Half a Strat is better...no! Now it’s a whole Strat :)

Skyjerk

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You host some of your pics on your own site, right, Chris? For some reason I can’t see the past two pics you’ve posted (same deal with pretty much all of your old build threads). The earlier photos in this thread show up fine. Looks like WhiteEpi can see the last one, so I wonder if I'm doing something wrong. Same results on my phone and my iMac (tried several different browsers), except from the desktop I can open in a new tab and then I can see them. On the phone, nothing, just empty little boxes. Not trying to give you an IT problem to troubleshoot on the weekend, just wondering if anybody else is having the same issues...

View attachment 485598 .


Glad to see you back, and I look forward to your updates!

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Robert Parker

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I'm with you, Chris. Strats without pickguards just look wrong, even with a piece of wood as nice as that.
 

DaveR

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Now that I've accepted the cert, everything is displaying properly.
I was able to do the same on my phone once you posted that link. Before that I had nothing. Missing pic icons weren’t even clickable on mobile. So that’s cool, now I can see all of the great pics again!
 

Skyjerk

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Ok first official guitar building work in two years :)

Didn’t get the top glued today because I’m out of UF glue. I ordered some the other day and they told me that @Freddy G bought ALL of it. They did have one left and shipped it, but it won’t be here till Monday

Anyway, I sanded the body edge down, leaving just a little bit for the router bit

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Fed it through the planer and thinned it down to 1.6” thick. The top is .2” so once that’s glued it’ll be just a hair over 1.75” leaving me a bit of extra for sanding

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The planer leaves a pretty nice finish

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Next, the ol super glue and masking tape trick.

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I forgot how much I like this badass spiral bit

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So this is the 2x72 belt grinder. It’s made for grinding steel, so it has no dust collection hookups, so I improvised. I used the dogs “cone of shame” collar, and taped it to the end of the hose from my dust collector, and taped that to a bucket and put it in the right place. Worked like a charm.

This thing grinds steel like it’s wood, so you can imagine what it does to wood. I put a fresh 60 grit belt on

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And it did this in literally 30 seconds. Not kidding. Have to be SUPER careful or you’ll take too much off in a second flat. Now imagine all that wood turning into powder in 30 seconds and you can imagine that dust collection rig is critical.

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A bit of work with a rasp, a sanding block, and a card scraper and it’s a nice smooth curving transition that the top will glue nicely to

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For some reason I like posing my guitar stuff on the anvil with a hammer.
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Last thing I did today was route some relief cuts on the underside of the top to help with bending it over the arm carve. It’s fairly flexible even now, but I’ll apply a little heat and moisture and pre-bend it so it mates up smoothly onto the body, then it’ll go into the vacuum bag to glue it up.

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I used the Bessie clamps on my welding table to hold it while test bending it. I was able to get it closed pretty well just with my hands, although it springs right back up. The pre bend with heat and moisture will get it so it’ll stay pretty close to shape for the glueup

Probably Monday night

I remember when I bought this billet of angel step. It was October 2015. Still the most expensive piece of wood I ever bought.
I made a full carved top 22 special, and had enough left over for this book matched drop top. It sat in the basement 5 years waiting for the right guitar, and this is it :)

Then:

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Now (with a shot of naphtha):

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dcomiskey

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It’s nice to see you back, Chris. This is going to be another stunner.
 

gkelm

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Wow, fantastic work. Thanks for posting! I’d go guardless and I think the natural looks perfect, but opinions are like noses... :)
 

Skyjerk

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UF glue arrives today, no thanks to @Freddy G ;)

So the top will get glued on tonite, cavities will get routed tomorrow night, and it'll get a finish shot this weekend.

This will end up the shortest build thread I ever made. Usually I dont stop yammering and start the build until at least page 4 ;)
 
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Skyjerk

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Alrighty. I used water and a heat gun to gradually warm up the top, and then used a bunch of clamps to bend it over the arm carve. It went pretty easily and conformed perfectly to the top.

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As you can see, I prefer to curve the entire surface of the arm carve as opposed to having a fairly abrupt angle change and flat plane down to the edge as I've seen some done. Honestly, I dont know how they do it on a real Fender Strat. The last time I held one was long before I examined one with the eyes of a builder. I prefer it like this for both aesthetics and comfort

Also, Ive read that the edge at the deepest part of the arm carve the edge should be 5/8" thick. Adding in the roundovers that makes for a pretty thin edge. I prefer to leave it a tad thicker...

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I let it stay like this for several hours until it was dry and cool. The foil was just to keep the alder dry.

Once dry I removed the clamps and it mostly retained the curve, and light hand pressure was enough to conform it back onto the body and I knew I would get a night, tight fit in the vacuum bag

Then applied a film of UF glue, which BTW was only 4 months old. If you ever get this stuff from Amazon, beware. Its usually well past its stated 1 year shelf life. I get it from Grainger now. they buy and sell enough of the stuff that its usually fairly fresh.

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Then I put the top on and ran in a few screws which I had predrilled when it was all clamped up, and then into the bag...

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It needs to stay in the bag overnight. The UF says clamp about 14 hours at 70 F.
So it’ll be in the bag till tomorrow AM
 
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Skyjerk

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The container says clamp 14 hours at 70 F, and 8 hours at 80 F.
Well the shop is 75 F so splitting the difference lands at 11 hours.

I gave it one more and took it out at 12. The top didnt fall off :)
the squeeze out is hard like glass. You can literally cut yourself on it. that why this is such a good glue for
instruments, assuming of course its not a joint you might one day have to take apart...

Anyhoo, its a good glue-up. No gaps that I can see, but I still need to route the top flush with the body. I'm confident that wont reveal any big gaps.

Also, I'm relieved. I know I had a good joint between the book-matched halves of the top, but applying heat and moisture, and then bending that joint always makes me fear they could separate. No problem there. Joint tight.

I had to do a little naphtha wipe and took a couple pix. REALLY wish I could blow off work today to do the routing, but it'll have to wait until tonite...dammit!


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pshupe

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Looks great. Phenominal top wood. Where did you get your vacuum bag setup? I'm scanning a vintage 335 soon and am thinking of trying to mold some laminated tops and backs. My wife didn't want me to buy a big steam press for the spare bedroom, for some reason?? ;-)

Cheers Peter.
 

Kennoyce

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Looks great. Phenominal top wood. Where did you get your vacuum bag setup? I'm scanning a vintage 335 soon and am thinking of trying to mold some laminated tops and backs. My wife didn't want me to buy a big steam press for the spare bedroom, for some reason?? ;-)

Cheers Peter.
Peter, not sure where Chris got his vacuum bag setup, but I got mine from veneersupplies.com.
 

pshupe

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Thanks. I've been thinking about it for a while. Seems like it's great for lots of glue ups.

Cheers Peter.
 

Skyjerk

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Peter, not sure where Chris got his vacuum bag setup, but I got mine from veneersupplies.com.
Bingo. Same place I got mine.

I also got the "extreme 2' x 6' 30 mil polyurethane bag" because they are strong as hell, and I like the length because as a neck-through guy I've needed to put entire guitar into the bag before...

Not that I have 6 foot guitars, mind you. :)

They were out of stock on the 4' bags at the time and I didnt feel like waiting for them.
 

pshupe

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I'll never understand women no matter how long I live. Its a "spare" room, right? :)
Actually my daughter is still in there because she's doing University "remotely" but there is lots of room. :rofl:

Cheers Peter.
 

Skyjerk

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Actually my daughter is still in there because she's doing University "remotely" but there is lots of room. :rofl:

Cheers Peter.
She could probably vacuum pack her stuff in anticipation of returning to school :)
 

lowatter

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Dang skippy Chris this is gonna be a stunner. I love the opposing V pattern orientation on that exquisite quilted maple. Your skills continue to impress and it's no doubt that when you tackle something you ain't wasting your time. I'm looking forward to seeing the end product.
I'm completely at a loss on the use of a pickguard but I'm sure you'll come up with a complimentary solution.
Maybe a back control route with cover with nice knurled barrel chrome knobs on top and a minimal Tele styled rosewood or tortoise Cabronita pickguard? I'm not sure how true-to-a-strat guitar that you're envisioning. I'd hate to cover up any of that beautiful top if possible especially with the way you did that V pattern with quilting going up to the horns. I bet you already have it in mind after scratching your head a bit.

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DaveR

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I'll never understand women no matter how long I live. Its a "spare" room, right? :)
My "dining room" (which we never dine in because we prefer the eat in kitchen) currently has mahogany sticker stacked on the table. So much weight on it that I had to brace the underside of the table because the apron started separating from the top. Needless to say the wife is not pleased. It's only been sitting there for 18 months...it needs time to acclimate.
 


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