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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:08 pm 
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First name: Ed
Last Name: Minch
City: Chestertown
State: MD
Zip/Postal Code: 21620
Country: United States
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Hey all

I have been watching the 2016 Challenge page for a while, and am very impressed with the ideas that people have had. However, I thought that it was for guitars built during, and completed in 2016. After Christmas, I realized that most of these instruments could not be completed by the end of the year, so I inquired about the rules. 3 months ago I started a new guitar and it is now almost ready for detailing, sanding and finishing. Bryan has given me the OK to enter the challenge with it.

A year and a half ago I got a piece of a log from a friend when he had to take down a big Ash tree due to the Emerald Ash Borer. I split out a section from low on the trunk, which was 28" in diameter - looked like a giant piece of firewood 36" long. It took me a while to figure out what to build, but then it hit me.

The Ash tree grew at the very top of Big Bend Mountain in Talcott, West Virginia. And it so happens that John Henry died driving steel in a tunnel underneath this mountain. So I had to do a tribute to John Henry. I could build a steel guitar, but I am not a metalworker, so I decided to build a copy of a National Duolian in wood.

So to follow the rules:

Something Old: the fretboard and head veneer are a piece of Walnut that has been in my shop for about 30 years.

Something New: 1) A resonator, 2) a rosette around the cover plate, which I have never seen before, 3) carved wooden grills, which I have never seen before, 4) using cross-grained slices of the back for fretboard binding, which I have never seen before, 5) carving my first neck, complete with Martin volute.

Something Local: The Ash from my friend's farm, the Walnut from another friend's New Jersey farm in the 80's

Pick 2: a parlor guitar (13-3/4") under the cost limit ($252, but if you subtract the metal parts, $30)

I have taken over 200 shots so far, so this is how I might catch up to the rest of you. I will make several posts, each with a shot included that represents a major step, then add a link to the Flickr account that could elaborate that step for those who are interested.

So here goes


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:12 pm 
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First name: Ed
Last Name: Minch
City: Chestertown
State: MD
Zip/Postal Code: 21620
Country: United States
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
So here is the piece of log, and the URL to my Flickr account. The pictures immediately after the first one are associated with my design struggle

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ruby1638/28453573374/in/album-72157671458169080/

In Flickr, there is text below each picture


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:15 pm 
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First name: Ed
Last Name: Minch
City: Chestertown
State: MD
Zip/Postal Code: 21620
Country: United States
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Here I start the build - bent the sides on a hot pipe and got it all into the mold. Brace the back and got the back glued on

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ruby1638/30773361405/in/album-72157671458169080/


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Last edited by Ruby50 on Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:05 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:18 pm 
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First name: Ed
Last Name: Minch
City: Chestertown
State: MD
Zip/Postal Code: 21620
Country: United States
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Figuring out the soundwell. Like most things with guitars - pretty weird until you have done one, then you understand

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ruby1638/30685079001/in/album-72157671458169080/


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Last edited by Ruby50 on Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:21 pm 
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First name: Ed
Last Name: Minch
City: Chestertown
State: MD
Zip/Postal Code: 21620
Country: United States
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Designing and carving the lattice grills. This was seat-of-the-pants, but I really like how they turned out


https://www.flickr.com/photos/ruby1638/31154601055/in/album-72157671458169080/


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Last edited by Ruby50 on Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:28 pm 
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First name: Ed
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City: Chestertown
State: MD
Zip/Postal Code: 21620
Country: United States
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
And the grills are held on with magnets. This was a trick generously shared by another OLFer. I ended up adding a second set of magnets to the grill itself, touching the magnets in the body


https://www.flickr.com/photos/ruby1638/30483753784/in/album-72157671458169080/


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:30 pm 
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First name: Ed
Last Name: Minch
City: Chestertown
State: MD
Zip/Postal Code: 21620
Country: United States
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Closing the box


https://www.flickr.com/photos/ruby1638/30541214074/in/album-72157671458169080/


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:32 pm 
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First name: Ed
Last Name: Minch
City: Chestertown
State: MD
Zip/Postal Code: 21620
Country: United States
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Binding, and then cutting the fretboard

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ruby1638/30697206454/in/album-72157671458169080/


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Last edited by Ruby50 on Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:38 pm 
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First name: Ed
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City: Chestertown
State: MD
Zip/Postal Code: 21620
Country: United States
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
The neck - this is the start and includes the binding of the fretboard with the cross grained piece of the back

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ruby1638/31257891900/in/album-72157671458169080/


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:48 pm 
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First name: Ed
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State: MD
Zip/Postal Code: 21620
Country: United States
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Actual carving with the Martin volute


https://www.flickr.com/photos/ruby1638/31795963536/in/album-72157671458169080/


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:59 pm 
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First name: Ed
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City: Chestertown
State: MD
Zip/Postal Code: 21620
Country: United States
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Fretting, nut, saddle, and final neck set


https://www.flickr.com/photos/ruby1638/31149124354/in/album-72157671458169080/


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:01 pm 
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First name: Ed
Last Name: Minch
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Zip/Postal Code: 21620
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Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Glue on the fretboard and bolt on the neck - done on 12/31/16

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ruby1638/31230976793/in/album-72157671458169080/


This brings us up to today after about 12 weeks. Next step is set up, then finishing. Thanks for looking

Ed


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:33 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:36 am
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City: Lenoir City
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Ed, that's really nice! Looking forward to seeing it under finish.

_________________
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"Music is what feelings sound like"


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 12:16 am 
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Koa
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Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:27 pm
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Location: South Carolina
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Last Name: Cox
Focus: Build
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Sweet. Welcome aboard.

That's completely out of the normal for what we see around here. So cool!

My brother keeps bugging me to make him a resonator.... I will be watching this one.

Can you post a bit about the log to lumber process? I have a pecan tree that was blown over in the hurricane that I need to go cut up.... And I am planning to salvage the main log for lumber. I want to turn at least some of it into guitar wood.

Thanks


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 11:30 am 
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First name: Ed
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Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Truckjohn

I really like the idea of making an entire guitar out of the same piece of wood.

I have been told that you should cut up the wood as soon as possible. Mine was almost 1-1/2 years old when I got it, and I started building 9 months later.

If you can slice the top/back/sides out and sticker them (pieces of narrow wood laid across the grain to provide space for air movement) and put a weight on top to help them dry flat, a fan moving air should get them ready in a couple of months. I unstacked and re-stacked mine a couple of times, switching the postions of the various pieces - I cut 10 pieces to be sure, only needed 6.

A bigger piece for a neck (mine was 3"+ by 4"+) will take much longer or need some help. I painted the ends of my neck piece with a couple of coats of latex paint to help slow down the drying through the end grain as that causes the ends of the board to shrink before the center and forces the wood to check (crack) as it shrinks.

My neck blank sat for 5 months, then I put it in a home-made kiln. I removed most of the waste wood, leaving enough that if the blank wanted to move I could get my shape back. I found a cardboard box big enough and put the neck blank inside up off the floor with a 100 watt light bulb. This kept the inside of the box at about 115-120°, and the RH (relative humidity) around 10-13%. I made a mark at opposite sides of the width and the height at the biggest part of the blank - the heel area - because that is the area that will take the longest to dry. Using the marks for reference, I set 2 calipers at the size of the blank and recorded every day or two how much smaller the blank got. It started out at 1/4 turn of the caliper sizing screw every other day, and after about a month was down to 1/6 or an 1/8 of a turn. At 1-1/2 months it was down to 1/16 of a turn, and at 2 months it did not get any smaller in either dimension over the span of a week. I let it go a bit more and used it after 2-3/4 months in the kiln. That has been 2 weeks since I carved the neck down and it is still flat flat flat on the fingerboard side. I decided to install a couple of carbon fiber rods which will help keep it flat along its length, but there is nothing I can think of to keep it from twisting if it wants to.

What I did here seems to have worked for me. You might want to double check that it would work for more plain sawed or figured wood, and for a wood other than Ash. The time proven method is, of course, time. A 3" X 4" piece might take 3-5 years to dry fully.

The first picture shows the neck blank - pretty good on the vertical grain (it is on its side) and the grain went straight through to the other end

Second picture shows my thin stuff, stickered and taped together - the grain is almost perfectly vertical through the entire width of each piece. The pieces are separated by 1/2" thick stickers in 4 places down their length. I put 2 toolboxes on top of the stack and played a small fan at the stack.

Third is the kiln. In my business I use these little $75 temp/RH gauges that are pretty accurate

Fourth is the blank first being worked, showing the paint on any end grain and about how big I made the piece to speed up the drying

Good luck and YMMV

Ed


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 6:39 pm 
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First name: Ed
Last Name: Minch
City: Chestertown
State: MD
Zip/Postal Code: 21620
Country: United States
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Back at it. I have installed a couple of strings and finalized the set up, and have taken it apart for final sanding and prep


First shot is the set-up. I have a 24."9 scale, so for compensation, the high e saddle is located 25" from the face of the nut, while the low E is located 25-1/8" from the face of the nut. Halfway between these two is 25-1/16" so I cut a dowel at that length. Now I can locate the center of the saddle on the cone, then twist the cone to give the right compensation. Cool thing about a resonator is that you can play with the compensation as the cone has some play in the soundwell

Second is the final set - 3/32" e and 4/32" E. I can leave the strings on while I floss, so it easy to check

Third is the cone - I lowered the saddle a smidge, glued the biscuit onto the cone, and tightened the cone screw just a bit


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Last edited by Ruby50 on Thu Jan 05, 2017 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 6:42 pm 
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First name: Ed
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Zip/Postal Code: 21620
Country: United States
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
I finish sand the neck - first the shaft, then the heel, then the head - here the shaft is done . . .


Now the whole thing is done with a coat of shellac to keep it clean - the walnut headplate looks great


Sand the body


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 4:55 pm 
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First name: Ed
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While sanding the body I discovered a 1" length of binding that did not sit down in its channel well - looks like the channel has a bump in it, fortunately behind the tailpiece.

1) I melted a piece of the binding in lacquer thinner and worked it into the gap with a dental tool. I tried to melt it with a propane torch and found out about how it bursts into flame - interesting

2) After 220 grit - looks pretty good

3) Now for the frets - first go over the edges with the 30° file


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 4:58 pm 
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First name: Ed
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Status: Amateur
Then I dress the frets

1) Using a fret rocker and a straightedge I determine where the worst of the problems are, then file them a bit. Then use a flat file lightly over everything

2) With a fret crown file, I work til there is just a touch left of my marker at the top of each fret

3) I go over the frets with several grits of sandpaper (320, 400, 600) and then 0000 steel wool to polish them up. This time I did not round the ends of the frets with a file, but rather sanded them with 320 grit on my fingers to gently round them - I think I like it


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Last edited by Ruby50 on Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 5:00 pm 
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First name: Ed
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1) The steel wool leavings found the magnets

2) I really like the color of the Ash and tortoise binding after the shellac

3) Hang them to harden before I apply Tru-Oil


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 6:58 pm 
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Last Name: Cox
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Wow! That's one heck of a plane collection there! How do you handle sharpening so you don't end up with 30 dull planes all at the same time. ;)

I also like your painting handles. I keep saying I need to make myself a set like that but I just have never gotten to it...

Your build is coming along great.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 7:12 pm 
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Ruby50 wrote:
1) I melted a piece of the binding in lacquer thinner and worked it into the gap with a dental tool. I tried to melt it with a propane torch and found out about how it bursts into flame - interesting

:lol: Made me think of the model scene from Back to the Future:


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:36 am 
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First name: Ed
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Country: United States
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Dennis

That looks exactly like my experience - remember "Inglorius Basterds" where the movie film went up in flames at the end? Same material.

Truckjohn

I have about 20 users - much easier to keep under control. Those are just the flea and garage sale finds that were necessary to acquire due to low cost

Ed


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:06 pm 
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Very cool project, Ed! I'm hoping that you post a sound clip or two when it's completed.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 2:18 pm 
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First name: Ed
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Zip/Postal Code: 21620
Country: United States
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
j

My daughter is a blueswoman in Brooklyn, NYC. She plays a '37 Duolian, so I will turn to her to make this instrument sound far better than I ever could

Ed

Here is one she wrote:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OG3J0tnDKLU

And here is one using a pickup she found that she feels does the job:

https://vimeo.com/136728244


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