Some catching up to do here

I guess I’ve progressed a bit and neglected to post.

All three guitars were fretted, sanded, pore filled where needed, and coated with shellac prior to finishing.

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I bought an HVLP gun.  My finish is KTM9 waterborne lacquer.  Cleaned up the basement and added some plastic sheeting to make my spray booth bigger.  Then gave it a shot.  first time using a spray gun.

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5 coats of a 50% lacquer 50% alcohol mix.  Then I had to drop fill these nasty little divots.

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Took longer than expected.  Some trial and error on spraying, then how much to drop fill.  I was hoping to finish before I left town for two weeks, but that didn’t happen.  I should be sanding and doing more (and the last) coats the first guitar soon.  Then followed by the next two.  Then on to bridges while the finish cures for two weeks before I can wet sand.

Here is where I left them before I left town a couple weeks ago.

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Working my way towards a finish

 

 

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Masked off the two flamed maple guitars for stain.  Opposite color schemes for these.

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Used a homemade walnut stain I made last fall.  Dark back and sides on one, dark bindings on the other.

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Added a couple coats of boiled linseed oil/turpentine mix to help accent the figure, careful to mask off the top and neck.

I have the neck on the third guitar, but I’m not happy with how it seated.  I may remove it and reset it.  I guess I’ll get a bit of experience steaming apart a neck joint.  Hope to get that done soon and the neck back on with a nicer fit.

Then on to shellac sealing, fretting, bridge making and the lacquer finish.

Expletive, expletive dovetail neck joint

Ok, this was tough.  Probably one of the most challenging things I’ve done so far.

The hand cut dove tail neck joint.

Started my making templates to lay out the pieces.

dovetail templates

Marked the mortise on the body first.

mortise marking

Then cut and chiseled it out.

yikes

Other than the trepidation of taking a saw to a newly finished guitar body, this went pretty smoothly.

The neck then has to be cut at a slight angle to match the angle of the top, in this case about 2 degrees.  Then, using the templates, I marked out the tail on the end of the neck. Cutting to these lines at two different angles is a bit tricky, but luckily they are supposed to be cut oversize and trimmed down to fit.

Then the fitting.  This was the difficult part.  Lots of different things to look for and consider before removing material anywhere.  Dovetail needs to slide in tight and (1)the top of the neck must be flush with the body.  (2)The neck has to be flat to the soundboard top and not twisted in either direction.  (3)Neck has to be centered on the joint and the (4)center line from the neck must be aligned to the center line on the body, no angle left to right.  (5)Then the shoulders, where the neck meets the body, must be flat with no gaps underneath.  Shaving something in one spot could very well change what happens in 1 or more of the other critical areas.

checking twist

So, got that, most of it went fine with a bit of thought.  The flat shoulders were my real issue.  Once I got the dovetail in and all the angles right, my shoulders needed to be improved.  Got those touched up and the neck ended up down too far into the body.  Ok, glued veneer to the tail, let it dry, then started fitting all over again.

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Finally got it.

neck dovetail

Not the cleanest thing, but I think it will work.  For a first time, it went OK.  I did learn a lot, which I should help on the next ones… make the shoulders perfectly flat first!

 

Well that’s enough of these for now.

Gallery

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Finished the binding and end graft on all three.  Just did some minor variations on the ends.  The cherry guitar got rosewood trim.  The end on that one is a bit busy, but I think the contrast will tone down … Continue reading

This is the end… graft.

End graft

Its a bit different than most, but I wanted to connect the rosewood purfling lines on the front and back.   I used a strip in the center of the end graft to make the connection, rather than continuing the binding all the way around, as in a traditional binding scheme.  Used a razor saw, chisel and router plane to excavate the the end channel.  I’d have to imagine I was done before I could have devised a fixture to route it.  One of the reasons I love hand tools… the binding ledges are a different story.

The first OO is all bound.  Scraped down the bindings and purfling.  Still need to sand everything.  The scheme I had in mind was to mirror the rosette color scheme.  Pretty happy with how it came out.  Overall there were very few gaps.  The gaps on my first guitar(s) were bigger and virtually disappeared after a bit of work on the finish, to the point where I can barely see them (believe me, I know exactly there they are).

Binding and rosette

Binding and rosette

Back view

Back view

Front view

Front view

 

Working on the second flamed maple guitar.  I’ll probably do the same thing?  Sometimes I change things in process.  Not sure what I’ll do on the third yet, but I have some ideas.