.thumb.JPG.56c348d2e5847a3fbdde2f1f63ed0c0a.JPG

Below is the neck before the final heel carve.  The neck will yellow and darken a bit with the finishing.  I fitted luminlay side dots, not that P requested them, but more that the black surround sets off the black/white/black feature line so well :)

_MG_1988.thumb.JPG.af4d3b9cb17f1754e400bd4fae062e78.JPG

That dark line on the heel is a 'feature' that I've carved into.  It's too deep to carve out and so will have to stay ;)

 

 

Nice, FYI Mandolin family instruments usually have the dot at the tenth rather than the ninth fret.  

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9 hours ago, Workingman said:

Nice, FYI Mandolin family instruments usually have the dot at the tenth rather than the ninth fret.  

Phew!   I checked the mail that P sent when we were talking about the top and side dots and he definitely specifies 9th fret. :)  

I guess that it is because his main instrument is bass guitar so I presume that mentally, he thinks bass layout even when he is playing bouzouki. 

Also, he has opted for the GDAD tuning (which is, I suppose, a transposition of the guitar DADGAD?) rather than the more traditional GDAE.  Whether that makes a difference I have no idea.  Let's face it, it's only 4 months ago that I found out that there was such a thing as a guitar bouzouki! :D

Anyway, thanks for raising it...might have resulted in an awkward silence when I passed it across to him :lol:

 

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The final varnish coats are going on the body - back and sides done and a very light final coat to do on the top and the finishing on the neck has started:

_MG_2010.thumb.JPG.d7c8765909146a8354d2a04bce99adc6.JPG

Before I disassembled it, with the action and intonation now set, I did a quick soundclip.  I was going to call it "A Tune To Play If You Are Playing Something You Don't Know How To Play" but there wasn't enough room in the Soundcloud Title box, so I've called it "Ignorance is Bliss" instead ;)   As always with acoustics, best with headphones:

 

 

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Those who have seen my previous builds know that, with the way I apply gloss finish - polyurethane varnish brushed on - I add and sand back coats until I judge I am unlikely to be able to do another one any better.  I can't replicate top pro finishes, but do try to get something that is fit for purpose and 'looks OK'.  So when I get a coat that I think will achieve that after final polishing (done after a week or so of hardening) then I STOP...because I know that further coats are more likely to be worse rather than better. :) 

And I'm stopping here.  There are bits where the finish has sunk into previously invisible hollows, there are bits where the grain ripples are a little more pronounced, but I don't think I can do any better than this however more sand backs and coats I do:

_MG_2012.thumb.JPG.bb2151e3da931fca67386fbeec5d042f.JPG

_MG_2017.thumb.JPG.449b23115957c8659fee46d8b32dfba7.JPG

_MG_2014.thumb.JPG.fb8974bc93874f4e252f77a4130fc2fb.JPG

So it will now sit for a week to harden and then will be polished up (and should polish up nicely) and reassembled :)

 

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22 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

The final varnish coats are going on the body - back and sides done and a very light final coat to do on the top and the finishing on the neck has started:

_MG_2010.thumb.JPG.d7c8765909146a8354d2a04bce99adc6.JPG

Before I disassembled it, with the action and intonation now set, I did a quick soundclip.  I was going to call it "A Tune To Play If You Are Playing Something You Don't Know How To Play" but there wasn't enough room in the Soundcloud Title box, so I've called it "Ignorance is Bliss" instead ;)   As always with acoustics, best with headphones:

 

 

This sounds amazing. It sounds like an open tuning. Don't sell your blissful ignorance short. That was really nice.

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To me, that's a far superior style of finish 0n an acoustic than a wrapped in plastic flawless gloss. Part of the magic of an acoustic is that the wood itself sings and is an organic aspect of the instrument. Putting that behind a sheet of plastic seems unusual at best.

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On 8/29/2020 at 9:23 AM, Andyjr1515 said:

 

Before I disassembled it, with the action and intonation now set, I did a quick soundclip.  I was going to call it "A Tune To Play If You Are Playing Something You Don't Know How To Play" but there wasn't enough room in the Soundcloud Title box, so I've called it "Ignorance is Bliss" instead ;)   As always with acoustics, best with headphones:

 

 

You must have done this right Andy. It sounds exactly like all the other guitar bouzoukis I've ever heard.

SR

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On 8/17/2020 at 9:07 AM, Andyjr1515 said:

Oh...and it sounds GREAT (OK...I admit that is based on a hunch of what a guitar bouzouki should sound like ;) )

Best with headphones, but here's a quick clip:

Anyway, daughter wedding stops play for a few days now.  I'll leave it strung up under tension during that time which is a useful thing to do in any case :)

 

 

sounds great... pretty full and clear.  Sounds a bit like a 12 string, but then a bit like one of those harpsichord/pianos.  very unique.  way to take the path less traveled!

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