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Dreadnought Acoustic Build


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#61 Dad3353

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 10:24 PM

Beautiful work, and thanks for the back story.

Just in case you're wondering what to do with all that egg yolk left over...

Tempora ...

B)
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#62 BassTractor

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 11:26 PM

View PostDad3353, on 19 March 2016 - 10:24 PM, said:

Tempora ...


Mmmmmm... I feel this is a good time for eating tempura!

:) ;)

Edited by BassTractor, 19 March 2016 - 11:53 PM.

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#63 Dad3353

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 01:16 AM

View PostBassTractor, on 19 March 2016 - 11:26 PM, said:

Mmmmmm... I feel this is a good time for eating tempura!

:) ;)

Do it now. Tempus fugit. :mellow:
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#64 BassTractor

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 10:51 AM

View PostDad3353, on 20 March 2016 - 01:16 AM, said:

Tempus fugit.

:lol:
You's one crafty little lad, dad.

On a serious on-topic note, I'd never expected that one would use any egg or varnish or whatever on the spot where the bridge has to come. Until today, my knees (jerks that they are) would assume the pores in the wood have to be filled with the glue. I knew egg was strong, but was unaware it could be this strong and bond like this.

I love your work, Andy.
This thread started out great, and only became greater.

Edited by BassTractor, 20 March 2016 - 10:51 AM.

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#65 Andyjr1515

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 11:39 AM

View PostBassTractor, on 20 March 2016 - 10:51 AM, said:

:lol:
You's one crafty little lad, dad.

On a serious on-topic note, I'd never expected that one would use any egg or varnish or whatever on the spot where the bridge has to come. Until today, my knees (jerks that they are) would assume the pores in the wood have to be filled with the glue. I knew egg was strong, but was unaware it could be this strong and bond like this.

I love your work, Andy.
This thread started out great, and only became greater.
You are quite right, BassTractor. The 'traditional' way is that you varnish it all and then scrape away the varnish / sealer back to bare wood at the bridge area before gluing the bridge on. It seemed very odd to me when I first learned that...until you work out just how hard it is to get a nice finish on such a big top area when the bridge is in the way!
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#66 Andyjr1515

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 11:47 AM

View PostAndyjr1515, on 20 March 2016 - 11:39 AM, said:

You are quite right, BassTractor. The 'traditional' way is that you varnish it all and then scrape away the varnish / sealer back to bare wood at the bridge area before gluing the bridge on. It seemed very odd to me when I first learned that...until you work out just how hard it is to get a nice finish on such a big top area when the bridge is in the way!
On that subject, there is a fantastic blow by blow thread of an acoustic being built as part of a Mark Bailey course by one of thefretboard forumites, ArchtopDave

This is the bit where he is removing the finish (and you need to see that finish...it is absolutely stunning!):
Posted Image

He actually dremeled it. Far too risky in my book - I use a stanley knife blade as a scraper
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#67 BassTractor

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 07:23 PM

View PostAndyjr1515, on 20 March 2016 - 11:39 AM, said:

...until you work out just how hard it is to get a nice finish on such a big top area when the bridge is in the way!

Ah! Thanks for explaining! That sounds like making sense. I'm kinda in awe of a procedure whereby you remove hard stuff from a well-defined area with a Stanley knife blade.
All the best with the rest of the project!
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#68 Andyjr1515

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 12:54 PM

The final varnishing of the body is ongoing (wipe-on thinned polyurethane varnish as normal) so while the various coats are drying, it's time to make some more progress with the other bits.

As I have said, this is a surprise birthday present so I don't have the opportunity to take the neck profile shapes from his own present acoustic. However, he's played my OM and was pretty complimentary about the feel, so I'll start off with a similar size and shape. I prefer to do the final tweaks when it's fully strung up (and probably once it's been passed to it's new owner) but I'll get it close enough to just need a bit of scraping / sanding to his ideal later.

I therefore used a profile gauge to take the profiles of my OM:

Posted Image



Because I go by feel as much as by measurement, I temporarily stuck the fretboard on with 2-sided tape:

Posted Image



Then started off with a medium fine rasp to rough shape at the 1st and 9th fret positions:

Posted Image



....and joined the two up with a spokeshave:

Posted Image



As I neared the target, I switched to the safer cabinet scrapers. To be honest, with a neck as small as this, and in the relatively soft mahogany, I could have just used scrapers and skipped the spokeshave:

Posted Image



Then chisels and the ridiculously good but tiny Ibis plane to start getting the headstock and heel transitions:

Posted Image



Also cut out the teardrop scratchplate and gave it an initial Z-poxy coat - our vocalist gets very enthusiastic with his guitar-pick strumming :rolleyes:

Posted Image
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#69 Andyjr1515

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 01:18 PM

Couldn't resist a couple of mockups :)

Posted Image

Posted Image
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#70 roman_sub

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 03:59 PM

This is well on the way to turning out as one of the prettiest acoustics I've ever seen! Great job!
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#71 Andyjr1515

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 05:33 PM

View Postroman_sub, on 21 March 2016 - 03:59 PM, said:

This is well on the way to turning out as one of the prettiest acoustics I've ever seen! Great job!
Thanks, roman_sub :)
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#72 Andyjr1515

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 07:20 PM

OK - I might have a bit of an issue with the egg-white. Or maybe not with the egg-white but another aspect my finishing technique

I have two problems. The first is definitely related to egg white and is a simple schoolboy error. Egg white is remarkable tough and rigid when it's set. But it is instantly water soluble. So on early coats of the finishing varnish, the usual wet n dry used wet is NOT an option!!! Any breakthrough allows the water to get to the egg white which immediately disappears! I remembered and was careful at the grain levelling stages but switched back into 'auto' when I started the varnishing proper. The result is a series of 'snail trails' wherever the above has happened:

Posted Image


That is fixable. Just sand back down to the eggwhite and start again, remembering to sand dry.

The second problem is a much more serious concern and may well lead to me abandoning the technique on this project, for the top at least. Here's what it looks like from above:

Posted Image


...and from most angles, it looks the same. Very pleased :)

But I caught a glimpse of it from THIS angle and wow! :

Posted Image

That's really not good. These areas had not got down through the varnish with the wet sanding so I don't think it's the same issue, but it maybe a moisture issue of some nature or it might be a grain-direction issue.

I've since had a really really close look under bright light and subdued light and from the top or across the grain, however close you look, there is no discernible issue. In fact it shimmers like a great tight piece of proper vertically grained lacquered spruce does.

However, if you look obliquely from either end along the grain, the areas of difference are as plain as the stripes on a freshly lawn-mowered and rolled lawn. My thought is that it is, indeed a grain direction issue.

Clearly, I have sanded differently or to a different level or finished in a different direction in those areas somewhere in the grain levelling process. Whether the egg white has caused or exacerbated the issue, I can't tell.

The back and sides look OK, so I will continue with those as normal. (the Lacewood is a very smooth tight grained, almost formica-like, wood so no grain issues there). The top will be sanded down to the wood, maybe this evening, and re-done, probably skipping the egg white as it is such an important project. I will be using it again in other projects, though, without a doubt.


On the positive results side, I tried thinning down Z-poxy with acetone for the first time to get it to be able to wipe-on to the pickguard. That appears to be a bit more successful!. I think denatured alcohol is the recommended (and probably healthier) way of thinning but I had acetone and didn't have any alcohol. I made sure the windows were open and let the cloth dry outside to avoid any spontaneous combustion stuff!!! :

Posted Image
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#73 Dad3353

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 07:52 PM

(Pops head over garden fence...)

If I may express an opinion (Disclaimer: I have notoriously poor taste...), I'd not be too happy with that pickguard. It looks fine on its own, and has interesting figuring, but, to me, distracts from the otherwise sober aspect. Maybe stained very much darker, but still retaining the wood grain..?
Just sayin'; feel free to ignore.

(Bobs down and continues to weed out the seedlings and remove slugs from beer-traps, humming Schubert's 9th...)
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#74 Andyjr1515

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 09:11 PM

View PostDad3353, on 23 March 2016 - 07:52 PM, said:

(Pops head over garden fence...)

If I may express an opinion (Disclaimer: I have notoriously poor taste...), I'd not be too happy with that pickguard. It looks fine on its own, and has interesting figuring, but, to me, distracts from the otherwise sober aspect. Maybe stained very much darker, but still retaining the wood grain..?
Just sayin'; feel free to ignore.

(Bobs down and continues to weed out the seedlings and remove slugs from beer-traps, humming Schubert's 9th...)
I know what you mean, Dad3353 and it's a little bit Marmite, but I'm trying to pull away from the 'same old same old' dreads you see rack after rack of in most guitar shops. The headstock ties the back with the front so it's a close call and I'm not fully certain myself....it will be the last thing I fit when I can see what it really looks like fully assembled and stringed up.

What do t'others think to it - yay or nay?
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#75 sblueplanet

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 10:01 PM

I think if the pickguard is as dark-stained as the bridge it's a winner. The figuring on it is very classy. I would be pretty proud to be the owner of this instrument.

#76 roman_sub

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Posted 24 March 2016 - 01:56 PM

I'm sure you'd want to get looking perfect, but if it's any consolation, the finish imperfection is looking remarkably like the top of my 1970's Martin D28. Potential relic'ing technique? :)

Edited by roman_sub, 24 March 2016 - 01:58 PM.

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#77 Andyjr1515

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Posted 24 March 2016 - 02:21 PM

View Postroman_sub, on 24 March 2016 - 01:56 PM, said:

I'm sure you'd want to get looking perfect, but if it's any consolation, the finish imperfection is looking remarkably like the top of my 1970's Martin D28. Potential relic'ing technique? :)
Well funnily enough, that was the first thing I thought of...its just like many old acoustics you see. But I thought if it starts off like this, goodness knows what this one would look like over 40 years ;)

I've sanded the top back down and give. It the first coat of a more conventional finish. I'll leave the back and sides with the egg white though :)
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#78 BigRedX

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Posted 24 March 2016 - 02:32 PM

"Egg White" - is that literally the whites of eggs? Doesn't it go off? Do you need to add anything?

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#79 Dad3353

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Posted 24 March 2016 - 03:01 PM

View PostBigRedX, on 24 March 2016 - 02:32 PM, said:

"Egg White" - is that literally the whites of eggs? Doesn't it go off? Do you need to add anything?

The big problem is cross-hatching; makes the guitar look cheep. On the upside, chicks will follow you anywhere. :mellow:
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#80 Andyjr1515

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 12:43 AM

View PostDad3353, on 24 March 2016 - 03:01 PM, said:



The big problem is cross-hatching; makes the guitar look cheep. On the upside, chicks will follow you anywhere. :mellow:
Now this really has to stop...or feathers will start flying!!!! ;)
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#81 Andyjr1515

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 12:47 AM

View PostBigRedX, on 24 March 2016 - 02:32 PM, said:

"Egg White" - is that literally the whites of eggs? Doesn't it go off? Do you need to add anything?
Yes, no and nothing :)

It's just the albumen - both the light watery stuff and the thicker jelly-like stuff mixed together and brushed on or wiped on. All you need to do is to take care to avoid getting any yolk in or the stringy gristly bits mixed in with it.
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#82 Dad3353

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 12:52 AM

View PostAndyjr1515, on 25 March 2016 - 12:43 AM, said:

Now this really has to stop...or feathers will start flying!!!! ;)

Calm down. :mellow:
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#83 Andyjr1515

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 01:59 AM

View PostDad3353, on 25 March 2016 - 12:52 AM, said:



Calm down. :mellow:
OK I surrender....you have beaten me into an omelette!
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#84 Dad3353

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 03:58 AM

View PostAndyjr1515, on 25 March 2016 - 01:59 AM, said:

OK I surrender....you have beaten me into an omelette!

OK, I'll let you crack on, then. :mellow:
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#85 Andyjr1515

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 04:41 PM

I got the body right down to the bare wood, and a little bit further for luck to make sure any residual coating would be fully sanded away:

Posted Image


Difficult to see in the shot here, but actually there are definite darker areas in the grain. I re-sanded those areas just in case but they are definitely in the wood.

I then did a tru-oil slurry to act effectively as the sanding sealer. And yes - the same patterns in the same places. I've darkened the shot a little which exaggerates the effect a little :

Posted Image


So my conclusion is that the funny markings was nothing to do with the egg white in terms of fast-ness or moisture but is simply a quirk of the grain of the wood.

It will be interesting when I get to the re-varnishing if it shows up the same way. I'm pleased the egg white still ticks the boxes, but I'm also pleased for the peace of mind in doing it again with my normal method :)

It was a dry day all day (again!) so I abandoned the household chores and finished off the neck volute and heel sanding. The profile will be fine tuned when the guitar has been fully assembled.

Posted Image
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#86 Andyjr1515

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Posted 27 March 2016 - 10:46 AM

...and three very thin wiped-on coats of thinned Ronseal Hardglaze has given me this:
Posted Image

That'll do ;)
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#87 6v6

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Posted 29 March 2016 - 10:17 AM

Looks great!

FWIW I agree re the pickguard, but it's a real personal taste thing - I myself would prefer no guard at all, but I can appreciate the desire to do something different! :)

#88 Andyjr1515

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Posted 29 March 2016 - 07:14 PM

View Post6v6, on 29 March 2016 - 10:17 AM, said:

Looks great!

FWIW I agree re the pickguard, but it's a real personal taste thing - I myself would prefer no guard at all, but I can appreciate the desire to do something different! :)

Actually, I'm probably going to finish it without and give the new owner the option (I'll probably use some of the Taylor non-glue clear removable ones for him to try out the guitar without scraping the top at first strum). The reason is that, while I was waiting for the sides to fully dry after their final varnish coat, I did some tap tuning tests.

Now, bearing in mind this was just the body, sitting on a shoebox on some jiffy:
  • No pickguard, full drum sound with very obvious harmonics and sustain
  • This lacewood pickguard just laid in place, loose. Muted drum sound, NO audible harmonics
  • I cut out the same shape in 0.6mm veneer and laid that one on. Back pretty much to the original full-range sound
  • Back to the lacewood guard, this time lifted off the top at the sides with a couple of pieces of thin foam and touching at the soundhole, a bit Les-Paul-ish. Pretty much back to the original full sound.
So I am now persuaded that the pickguard might tangibly affect the tone - especially at its present thickness and weight.

I also showed it to MrsAndyjr1515 and she definitely prefers it without pickguard - with the finish now finished, it is indeed a lovely piece of wood.

So (remembering this is a surprise special birthday present for our old-gits-band's vocalist in July) the plan is now:
  • give it to him sans pickguard. Take a non-glue Taylor clear film one in case he's too worried about scratching the top as a temporary measure
  • fit him a glued clear one if he wants a pickguard purely for protection
  • give him the lacewood one, fitted with les paul brackets and, if HE likes the look and wants it fitted, but fit with brackets so the only contact point with the top is a couple of places at the soundhole (which is internally reinforced anyway so is not a resonating feature.
In terms of the overall build, the body varnishing is done, waiting a week or two to harden fully before:
  • Gluing the neck
  • Gluing the bridge
  • Double checking the heights and gluing the fretboard (with or without maple veneer demarcation depending on height)
  • Installing pickups, preamp and jack
  • Fitting tuners and saddle
  • Stringing up
  • Fine tuning neck profile shape
  • Tru- oil the neck
That really isn't much left and - more to the point - relatively few things I can do that could wreck it altogether!!!! :D

Edited by Andyjr1515, 29 March 2016 - 07:17 PM.

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#89 Andyjr1515

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Posted 03 April 2016 - 11:26 AM

The varnish on the body is hard enough now to start the final stages, starting with fitting the neck.

Here's the body...the top will get a touch of final treatment (more later) but this is broadly what it is going to be looking like:

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

The small light mark in the middle of the bottom waist is a small bear-claw in the grain. The other light patches are reflections.

Then, after a final fit check, the neck was glued, hammered and then clamped to dry:

Posted Image


Now the varnish has fully dried and shrunk, top will have its final two stages - wet and dry 2000 grit used wet followed by the final wipes of thinned varnish. Then it's left for a couple of weeks and simply polished with Meguiers Ultimate Compound. For reasons too complicated to explain in this brief update, you do NOT buff this type of varnished finish.

It's fortuitous that I have that final stage to do....you might be able to just see to the left of the clamp a bruise in the top....yes - dropped the clamp :rolleyes: I'm quite relaxed about it as I think it will be pretty invisible in the final look even though it's irritating that I let it happen!

Edited by Andyjr1515, 03 April 2016 - 11:27 AM.

Andy R

Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar Bass
Custom Fretless Bass
URL: www.ajrguitarmods.co.uk

#90 sblueplanet

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Posted 03 April 2016 - 11:56 AM

Instant relicing. I love it!





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