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Thread: Guitar build number three...

  1. #16
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    It's a balancing act between pushing too hard and causing lateral stress leading to breaking them off vs achieving proper chip load to throw off heat because as you know, heat kills cutters "reliably".
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  2. #17
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    Is that EVO fret wire or something else? I've been using EVO for a while on most of my banjos because it matches the brass hardware and also is supposed to last a lot longer before having to be worked on, but I've never played an instrument enough to wear out any kind of fret wire so I don't know for sure that it really is a lot more durable than nickel-silver.

    I'm always surprised that fret slots can be CNC cut at all without breaking the bits, but it seems to be a widespread thing nowadays. I'm extra surprised that you can go that fast. How many passes does the machine make to cut a fret slot the full depth? I am a dinosaur and still cut my slots with a small circular saw blade so I have no idea.

    It's all looking great, good for you.
    Zach

  3. #18
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    Yes, that's Jescar EVO Gold, medium pre-radiused from Philadelphia Luther Tools and Supplies. Their prices for the pre-radiused stuff is far better than StewMac, etc., and it's never a problem finding enough stuff to quality for free shipping. LOL . My understanding is that this wire is a bit more durable and consequently a little harder to initially setup, but there's no harm in a challenge.

    I'm doing the fret slots in 5 passes for 2mm depth...just faster than I was before having that conversation with the dude at Precise Bits that I mentioned. You can probably do a board faster with your circular blade setup if it's indexed, but I can do something else while my machine is cutting them.
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 11-11-2019 at 9:49 PM.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #19
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    It takes me about 5 minutes to mark the fret locations and another 5 to cut them, so I imagine that your CNC is faster than that, besides the advantage of not having to do it yourself. My slotting system isn't indexed, it's sort of like a miniature sawbuck, but that works better for me because I routinely am using several different scale lengths. I used to buy EVO from LMII but I found out that it's much cheaper to buy it directly from Jescar, at least in quantity. My last order was for 300 feet as I recall, and it should last me for another year or two. I would prefer to get it in straight lengths but it comes in a roll, about a 12" radius or so. Most of my banjos have flat fretboards and get EVO, which I have to flatten, and when I build guitars they get nickel-silver because I still have a lot left in a guitar size, but it's in flat 2' pieces and I have to radius it before putting it in.

  5. #20
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    The machine cut is longer than ten minutes but not excessively so. And as I noted, I can be working on other things while it works. Since I'm not building in volume, I'm fine buying the pre-radiused cut fret wire for now, but if for some reason I start to build necks with any frequency, I'd probably get some form of radiusing tool and buy the wire in a roll.
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    After spending the morning on design work for a client, I got a little bit of time in the shop this afternoon to work on this build. The short version is...fretted, dealt with the ends of the frets, did a lot of sanding on the neck and then glued the neck to the body. Definitely looks something like a guitar now. LOL

    Sinking them home...this went a lot faster and easier as "this time" the fretboard radius was dead-nuts on. I bought an appropriate radius sanding block which removed any variation while I was knocking down the dots. The fret press head is a knock-off from EBay (Elmer brand) and works extremely well for this.

    IMG_6048.jpg

    Nipped and abraded even to the edge of the fretboards...

    IMG_6049.jpg

    Taped and then dressed the fret ends...easier to do that while the neck was still free of the body, although they will probably need a little more refining.
    IMG_6052.jpg

    Final test fitting before glue...

    IMG_6050.jpg . IMG_6051.jpg

    And....glue up. It was easiest to start here at the vice so I could have two hands available to insure it was seated exactly right while tightening the clamp with the other hand.
    IMG_6053.jpg

    After it set for about 45 minutes, I inverted it and cleaned off any glue squeeze out while it was still pliable
    IMG_6056.jpg

    Next steps include a whole bunch of finish sanding before coating this with a bunch of things to make it prettier.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #21
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    Thanks for the follow along, Jim. Not sure a guitar build will be in my future, but appreciate seeing how it all goes together. Looking forward to seeing the finish on that wood...as Iím sure you are as well.

  7. #22
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    It looks great. I didn't realize that solidbody guitar necks were glued on. What kind of joint is used? I had had the impression that they were mostly either bolt-on or through necks, but I don't know why I thought that.
    Zach

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zachary Hoyt View Post
    It looks great. I didn't realize that solidbody guitar necks were glued on. What kind of joint is used? I had had the impression that they were mostly either bolt-on or through necks, but I don't know why I thought that.
    Zach
    Some necks are set (glued) and some are bolt on. Fender designs are primarily bolt on and Gibson designs are primarily set necks..."in general" and there are exceptions, especially on the Fender side. There are a lot of folks in the Fender world who swap necks around...Clapton's Telecaster with a Stratocaster neck is one noteworthy example. It is actually an advantage to the design beside the simple "no neck angle" metrics. This is no special joint for my project...it's a Fender design with a precise pocket. I decided to glue instead of bolt so I could sculpt the join of the neck to the body, particularly on the bottom horn side where one would be reaching for the upper frets. It gives more hand clearance. I'll be looking at the flex when I take it out of the clamp today and if I feel uncomfortable, I can always put a few hidden screws in...but PVA glue on a well fitted joint with a lot of aligned woodgrain surfaces makes for a very strong joint.

    I'm thinking about doing a through neck at some point, but I want to take the time to properly figure out the cutting design to do it with the CNC. I'm not squeamish about adding complexity and challenges here! That's why I'm doing this...I really cannot play guitar very well at this point because of surgery on my left wrist a few years ago, not that I ever could play "well". (merely adequate to meet a need in a band I was in back in the 1980s and the same for bass in a summer band I was in during my collage years...I'm a keyboard person generally)
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  9. #24
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    I did a little more work today on this build...a LOT of sanding plus a little more attention to the fret ends as I was not happy with a few of them, drilling for the jack, masking off and then doing the first coat of Z-Poxy for grain filling the sapele.

    The glue-up really went well and after sitting overnight. Solid.

    IMG_6061.jpg

    There was also that little operation to deal with where the jack goes before I proceeded to finishing steps. We'll start there. I'm using the nice looking metal inserts to hold the audio jack. The outer rim is 25mm/1", so the first step was to use a 25mm forstner bit to create a recess so that the rim sits flush with the body.

    IMG_6062.jpg IMG_6063.jpg

    This also provided the pilot point for running the 7/8" drill through to the control cavity...not shown.

    After some more final sanding...and some more final sanding....oh, and a little more final sanding, I masked off the fretboard and the various recesses and holes in the body in preparation for finishing.

    IMG_6064.jpg

    And then slathered on the first coat of Z-Poxy to grain fill the sapele and start things on the way to what will hopefully be a very nice finish. The body and headstock will likely get at least one additional coat of Z-Poxy after it's sanded back, but I'm not going to do that on the back of the neck as I don't want to build that area up too much. The Target Coatings sealer will be more than enough in that area without additional resin. Since I did coat all the surfaces, I hung the instrument for the resin to cure. Any subsequent applications will go on "flat" so the resin can settle down on the faces. That will take more time because of waiting between front and back, but should result in a better surface. Dat color though...

    IMG_6065.jpg
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  10. #25
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    The finished wood is very pretty, and thanks for the explanation about necks. It seems like the neck-body joint would be quite strong the way you've made it, and the thick wood of a solid-body guitar should be much more stable than the box made of very thin wood and bracing so I would think that as long as the neck is firmly attached at the heel there's nothing else to have to worry about.
    Zach

  11. #26
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    Yes, it's really solid, Zach.
    ------

    Mucho sanding later, the Z-Poxy is flat and the grain is filled really nicely. The downside to a heavy coat is the amount of sanding, The upside is that I don't need to do it a second time, at least on this instrument. I got lucky for sure. I'm happy with the results...

    IMG_6081.jpg

    After a through cleaning, I shot a very light coat of de-waxed shellac to be able to confirm visually that everything is filled to my satisfaction. I'll hit that with some 400 or 600 to knock off any nibs or whatever and can then start on my clear coats.

    IMG_E6082.jpg IMG_E6083.jpg
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  12. #27
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    Started shooting water borne "clear" today after going over the whole thing with 600 to knock off any nibs or dust from the light coat of wax-free shellac I put on last night to check things over. Target Coatings EM1000 sanding sealer is my first step here.

    IMG_6086.jpg

    I'm reasonably happy with that but I want to liven that sapele up a bit on the front of the guitar, so since I also was applying the same product on another body heavily tinted with Honey Amber dye as a first step to a burst, that got the nod on this guitar, too. Amber can really kick things up for mahogany and mahogany like species like sapele and is a common finishing step on some traditional furniture types that tend to be built from these species. It really brings out the special character of this wood. And yea...now I like it a whole lot!

    IMG_6089.jpg IMG_6091.jpg

    I'm going to do the same on the back and sides, but with a far darker effect...I don't want a "burst", but I want the front faces to stand out from the edges and back side. There will barely be some feathering at the edges if things go well.
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 11-18-2019 at 8:44 PM.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  13. #28
    The color is beautiful, Jim - beautiful!

    David
    David

    Nothing to do with woodworking at all, just our music at church (I'm the guy with the Koa Takamine)

  14. #29
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    Got the back and sides toned darker and I really like how this is heading...

    IMG_6094.jpg IMG_6095.jpg IMG_6096.jpg

    And the logo applied...while I plan on doing these using brass inlays in the future, this one is painted using a mask

    IMG_6104.jpg
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 11-20-2019 at 6:26 PM.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #30
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    Jim, the color is really nice. I look forward to the rest of the finish schedule. I assume it will be wet sanded/rubbed out at the end?

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