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The Zenith - A semi hollow electric based on my mandola design


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13 minutes ago, mistermikev said:

well... thank you.  i see you freq dye above 400 and that is one of the things I'll take away.  honestly i guess it was superstition that I never considered dying when it was sanding above 400, but based on things I've read.  Will try asap!!

Ha! I rarely let conventional wisdom limit the things I'll try.

SR

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After finally finishing my mandola build I decided I needed to build something simple, as a means of stress release, to take my mind of of some big projects I'm working on. Compared to a carved acoust

Need to drop fill some epoxy in the voids and micromesh everything to a nice polish, but here's the inlay design I went with:

My LMI order will finally be here tomorrow, and I'll be working on the neck for the next little while. In the meantime I cleaned up the general profile around the scroll/cutaway and have been thinking

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You guys are better men than me. While I like the final results of sanding it feels a lot like grunt work. 50% of my time goes into getting the project 95% of the way complete, and the other 50% goes into sanding and finishing! 

When that first coat of finish goes on I'll be glad for all the sanding I've done. Until then, it's just a bit of a slog...

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34 minutes ago, ScottR said:

Ha! I rarely let conventional wisdom limit the things I'll try.

SR

well in it's defense (conventional wisdom) it has kept me out of trouble more than a few times... but yes... no harm in trying something.

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35 minutes ago, mattharris75 said:

You guys are better men than me. While I like the final results of sanding it feels a lot like grunt work. 50% of my time goes into getting the project 95% of the way complete, and the other 50% goes into sanding and finishing! 

When that first coat of finish goes on I'll be glad for all the sanding I've done. Until then, it's just a bit of a slog...

i bet the executives at fender/gibson think the entire building of the guitar is grunt work... so in the end it's really a matter of perspective!

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13 hours ago, ScottR said:

It will burnish the surface if you let your paper fill with resin. (My experience is you get corns at 400 and resin at 600--I skip 600 and go straight to 1500 micromesh).

Just guessing here, but I think it's also depending on the pressure. Or to be more exact, too much pressure keeps the dust under the paper and the friction creates heat which then melts the resins in the dust and glues it all on the paper. Something like that.

Just yesterday I watched one of Jerry Rosa's videos where he explained why he doesn't like using sanding blocks. He showed that with a block there'll soon be resin lumps on the paper whereas the same paper stays clean under his fingertips. The wide surface of the block - even a 1x2" one - doesn't let the dust from underneath as easily as the tiny spot of a fingertip and it's too easy to apply too much pressure.

Mesh type abrasives allow the dust come through and even when used with a solid block there's more space for the dust. I've used Mirka Abralon/Abranet up to 800 grit without any burnishing. The wood still feels "open" despite being smooth.

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I usually keep a scrub brush and a swatch of old denim on hand and sand for a minute, wipe the paper across the brush and then the denim and sand some more. Does a good job of keeping the paper and micromesh clear.

SR

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35 minutes ago, ScottR said:

I usually keep a scrub brush and a swatch of old denim on hand and sand for a minute, wipe the paper across the brush and then the denim and sand some more.

I always do all sanding, whether its on wood or sanding finish, within reach of my compressor hose/nozzle.

I typically blow the sandpaper and the work off about every minute or so.

Sandpaper, Abralon pads in hand, Abralon on the orbital, I always clear them about every minute with ~100psi of air.

Even if I'm Micromeshing a finish with water, I keep repeatedly blowing the piece off to dry the water out of holes and minimize any finish lifting.

I used to think a router was the one absolutely indispensable tool for guitar building, but compressed air comes in right behind it for me.

I'm rarely doing anything guitar oriented without having that compressed air hose nozzle within reach at all times.

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On 6/1/2021 at 9:44 AM, ScottR said:

I may be alone in this, but for me, sanding is kind of magical. The wood comes to life right under your fingertips.

I like sanding too with one exception: the inside of the horns on any build.

I don't have a spindle sander and I absolutely detest when the time comes when I must deal with those inside curves on the horns.

So, they're always the very last item to be attended to, I put it off as much as possible until I can't escape them any longer.

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On 6/1/2021 at 2:46 PM, ScottR said:

Ha! I rarely let conventional wisdom limit the things I'll try.

Me too, in a big way.

Most people are very risk averse, I'm just exactly the opposite.

I'll try anything with the complete understanding up front that it can all go down in flames at any minute and I could care less.

It's not the work that counts for me, it's what's in my head, because I can repeat anything if it comes down to it.

And I've found so many wonderful side roads to strange places that others would never discover that way.

Kind of the 'give a man a fish vs teach a man to fish' kind of thing.

The guitar is just a fish, and I know how to catch fish, lots of them, so one fish here or there, what's to worry?

If you're not willing to leap off the edge of the cliff, how will you ever know if you can fly or not?

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38 minutes ago, Drak said:

I always do all sanding, whether its on wood or sanding finish, within reach of my compressor hose/nozzle.

I typically blow the sandpaper and the work off about every minute or so.

Sandpaper, Abralon pads in hand, Abralon on the orbital, I always clear them about every minute with ~100psi of air.

Even if I'm Micromeshing a finish with water, I keep repeatedly blowing the piece off to dry the water out of holes and minimize any finish lifting.

I used to think a router was the one absolutely indispensable tool for guitar building, but compressed air comes in right behind it for me.

I'm rarely doing anything guitar oriented without having that compressed air hose nozzle within reach at all times.

Agreed. I left that step out for some reason.

I will say that with micromesh, the wipe on denim is often more efficient than the air hose. At least at my house.

SR

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The brush and denim method is easier to reach. In both workshops I've had access to the air hose is in the other room.

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4 hours ago, ScottR said:

I will say that with micromesh, the wipe on denim is often more efficient than the air hose. At least at my house.

I agree, its only because even the chance of finish lifting drives me crazy, otherwise I wouldn't bother with it for that.

And didn't, for many years, but occasionally I would get a finish lift unexpectedly out of nowhere.

So air-drying the nooks and crevices every few minutes was something I added in for insurance.

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2 hours ago, Bizman62 said:

In both workshops I've had access to the air hose is in the other room.

If its readily available, an air hose quickly becomes like your third hand. Truly it does.

I couldn't even imagine enjoying building w/o it now, I use it all the time.

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9 hours ago, Drak said:

If its readily available, an air hose quickly becomes like your third hand. Truly it does.

Most likely so. Not to mention that air tools are more lightweight and silent compared to their motor powered counterparts.

But yes, the bigger workshop provided by the class which is mostly used by the town woodworkers has two hoses, both equipped with a blower pistol and most likely only used for blowing dust off the tables and big machines. The society workshop I joined in January has one hose which has its home in the back of the big belt sander. Pulling the hose to the workbench there would effectively block the pathways to most of the power tools, not to mention that hand sanding in a hall with several tools plus air cleaning screaming isn't what I'd call ideal.

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I've been at the beach for the last week or so. Prior to that I'd been playing with headstock inlay design ideas. Even cut out a few failures. So I decided I'd spend some vacation time working out the design. Plenty of bad ideas on the page, but a few I liked. One of these ended up the winner, and in a week or two I should be able to show off the results...

PXL_20210608_015028758.thumb.jpg.c4054d9269a9a12191adef451ca5a012.jpg

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So many bad ways to draw an H... 🤣 But that's part of the creative process, ehh?

The finishing process is underway.   It's doing that thing that maple does, where from some angles and under some lighting it looks brilliant. And others it looks like poop. :) 

I'll let y'all guess which angle/lighting combo this is:

336235812_Zenith-FrontwithDanishOil.thumb.jpg.26807944cb024fa3a82c02d6fd918bab.jpg1912500634_Zenith-BackwithDanishOil.thumb.jpg.e2f575dcea452e187170b020177c7534.jpg

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3 hours ago, mattharris75 said:

So many bad ways to draw an H... 🤣 But that's part of the creative process, ehh?

It's been said that when you're searching for a brilliant idea you should write down every single idea you get, no matter how foolish they seem to be. One of the silliest may become the golden one with just some fine tuning. But if you ditch it right when it pops into your mind, it may be lost forever. For me there's a couple favourites in your sketches, a couple of too obvious ones and a couple that look forced. And there's one that inspired me to create yet another H, and yet another, just to visualize the ideas. 

Many of your H's seem to have an oriental twist, reminiscent to the Yin-Yang symbol. Is that coincidental or does it reflect your state of mind? Based on the balanced quality of your works I'd vote for the latter...

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4 hours ago, Bizman62 said:

Guessed wrong... But that one looks classy.

Which one was your guess? I almost used a different one, but when I got it drawn out in Illustrator I didn't like it as much as the hand drawing.

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Well, the first one up left looked nice as did the variation of it, the second from down left. Some battleaxe style in those. And the swastika style was somewhat interesting as well, the second from up left. Those three inspired me to draw a few more H's just for fun.

The one you chose matches the grain direction which I find nice. It also has a 1960's vibe, you know spaceships and all the other technology related stuff that was believed to free mankind from tedious work.

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