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Everything posted by Maikkeli

  1. Whatever you do I would prefer not to use plastic binding, use a flashy wood. Putting plastic is like steel wheels under your Corvette.
  2. Sounds like you already know most of the important contacts! DLH does sell wood in small quantities, just email them and ask for a price list (they have one at least in Finnish). If you really want something special and native ask Ruokangas for some arctic birch to top your Ricky. I've been considering a composite fretboard by Flaxwood for my next project (whenever the time comes), contact the guys in Joensuu if you're feeling ecological!
  3. Firstly, Prostheta, officially welcome to my country! Before getting into voting a few tips for an expatriot luthier in Finland - I've been an expat myself and know how helpful advice can be. A couple of links that may come of use: Woods: http://www.dlh-finland.fi/ www.amfisound.fi http://www.ruokangas.fi Tools: http://www.korpi-instruments.com/ Electronics: http://www.spelektroniikka.fi/luet2002.htm (GP-pages in catalog, also English description) http://www.uraltone.com (nice place for gtr components, amp parts, speakers etc) Sorry to hear that you're short of tools. Are you aware of the folk high school (kansalaisopisto) system in Finland? You could get onto a woodwork class to have access to decent tools. Alternatively you could talk to a headmaster/woodworks teacher at a local primary/secondary school, you live in a small town so they might be flexible enough to give you keys to the class for the summer. BTW, did you know that there's a luthier school in Ikaalinen just some 120km from where you live? They may be able to help you, too. There are numerous professional guitar makers in Finland considering the size of our population. Then into your poll which I think is an unfair one (5 basses, 1 gtr). Knowing your research on the Red Special OF COURSE you should make one if you haven't by now! However, as a guitarist I couldn't care less to make a bass myself so I understand if you choose to go for a bass. Unfortunately I know nothing about basses so I cannot help. The Rickys are my favourite, have a look at this and this one my friends at Amfisound made for one of Finland's front row bassists.
  4. Holy s*#t, that is one beaute!! I have a Korean Tele that I hardly play, maybe I should redo the top with one of the fancy leaves, I like the orange one. Anyway, took your advice and photographed my gold top in spring sunshine for GOTM, go vote!
  5. Aurum a.k.a. the Real Gold Top LP (hence the name, “gold” in latin) Neck: 2-piece mahogany, matte PU finish Fretboard: ebony, 24.75” scale, 12” radius, 22 medium jumbo frets, vine/floral inlay (square silver stock, MOP, Baltic amber, gold leaf) Headstock: ebony, floral inlay, etched truss-rod cover, Planet Waves auto-trim locking tuners, Earvana saddle Body: single piece mahogany, maple top, tummy cut and armrest, 23k gold leaf top, multiple bindings, sculpted heel, PU finish Bridge & Tailpiece: TonePros Tune-o-matic Pickups: Bare Knuckle Pickups – The Mule calibrated set Electronics: N-tune chromatic tuner on toggle switch plate (1st push/pull tone pot activates tuner and mutes the output), phase switch (2nd push/pull tone pot) For more photos and gilding tips see build thread and my etching tutorial.
  6. Prostheta, I like your Finnish ;-) What's your kesäprojekti? Amfisound is a good source for wood but their stock varies. I know the guys very well, their workshop is on the other side of my town and I deal with them frequently. I can recommend both their tonewoods and guitars. Have you read the two books about Finnish luthiers? GOTM - will do!
  7. Classy! I love the minimalistic approach on the soundholes. Keep it up!
  8. Fini! Really satisfied with improved playability due to the modified front and back contour. My first experience with BKP pups - Man, the Mules rock!! THE END
  9. ... and the final bits... Covers N-tune chromatic tuner
  10. Headstock put together. Planet Waves tuners, Earvana saddle and custom truss rod cover (see tutorial). Lacqueur left matte behind the neck
  11. After weeks of radio silence some pics on the final phases of the gtr. Polishing Mounting the posts Getting there...
  12. The first round of clearcoat over the gold has now dried. All irregularities of the gilding show through the PU finish, was naive to expect anything else, but I really fancy the handcrafted appearance. Would be a shame if it was mistaken for a regular gold top PS. The March issue of Guitarist magazine had a 12-string resonator with a gilded resonator cover plate by Versoul, my fellow countryman.
  13. Terve! Asun Oulun seudulla. Kitarapuut ostan Amfisoundilta. Monet tilaa tuolta. Hauskat sivut sulla!
  14. Motorcycle tank, yes! Vinny, have a look at this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnOp0R4A0QA. When you're finished post a pick, no matter how off-topic it is.
  15. Go ahead, man! Send me a PM if you need more detailed guilding tips. And thanks for the comments! I really didn't know what was coming before the work was done, hate to practice with something like this. First coat of lacquer on Thu, let's hope it maintains the visual appeal.
  16. My vote went for my neighbor, the Swede. I aint know nothing about resonators but this is an appealing concept, beautiful aesthetics, lovely color, classy truss rod cover! But WHY WHY WHY is the decal partly hidden behind the tuner bushers, you naughty boy!
  17. WezV, really impessive! Especially I like the bass.
  18. Just found this link with AMAZING leafs. Look at the variagated leafs on the imitation leafs page. These would make one beautiful guitar!!
  19. Thanks, guys, for your positive comments! Osorio, I hope I didn't oppose the spell ;-) By request, a few words about the technique. First, I don't consider myself an expert but merely an amateur, I've done a few picture frames and then this guitar. The only way to learn the technique is trial'n'error, however, you don't have to practice with real gold, instead use faux gold that costs a fraction. I will tell you how I did it but I know it's not the only way. There are loads of videos on Youtube if you have the patience to go them through. 1. The surface. The type of surface will make a BIG difference how the guilding will look. Leaf gold is EXTREMELY thin, so every scratch or irregularity of the surface to be guilded will show after the gold is applied. If the surface is irregular the gold can break, but this can be a good thing. I've seen picture frames and bowls which have had a dark color under the gold and when the gold cracks the color shows and gives an antique/vintage look. If you don't want the cracks to show you should use a base color similar to the metal used for coating or a smooth finished surface. Some experts say the base color will show under the gold, however, I couldn't tell a difference between the maple and mahogany on my top. The surface on this particular guitar had several coats of polyurethane and sanded smooth (800 grit or something) to help the guilding appear smooth. 2. The adhesive. This may also be called mixtion. This is applied on the surface to attach the leaf. The stuff I used is ready for guilding after 30 minutes of drying. There are adhesives that dry slower but this time was fine for me (it took about 1h to do the guilding and the adhesive didn't show any signs of drying). There are also other types of adhesives available that may be better if you want to polish the leaf but I don't know about them. I've even read that someone has applied the gold directly on fresh lacquer but haven't tried it. I spreaded the adhesive using a piece of fine sponge/mattress, however, it left some marks that were visible under the gold. Some recommend using a brush however the marks may be even more pronounced (look at guilded painting frames and you will actually see the brush marks). 3. The leaf. I used 23 carat spanish gold. This is EXTREMELY thin (1/6000-1/8000 of a millimeter) and thus VERY fragile. There are cheaper and easier options (don't be fooled by ads selling gold for $10/book, this is not real gold, real gold costs anything between $30-$90, with one book with 25 pieces of 8x8cm sheets you can cover the whole top). I practiced with some faux gold that was much thicker and easier to work with. Faux gold is an alloy of metals to make it look like gold. Silver is available, I've also read about copper. Found this link after a quick search, I got my stuff from Europe. The leafs come in booklets between thin pages (there is also leaf gold that is attached to a paper and peels when rubbed, however, I don't think it's good for large surfaces). It is very difficult to cut the gold but can be done with the blade of an exacto knife. The pros use a leather cushion as cutting surface that costs a fortune. With faux gold I could move the leafs with cotton gloves but with real gold no chance. You need to get a very fine wide brush, the ones particularly made for this job are squirrel hair. The brush is wiped against your cheek or clothes to make it a little static and then the edge of the leaf is gently touched which will attach it to the brush. Then the leaf is quickly but carefully moved to the surface. It does not matter if adjacent leafs overlap as the junction can be carefully wiped with another brush or cotton cloth and the extra gold will peel off. You can wipe these bits to small areas that lack gold and they will turn fine after polishing. If you end up with areas that miss gold you can reapply adhesive later with a brush and cover this with a small piece of leaf. 4. Polishing. After covering the whole surface I GENTLY polished the surface with circular moves using a cotton cloth. This will remove most irregularities and make the surface appear continuous, leaf seams are hardly visible. Agate stones are used for rubbing to create extremely polished surfaces but check that it can be used with the type of adhesive you use. The cloth will leave small marks on the gold, some make swirl marks on purpose. 5. Binding. I tried scrubbing the binded edge visible the following morning but the adhesive was still soft. After drying for about a day it could be scrubbed but this was more difficult than scrubbing paint/lacquer as the adhesive was still a little sticky. 6. Finishing. Dunno, will know later this week. With small pieces I've practiced it looks like some character of the gold is lost after a clear coat. Using matte lacquer came into my mind but I'll probably want a polished surface. By itself the gold looks extremely attractive but is far too thin and fragile to be left like that. Hope this gives some idea to guilding. I'm happy to answer any questions with my amateur knowledge. If people are interested I can consider making a video tutorial once I'm more experienced.
  20. This is what I've been waiting for. I finally got into guilding. After finishing the top with several coats of polyurethane and sanding it smooth I applied the mixtion - the substance used to attach the gold leaf. After 30min of drying, the gold is moved from the booklet of leaves on the surface using a brush made of squirrel hair. Very delicate business.
  21. Some photos of the body being binded and glued to the neck, and the first look into hardware.
  22. After weeks of radio silence I'm updating the build thread the real Gold Top. Here are some pics of the neck being put together, shaping the neck, fretting and working on the headstock. I recently made a truss rod cover from brass by etching the custom graphics. For details see tutorial. The guitar is named "Aurum", gold in latin.
  23. Many thanks to Miika Niemimen for this excellent tutorial. Miika's guitar project which cover was made for can be found here on the forums: Real gold top Les Paul Hi folks! Thought I'd share what I created yesterday. I'm working on a gold top LesPaul (haven't updated the build thread lately, will soon). Well, I wanted to make a custom trussrod cover with my own graphics and using material that would match the gold tuners and overall gold theme of the guitar. Brass looks very much like gold when polished so I went for that, but you could use other metals. I recently learned an etching technique to make metal signs so I used the same method here. The technique is similar as making circuit boards so I'd start the search for chemicals at your local electronics component store. Sounds complicated and, yes, it does take a little testing but not very difficult at all. OK, I could have taken the brass plate to be CNC'd but that's really not my point - I really respect handcraft and want to do things by myself. So here's the way to etch if you want to try it for your unique trussrod cover, or customize any other metal part on your guitar (metal pickup covers, pot knobs, scratch plates, neck mounting plates - you name it). WARNING: Be careful with those chemicals! Use protective gloves, don't breathe the fumes, don't mix them and dispose properly (not in the sink!) Create your custom graphics. Photocopy/print it on overhead transparency film. You could use a negative image to create a darker appearance. ("Aurum" is the name for my guitar, latin for "gold"). Polish brass plate using steel wool Cover brass with photo-resist laquer spray (eg. Positiv20) Allow to dry for 24h (in dark!) or heat at 70°C (160°F) for 15min Lay film on top of the metal and expose for 3min with ultraviolet light. I've heard you can use a standard bulb and expose for 1hr (haven't tried). The UV-light cost $5 at my local electronics store. Develop the exposed plate in sodium hydroxide (NaOH) solution (7g/litre of water). The exposed lacquer will dissolve in a few minutes and the unexposed will protect the metal from dissolving in the next phase. Wash the plate and look for any discontinuities in the lacquer. You can correct these with a regular permanent marker. Treat the plate with ferrichloride (FeCl3) solution for about 1 hour (500g of FeCl3 granules per 1 liter of warm water). Look at the plate every now and then. If some part is not dissolving correctly use a needle to scratch the excess lacquer. If a protected area is eroding use the marker to protect it and you may be able to hide the flaw in the polishing stage. The etching is deep enough when you can feel it with your finger/nail. You can enhance the eroded lines by applying gun blue (ask from you local gun store) with a cotton wool stick. Polish with fine grit paper (I used 2000) and a woollen sock. Reapply gun blue and polish again if you're not satisfied with the darkness. Trim the plate edge with tools of your choice (eg. Dremel, file and sand paper). A layer of lacquer will prevent the brass from oxidizing.
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