A bit late on guitar updates

I’ve been really bad at keeping this up to date.  There are probably about 15 posts I could make at this point, but I’ll keep it short and post a pictoral update.

I actually made a test guitar body to try a few things out.  I’ll skip all that stuff and move to the real guitars.

For these two, I wanted to try laminated linings, made of basswood and walnut in this case.  After one other attempt in laminating right on the guitar form, I made some simple fixtures and roped them together.  This worked really well.

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These will be my first cutaways.  The sides were thicknessed, primarily with the drum sander, then switching to a scraper.  The bass side was a simple bending operation.  The treble side was a bit more complicated.  I bent the waist and lower bout, then cut the side at the start of the cutaway and bent the remainder in reverse.  All this to get a good match on the wood grain and ambrosia stripe.

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The match was good enough that I decided to try to miter the point and skip binding it.  Worst case is if it didn’t turn out, I could resort to binding.

Mitered the tip.

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Came out nicely.  I even wrapped the side over the neck block, simply because I didn’t decide on a final style for the heel yet.

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Back to the linings.  Rather than just radius the inside corner, I had a scratch stock that I made.  I used it to dress the profile.  Came out well and probably didn’t take any longer than a simple radius.

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Inside detail of finished rim.

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Finished rim.  Minus soundport.

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The tops and backs were joined.

The bracing was split and prepped.

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I did a fairly tight radius on the backs.  This led to a rather unorthodox clamping method, both for the changing radii and for a quick glue up with hot hide glue,

Trial fixture.

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Better final fixture.

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I also made all the binding from raw wood as well as the rosette.

Here is the binding.

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And purfling.

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I’ll make a separate post on the rosette.

Thats about it for now.  Short post for a lot of work.

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.

Hey, first steel string… mit neck!

I’ve been slowly shaping necks.  Got the first one to where I think its a good shape.  I have a hard time telling on neck shape as I’m not much of a guitar player… hell, I don’t even own a real steel string guitar.

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Sanded both the body and the neck, crossed my fingers and glued it on.  Overall I’m fairly happy.

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There are a few things I’d like to improve as I progress.  Of course, I noticed spots that needed more sanding as soon as I looked at it in a different light.

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While the hot hide glue was heated up, I glued the fretboard on the third neck.  The second guitar is pretty close to being ready for assembly too.  Just a bit more sanding on both pieces.

I’m going to stain parts of both of the flamed maple guitars.  Hope to start that soon.  I have a few steps before I can seal with shellac.  Then the frets, then the finish.

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

Progress report… still binding.

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As much work as it is, I’m glad I do a few at a time.  Each one I do, learn something that I apply to the next one before I forget it.  For example, after the purfling goes on, I’ve really started to clean the binding ledges much better.  Seems obvious, but its hard to determine what extents to go through with out a little trial and error.  I started to use a scraper with a back light.  My new motto is: if I can see the light, it won’t be tight.  My new alternative motto is: if I can see a gap, it will look like crap. My pg-13 motto is: make it fit, or it will look like shit.  Maybe I spend too much time by myself in the shop.

Anyhew…

The binding and graft are done on the second flamed maple guitar.  A pic of the channel mid-excavation is included for your viewing pleasure (yay, get excited).

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Ledges and purfling are done on the third guitar, that’s the cherry one.  Been kicking around several ideas for the graft.  Just decided on a different one in the car this morning.  Lots of little miters again.  Cut it and installed this morning.  Waiting for it to dry dry before continuing with binding, which I hope to finish this evening.

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If all goes well, I should have all three cleaned up tomorrow.  Minus sanding, which I will save for glue drying periods when I work on the necks.

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.