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Dreadnought Acoustic Build


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#31 Andyjr1515

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Posted 25 February 2016 - 10:38 PM

I spent a bit of time building a neck routing jig - more of that in a later post.

In the meantime, I've started on the purfling and binding, starting with the edge routing:
Posted Image

Then adding the 1mm wood black/white/black purfling. I use a very unconventional way of sticking these which will become clear when I move onto the binding. The purfling adds the finishing touch to an acoustic's binding:

Posted Image

The binding I am using is rosewood with a black/white/black edge. My unconventional way of fixing wood bindings is that I IRON them on, in the same way that I do my veneering jobs.

Not saying you should do this (I think I'm the only guy in the world that does) but it works for me.

Basically, I paint a decent coat of good quality wood PVA glue onto the slot and the pre-bent binding (bent on the same hot pipe as the sides):

Posted Image

Posted Image

Then I let it dry for 15- 20 minutes

Then I position it and then iron it on, short section by short section, allowing each section to cool for 10 secs or so holding in place with a cloth before moving on:

Posted Image

No more than 7 minutes from the point that the PVA had dried, the binding for that side is on ready for scraping or sanding:

Posted Image

Posted Image

Not long now before I start on the neck in earnest.....
Andy R

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#32 BassTractor

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Posted 26 February 2016 - 11:26 AM

Wow, this is still inspiring, awe-inspiring and frightening, and I love it.
I'll have to go to Wiktionary now, and find out about "purfling", "routing", "binding" and "guitar".
Thanks again for keeping us updated.
"That would look good on your CV; not so good on mine."
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#33 Andyjr1515

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 09:52 PM

View PostBassTractor, on 26 February 2016 - 11:26 AM, said:

Wow, this is still inspiring, awe-inspiring and frightening, and I love it.
I'll have to go to Wiktionary now, and find out about "purfling", "routing", "binding" and "guitar".
Thanks again for keeping us updated.

Thanks, BassTractor! :)

Now onto the back binding routing and the associated challenges For anyone who hasn't done an acoustic binding, let me explain.
  • The back is dished much more than the top
  • The angle at the edge of the back isn't, however, equal all around the perimeter - think tangents...where the waist pinches in, you are closer to the centre of the dish and therefore the tangential angle is smaller than at the upper bout and that is smaller than at the angle at the lower bout. Basically it's all over the place...
  • So, if you have a relatively large router base , the rise of the back at this angle means that the router rises (the router has to be kept vertical to keep the bearing-guided cut even in width and straight-sided.
  • Because the angle varies round the perimeter, the router therefore rises different amounts and the cut depth of the binding also varies, that is the bottom of the cut becomes a wavy line, not a straight one.
  • But the bottom of the binding must be straight for aesthetics and because it wont bend in that plane...you would just get gaps
The short version of the above is "Just trust me. It ain't gonna work!"

I don't make enough acoustics to invest in the clever (but very cumbersome) Stewmac / LMI rigs. The precision base with the binding roller fitment won't work for the above reasons. So I thought I'd try out this from Stewmac:



Posted Image

It's like a mini roller-guided Dremel precision base. It is better than the big one because the base is much smaller, therefore the angle of the back at the perimeter affects it less. It still affects it, but at a manageable level.
In terms of the gadget, I'll give it 7 1/2 out of 10:
  • It's a fiddle to set the right height
  • Keeping the router vertical while cutting has to be done purely by eye - not easy
  • You still get variation in cut depth, but it is a smoother transition
  • It did a MUCH better job than my precision base (which is what I used on my OM build)

I also managed to bend the back binding strips. I use a bending iron and then clamp them into the mould, give them a last spray of water, then leave them overnight:

Posted Image


Next job, in between decorating the dining room (I know - ridiculous - it was only done twenty three years ago!), is sticking them on.
Andy R

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URL: www.ajrguitarmods.co.uk

#34 Andyjr1515

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Posted 29 February 2016 - 02:50 PM

Not trimmed yet, but all four bindings are now safely on:

Posted Image

While the dining room paint was drying, I managed also to get out with my cheapo-cheapo band saw to cut the rough outline of the neck:

Posted Image

I'll be using one of the offcuts on the left to stick on to extend the heel to its full depth.

But that's it for today. Got some serious digging to do next...sadly, not the foundations for a workshop :unsure:
Andy R

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#35 Andyjr1515

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 01:02 PM

Spent the morning checking measurements and preparing everything for the "Very Scary Bit" - routing the neck tenon and body mortice slot! This one really will be a case of check, double check, triple check, quadruple check before anything is cut.

Obviously, the neck will be 30mm shorter once the neck is slotted in, but it's beginning to look like a guitar....

Posted Image


Posted Image
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#36 sblueplanet

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Posted 06 March 2016 - 02:48 PM

Amazing! Guitar building truly is an art and a complete mystery to me.

#37 Andyjr1515

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Posted 06 March 2016 - 03:15 PM

View Postsblueplanet, on 06 March 2016 - 02:48 PM, said:

Amazing! Guitar building truly is an art and a complete mystery to me.
Well, I thought that about acoustic builds until I was inspired by a build thread on another forum. When you get down to it, it's just a progression of acquired skills rather anything magical. It's a very well-trodden and you-tubed progress path too (thank goodness :D )
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#38 gelfin

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Posted 06 March 2016 - 10:45 PM

You'll be looking to do something like this the way you're going.

Posted Image

http://www.xpressing...-sua-construcao

#39 Andyjr1515

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 11:20 PM

Now that's quite, quite weird, gelfin :lol:

On with the build.

The neck routing jig I mentioned earlier is a few ideas stolen from LMII and Robert O'Brien (whose 'Luthier Tips du Jour' videos are great) and a bit of lateral thinking relating to converting an old Black and Decker Workmate into a neck and body routing jig.

Here it is in the body slot routing configuration:
Posted Image

The jaws of the workmate, lined with cork, grip the heel end of the body. The rig will take mortice and tenon templates or dovetail templates.

With a 5 minute changeover, I have an adjustable angle jig for routing the neck:
Posted Image


Tonight I tried my first dovetail on some scrap. First attempt was a scrapper because I made a basic error with the dovetail slot. But second trial came out like this:
Posted Image


While I could still remember how I did it, I did my very first 'real' neck dovetail:
Posted Image


...followed 1/2 hour later by my first real dovetail body slot:
Posted Image


To my utter surprise, it fit!
Posted Image

...nice and tightly:
Posted Image

...and at the correct angle:
Posted Image

...and correctly aligned!
Posted Image



...all in all that's pretty much as good as it gets! Well, well chuffed :D
Andy R

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#40 Dad3353

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 12:00 AM

I admire the optimism shown by sticking the label inside the guitar before it's finished..! Added incentive, maybe, to take it easy and make no slip-ups, eh..? :D
Have a nice day
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#41 Andyjr1515

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 06:32 AM

View PostDad3353, on 10 March 2016 - 12:00 AM, said:

I admire the optimism shown by sticking the label inside the guitar before it's finished..! Added incentive, maybe, to take it easy and make no slip-ups, eh..? :D
:D Partly....but mainly because it's a lot easier to glue it accurately onto the back before you glue the back on :)
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#42 Dad3353

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 10:36 AM

View PostAndyjr1515, on 10 March 2016 - 06:32 AM, said:

:D Partly....but mainly because it's a lot easier to glue it accurately onto the back before you glue the back on :)

That's logical, but it seems to me like buying a diamond anniversary present at the very first date..! 'Twould come in handy and save time later, too..! :lol:
Great stuff, 't'any rate. It's looking fine. B)
Have a nice day
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#43 Andyjr1515

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 03:59 PM

View PostDad3353, on 10 March 2016 - 10:36 AM, said:

That's logical, but it seems to me like buying a diamond anniversary present at the very first date..! 'Twould come in handy and save time later, too..! :lol:
:lol:
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#44 Andyjr1515

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Posted 13 March 2016 - 04:31 PM

In between some unavoidable outdoor jobs I've tried to continue small bits of progress.

The main one was to get the dovetail absolutely spot on. I used Glenn LaSalle's excellent Blues Creek videos as a guide and gently, gently eased everything so that the fretboard was absolutely square to the body, that the neck angle was correct, that there was no movement top or bottom in the dovetail joint itself and that the sides were flossed to an even tight fit to the body.

At the end of all of that, with each adjustment taking a tiny bit of wood off the joint, the resulting joint was smack on, but now a mm or so low. I had machined the neck slightly oversize, but not quite enough. No probs, though - I've just glued a strip of hardwood veneer onto one side of the neck joint which has also corrected a small offset in the neck position itself. It's worked a treat and I'll know next time to allow for a touch more 'wiggle room'.

I'm pleased with the joint. It's rock solid, and it's in the correct position on all planes:

Posted Image


The joint has been 'flossed' with 240 grit and, when the joint has its final glues whack, will be firm against the sides all round:
Posted Image

The end of the fretboard will have the small magnetic pickup that is one half of the Shadow Sonic Doubleplay system.

The other thing I am going to try, is to make the pickguard from an offcut of the side lacewood:
Posted Image


The domestic decorating / garden rearranging chores are mainly done for the time being, so I'm hoping for a spurt of progress in the coming couple of weeks :)
Andy R

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#45 sblueplanet

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Posted 13 March 2016 - 05:05 PM

Looking top-notch as always Andy

#46 Andyjr1515

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Posted 13 March 2016 - 07:34 PM

View Postsblueplanet, on 13 March 2016 - 05:05 PM, said:

Looking top-notch as always Andy
Thanks! :)
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#47 Andyjr1515

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 03:18 PM

Took maximum advantage of the fact that it ISN'T RAINING and profiled the fretboard:

Posted Image

Note the pencil line which is my 'I've reached where I need to be' reference. I started on 80 grit then progressively down to 600.

Then - as it STILL hadn't clouded over - added the frets. On an acoustic I find it a lot easier to get the fretboard pretty much sorted and then glue it on once the neck has been glued to the body.

I buy coiled fretwire, allowing me to do the 'bead of titebond; position fret; whack one side; whack the other side; whack the middle' technique. I do three frets at a time and while I'm cutting the next three, I clamp the radius block over the three I've just done for good measure:

Posted Image


Then laid that to one side for the glue to dry while I started the rough carve of the heelblock:

Posted Image


Finally, wrapped the trussrod in clingfilm and clamped a piece of the walnut inner splice as a truss-rod cap while the glue dries. Here I've rough-trimmed the fretboard too:

Posted Image


But by now I was worried about getting sunstroke in the 6 degree heat so went back indoors into the comforting gloom...
Andy R

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#48 Andyjr1515

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Posted 17 March 2016 - 05:04 PM

The first stages of the finishing are started

Following what I believe is an old classical guitar technique I am going to try out egg white as the clear sealer / filler again. I've used it on a couple of solid bodies but I'm interested how it fares with the spruce top. I suspect it will be OK as a sealer, but no better than, say, Birchwood Casey Clear Sealer & Filler, for filling much more than the grain pores (ie not very good at all!). First impressions:

Easy to apply
Quick drying
Cheap
Pretty much odourless
Easy to clean brushes / cloths / pots
Dries to a fragile and thin, but - on first impressions - fully set, finish. This might mean that, if it is capable of filling anything except the grain, it doesn't do the long-term continued sinking that the polymerised oils or similar suffer from.
This was it after a couple of coats:

Posted Image


Posted Image



While it was drying, I shaped the headstock and drilled the tuner holes:

Posted Image
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#49 allighatt0r

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 02:46 PM

Flippin luvverly :)

#50 Andyjr1515

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 07:00 PM

View Postallighatt0r, on 18 March 2016 - 02:46 PM, said:

Flippin luvverly :)
Thanks, Bryan :D
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#51 Dad3353

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 07:16 PM

View Postallighatt0r, on 18 March 2016 - 02:46 PM, said:

Flippin luvverly :)

Eggsactly. :D
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#52 Andyjr1515

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 07:51 PM

In summary, I'm very pleased indeed with the egg white. And it's tough! Not impossibly tough-to-the-point-you-wish-you-hadn't-bothered epoxy-kind-of-tough, but tough enough that when you sand even the soft spruce, for a long while you are pretty much polishing the sealed surface rather than cutting through straight down to the wood.

I've done what is probably the last coat of egg white before the first coats of varnish so, while that is drying, I've been cutting my moniker swifts.

Like many others, I use a jewellers saw and very simple slotted mdf board to cut them out:

Posted Image



...and here they are - three for the headstock and one for the heel block:
Posted Image
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#53 Andyjr1515

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 07:53 PM

View PostDad3353, on 18 March 2016 - 07:16 PM, said:

Eggsactly. :D
That's a good yolk ;)
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#54 Dad3353

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 07:55 PM

View PostAndyjr1515, on 18 March 2016 - 07:53 PM, said:

That's a good yolk ;)

You could have used shellac. :mellow:
Have a nice day
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#55 Andyjr1515

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 08:05 PM

View PostDad3353, on 18 March 2016 - 07:55 PM, said:

You could have used shellac. :mellow:
:lol: :rolleyes:
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#56 Andyjr1515

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 08:06 PM

View PostDad3353, on 18 March 2016 - 07:55 PM, said:

You could have used shellac. :mellow:
Anyway, regardless, pleased with the result - I think I've cracked it.... B)
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#57 Dad3353

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 08:49 PM

View PostAndyjr1515, on 18 March 2016 - 08:06 PM, said:

Anyway, regardless, pleased with the result - I think I've cracked it.... B)

Chic..! ;)
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#58 Andyjr1515

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 02:43 PM

Away from egg puns and back to progress - I like getting to the inlays stage because it tells me the end is in sight! Yes - eggsactly ;)

Normal process, starting with tracing round the inlay:
Posted Image

Dremel out the chamber:
Posted Image


Gluing with epoxy mixed with sawdust:
Posted Image


...and finally sand. The extra one is for the heel cap:
Posted Image

Edited by Andyjr1515, 19 March 2016 - 02:44 PM.

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#59 Dad3353

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 04:37 PM

May we have the 'back story' concerning the choice and conception of those swifts, please..? Very fetching, let it be said in passing. B)
Have a nice day
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#60 Andyjr1515

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 07:51 PM

View PostDad3353, on 19 March 2016 - 04:37 PM, said:

May we have the 'back story' concerning the choice and conception of those swifts, please..? Very fetching, let it be said in passing. B)
The back story is simply that the house we have lived in for the past 30 odd years has swifts nesting in the eaves (almost) every year. They are absolutely my favourite bird and they - to me - herald summer. They are the last to arrive of the migrating birds and the first to leave again. The sound of their screams as the flock whistles around the various house's roofs and chimneys at suicidal speed and proximity is the sound of summer. Worryingly, four breeding pairs have dwindled down to two over those years and last year we are pretty sure there were no fledglings from the two remaining (is it just me who thinks we are actually well into the globe's next great extinction period?)

Anyway, sticking with birds and egg-related matters - egg white as a grain-filler has my vote :D .

After the easiest and most convenient grain filling I can remember, this is 'the reflection test' after one very thin coat of wiped-on varnish (and before you ask - this isn't still wet, it is after it is touch dry) :

Posted Image

I maybe being overly optimistic, but I reckon a couple of days and the body will be fully varnished.... :)
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