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 Post subject: Re: Dennis' build
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:51 am 
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First name: Dennis
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It's been far too long since I last updated this thread. I've finally managed to negotiate an exchange of rooms in the house, so I now have a bit more space and lot less traffic to distract me bliss But, I still have more shelving to build before I can really get the shop set up. In the meantime, I've been slacking off, working on other non-guitar projects, and making a parchment rose for this guitar. Last couple shots from the old shop...

Gluing the tail inlay together. Slop hide glue all over, and stick clamps on anywhere I can. Fortunately the pieces were bent pretty accurately, so there wasn't too much force necessary to squeeze the gaps out.
Attachment:
TailGraftClamps.jpg


Then install it
Attachment:
TailGraftGlued.jpg


Also braced the back
Attachment:
BackBracing.jpg


And since I don't want to block access to the soundhole, I came up with a way to hopefully have a removable parchment rose. Make it small enough to fit through the soundhole, but with the top wall being cone shaped so the last rim is larger than the soundhole, but can flex to squeeze through. Then glue 3 little angled wood blocks just inside the soundhole, which the rose holds onto just by its paper springyness and the taper of the cone against the angled clips.
Attachment:
RoseClips.jpg


And that's as far as I got. The box is still open, but there should still be enough time left before the Dec31 deadline as long as I don't dawdle and don't have any major catastrophes.

I'll start a new post now for the rose, since there are enough pictures to fill almost 2 posts...


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 Post subject: Re: Dennis' build
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:41 am 
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Ok, so on to the making of the parchment rose. Well, paper rose, since I don't have any parchment, and I bet they woulda used paper in the old days too if it happened to be sitting right next to them. I'm using bristol paper, which is nice and thick so it's reasonably stiff... and fairly difficult to cut through.

So, the first wall is conical, to hold itself to the 3 wood clips inside the soundhole, but without making any of the other layers larger diameter than the soundhole so it can come in and out. This took some trial and error to figure out the geometry, but it turns out you just draw some circular arcs, cut it out, curl it around, and voila, cone. But more trial and error to figure out the exact radus, because I was too lazy to work out how to calculate it.

Then doodle up a pattern to carve into it...
Attachment:
RoseWall1Marked.jpg

It's tricky measuring on a curve like this, to get the repetitions evenly spaced and to where it wraps around perfectly (plus 1/8" of overlap where it's glued). The actual drawing of the shapes and cutting them out isn't really any more difficult, though. Just make sure the centerline of the shape is perpendicular to the curve

The cutting was done using a few different tools. For the S curves, a little curved cutting tool punched through twice on each end, and then connect them with an x-acto knife. For the moons, gouge punched through at for the top and bottom curves, followed by knife to connect the back edge, and to cut the tight inner curve (which is a pain). 4 point stars, I really wish I had a gouge with the proper width and curvature to do them in 4 punches, btu alas they're cut by hand with the knife. Same on the 6 pointed stars, but needed a perfect width chisel. May have been faster to do them in 12 punches with a smaller chisel, but I used the knife. The tiny stars are 4 punches with a 1.5mm micro chisel.

Then glue the ends together and test fit...
Attachment:
RoseWall1TestFit.jpg

Holds in there reasonably well, and will be better once the bottom rim is constrained, and probably with an added layer around the upper edge to stiffen it.

Then the first floor layer. Traced the soundhole, drew a 6 pointed star inside it, and cut it out. It also has a detail layer, made from thin typing paper. They will be glued together.
Attachment:
RoseFloor1CutOut.jpg

And here's how the detail layer was made. Trace around the thick paper "frame" piece, draw the fringe stars, draw some dots for accurately reproducing the big stars in the 6 openings. The dots are placed 1/2 way along the straight edges, and 1/3 along the length of the curved edge. No real significance to that other than it resulted in nice looking stars, and made it easy to mark.
Attachment:
RoseFloor1DetailDrawing.jpg

Then draw in the rest...
Attachment:
RoseFloor1DetailDrawing2.jpg

Gluing it together was a bit troublesome, because the glue started to dry too quickly. I ended up having to pull sections up and squeeze glue in, which is pretty scary with such a fragile carving in typing paper. Minimal damage, though. Just a couple of the fringe triangles got scrunched a bit, but flattened out ok.

Then the second floor, a duplicate of the 6 pointed star, with a smaller circle inside it. Here's its detail layer, drawn and cut out:
Attachment:
RoseFloor2Detail.jpg


3rd floor, an 8 pointed sun. Notice that the 2nd floor fringe shown above has 8 stars, to match with this.
Attachment:
RoseFloor3.jpg


And all of them glued together and cut out:
Attachment:
RoseFloors.jpg


I think I'll be making more of these in the future. It's surprisingly easy, and although it does take some time, it's not as much as it looks like given the level of detail. Especially the fringe, actually goes extremely quickly. Curves are more difficult, but still quick to do in the detail layers where you only need one stroke to cut through. The thick paper takes at least 3 strokes.


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 Post subject: Re: Dennis' build
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:11 am 
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First name: Dennis
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On to the last two walls...

First, the star wall. Lots of chisel punching, with 1/4", 3.5mm, and 1.5mm.
Attachment:
RoseWall2Punch.jpg

Then cut the curves with x-acto knife, and punch out the little stars with the 1.5mm chisel (8 punches each).
Attachment:
RoseWall2.jpg

It looks cool folded up :)
Attachment:
RoseWall2Folded.jpg


And the inner circle wall. This has 8 reps of the pattern, to match the 8 flamed sun theme. Again, chisel punches for the bottom lines of the windows, 1/4" chisel punches for the sides of the windows, 1.5mm chisel punches for the top center of the short windows and the stars. Only knife work here is the connecting curves on the short windows, and the peaks of the tall windows. My cutting board is looking a little worse for wear :lol:
Attachment:
RoseWall3.jpg


And finally, all the pieces are done! Along with a view of the scrap heap, my design doodle paper, harp ukulele which I keep handy for music breaks, and a super cute plushie I made :mrgreen:
Attachment:
RosePieces.jpg


Here's a quick test to see how it all looks together. I haven't actually assembled it yet, so this is just sitting there.
Attachment:
RoseSetTogether.jpg

Attachment:
RoseSetTogether2.jpg


I think it turned out great :D Especially for a first try. Next time I need to get more tools (mainly small gouges) so I can do more by punching and less by knife.


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 Post subject: Re: Dennis' build
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:15 am 
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wow7-eyes I am Seriously Impressed , you have talent my man , you have serious Talent ! [:Y:]

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 Post subject: Re: Dennis' build
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:27 pm 
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eek I think I'm going to stop building my guitar now.


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 Post subject: Re: Dennis' build
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:53 pm 
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That looks amazing. Think I would have to put the guitar in a glass cabinet to protect that work.

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 Post subject: Re: Dennis' build
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:16 pm 
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There is a definite "wow" factor combined with an extreme "cool" factor going on here. [:Y:]

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 Post subject: Re: Dennis' build
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 3:56 pm 
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And there I was thinking the rosette was already very complex...
I thought I had a lot of patience making small fiddly things, but that just takes it to a new level!! :o Are you going to finish it somehow, or just leave it as it is? (finish meaning protection of some sort, not getting it finished laughing6-hehe )

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 Post subject: Re: Dennis' build
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:20 pm 
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First name: Dennis
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SteveSmith wrote:
That looks amazing. Think I would have to put the guitar in a glass cabinet to protect that work.

:lol: Good thing it's removable, so you can just keep the rose in a fire proof, water tight safe, and still play the guitar :)

Actually it's pretty sturdy overall. Just the fringe and detail sections are delicate, due to the corners that are just hanging out in the air. Most of the time it should be pretty safe behind the strings. It is quite vulnerable to water, however. Wouldn't want to play in a crowded bar with it!

PeterF wrote:
Are you going to finish it somehow, or just leave it as it is? (finish meaning protection of some sort, not getting it finished laughing6-hehe )

I was considering giving it a coat of shellac to improve water resistance. Also could spray it with rattle can lacquer, but I always thought that was rather un-classy. I think it'll look even better when it's old and yellowed though, so that wouldn't be an issue at least. I think I'll run a shellac test on scrap and see if the color and texture looks good, and if it wrinkles the paper or anything.

Got it all glued up, so it's all done aside from potential finish application. Surprisingly tedious work. It manages to squeeze in and out through the soundhole (whew!), isn't too difficult to get clipped in from the outside, and stays put through vigorous shaking, so it's a mission success [:Y:]

Now to figure out what to do about the label inside... normally I do a little acrylic painting in there, but on this one it would be a bit of a waste. I couldn't think of a good painting for it anyway though, which is part of why I did the rose (a realistic-ish outer space sun and moon scene would have been cool if it was a dark back/side wood...). I think I'll put the year and serial number where they'll be visible in the center of the sun, and my name in the usual style and the guitar's name in fancy lettering, neither of which will be clearly visible with the rose in. It'll still have my headstock logo, so I think that's plenty of branding.

Attachment:
RoseFinished.jpg

Attachment:
RoseFinished2.jpg


Looks kind of odd from inside :)
Attachment:
RoseInside.jpg


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 Post subject: Re: Dennis' build
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:46 pm 
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Very unique and artsy. Can't believe the level of detail!


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 Post subject: Re: Dennis' build
PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 12:33 am 
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Well crap. Chopped my left index finger with a knife...again. The last time was just short of 4 years ago, when I first started woodworking, and was the only really notable injury I've had up until now. This time is in the middle segment rather than near the tip, and not quite as bad, but will slow things down a bit when I'm already short on time. I'm usually so good about keeping my fingers out of the potential slip path of blades, too... guess I'll have to turn up the OCD level.

Might as well upload some pictures while I wait for it to fully seal up.

After completing the rose to see exactly where on the back shows through the center, I could do the label painting. I put the year and serial number where they're clearly visible with the rose in, although it turns out the rest is surprisingly visible through the gaps as well. No actual picture painting this time since I couldn't think of anything good, and the rose pretty much fulfills that role anyway.
Attachment:
LabelPainting.jpg


Then on to finishing up all the headstock detail work. First, the binding. It's the same wood as the headplate itself, but with curly maple purfling to give that nice sharp framed look. Fingerboard will be the same.

Step 1, score along the sides with gramil, and score along the top with knife because it's just too detailed to do any other way. Step 2, chisel.
Attachment:
HeadstockBinding2.jpg

Lather, rinse, repeat until it's cut all the way through. Then slice purfling strips off a lovely veneer sheet I bought for some inlays on my very first guitar, and cut all the individual pieces from that. Bent the strips for the top curves just by boiling for a few seconds and then squeezing them in place with the binding pieces, and masking tape to hold them until dry.

Also cut all the miters on the binding.
Attachment:
HeadstockBinding4.jpg

Then glue the tip, and when that's dry, glue the curvy pieces. I may have to redesign my headstock crest at some point. The bending is hard enough, but on top of that there's no good way to clamp all these tiny things, so I just have to hold them by hand for 20 minutes or so.
Attachment:
HeadstockBinding6.jpg

Then when that's dry, glue the sides. These could probably be clamped effectively with rope, if I had any. I just held them by hand too. Then lots of softening glue and sticking clamps on it in various awkward ways to squeeze the gaps out, plane/scrape it smooth, bevel it with a knife, and slop some shellac on to keep it clean.
Attachment:
HeadstockBinding8.jpg


Then it's on to the remaining few inlays. Cut all the pieces, and stick 'em in place for scoring. Here are the ones that go on the tail:
Attachment:
TailInlaysInPlace.jpg

The flames kept breaking off while cutting, but I got 'em tacked back on well enough that it should hold together until I get it inlaid.

Here are the pieces for the headstock tacked in place. I decided to inlay the dot after inlaying the koa on this tiny one, so it's just set in place for now.
Attachment:
HeadstockInlaysInPlace.jpg

Then start routing... and while pushing the knife into the top point of the vertical line of the D, slip and chop finger.
Attachment:
HeadstockInlayRouting.jpg


So, I suppose that's it for tonight. Finger is pretty much perfectly sealed on the surface, but still needs more time under pressure for the deeper blood vessels to patch themselves up. 'tis but a wound of the flesh, and I'll be back at it in the morning.


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 Post subject: Re: Dennis' build
PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:05 am 
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Darn sharp tools! So sorry, but glad to hear you injury isn't worse. Your build is incredible! Heal quickly!!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Dennis' build
PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:41 am 
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Ouch, I know how that feels. I cut my fingers all the time in college - it really kills your practice time (unless you like blood all over the fingerboard laughing6-hehe )

I love that spalted back.

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 Post subject: Re: Dennis' build
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 2:19 am 
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First name: Dennis
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PeterF wrote:
I cut my fingers all the time in college - it really kills your practice time (unless you like blood all over the fingerboard laughing6-hehe )

:lol: Yeah, no play time at all today :( But I managed to avoid reopening the cut despite climbing around muddy hills in the woods and finishing these inlays, so it should hopefully be bendable again in a few days.

Finished up the routing I was doing before...
Attachment:
HeadstockInlayRouted.jpg

Glued 'em all in, planed down the sun most of the way level, and scored for the dot.
Attachment:
HeadstockSunScored.jpg

And all glued in. Really happy with how that sun came out. Detail level is extreme, being about 3/8" across (center dot is about 1/8"), and the whole color scheme of the headstock is quite lovely to behold :)
Attachment:
HeadstockInlayPreLevel.jpg

Just gotta wait for it to fully dry and then I can level everything.

I used a bit too much glue to tack down the tail sun for scoring, and lost a strip of wood when peeling it up. Surprisingly, didn't lose any of the flames. It should hold in just fine with a glue-filled gap in there, so no need to do anything about it.
Attachment:
TailInlayPeel.jpg

Then route it out. Very tricky because the spalted maple is chippy and varies in density, so the router tries to jump around all the time. Also just a lot of detail. It has some gaps, but it'll do.
Attachment:
TailInlayRouted.jpg

The moon is just a circle (white MOP and black MOP perfectly fitted and super glued together), so nothing exciting about the routing there. Can't level these just yet either.
Attachment:
TailInlayPreLevel.jpg

I love this wood. So cool how the spalt lines kind of look like clouds around the moon :) Not so happy about that knife mark and chip that I have some hide glue drying on to fill, which happened back while doing the curvy inlay.

So that's all the inlay work for this guitar DONE! (aside from leveling)
I'm not sure if this is overboard or just the right amount, but I'm happy with it.

Next up, slotting and binding the fingerboard. Or maybe I'll close the box tomorrow. Humidity has been 25% for the past week or two, but then rained yesterday and was up to 40% today. About 30-35% is my preferred building range, and tomorrow might be just right.

I'm also debating whether to add taller soundhole braces on top of the flat grafts I have in there now. It'd probably be ok without them, and the original Torres guitar this is based on only had flat grafts, but it didn't have the A braces. Those prevent the upper bout area from deforming, but in doing so, focus more of the neck stress lower, into the area between the cross braces. My coral snake guitar (same model) had the A braces continue on down beside the soundhole and to the lower cross brace, but I had to do grafts on this due to the large shell inlays that are almost as thick as the top itself.


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 Post subject: Re: Dennis' build
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:40 am 
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Dennis this is absolutely incredible, you must have the hands of a surgeon.


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 Post subject: Re: Dennis' build
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:32 pm 
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Your inlays are incredibly beautiful in design and execution. What kind of router setup do you use? I imagine many of those detail areas like the flames, require hand cutting. Can't wait to see it all done!


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 Post subject: Re: Dennis' build
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:41 pm 
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jfmckenna wrote:
Dennis this is absolutely incredible, you must have the hands of a surgeon.

:lol: I probably would be good at it, actually. But too much school for me. Definitely my top choice in doctoring though, because things requiring surgery usually aren't contagious.

Beth Mayer wrote:
Your inlays are incredibly beautiful in design and execution. What kind of router setup do you use? I imagine many of those detail areas like the flames, require hand cutting. Can't wait to see it all done!

Thanks! I'm glad you and the others here are liking it. I always worry about doing as much inlay work as I like to, because it seems like the majority of players just write it off as "bling" and don't want anything to do with it. But depending on how this one turns out sound-wise, I may end up selling it or coral snake (don't really need two of the same model) and see how the actual buying market reacts :)

My inlay setup is pretty basic, really. A rickety little cutting table with some notches in it, pan of water nearby to keep shell wet so it can't make any nasty dust, jeweler's saw (use fine blades), a few needle files, and an extra-extra-coarse diamond stone that I use for smoothing edges and flattening and reducing thickness on things (wet/dry sandpaper works, but shell tears it up pretty quickly).

Router is a Black&Decker Dremel ripoff, with StewMac router base, and 3 end mills, 1/8", 1/16", and 1/32". I really could use a 1/64" too. Sharp corners are done with an x-acto knife (with the bigger more comfortable handle... those skinny things will give you carpal tunnel in a hurry). One handy trick is to sand the back side of any pointy ends on the piece that's going in. That way, the points in the pocket don't have to be full depth, and the rest of the piece can still seat, and it still looks right on the surface. Although if doing inlays into curved surfaces, you have to be aware of where the final surface will be and make sure it's all deep enough.


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 Post subject: Re: Dennis' build
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 5:46 am 
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Kind of slow progress the past couple days, but progress nonetheless.

I decided to add soundhole braces after all. It just looked so vulnerable there, while the upper bout is so sturdy. I figure it can't hurt, although it looks kind of funny having them on top of the inlay support grafts.
Attachment:
SoundholeBraces.jpg


Then the humidity was right in the 30-35% range where I like it, so I glued the back on.
Attachment:
GluingBack.jpg


Haven't trimmed the overhang yet, but the tap tone is sweet. Loud and open, and softer than coral snake which has a metallic clang to it with the Honduran rosewood back. This spalted maple is surprisingly lively, but favors the lower frequencies. I can't wait to get strings on it and see how the sound compares.
Attachment:
BoxClosed.jpg


I may have gotten the neck angled forward just a bit too far. I couldn't get a good read on it with the clamps on, so I sort of guessed. But I wanted to do a bit higher action on this than I did on coral snake, which is pretty much the lowest you can get away with on nylon strings. If it turns out to be too high, I'll get some practice doing heel slip neck resets :) I'll wait until after I get it strung up to do the back binding, just incase.

Next up is the fingerboard. I planed it to thickness, marked and tapered it, and finetuned the bindings that I cut from the edge of it a long time ago, but I still haven't actually cut the slots yet.
Attachment:
FingerboardTapered.jpg

I've been running various experiments yesterday and today on one of my most dreaded tasks, fret installation. They never fit. So this time I was thinking about using a wider saw to cut the slots. Unfortunately my wider saw is too wide, so that plan is out. However, I did discover that the small fretwire I used on marmoset (harp ukulele) was really wide. It actually grips pretty well in the wide saw slot which other fretwires can slide through only grazing the walls with the barbs. So that explains why installing the frets on that one took so excessively much force. And both wires came from StewMac, along with my usual slotting saw... you'd think these things would have better manufacturing tolerances.

What I've decided is that I'll use the regular slotting saw, and figure a method for adjusting fret tang widths. Maybe it's just so expected to have to adjust them every time that nobody ever even talks about it. I guess I should go start a thread about that in the main forum. There's probably still time to order one of the tools from StewMac for it before the time is up, but they're awfully expensive. Grinding the barbs with a quick touch of a dremel cutoff wheel seems to work pretty well, so I think I'll do that and see how it works out.

So, what remains to be done is: slotting the fingerboard and gluing the binding/purfling on it, trimming the back overhang, doing the soundboard binding/purfling, gluing the fingerboard on, and final carving of the neck. Then make and glue bridge, plane fingerboard to finetune the action, install frets, do the back binding, slop some shellac on it, and make a video. It'll be cutting it close on the deadline, but should be doable, and I can skip the back binding until later if necessary.

Oh, and my chopped finger is mostly recovered now bliss Apparently I'm pretty good at first aid, too, because that could have taken a lot longer. Still doesn't like to have pressure put on it, so no playing bar chords, but otherwise pretty much fully usable.


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 Post subject: Re: Dennis' build
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:03 am 
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Nice progress Dennis, looking forward to seeing this one done. I'm glad someone has more steps to complete than I do because I am feeling pretty rushed so it makes me feel like I should be able to make it. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Dennis' build
PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:27 pm 
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Ok, so what has been done thus far: Slotted and bound fingerboard, trimmed back overhang, scraped sides level, mixed up a new batch of shellac and slopped some on the back and sides, and bound the top. Glue is dry on the binding, but I haven't removed the tape yet.

Hopefully I can get the fingerboard on today... although I may do another round of squeezing gaps out on it due to my lack of a proper fingerboard binding clamp setup. Usually I just hold it with my fingers until it gets pretty well set up, but I was in too much of a hurry and tried this:
Attachment:
FingerboardBinding.jpg

Not enough pressure points, unbalanced pressure, and the room temperature is too cold and the glue gelled up a bit before I got it clamped... all the gaps were on the back side where they won't be visible anyway, and I already squeezed out the larger ones in the middle, but there are still some small ones toward the ends.

Oh, and I cut the soundhole end curve. Here's how it looks in relation to the rosette inlays:
Attachment:
FingerboardEnd.jpg

I kind of wish I could push the sun back just a tiny bit to where the gaps between the covered flames would be more visible. The fingerboard edge covering half of the blue tail tip came out precisely where I wanted it, though :)

Then did all that side leveling and binding bending, which I forgot to take pictures of. Then cut the binding ledge:
Attachment:
BindingLedge.jpg

Didn't get any in-progress shots of that either oops_sign
The purfling ledge came out a little too small there... not exactly sure why, since I used pieces of the actual purfling to set the gramil offset. I had to chisel it by eye to the proper width.

Then round 2 of binding bending, to precision fit them to the channel. Seems like it takes longer every guitar [uncle]
I had to do it indoors this time. Normally I bend outside to reduce the risk of burning the house down, and so I don't have to worry about spraying water everywhere. But it's going to be too cold outside for the hot pipe to heat up enough until after the contest is over (it was about 12 degrees outside at the time :shock:), and I've bent enough stuff by now that I'm pretty sure my setup is safe. No water needed for this finetuning step.

The purfling is one strip of curly maple and one strip of walnut burl. I would have done plain walnut, but I didn't think far enough ahead to order any. The figure and color variation might be visible and look cool, anyway. Although the seams might also be visible... I had to do it in lots of short strips, since it's so brittle it can't be sliced in nice long pieces.
Attachment:
WalnutPurfling.jpg

I decided to try fish glue for the bindings on this one. Normally I use hide glue, but assembling the walnut purfling would be tricky, and the glue would gel too fast in the chilly room temperature anyway.

Since the strips fit so nicely with minimal pressure, I decided I could probably get away with cutting the tail seam in advance, rather than doing it on the fly while gluing like I usually do. That means I can get a little fancy :) Cut to match the angle of the tail inlay, and at a 45 degree scarf joint in the other axis as well:
Attachment:
BindingTail.jpg

Had a visitor while sticking the walnut strips on the second side
Attachment:
BindingGlue1.jpg

The fish glue makes it surprisingly easy to stick them in in place. The ends of strips kept popping up as you can (sort of) see, but they stay down if held for a little while. Then load the channel with glue, coat the maple strip with glue, and stick them on at the same time, squishing the walnut strips down, and applying tape. Fingers are very sticky while doing this.
Attachment:
BindingGlue2.jpg

Unfortunately, I ended up with a small gap at that fancy tail seam. I just don't know what went wrong. I started gluing from the tail on the second strip so I could make sure I got it in place, and stuck a piece of tape over it to hold it there. Then after I got a ways farther, I peeked under the tape just to make sure everything was good, but apparently I pulled it a bit at some point. Couldn't get it to slide back, and too dangerous to try removing all the tape and squeezing, so I just slopped some glue on it and a small strip of tape to pull right on the end of it and hold it as close as possible. Hopefully it won't look too bad, and the finish will be enough to keep it from getting sticky when moistened. Guess I won't be trying that again. Except for on the back of this one, since I'll need it to match.

Speaking of the back, I don't think I'll have time to bind it before the competition end. Oh well, aside from the asymmetry of the tail inlay, it looks kind of cool as it is.

I'll be finding out if there are any unpleasant lessons to be learned from building in extreme low humidity on this guitar... running around 18-22% for the past few days. Which means I've already learned that my oven technique for bracing and assembling when I can't get the room humidity low enough does indeed work, or it would have cracked to pieces by now. Coral snake and Marmoset are doing fine as well :) My first guitar sprouted a crack, though. It was built in summer, without a hygrometer idunno Probably was around 50% RH due to air conditioning. I'll glue it in the summer, and hopefully get some double pane glass windows installed by next winter so I can humidify the room... or maybe I'll do that as soon as I'm done with this guitar, since it would be nice to have it warm in here.

So, remaining steps: level the binding, round it over, level the headstock inlays (still haven't gotten around to that...), possibly squeeze out glue gaps on fingerboard binding, glue the fingerboard to the neck, final carve the neck, drill the tuner holes, make the bridge, glue the bridge, string it up, plane the fingerboard to finetune action, install frets, and make a video. A lot to do in 5 days, but the fat lady ain't singin' yet.


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 Post subject: Re: Dennis' build
PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:05 pm 
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It's looking good so far. And I thought I was pushing the schedule :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Dennis' build
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 9:48 pm 
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This is a really awesome build. I have my lawyers looking at the rules so I can surprise you with a vote for disqualification at the last minute. Probably over something petty. But in the end, it will help me win the chisel, so I wont mind doing it. laughing6-hehe

What? I would have to get almost everyone disqualified you say? Did I mention I have a TEAM of lawyers?


Seriously though, very impressive work all around, but the inlay and paper stuff....really amazing. Kudos to you sir!

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 Post subject: Re: Dennis' build
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:09 am 
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Tony_in_NYC wrote:
This is a really awesome build. I have my lawyers looking at the rules so I can surprise you with a vote for disqualification at the last minute. Probably over something petty. But in the end, it will help me win the chisel, so I wont mind doing it. laughing6-hehe

You may not have to with how close I'm cutting it on the schedule eek

I spent all day yesterday mashing out binding gaps. There were a lot, and some took several attempts to get rid of.

Don't know how I missed this one :oops:
Attachment:
BindingGap1.jpg

And this was my mortal enemy. I think it took about 4 tries to finally get it. On the third attempt I noticed it was still loose after drying, which I now know is because all the fish glue soaked into the spruce endgrain [headinwall] So I worked some hide glue into it, and it finally stuck.
Attachment:
BindingGap2.jpg

Here's how I deal with them... drop some water into the gap, and then stick a wet paper towel on it to keep it moist while it soaks all through the glue. Then boil some water on the stove, and use the bottom of the pan as a heating iron, touching it to the wet paper towel to warm the glue. Then squeeze with my fingers for 30 seconds or so while some of the water flashes off, and then tape.
Attachment:
BindingGap3.jpg

Also filled all the little chips and such with hide glue. Both the spalted maple and eucalyptus bindings are rather chippy, but there weren't too many, and nothing bad.

Then scrape level and see how it looks. This gap squeezed out nicely, but left one of those nasty little stains.
Attachment:
FishGlueStain1.jpg

Next time I'll see if I can find some cotton rope to wrap the guitar with and mash out the gaps before the glue dries. That would be easier than fixing them this way, anyway.

Oh, and it turns out I was wrong about that tail joint. It came out pretty much perfect. I'm not sure what I was seeing when I peeked at it while working before. So, I will no longer not be trying that again :mrgreen:
Attachment:
TailInlayJoint.jpg

Then round 'em all over, smooth and comfy.
Attachment:
BindingRounded.jpg

Also leveled the headstock earlier today.
Attachment:
HeadstockLeveled.jpg

And did a bit of re-leveling on the rosette too. Then scraped the whole top clean. Steamed out the dents yesterday so there were a few spots of raised grain from that, plus it needs to be shellac-free for the fingerboard extension and bridge.

Then glued the fingerboard, also using fish glue. I usually use hide, but it never goes smoothly. I may have the technique down, using just the right consistency of glue (extra water so it doesn't slip and slide so much), heating everything nice and hot (although the room temperature is cold enough that it might be hopeless), and quickly applying clamps in a particular pattern without bothering to use a caul or position pins (I level the board afterward either way, and the pins still let it shift a tiny bit, so I may as well just position by eye and feel, and do the same pattern of gradually increasing pressure on all the clamps to keep it from moving). But fish glue makes it easy, so unless anything bad happens on this one, I think I'll be using it from now on.

Tomorrow (or later today for you people who sleep at night), I'll carve up the bridge, unclamp the fingerboard, glue the bridge, carve the neck, and drill the tuner holes. Day after, string it up, level the fingerboard and taper its thickness to finetune action, and install frets... or more likely, just get all the tangs nipped. But that still leaves the 31st to install them and make the video.

Wish me luck (unless you're Tony)


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 Post subject: Re: Dennis' build
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 4:49 pm 
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Good progress Dennis - you are truly pushing the schedule and good luck to ya!

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 Post subject: Re: Dennis' build
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:31 am 
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We are officially bridged bliss

It feels sort of anti-climactic doing such a simple bridge after all that crazy inlay work, but the wood is so pretty, and the color fairly dark, it would probably draw too much attention if I did anything fancy on it anyway.

The blank I started with actually turned out to be precisely twice as wide as I needed it to be, so I can make another one of these in the future. Although the other piece doesn't have any black lines, so this one's way better.

Drill the holes...
Attachment:
BridgeDrill.jpg

Carve it up...
Attachment:
BridgeDone.jpg

I was kind of in the zone and didn't get any progress shots, but it was fairly straightforward. Start by scraping the bottom concave to approximate the soundboard dome, rough saw the wings, then lots of chiseling and scraping, and a bit of sanding on the flat surfaces (plane isn't quite sharp enough at the moment and I was too lazy to sharpen it). Then noticed I bought a tiny gouge recently for a different project but it's just the right curvature to work in the corner along the back of the tie block. Nice and rounded, rather than a sharp corner like Coral Snake's :) Then shellacked it to keep it clean. Weight is 17 grams. Coral Snake's is 13, but it's mulberry, and this is Honduran rosewood, so that makes sense. Plenty light enough.

Then sand it on the guitar to match the glue surface precisely.
Attachment:
BridgeSanding.jpg

I had to stick a hand inside to support it while sanding, since the top is so flexible between the braces. Took quite a lot of sanding to get one last little low spot, but you can't have any imperfections here, especially since it was on the back edge.

Then lots of measuring and comparing to Coral Snake to position the bridge. Stick some tape for reference when gluing, measure again, heat everything up, slop some glue on the bridge, and slap it down. Hand inside again to support the soundboard while rubbing it in place, then hold it for a bit until the glue starts to gel.
Attachment:
BridgeGluing.jpg

Clean up the squeeze-out (toothpick and fingernail, followed by small wad of damp paper towel and more fingernail) and it's done. I love hide glue.
Attachment:
BridgeGlued.jpg

Haven't carved the neck or drilled the tuners yet, but I'm hungry.


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