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Help in Identifying parts in StewMac Dread kit
Author
Post
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 261
Below is a picture of items that came with my Dreadnought kit from StewMac.
Top left is rosewood for the peghead veneer, middle top is maple for the bridge plate, top right seems to be mahogany.
Bottom left is a plastic piece about 6" long and the long sides are bevelled on the front. The lower middle is a wafer thin piece of birch I think, and the lower right is an extra piece of fretboard. Of course, the very bottom right is the pickguard.
Is the plastic piece supposed to be used for the end trim and heel cap?
How about the wafer thin piece? I'm using a bolt-on neck, so the shim for the neck is normally not included. Could be a mistake on their part.
What is the top right mahogany looking part?
I'm looking at the kit manual, and just want to be sure.
I hate the idea of using plastic on the end trim or heel cap.
Finally, I didn't see anything looking like an end pin.
Thanks.
Bob

ps. Bill, if the picture size is too large, I can get out my software and reduce it to a lower file size. Please let me know.


Dec 16, 09 | 3:46 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Bob -- I think you've identified the parts correctly. The extra fretboard is for fretting practice. The thin piece of birch(?) might be for a shim, but none of the 4 Stewmac kits I built had that in them. The piece of plastic might be for the tail wedge, but in my dread kit, it was white -- so I don't know. They should have included something to make a heelcap from, too -- maybe that's what the black plastic is for. The mahogany piece is probably a scrap freebie. They must've left out the endpin; they'll send it if you call them.

Dec 16, 09 | 3:56 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Thanks, Bill, I pretty much had figured it out, but it's good to have confirmation.
I've got some black walnut and cherry from some old projects, and if my planer will get them down small enough, I'd like to consider using one of them for the tail wedge and/or end cap. This kit has mahogany side and back pieces, as shown below. Do you think either one of them would look good.
I'm adding pics of the back and sides.
There's another question on the sides. In the pictures, if you can see, it looks like there are water stains. I'm betting it's from the bending process. I've done a little sanding on the insides, and it looks like that will come out. Seem ok to you? The back looks fine.

Sides


Back



Dec 16, 09 | 4:05 pm
Freeman

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
I think you have nailed it pretty well. The piece of hog will be to experiment with stain, assuming you want to give the back and sides the reddish brown stain like a martin. Since D-18's are bound in black, the black plastic is for the end trim. Not sure about the thin birch - I have used similar under my peghead veneer to give it a light colored line, but there is nothing like that on a D-18. The end pin should be with the bridge pins, if not they owe you one that matches the pins.

Sides often have some water marks from bending - they should sand out fine.

Dec 17, 09 | 8:20 am
Freeman

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
Opps, forgot - llike Bill says, you will also make the end cap for the heel of the neck out of that piece of mahogany, but save some to practice your staining.

Dec 17, 09 | 8:21 am
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Thanks Freeman
The little birch piece is too small for the peghead. But I like the idea of that touch to it.
I had thought about not staining the back or sides. Whatcha think?
If it does need staining, got any ideas for me?

Dec 17, 09 | 3:03 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Bob -- Ditto what Freeman said. I think Mahogany looks great without stain ... but that's just me.

Dec 17, 09 | 4:56 pm
Freeman

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
If you want to recreate the D-18 look, follow StewMac's instruction for staining - it is a little bit of their red and brown stains mixed together (I use that on mahogany necks to match a rosewood back). However, like Bill, I really like unstained 'hog (maybe that come from my old power boat racing days). My Stella clone (right) is unstained mahogany bound in rosewood, while the neck on the other one has been stained with red and brown (the same as a D-18). The neck on the Stella clone is also hog, but unstained.



I used rosewood for all the accents on the Stella clone - binding, the headstock veneer (you can just barely see the thin birch line on the inside of the slots) and the heel cap - but I think black binding and end graft would look really good with the unstained hog also.



You have a long time before you are ready for these details, but they are a lot of fun to be thinking about.

Dec 18, 09 | 6:12 am
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Freeman,
I really do like the looks of the Stella. I think I'll keep the color as it is, like you did.
My kit didn't have a center piece down the back :(
I'm tempted to buy one, maybe herringbone to match the purfling. Haven't decided on that yet. Been looking at LMI's catalog this evening. Gawd, a man (woman) could spend a fortune!
In your bottom picture, the left neck, which tuners do you have on that?

Dec 18, 09 | 3:23 pm
Freeman

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
Yeah. LMI has some great back stripes - the one on the left has their classic "zipper" and the Stella has something that matched the binding that I used. Again, the StewMac kit is trying to duplicate a D18 which has no back stripe. However it is interesting that you have herringbone trim - my D18 is simple black binding - I only think of herringbone on rosewood.

If your back is glued up it is still possible to put a back stripe in (the material is usually not quite as thick as the back and you could carefully route a channel) but most of the time it is put between the two back pieces and the center reinforcing strip covers it.

The tuners on the left are mini-Grovers, from StewMac. I've always been sorry that I used those big washers - in my opinion they are butt ugly, but if I put smaller ones on now there would be little "eyes" where the washer has been pressed into the finish. I know I could sand and polish that out but I'm just too lazy right now. But it is one of the things that bugs me about that guitar.

Dec 18, 09 | 4:29 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Found the end pin. Right where you said it was. But, I'm gonna keep the thread going with some other questions.
First, I bought a sheet of birch plywood and had Lowe's cut it up into 8 pieces.
However, the guy doing the cutting didn't get everything square or the same size. None of the pieces match.
I glued up 4 of them, thinking I'd make an external mold. A friend is letting me use his band saw, and I have the equipment to sand it. What's bothering me is I don't have a 1/2 shape to copy.
(1) Should I take the paper plan cut it out, and trace it around the mold? I'd be cutting the mold on the centerline at both ends.
(2) Could I use bracing pattern, punch holes along it for the shape?
(3) Take one of the pieces of plywood that hasn't been used, cut the shape of 1/2 the body on it, then rough cut the other 7 pieces and then use a flush cutting bit to match them all up. This last idea is going to be much more time-consuming.
One other question - I'm going to go thru Bill's books again on this, but when gluing the neck block and the tail block to the sides, don't they stand a little proud at the top and back? Any tips for keeping them square to each other? I think if I really do well at both ends with the mold that it will pretty much set them to square. Make sense?

Bill, early next year I intend to start a new web site. Probably use it for some pictures, etc., of kit building. Think of something that I could do to help support your efforts here and take some of the load off. It would probably need to be something like posting pictures of other guys work, or things along that vein. Keep in mind that it should not be something critical.....I might end up dropping the page after a while, and wouldn't want to impact your work. I'd be willing and able to stock some of John's work, or Ken's or anyone of the others. Maybe set pages with a ton of links to their videos, instructions, tips, that kind of thing. I'd let them put their Ads
Here's a link to a site that I started some years ago. I haven't been active on it in 3-4 years (my son graduated), so the content is not mine, but the page setup is what I created.
http://www.nhsathletics.com/
That's the last I've worked on web pages, but I can dust off the Dreamweaver and PhotoShop and get back into the swing of things on it. Let me know if I can help.


Dec 18, 09 | 6:58 pm
Freeman

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
OK, here is how I make my molds, but there must be a dozen different ways.

Take your plans to Kinkos, an architect or and engineering office and have them make a couple of full sized prints on their 24 x 36 copy machine. Cut one out and mark the center line

I use 3/4" MDF or pressed board for my molds but plywood will work nicely. I cut 4 piece a little bigger than half the guitar, then clamp them all together (actually, I drll some holes and use 1/4 inch flat head carriage bold, countersink the heads). Line one edge of all for pieces carefully - that will be the center line of your mold and trace the template onto the stack.

Cut out with a band saw or a saber saw (that is the reason I counter sink the screw heads so they will ride smoothly on the saw table.



Now I cut a couple more pieces of MDF or plywood to span the top and bottom of the mold, use the carriage bolt holes to bolt them together (that will allow you to open the mold later) You can put little spacer blocks on the side or not. Depending on the thickness of the spacers and the cross pieces you can make your mold a little thinner than the thinest part of your guitar (the neck block). The assembled mold will look something like this



I use the piece cut out of the center of the mold to make the waist spacer - cut them as show and glue two together, then chisel a little groove for the eye end of a turnbuckle - it will fit the inside of your waist perfectly.

One problem with this kind of mold is that you cannot use spool clamps - I built a lot of long cauls for my first couple of builds, but finally broke down and made a go-bar for my last ones.



I've always set the neck and tail blocks so they were flush with the top and stand proud on the back side. The top is more flat and I just clamp everything onto another piece of MDF while gluing it up. When I get ready to fit the top I make two sanding blocks at 16 and 25 foot radius (also cut on the band saw) and after sanding flat, work my way around putting the final angle on the rim and neck/tail blocks. I also use those sanding blocks as cauls when gluing braces on top (25 foot radius) and back (16). This is my poor man's substitute for a pair of radius dishes



Anyway, that has worked for me, but there are many other ways - I'm sure others will chime in

Dec 19, 09 | 8:32 am



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