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Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by SlingBlader, Jan 9, 2017.
Great work. Kudos all around!
Thanks emoney, I appreciate it!
Thank you, in fact I never checked the wiring diagram because I wanted to do it at the end but that's an important point that you have shown here. I will have to buy a new drill bit to connect bridge to the rest of the electronics.
Gary - builds are looking great! Your work is extremely clean and accurate.
Thanks, man. That's very kind. Your builds are looking great as well. We need more updates!
Incredible build(s) thread! I see that your pup is about as enthralled with Master's hobby as mine ...
Thanks very much! I've been enjoying watching your progress as well. Beautiful dog, what breed?
Beaujolais is a Border Collie with a coat called Chocolate Merle.
I've been chipping away little by little here. As I've mentioned before, I was more than a little nervous about these guitars turning out to be playable. I was debating on when to do fretwork and so on. In the end, I really wanted to test drive the guitars, so I went ahead and did a fret level, dress and polish on both guitars. The fret leveling was minimal and much to my surprise was a fairly enjoyable process. I was also happy that performing the fret job on #2, which has stainless frets, was really not much more difficult than the nickel silver frets.
I won't bore everyone with pictures of that whole process, but here are some shiny frets on #1. One thing that has become apparent to me on these builds is that I've shaved the neck binding down too far. This happened too early in the build process, and as a result, the neck was trimmed down to match. I think it will be OK in the end but man, that is thin.
I wired them both up quickly...
Then I assembled both guitars enough to make them playable. I obviously didn't bother with knobs, etc. The output jacks were just hanging out of the control cavities. They both need further setup refinements, but I'm very pleased to say that they play very nicely. I only noodled on them for a few hours over the course of a few days as I didn't want to get them too grimy.
I broke down #1, cleaned it thoroughly, then final sanded the entire guitar. I made my own pore filler using FFFF pumice, boiled linseed oil, lacquer and thinner. I used WD Lockwood oil based red powdered dye for color. The color looks a bit off in these photos, but you get the idea.
The neck wood was a much darker mahogany and it clearly shows in this photo. I have a few spots to clean up on the binding, but overall the masking job worked pretty well.
I ordered one of these a while back and I'll be using it very soon. I'm also going to set up a rudimentary positive pressure spray booth to make the job a bit easier.
#1 will be getting a cherry sunburst finish (aniline dyes) that may be faded to some degree. I'm still deciding on the finish for #2 as it has a poplar back, but a mahogany neck... I'll have to experiment on scrap, but I'm leaning towards brown dye/filler for the neck and back with a honey colored top.
More soon, thanks for looking!
Again looking very kool!!!!!!
Thanks, Sunburstman. I'm hoping to start working on some finish samples today. Things are getting exciting now.
This weekend I worked on mixing up multiple colors of dyes for my two builds. I mixed up some aniline dyes for the burst on #1 and some Transtint dyes to experiment for #2. I want to do a honey colored finish for #2, but so far I have not hit the right combination. I'll have to keep working on that.
Tonight I shot a few burst samples on curly maple, but time got away from me, and I was shooting rapid coats outdoors at sunset... I got blush in the center of my samples from the rising humidity and rapid coats, but I think I got a good enough result for a proof of concept.
I think I'm relatively close to initial burst colors for #1. Here is a shot of the first sample. The red is a bit too much on the orange side for me in this test.
Here is the second burst test with a few drops of blue added to the red. This looks closer to what I was aiming for.
Another view of the second attempt.
I intend to UV fade the burst a bit, so I'm pretty much going full strength initially. It's pretty bright!
I'm really impressed with my new Iwata spray gun. It did take me a few minutes to get used to the smaller overall fan size. The adjustments are so smooth, it's just amazing.
Thanks for looking.
Preparing for the finish
Well, this past week I started to make preparations for putting some finish on these builds. I decided to build a makeshift spray booth. I'm spraying nitro and I didn't want to spring for an explosion proof fan. I decided that a positive pressure booth would be the safest and cheapest way to go. So... I spent about $100 total and came up with this contraption.
I bought a cheapo "gazebo" from Menards for $30 to use as my framework. I hung plastic (also $30 for a 100' roll at Menards) from the framework and on the floor. I then used heavy duty packing tape to roughly seal all the joints. I installed a zipper doorway ($17... again Menards), a cheap box fan ($13 Menards) to pressurize the booth and cheap filters on the input and output sides. ($5 or so from, you guessed it, Menards)
I built my exhaust duct from various cardboard boxes and ran it over to the window. There is plenty of wiggle room, so I can open and close the window when necessary. I do open another window to draw fresh air on the opposite side of the garage. A window air conditioner removes the humidity.
Probably not my finest moment in engineering, but hey, it works!
I also decided to build some sort of rig to hold the guitar when spraying. I wasn't looking forward to constantly fighting gravity and I knew I would have better luck with a horizontal position. I found this idea on a Kiessel/Carvin video on YouTube.
I made it from scrap plywood and a $4 lazy Susan bearing (yep, Menards) and some scrap aluminum stock that I had laying around. Future versions will use steel brackets instead.
Here it is in action.
I could not source tubing locally for a more elegant solution for the headstock standoff, so here is what I came up with. It turns out that the threaded end of a Pentel ink pen fits perfectly inside an 11/32" hole.
So I cut up a couple of pens and used a 1/4" x 3 1/2" bolt along with a lock washer and wing nut. I had to slightly ream the inside of the pen tubes for the bolt to fit.
Here is a detail shot that shows the standoff installed. A twisted piece of aluminum stock fits into a corresponding slot in a bracket that is mounted to the base.
OK, enough for tonight. More coming soon, I promise. Thanks for looking!
That's some solid engineering on a budget! Nice work, looks good! Can't wait for the next update....
Great idea on making a spray booth very inventive!!!!!!!
Can't wait to see the finish!!!!!
Shooting some lacquer
As I mentioned before, I'm intending to finish #1 with a bright cherry sunburst using aniline dye toned lacquer; then UV fade it down until it suits me. So, this will initially be shot full tilt boogie with some heavily saturated color.
Thing is, I'm just winging it... I've read so many threads and looked at so many pictures that my head is just spinning at this point. That, along with the fact that colors vary with different cameras, computer screens, human interpretation, etc. will make for a very interesting journey.
Okey dokey, here we go. (By the way, I'm shooting Mohawk Piano Lacquer) I mounted my freshly prepped guitar on the spray stand and fired up the ventilation fan on my fabulous new spray booth. I shot a couple sealer coats of heavily thinned lacquer. This is after it dried a bit and brought it out of the booth.
Next, I shot some black tinted lacquer over the face of the headstock. I used Mixol Universal tint in the lacquer. Oh, and beer... I had some Gumball Head by Three Floyds.
I mixed up some bright yellow and shot a few coats. This may be a little brighter than I should have gone... as I think most examples that I've seen are more of a straw yellow. But dang, I almost couldn't stop spraying more coats. It looks so vibrant, it's hard to describe. I nearly left it as is. I'm disappointed that my camera makes it look so dull and lifeless and 2D.
I mixed up some red along with a couple drops of blue and shot my first attempt at the burst. I'm not too displeased with this, but it wasn't quite as deep as I envisioned it. It also took on sort of a strange pinkish salmon color in certain light. The burst is also a bit wide, but I'm hoping it will pull back toward the edges when I fade it.
The next day, I added more red, a dose of brown and a bit more blue. I shot over the original burst and this is how it turned out. Because I shot the red so finely, it was a very misty and grainy coat. So there is not much shine here... It looks pretty dark, but I think with fading it will end up where I want it.
Here is a shot after I scraped the binding. This shows the back color in relation to the top. It's the same red as the burst. Maybe too red? Eh, I don't know. Again, I'm winging this. I think it looks pretty cool.
I'll wrap this post up for now and start another shortly.
Shooting some lacquer, continued...
OK, here is a shot of the headstock with the inlays scraped and some clear started. This also shows my fabulous standoff thingamajig.
And here are some shots from "the booth". I think this was after 3 or 4 clear coats. I'm not sure if it translates in the pictures, but it was an amazing transformation when the clear coats melted into the burst. It pulled it back toward the edge just a bit and made the transition really gorgeous.
In person, it looks like a big piece of delicious hard candy. Probably tastes like crap though. I'm not sure what it will look like after fading, but I'm hoping for good things.
Anyway, I would welcome some feedback as I feel like I'm flying blind here. I'm also looking for color suggestions for the second build. Keep in mind that one has a poplar body, with a mahogany neck.
Thanks for looking.
Gary, that's looking great! I'll bet that burst settles down nicely. A little jealous of your spray booth ... almost the size of my shop!
Thanks, CJ! Yeah, the fading should knock some of the clown out of that burst. The booth seems to work pretty well, but the next time I set it up I will install twice the exhaust area for quicker evacuation. The footprint of the booth is 10' x 10'. I'm fortunate to have a 2 car garage to set up in... and I'm still able to open the door without disturbing the setup. How big is your shop?