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 Post subject: Re: The Coral Snake
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 1:16 am 
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Yo Alan! Glad you stumbled in. Doc-u-build really doesn't seem to get many viewers.

When I'm scoring into the plates, I have the long end, curved side of the tool bearing against the ribs. For scoring into the ribs, I have the short, flat side of the tool bearing against the plate... usually with that little wood block taped to it. You keep it parallel just by visual, and holding with both hands.

But as said, I'm going to grind the corners off the short flat side of the tool next time, so I can use it without the block on the soundboard. When I used it without the block before, the corners made a nasty dent line. This time, the block made a nasty gouge... hopefully the smooth cornered flat surface will finally be the answer.

But I'll still use the guide block on the back, since that's usually a hard enough wood not to be dented, a little more heavily domed so the tool's 90 degree angle doesn't quite match the angle between the rib and plate surfaces at the edge, and often majorly angled with a Manzer wedge which makes the block entirely necessary.


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 Post subject: Re: The Coral Snake
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 2:13 am 
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I dig what yer sayin', Dennis.
I put some edge banding tape on my Sloane cutter,
to get a .050 cut.
It wouln't go less than .060".
Guess I'll have to do the same with the gramil.
My main probby is the waste wood gets stuck in the darn thing.
Maybe if I put a block like yours,
wider than mine,
will let the cutter not get all jambed up
Thanks!
Oh, I really dig your tuning PEGS!


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 Post subject: Re: The Coral Snake
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:33 am 
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Ok, finally getting some momentum going again. First it was too cold outside to bend that other binding strip, and then I've been too distracted by various things to properly focus, and I prefer to just stay out of the shop in that case. So, the top remains unbound, but I did make the bridge.

Start by squaring up the blank and arching the bottom of it, plus a few markings...
Attachment:
Bridge1.jpg

I arch at this stage while it's over-length, because it's hard to get a smooth arch right to the ends later. This way you can let the ends be a little flat or rounded, and just cut them off to get to the good part. Also means you won't be losing any height after all the rest of the shaping is done.

Then poke the string hole locations with an awl, and drill them with a 2mm brad point bit.
Attachment:
Bridge2.jpg

This is a saddle-less bridge, as in the original guitar. Notice the holes are not in a perfectly straight line. Trying to compensate for the string diameters a bit so the bottoms of the strings are constant distance above the frets, but I think I got the G up a little bit too high... might have to file a notch into the top of the bridge to lower it some.

Then saw the tie block edges, and knife/chisel away the waste on the wings.
Attachment:
Bridge3.jpg

I decided to make the tie block edges slanted instead of vertical, as the 90 degree corner always looks to sharp to my eye.

Then chisel away the back of the tie block and round everything over, and it's pretty much done.
Attachment:
Bridge4.jpg

The string holes aren't perfectly even on the back (I drilled them by hand from the front), but I didn't want to cut it any thinner on the back just for appearance. They'll be covered by the string ends anyway. It's quite light weight at about 13 grams. Now I'm even more tempted to go through with my idea for a sister build, and use a denser bridge wood to see how that affects the sound.

Here it is in place on the guitar, also with a couple coats of shellac to keep it clean.
Attachment:
BridgeInPlace.jpg

Tomorrow I'll get that binding strip done and glue that up. Then all that remains is the fingerboard, and I can glue down the bridge and see how this thing sounds. Ought to be a good place to stop and get to work on my challenge build, while I let it settle in and find out if I have to pull the back and add fan braces.


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 Post subject: Re: The Coral Snake
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 4:46 am 
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Ok, so I did indeed get that binding strip bent the other day. Got a shot of my bending setup too. It's about as non-fancy as it gets, with the dimmer switch dangling in the air like that :) Actually pretty convenient though.
Attachment:
BindingBending.jpg

I suppose I'll have to try and clean off that dark spot on the pipe before I bend anything light colored. These camatillo bindings put out a lot of oil/resin when heated.

All set for glue. I use LMI's binding tape, and hot hide glue.
Attachment:
BindingGlue1.jpg

First half done.
Attachment:
BindingGlue2.jpg

Now the slightly more challenging second half, due to the meeting at the tail.
Attachment:
BindingGlue3.jpg

Purfling strip I just scored with a knife and snapped. Looks like I got the length just about right. Now for the binding, guesstimate the length, and saw, as vertically as possible.
Attachment:
BindingGlue4.jpg

Looks like I got it about right, maybe a hair short.. but better than too long, as that would mean not fully seating in the channel.

Wait a few hours for it all to dry, peel off the tape. I think the shellac helped a lot here. No major fibers peeled up by the tape. Some minor tearing of the surface where bits of the shellac went with the tape, but should scrape out very easily.
Attachment:
BindingGlue5.jpg

Looks like a moderately successful job. A few gaps, but nothing bad enough to do anything about. Just fill 'em in with more hide glue.
Attachment:
BindingGap1.jpg

Attachment:
BindingGap2.jpg


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 Post subject: Re: The Coral Snake
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:20 am 
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Now for the leveling of the binding. My strips were quite a bit too thick still, so this is going to take a while. First, level the top. Easy, just a little chiseling to get it close, and scrape flush. The shellac on the top makes a nice indicator of when it's level. Notice the tape on the corners of the scraper, to keep from scratching the top.
Attachment:
BindingScraping.jpg

Oh, and before this, I steamed out all the little dings in the top. Even that nasty spot from the gramil block pretty much vanished bliss

Then careful chiseling all the way around the sides to get it close (made extra hard by the squirrely grain in this wood), followed by more scraping, and it's all nice and pretty.
Attachment:
BindingLevel.jpg

I actually had to wear safety glasses for a lot of this, as chiseling hide glue sends tiny fragments zinging all over the place, and I generally have my eyes right near where I'm working so I can see as clearly as possible.

I also scraped around the sharp edge at 45 degrees to soften it a bit, but I'll be rounding over the binding more significantly later, after I get the back done. I like soft round edges, and hate sharp ones that dig into my arm.

Most of the gaps turned out to be not as bad as they looked, almost unnoticeable now. Except for the big one on the treble side upper bout, which I can now see was an error in cutting the channel. There's a little "step" in the bottom of the channel, which is holding the binding away from sitting level on the bottom here. Probably tilted the gramil or something and stuck the blade in at the wrong distance. Oh well, still not bad enough to do anything about it.
Attachment:
BindingGap3.jpg

The tail seam is now properly visible as well. Also not as perfect as I'd like, but it'll do. Of course, the seam of the sides is horrible, and will be replaced with an inlay (snakewood :) ).
Attachment:
BindingTailSeam.jpg


Next up is the fingerboard. Slotting is done, but still need to do the tapering and binding, so I'll wait until that's done and get all the pics in one update.


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 Post subject: Re: The Coral Snake
PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 10:04 pm 
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Lookin' good, Dennis the menace.
Is that going to be a coral snake inlay on the tail?
;) ;) ;)
Or a rattler?


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 Post subject: Re: The Coral Snake
PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:27 am 
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alan stassforth wrote:
Lookin' good, Dennis the menace.
Is that going to be a coral snake inlay on the tail?
;) ;) ;)
Or a rattler?

I was thinking a bit simpler... just a plain strip of snakewood, bordered by half width binding strips. I suppose I could add a snake wrapped around it though, similar to the logo painting. Maybe make the strip just one full width piece of binding, and make the snake out of snakewood? Probably a rattler or boa then, by the color. But maybe not enough color contrast against the rosewood... I'm definitely too lazy to do another coral snake, with all those little tiles though. Hmm.

Anyway, moving on to the progress update, the fingerboard is done and (hopefully) glued on.

First, cut the slots. I start by drawing a line for the nut, and then mark the slot positions 3 times with an x-acto knife, for maximum accuracy and triple-checking. Then clamp down a block to guide the cut. Make sure it's the exact same distance from the knife marks for every fret. To make the cut, gently hold the blade against the guide block and saw away. More enjoyable than usual because this wood smells so good pizza
Attachment:
FingerboardSlotting.jpg

After a few slots, it occurred to me that I was wasting a perfectly good offcut that could be used to make fingerboard bindings for the future. Fortunately the remaining wood past the slots I'd cut was still long enough, so I cut 3 strips.
Attachment:
FingerboardStrips.jpg

Then cut the rest of the slots, sawing all the way through the board at the nut mark (guarantees proper positioning of the nut, by cancelling out any offset from where I clamp the guide block relative to the knife marks).

For the binding of this fingerboard, I wanted to use African blackwood sapwood, like in the rosette. I have a couple sets I could have stolen strips off of, but I decided to leave them pristine incase I ever decide to sell them, and do what I did on this fingerboard... cut some strips from a camatillo rosewood fingerboard blank that has a lot of sapwood. Kinda cool that it's the same wood as the body binding too :)

I didn't want to cut too much of the sapwood off of it though, so I had to be clever... since I'll be planing this fingerboard down rather thin after I get it glued on, especially at the soundhole end, I decided to cut a single, tapered width strip from the blank, and then slice that in the other axis to get two strips. It rotates the grain orientation 90 degrees, so the quartered face is on the side, rather than the fingerboard face, but that should look better if anything.
Attachment:
FingerboardBinding.jpg

Then block plane to taper the board, and glue on the strips. I've had trouble clamping fingerboard bindings using a caul of any sort in the past, so now I just hold them by hand with my fingers spread out as much as possible until the glue gets dry enough, making sure they're pushed down flush with the bottom at all points. Then drill positioning pin holes. My fingerboard gluing caul has holes to fit around the pins, so I can yank them out with needle nose pliers after I get the clamps on.
Attachment:
FingerboardBound.jpg

Then I cut the fingerboard end, as you can sort of see drawn in pencil in that last picture. Just my usual curvy shape, rather than matching the soundhole curve as is traditional on classicals. I like a full width 19th fret, and getting the curve to match exactly is a pain anyway. Unfortunately I was sort of in the zone at this point and forgot to take pictures for a while. Cut the curve with jeweler's saw, rasp to smooth out the saw marks, needle file to smooth out the rasp marks, and sand on up through the grits.

First attempt at gluing was a failure. Didn't get the surfaces warm enough, and the glue gelled before I could get the clamps on. No squeeze out, and even though I had it clamped, it went sliding around on its cushion of jello after I pulled the position pins. Peel it off, clear away the glue, and let it dry back out overnight before making another attempt.
Attachment:
FingerboardFail.jpg

Next day, try again. This time I tried the trick of adding salt to the glue to extend the open time. Unfortunately, I hit another snag... I didn't do a dry run first since I'd done so many the previous day, but of course I ran into a problem.. the position pin holes were plugged with dry glue. One pin broke through with a little tap, but the other was more stuck... maybe not even in right. I ended up smacking it a little too hard and broke the pin. Luckily it was still long enough to use, so I pulled it out, put it back in, and gave it another whack and finally got it through.

Of course by then, the glue on the fingerboard had gelled despite the salt (in fact, I'm not sure it helped at all). Ran it to the stove, warmed it over the fire for a minute, and slapped it onto the neck. Got some decent squeeze-out this time, so it was more or less successful. Unfortunately, it was slightly out of position even with the pins in... which makes no sense. Unclamped, removed the pins, pushed it over a bit to where I wanted it, and reclamped. Aside a small gap on the treble side, it seems to have worked. Still have it clamped at the moment, giving it a good long while to work the moisture out without warping.
Attachment:
FingerboardGlue.jpg


Now I have a challenge though... calculating the bridge position, when there's no saddle. How much to compensate for the length reduction by the strings being wrapped under themselves on the tie block? And how much do I think the neck/top will pull up under tension to shorten the string? And the regular compensation for string material? I'm not even sure what kind of strings to use on it. Probably Aquila Ambra synthetic gut.


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 Post subject: Re: The Coral Snake
PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:42 pm 
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Quote:
Unfortunately, it was slightly out of position even with the pins in... which makes no sense.


yep, no matter how careful i plan/rehearse/prepare for gluing sometimes, when i finally get all the clamps removed, SOMETHING ends up out of whack. like my recent headstock veneer..... :x


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 Post subject: Re: The Coral Snake
PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 7:51 pm 
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I like the idea of a snake coiling around the inlay!
Sorry, that would be a lot of work.
Also, I've just started binding my f.b.'s,
and I do it with tape instead of clamps.
Works good!
Maybe we could get a sub-forum going with glue screw ups?
I recently glued the top on a 2 1/4" instrument in my go-go deck.
Then put a 3 1/4" instrument in, ran the glue on the ribs,
and put a go-go bar on it, and it was so bent, ahhh!
I went ahead with it, but it was scary!


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 Post subject: Re: The Coral Snake
PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 4:41 am 
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Today's task: Glue the bridge!

Yesterday, I scraped all the shellac off the top, and scraped out the minor scuffs from the binding tape peeling up fibers. Then the scraper made a nice long gash in the top somehow. I don't think it peeled a long fiber or anything, looked more like just a dent, maybe a lump of compacted dust on the edge of the scraper, pressed into the super soft wood between two grain lines. I was so distraught I forgot to take a picture. Steamed it out as best I could, let it dry out overnight, and it's not too bad. Then today, scraped some more, lightly scraped the bottom of the bridge to freshen up the surface, and read lots about compensation.

The page about the guitar this is based on says the 12th fret is at 12 15/32", for a 25" scale. Then from Somogyi's book there's a section about it which says Torres and many other makers use .025" pull-up compensation for the whole thing trying to fold up under tension, plus .100 compensation for string stretch+material stiffness effect, for a total of 1/8" compensation. Now the question is... is that for a tie block bridge, or with a saddle? I decided to just go with the 1/32" nut compensation (12th fret at 12 15/32"), and put the bridge at 25 1/8" from the nut slot, for a total of about .155" compensation, which is close to what I came up with by some measurements on my factory classical. However, I also edged the bass side about 1/64" longer, and treble about 1/64" shorter, since the treble's smaller diameter means it will be effectively a bit longer due to the tie block bridge design, plus the strings I'm going to be using seem to need a little more compensation on the bass than on the treble, as would be expected. Worst case, I either shave the tie block on the bridge back a bit to increase the string lengths, or I pull and reglue the bridge.

So, get the bridge all positioned with outer strings at the desired distance from the edges of the fingerboard (I leave a touch more space on the treble side since I pull the string off that edge more often than I push it off the bass edge). Then stick some bits of tape to mark the location, and warm up the glue.
Attachment:
BridgeMarked.jpg

The bridge is far enough down from the soundhole that I need 8" cam clamps to reach it... unfortunately due to the diameter of the hole and depth of the box, I can't get an 8" cam clamp in there. But my hand does fit, so I can do a rub joint and apply a little pressure with my fingers from inside and outside the box for a few minutes until the glue is good and gelled.
Attachment:
BridgeSqueeze.jpg

Then clear away the squeeze-out, peel off the tape (even though I stuck it to my skin repeatedly until it hardly had any sticky left, it still managed to rough up the surface a little bit :x), and it looks like a nice tight joint.

I'm very tempted to string it right now since it's been drying for a few hours, but I guess I'll sleep first.


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 Post subject: Re: The Coral Snake
PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:21 pm 
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this is looking great Dennis , I hope you bring this one to The gathering in May ! Would love to see it Done .

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 Post subject: Re: The Coral Snake
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:17 am 
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WudWerkr wrote:
this is looking great Dennis , I hope you bring this one to The gathering in May ! Would love to see it Done .

That's the plan! Hoping to have this and my challenge build there. Also possibly that one I had half done last year. I did finally finish it up, but then it started to cave in due to various flaws in the bracing design, cracked when the humidity took a dive at the start of winter, and one bridge wing came unglued... I decided after all that, I'd better just scrap the whole top, transplant the rosette, and try again, which is a work in progress.

Anyway, this one has been strung up for a couple days now and seems to be surviving. It has a slight dip in front of the bridge, as would be expected, but I don't think it'll be going too far given the low string height and lack of saddle. Quite impressive given how plush the soundboard felt when scraping before gluing the bridge.

It's of course rather difficult to judge given that it has 1/16" action and no frets, so the strings rattle on the fingerboard a lot :) But the open notes sound quite nice, and it's fun to play in this form. It feels quite exotic, being so light weight. Under 2 pounds.

I think the intonation is ok, but again it's hard to tell without frets.

I recorded a bit of fiddling around, which can be heard here http://deku.rydia.net/music/coralsnake_fretless.mp3

That's it for now. Getting busy on my challenge build while this one settles in and decides whether it can survive the long haul without fan braces.


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 Post subject: Re: The Coral Snake
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:29 am 
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Nice progress Dennis!
Very cool label.
I really like your method for the 2-piece heel and the resulting v-shaped grain pattern - clever!

Rob

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 Post subject: Re: The Coral Snake
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 1:49 am 
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Well after a short hiatus for settling, I've been back to work on this one. The dip in front of the bridge seems to be stable at 1-2mm deep ever since day 2, so no need to pull the back and add any braces. However, before I trim that overhang on the back and add binding, I want to get the fingerboard planed down and fretted, just to be good and sure I've got the neck angle correct and everything. But before I can fret, I need to carve the neck, so I know the edges of the fingerboard are all completely done. Also, I want to do this before shellacking the top, since I may need to pull the bridge and reglue it depending on how the intonation turned out. Lots of order dependencies.

So, first things first, plane the fingerboard. Now I don't want all that rosewood dust staining the top, so I will shellac the upper bout area... but leave the bridge area bare incase of bridge moving. Planing took forever, taking very fine shavings since this fingerboard has some interlocked grain that likes to tear. I sort of accidentally created a very nice profile, with the treble side being pretty much flat and low, and the bass side low at the soundhole, and curving up to higher at the nut, which gives a nice bit of extra relief to the low strings. Not sure how I managed this with a block plane, but I'll take what I can get.
The wood chips smell wonderful, and the fingerboard is all bright purple again bliss
Attachment:
FingerboardPlaned.jpg

I did some tricky scraping at this point, getting the fingerboard extension perfectly flat, and ramping down just a tiny bit from about the 11th-12th fret onward. The idea being that the neck generally pulls up just a bit over the first few months. This is one of the reasons I wanted to let it settle in for a week or two, to get most of this movement done before leveling the board. But there will likely be a little more, and having the frets ramp down poses no risk of buzzing, so I did it. But really it's very subtle... on the order of a few thousandths of an inch.

Then carve the neck. I always enjoy this part, and I was so into it that I forgot to take pictures oops_sign Lots of shavings with the spokeshave, and some careful work with the violin knife around the ends. Then scrape smooth, shoe-shine with 220 grit to super smooth round it, and then sand along the grain up to 400 grit. Also somewhere in there, I finished up the headstock. Rounded the edges with needle files, scraped the logo inlay flush, and gave it a fine sanding all over (except the headplate, which is left as scraper finish). Then shellac it all to keep it clean.
Oh, and I added a single turquoise dot at the 7th fret, which you can just barely see in the picture here. Amazing how such a small thing can give such a "complete" feeling to the whole color scheme of the guitar.
Attachment:
NeckCarved.jpg

The handstop looks and feels quite nice now that the neck is thinner. Love it with the scarf joint landing right in the curve, rather than having a horizontal line in the middle of the headstock like I've done on past guitars.
Attachment:
Handstop.jpg

I'm using StewMac fretwire for this one, since it comes in straight pieces. Cut the frets with StewMac flush cut nippers, and then trim the tangs to overhang the bindings with my modified nibbling tool :)
Attachment:
FretTangNipper.jpg

Pretty much the same thing as the StewMac tang nipper, but for about 1/4 the price. Bought on amazon, and ground the slot in above the bitey part with a dremel cutoff wheel for the fret to sit in. Doesn't get the tang absolutely flush, but closer than I can get with the flush cut nippers, and in one cut instead of two. Then needle file to as flush as I can get without hitting the bottom of the actual fret too much.
Attachment:
Frets.jpg

One last thing before installing them, bevel the edges fret slots just a bit with a few strokes of a needle file. This helps the frets find their way in, seat fully (the inner corner of from the fret crown to fret tang is not absolutely sharp), and reduce chipping of the fingerboard if/when the frets ever need to be pulled out.

I put hide glue in the slots when installing the frets, just to fill the space for better vibrational transfer, and hopefully prevent them from ever working their way out of the slots at all. Then press them in using a cam clamp and a block of wood. Normally I use one end of my radius sanding block, but since this fingerboard is flat, I just used the fingerboard offcut since it's hard and the right size. Be sure and put an extra layer of cork on the cam clamp to avoid denting the back of the neck.
Attachment:
FretPress.jpg

That gets it mostly seated. Then mash it down the rest of the way by hand, squeezing hard between palms with this little mahogany block, sliding back and forth across the fret and tilting forward and back to squeeze out any gaps.
Attachment:
FretBlock.jpg

Clean up the glue with warm water, and it should be nice and flush.
Attachment:
FretSeated.jpg

Of course, that only works for the frets on the neck. Once I run into the heel, I have to change to entirely palm pressing, first with the wide fingerboard offcut block to get it mostly in, and then with the small block to squeeze out the gaps. And once I'm past the headblock, the top can't take the pressure of pressing frets, so then it's onto hammering the last few. I prefer not to hammer since it risks denting the frets, popping others up due to the vibration generated, and a slight risk of cracking wood or glue joints anywhere, but I haven't found any other way to do this. No issues this time, in any case.

Unfortunately I'm out of pictures for this post, but you can just imagine all the frets in, with their ends still long and sharp. I actually finished the fretwork today, but this is where I stopped working on it yesterday so I suppose I'll break up this long update as well and do the rest tomorrow.
But as a preview... it sounds and plays beautifully bliss I'll see if I can get some recording done tomorrow too.


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 Post subject: Re: The Coral Snake
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:21 pm 
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Ok, on to fretting part 2!

First, file the ends of the frets vertical and flush with the fingerboard edge, until you just scuff the wood to be sure there's no snaggy edge (unless the humidity ever drops significantly, but I'm running about 25% currently so this guitar should be pretty well immune).
Attachment:
FretEndFlat.jpg

Then use a rectangular needle file with one safe edge to round over the ends. We're going for a quarter sphere shape, so get there however works best for you. Here are my steps. Since this is all very 3 dimensional, it's tough to clearly describe all the angles involved, especially since I'm also a video game programmer and probably visualize them differently than most people :) First, hit the top of the fret at a 45 degree angle, but don't take too much off.
Attachment:
FretRounding1.jpg

Then round over the corners, with the file perpendicular to the fingerboard surface, first at 45 degrees to the fret corner to cut off a similar amount to what was done on the fret top, then smoothly rotating around the corner while filing back and forth to make the final "above view" profile. This is where the rectangular file is really needed. A triangular one can't get the surface perpendicular to the fingerboard like I want here. But even with the safe edge, the corner of the file digs into the wood a bit right beside the fret... that's ok with me, as it gurantees no snaggy edges, and I'm going to round over the binding a bit more later anyway.
Attachment:
FretRounding4.jpg

Attachment:
FretRounding2.jpg

Then make two more facets holding the file at a sort of double-diagonal angle, which gets us very close to the spherical shape.
Attachment:
FretRounding5.jpg

And finish up with many short sweeping strokes at all angles to create a nice smooth bump. This is a pain on the frets over the body... poked the top several times, through and around the masking tape I had on it for protection [headinwall] Should steam out though.
Attachment:
FretRounding6.jpg

I find it easiest to do them in batches of 6 or 7 fret ends at a time, so I can do each of the faceting steps several times in a row without changing position. And it feels less monotonous than doing 38 individual roundings.

After that's all done, hit the ends with a tiny square of 600 grit and then 1500 grit wet/dry sandpaper to smooth out the file marks. First just rub around with a finger on them, then carefully sand down around where the fret meets the fingerboard with a separate stroke backed by a fingernail (assuming you have any long enough for playing classical :) ).

You can level the fret crowns here too if you want, but I don't. However, I always end up with at least a couple small scuff marks on fret crowns, especially near the ends, from the needle file slipping when rounding them. There's a cool trick though, that if you lightly rub them with a burnisher (hardened and polished steel rod, like you use for sharpening a scraper), it pretty much erases minor scuffs without having to remove any metal. If any persist, touch them with 1500 grit paper and then the burnisher again until the little spots of reflectivity smooth out.

Follow up with polishing compounds on leather, this time hitting the ends as well as rubbing along the whole fret since the amount of material being removed at this point is insignificant to the levelness of the frets. I use two grades, which my dad gave me little chunks of, called bobbing compound and jeweler's rouge. Should be all nice and shiny now.
Attachment:
FretView.jpg

Attachment:
FretsDone.jpg

And that's that. I'll round over the bindings a bit later for better feel and to disguise the scuffs from filing the fret ends, and possibly scrape and/or polish and/or oil the wood between frets... or maybe I'll just leave it bare since it oxidizes pretty dark anyway, and looks and feels fine in its current state.

Strung it up, and all my goofy methods seem to have worked out beautifully. It plays great, no buzzes, with about 3/32" action on the low strings, and just over 2/32" on the high E.
And not only that, the intonation was a tad off at first, but after a while settled into almost perfect bliss

Did some recording earlier today. Forgive my meager playing chops :oops:
My original song, Tornado: http://deku.rydia.net/music/tornado_coralsnake.mp3
Land of Ice and Snow by Stratovarius http://deku.rydia.net/music/ice_and_snow_coralsnake.mp3
Super Mario Bros. theme :) http://deku.rydia.net/music/mario_coralsnake.mp3
And some random fiddling around: http://deku.rydia.net/music/e_improv_2012feb21_coralsnake.mp3

So, now I can shellac the top, trim the back overhang, install back binding, add tail inlay of some sort, and finally French polish the whole thing to completion.


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 Post subject: Re: The Coral Snake
PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 2:16 pm 
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Well, I haven't actually done any more work on this thing, but I did take a bunch of pictures out in the sun today so I thought I'd post 'em since it's just so pretty, in all its not-quite-finished glory.

I still need to do a tail inlay, which I'm currently thinking will just be a simple strip of the binding material, since it will connect with the back strip and look good even if I don't do back binding... which is where I'm leaning at the moment, since it looks nice and simple just like it is, and it's not like the back needs the protective function of the binding like the soft top does.

I also need to do a bit of fret leveling after all... the 5th is a bit higher than the rest, and for some reason it really doesn't want to simply squish down. I think its slot may be angled a bit, so one side of it won't quite seat.

I'm thinking about adding a shallow depth tornavoz. Now that it's had more time to settle in, and I've had more time to get to know it, it is a little wolfy around G#-A on the low two strings. It goes away if I cover the soundhole about half way, so I think it just needs a little airflow restriction. A parchment rose would probably be even more effective, but that would cover up the label :( But in any case it's only a minor problem, and still sounds great overall.

I don't think I'm going to give it a full French polish after all. I quite like the look of it with just the wash coat of shellac it currently has. And definitely no more on the neck at least. It feels wonderful, almost like bare wood, but just a little smoother. Not clingy like high gloss, and not that icky scritchy feeling like satin lacquer.
Attachment:
FrontAngle.jpg

Attachment:
BackAngle.jpg

Attachment:
Rosette.jpg

Attachment:
Bridge.jpg

Attachment:
HeadstockAngle.jpg

Attachment:
Heel.jpg

Attachment:
TurquoiseDot.jpg

Attachment:
FrontPorch.jpg


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 Post subject: Re: The Coral Snake
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:22 pm 
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Your builds are amaizing. Would love to be able to do what you do.


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 Post subject: Re: The Coral Snake
PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:25 am 
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Dennis,

I really enjoyed reading about your build. Thanks for taking the time to post it. I learned a great deal.

You've certainly got a very unique and artistic style. I love the painting instead of the paper label. Again, very impressive build.

Shine,

-j


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 Post subject: Re: The Coral Snake
PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:41 am 
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Very nicely done, Dennis - beautiful guitar! [:Y:]


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 Post subject: Re: The Coral Snake
PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:06 pm 
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Thanks, all :) This remains one of my favorite and most played guitars. I did eventually add the tail inlay as planned, but I'd forgotten all about that 5th fret until I read my last post just now :lol: I guess it's not that high after all.

Some notes now at the ~3 year mark... Action remains nice and low. Maybe just a touch higher than at first, which wouldn't be surprising since it hangs on the wall, exposed to insane humidity variation throughout the year. No cracks. Using quartersawn woods with low shrinkage rates braced in 30-35% RH seems to work very well. http://www.wood-database.com lists shrinkage rates for many woods.

I have had to reglue a couple spots on the back rim due to humidity stress (both high and low). Perhaps the linings should have been a bit wider, but more importantly my spool clamping method lets each area of glue cool down too much before getting it clamped. Either need to work in a hot area like front of an open oven to extend open time, or reheat just before clamping.

The lower back brace is also mostly detached. I left spaces in the linings for it, rather than notching the lining or using a side brace as a foot. I'd originally planned to glue in some feet by reaching through the soundhole, but couldn't get it due to being unable to see past my arm, and unable to feel with my fingers while holding the block. Lesson learned, back brace ends need to be held down in low humidity! But it still sounds great, and doesn't rattle, so I haven't gotten around to doing anything about it.

The bridge has darkened a lot, almost to the same color as the soundboard. Mulberry seems to be a great bridge wood.

I love this guitar design. Torres is the man. If anyone else wants to duplicate, these are the dimensions I used:

Scale: 25"
12th fret join
Box length: 17"
Upper bout: 8 1/2"
Waist: 7"
Lower bout: 11 1/3"
Depth taper: 3 1/2" to 3 3/4"
Soundhole: 3 1/4"
Bridge: 3/4" x 6 3/4"
String-height-at-bridge: 5/16"

Use low damping woods. Redwood/rosewood is excellent. Spruce/maple, not so much.


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 Post subject: Re: The Coral Snake
PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 6:42 pm 
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Dennis, your work is always inspiring! Thanks for posting the new pictures. What are you working on, currently?

Alex

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 Post subject: Re: The Coral Snake
PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 8:13 pm 
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Mainly the spruce topper here: http://www.luthiersforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10130&t=41908
Probably 2 weeks or so from completion. The redwood one isn't as far along, but still has more progress to post.

I also have this one braced, necked, and ready to add the sides: http://www.luthiersforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10130&t=37136

And another guitar that I never started a thread for, with a rare giant sequoia top, all-wood falcate braced and also ready for sides.

I'll get to updating the threads one of these days. I kind of hit burnout on documenting everything, and then burnout on building in general for a few months, but I'm back having fun with it now :)


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 Post subject: Re: The Coral Snake
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 1:10 pm 
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It's great to see you back at it Dennis. Your threads are part of the reason I'm building! To see what you do with such limited tools is extremely inspiring. I hope to reach your level of skill at inlaying one day [clap]

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These users thanked the author PeterF for the post: DennisK (Tue May 12, 2015 2:38 pm)
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