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Starting my 1st Kit
Author
Post
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 261
Christmas finally arrived and I was allowed by "she who must be obeyed" to start working on my kit from StewMac.
Here are some of the pieces:

First the Spruce top (not sure which variety, but it's a pretty top. The soundhole and rosette area are cut out. The purfling is herringbone with a black plastic binding top and bottom, and black plastic tail piece, which I may replace if I find something suitable



Sides and back are mahogany.





The neck also is mahogany.



While letting the wood acclimate, I made several copies of the top and cut out one so I could trace it to poster board. Using 1/2 the profile, I put it on a piece of plywood and used a jigsaw to cut out the first piece for a mold. Sanded it down and used this as a master for the other 5 pieces that would constitute the mold. Clamped this master to each of the other 5 pieces and used a flush cutting bit to get them all alike.
Next time, I'll probably buy a mold as this one wasn't as good as I'd hoped.
It's pretty close, but there are gaps/spaces around the rims that I'm not happy with.
With scrap from the plywood, I created some cauls. Tried to chisel out the spaces for the turnbuckle eyes, but that kinda sucked, so I routed the holes out with a small bit.
Both the molds and the cauls were screwed together. I didn't want to try gluing such large pieces because of the slippage that could occur.
While they are not as elegant and smooth looking as others I've seen on these pages, they work.
Below is a picture of the mold and cauls with the sides in and the neck block and tail block being glued.



Those black clamps were bought at Lowe's last week, 14 pieces for $10. I got 2 sets. I also bought a 6'x2 1/2' table while there. We have an "office" in the house for our computer, and this is where I'll be making the kit. Works out well: my wife plays games on the computer while I tinker, and we get some good time together.

Here's another pic from a different angle.



Tomorrow, I'll put on the rosette and start bracing and/or putting on the kerfing.






Dec 26, 09 | 6:06 pm
David Bolin

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 28
Nice mold. I bought one from Ken at KMG last week. I've started the same kit in rosewood. Finished scraping and sanding the rosette this morning and I'm almost ready to glue up the top bracing. I just posted a question about the X bracing joint.

David

Dec 26, 09 | 6:48 pm
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 981
Hi Bob,
Looks like you are off and running and to a good start.
One question for you. You said you made a copy of the top and made a 1/2 template to use to make your mold. I have not built a Stewmac kit, but, I would have to believe that your top is oversized by at least a 1/4" if not a little more all the way around so you have a little bit of over hang when you get around to glueing the top down to the rims. If you traced the top for the template, your mold may (and I say "may") be oversized....bigger than what the actual body size is suppose to be. If the body is the same size as your top, you will have some difficulty in getting it to fit just right, thus the extra size for over hang.
It does look like your rims are fitting your mold, but I would think they were sent to you longer than you needed and you had to cut them to length, correct?
Anyway, just an observation...you might be alright. I hope so.
I bet you are having fun!!!!

Kevin

Dec 26, 09 | 7:19 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
I used the vellum (?) pattern included with the kit to make my pattern. Yeh, if I had used the actual top, I'd be in a fix for sure. I had 2 copies made on regular paper, then cut it out with an exacto knife, traced it onto the plywood and went from there.
Thanks for the thought though. I should have worded better in the original post.

Dec 26, 09 | 7:43 pm
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 981
Oh good, okay.
Keep sending the pictures, we like to watch.

Kevin

Dec 26, 09 | 8:15 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
I just found my first mistake. Where the 2 side pieces meet at the tail block, I didn't check that both were seated on the table, and 1 side is about 1/32th higher than the other.
I've got 2 ideas in mind. Either start sanding now in a very low angle from the end to the middle of the lower bout, or set the kerfing flush at the tail block and gradually higher until it's about 1/32th proud. Then when I sand, everything as it should be, it will kinda even out. Suggestions?
The alternative would be to heat the sides and block until I can get them separated and start again. Does that get votes?
Thanks, Bob

Dec 27, 09 | 8:07 am
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Make it a 1/16th. Also, the sides are even, so it's showing the same thing on the other side.

Dec 27, 09 | 9:02 am
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
It is very easy to use an old clothes iron set on steam. The wood will stain the iron....I went and got a $15 black and decker one for the garage. Once it is hot, you can steam the errant side off of the block in less than a minute. You will hear the glue start to tick. Sand the old glue off, and reglue flush. I've had to do it before.

Nice mold too. One suggestion I have had for mold makers is to follow the footprint of the guitar with the mold by 1.5-2" except not dipping in for the waste...plenty strong enough for the guitar, but reduces weight makes it easier to handle, especially when using a radius dish to sand the kerfing. The big corners I find get in the way.



Dec 27, 09 | 11:26 am
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Ken, when you steamed the parts, how did you get them to separate? I tried with our clothes iron, and put an old shirt between the wood and the iron, for a couple of min. The side tried to split near the top as I was trying to pry the pieces apart.
Was I too hasty?

Dec 27, 09 | 12:47 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Got the rosette glued in, sanded down. Glad you won't be able to see the middle part where it was joined. The herringbone didn't match too well. I cut it ok, but the dimensions didn't allow it to match up. The outer ring was not long enough to join either.


Dec 27, 09 | 2:30 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Here's the kerfing being glued in. About the same as any other build.
Notice the mold is undone. My "clamps" for holding the sides together were butting up to the edge of the sides and getting in the way of the pins.
I'll use Ken's suggestion above for my next mold if I don't buy one. Plus, I'd like to put some blocks under the back side of the mold so that the sides won't bottom out when the top is facing up.
If possible, I'm going to try slipping the cardboard molds inside so that I can use spool clamps to put on the top and back. I doubt that will work since the kerfing is down. I'll come up with something.


Dec 27, 09 | 6:41 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
I think you might have tried to pull the side off too soon. You should hear the glue start to crackle.....air pockets popping bubbles in the glue, or even see it begin to change, depending on how you have it set up. Sometimes, you just cant see anything.

Dec 28, 09 | 9:38 am
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Here are the back and top after most of the bracing is done. I'm really happy with those little clamps I got at Lowe's. They worked well for this type of clamping. On the X-bracing, I had to put 2 long strips of wood and some shims along the length of the top in order to get the middle part of the braces to bottom out. I know a go-bar deck would have been better, but I've spent enough money already. That said, my problem now is the bridge plate and for the back, the 5 strips down the center. Any suggestions? I might have some bricks around.
Also, I'm getting very concerned about binding. I just emailed Ken Cierp about his binding attachments, especially the one that uses straight cutting bits. This seems the cheaper way to go, but is it good enough? If I cut too many corners, I'll end up going in circles, and that's more wasteful. Suggestions here? I definitely cannot afford those big pro-type attachments.
Thanks,
Bob




Dec 29, 09 | 12:41 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Finished up the top and back bracing today.
The only thing waiting on the top was the bridge plate. The first picture shows my "East Texas Go-Bar".
The 2nd and 3rd are just the completed top and back.






Dec 30, 09 | 3:20 pm
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 981
Looking good Bob,
I really like the "East Texas Go-bar Deck" You are resourceful and making due with what you have. There is nothing wrong with that. If you catch the bug and end up building number 2, 3, 4.........etc, you probably will want to start building, and accumulating jigs and tools. That is what has happened to me. But it doesn't mean you have to spend alot of money.
Build on!!!

Kevin

Dec 30, 09 | 7:23 pm
Tony_in_NYC

Total Topics: 29
Total Posts: 448
naccoachbob, Your build is looking good!

I would recommend Ken Cierp's binding attachment. I was soooooo extremely concerned about routing my binding channels. I had never used a router before and I thought one little slip and I wreck my whole guitar.
My kit was from Ken and so the binding attachment came with it. It is recommended by many people to route the channels to their final depth using several passes. With Ken's attachment, and by going slowly I ended up with almost perfect channels that needed very little clean up to be perfect.
I highly recommend it.

Jan 01, 10 | 6:13 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Thanks, Tony. I already ordered it. Then went out and got a Bosch Colt. I had looked at another small router, but the Colt had "fine tuning" that the other didn't. Plus the other's box was opened. There's also an edge guide with the Colt that will come in handy for other projects.
Been sick today, plus all the bowl games, so I didn't make any progress. Tomorrow I'll sand the sides down, cut the slots for the bracing, and hopefully put the top and bottom on. Oh yeh, I have to make the spool clamps first. Anyway, there's several days before I can cut for the bindings, so I'll take my time.

Jan 01, 10 | 6:26 pm
Ken C

Total Topics: 30
Total Posts: 554
Bob, the Colt is a great a little trimmer. You'll like it. Based on the pace of your project, you'll be getting to it soon!

My first build was a mahogany OMC. It is a great sounding little guitar and is still the one that gets played most often. It has a warmer tone and pretty decent volume. I'm sure you will like yours.

Ken

Jan 02, 10 | 12:02 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Guys, I'm at a bit of a stalling point. I just set the top on the sides and clamped them down with my rubber bands. The top sets well everywhere but 2 spots. I checked the bracing and it does not interfere. The only thing I can think, is that I shaved the side down too far in those locations. There is nothing on either side of the gap except, as I said, the side might have been shaved a bit much.
Now the gap is only about 1/64th. Is that enough to matter? Will glue hold that down?
To fix it, should I just take some shavings from the bracing and glue it to the side in those locations? They'll be covered by binding, so cosmetically it won't matter.
The rubber band thingie is working very well everywhere else. It's amazing how well the top sits, other than those 2 areas.
Thanks guys.
Bob

Jan 04, 10 | 6:26 pm
Ken C

Total Topics: 30
Total Posts: 554
Can you easily close the gap with a little hand pressure? If so, use some clamps to help close the gap when you glue. If a lot of pressure is required to close the gap, you may need to look a little harder as to exactly why.

Ken

Jan 04, 10 | 6:49 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Check to see if the inside edge of the kerfing is even with the side material. I am not sure what method you used to establish the finished edge of the rim top. Too steep of an angle/contour can create some impossible "mating" geometry --- the top plate simply does not (can not) bend over the angle and creates a gap at the outside perimeter edge. We sand the top of the rim flat with a slope to accomodate the neck set angle --- this is all explained at the KMG website.

Ken

Kenneth Micahel Guitars est. 1978

Jan 04, 10 | 7:42 pm
Laurent

Total Topics: 9
Total Posts: 109
Wow man, you're keeping up quite a pace with this project, although I must admit that I DID take my time...

Jan 06, 10 | 1:07 am
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Got the top on last night. Successfully!
Will have to wait a couple days for the back as I haven't finished my spool clamps, and that's going to be the only way I can put on the back.
I tried using my mold for the back, but my mold is not near as good as Ken Cierps', which I'll probably buy when I start the next one.
The top is perfectly sized at 20", but the back is about 1/8th too long. I can put a strap clamp around it, and one of those plywood outside homemade clamps for the waist. However, tomorrow's supposed to be below freezing, like everywhere else in the country, with winds to 25 mph. I ain't going out to my shop like that. Plus, it's UT vs Ala for the ncaa championship. So this weekend I should get the back on. It seems to fit pretty well as is, but the clamping might put a bit of a hitch into it. It'll be worked out though. Was very happy coming home to a well set top!! Whew.


Jan 06, 10 | 6:11 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Made a bunch of spool clamps from some 1" dowels and threaded rod that I cut into 8" lengths. Used self stick 1" felt pads on the dowels and wing nuts to clamp down. Next time, will get 1 1/2" dowels for more surface and stability if I use that type of clamping system. Guess it's time to do some sanding on the body and then start on the neck.

I had to use the band clamp to get the bottom to 20" like the top. Worked out well.



The top and back after closing all up.




Jan 10, 10 | 7:03 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Hi Bob,

This very well may work out just great, however --- one of the most important things for the kit builder to consider is the positioning of the neck block "MORTISE". For the most part, in factories the mortise is cut after the body is assemble so the tooling and fixture acoount for the alignments and compensate accordingly. On the other hand when the mortise is pre-machined care must be taken to keep the it on plane in all directions. So what I am saying is clamping the top and or back on to the rim free form with no reference or registation marks can lead to problems down the line --- I only wonder what moved and in what direction when the strap clamp was tightened?

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

Jan 10, 10 | 7:23 am
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
I see what you're saying. I'm a bit concerned now myself. Front to back, and top to bottom, I think I'm still pretty much "in square". But I want to know for sure.
I'm about to get into my books and dvd's to find the procedure to cut open the area around the neck block so I can put the neck onto it and find out what's happened, if that's feasible.
Believe me, I've already started a list of what I'll get for the next build: your multi style mold with the stencils are at the top of the list. I've already learned so much - especially how NOT to do some procedures. Better planning and better tools are what I need to concentrate on.

Jan 10, 10 | 7:36 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
I've fashioned a way to square things. Works for me. By reversing the squares and putting them on the outside of a body with just the back glued on, the two ends can be squared close to perfectly. The overall length of the body does not really matter -- following the instructions will easily put it within 1/8" or so, which doesn't effect anything negatively, since the bridge is placed only in relation to the neck end of the guitar. But getting the neck block square (and as Ken said, aligned correctly in every direction) is important.


Jan 10, 10 | 8:11 am
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Just put the neck on and bolted it lightly down. It fits flush on the side of the guitar. Running a yardstick down the center of the neck, it goes over the center of the soundhole, and is about 1/8" off what I had for the center of the tail. WHEW!!! With the fretboard on, and not bound or fretted, it sits about 1/4" above the soundboard. Not sure if this means anything at all. Probably not. Big thing is that the neck did not get skewed with the band clamp. I guess the top and sides were strong enough to hold it in place. Wasn't a lot of tension on the band clamp anyway.


Jan 10, 10 | 8:58 am
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Thanks, Bill. Yeh, before putting the top on, I had done something similar, and checked the neck and tail blocks from all angles making sure they were square to each other. My methods were somewhat crude, but it's worked out. Again, like everyone says, it's a learning situation.
One thing that I've definitely learned is that having the right tool will make things so much easier. I've tried to make do with what I have, and not invest a ton of money into this, but there are some things that are indispensible to me: a good mold, good clamping system, possibly the radius dishes. In the coming weeks I'll be adding to that list.

Jan 10, 10 | 9:10 am
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Big mistake today. While routing the top and back flush with the sides, I came up on the neck, and didn't realize that there was no support for the bearing when I got there. Here's the result:



A 3/16" inch hole.
I used a small chisel to square the hole up somewhat, and cut a piece of mahogany to match it from the scrap that came with the kit. Glued and clamped it in, then sanded and sawed it flush with the rest of the back. There's a hole underneath it, but my heel will have a cap on it that will cover what's left. Even after taking sawdust and mixing with mahogany, I can still see it. But after all the finishing that will be done, perhaps it will be a bit more hidden. Here's the "after" pic:


Jan 16, 10 | 2:51 pm
David Bolin

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 28
Interesting...I'll be routing my bindings with Ken's binding machine in a few days. I've been comparing the SM instructions with the KMG kit instructions as I go. The SM instructions and video say to cut the neck slot from the rim before routing. Ken said to cut it after routing to leave support for the router. I followed Ken's instructions and didn't cut out the slot. That just made sense to me, but I'm trying not to deviate from the SM instructions. Looks like I made the right decision in this case...

David

Jan 16, 10 | 3:22 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
I got his router attachment for use with a straight cutting bit, and will try cutting them tomorrow. Now that I look at it, the binding will cover that hole. Things are gonna work out.

Jan 16, 10 | 3:48 pm
Ken C

Total Topics: 30
Total Posts: 554
Bob, Depending on how wide your bindings and purflings are, you might end up with very little of your repair still visible.

Some folks don't open up the mortise for the neck until after the binding channels have been routed for this reason. You might want to stick a small block in that cavity so when you are routing the bindings, you don't forget and make another divot.

Ken

Jan 16, 10 | 4:37 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
That's a good fix Bob. There's this saying we use around here, from a guy at my local Woodcraft ... "It ain't a mistake 'lest you cain't fix it!"

Bill

Jan 16, 10 | 4:37 pm
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 981
Bob,
I agree that at least half of that fix will go away when you rout for the bindings and your fix does look good, so I'd think it is going to be okay!
For only working on it for about 3 weeks, you are really making some progress. Good job.

I have always left the side over the mortise in the neck block until after I rout for the bindings. It works good this way, and you don't round over the edges of the mortise this way like you can if you try and rout up to the open edge.

Kevin

Jan 16, 10 | 6:46 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Note to self - don't get antsy and cut out the neck area just to see what it's going to look like. I won't get ahead of myself on the next one.

Ken C, thanks, I already did put in a small piece to fill in on the neck area while I put on the binding. I take enough divots on the golf course.

New question though. Looking at all the references I can find about binding, I've found that most people use CA type glue when plastic is involved. Does that require using gloves? What could I use that would not need gloves, and give a couple minutes for setup? By the way, my wife went to the local Lowe's today and I got her to ask for CA glue. The people there had no idea what she was talking about. I even spelled it out on the note I gave her.
Again thanks for the encouragement and help, guys.

Jan 16, 10 | 7:24 pm
Ken C

Total Topics: 30
Total Posts: 554
Bob,

I have only done one guitar with plastic bindings, and I used #16 Weld On cement. That stuff is a whole lot easier to use and clean up than CA and as it works great with plastic bindings, I'd recommend it over CA.

I have used CA on wood bindings very successfully. Never use gloves. That's just one more thing to get stuck to the guitar! If you want to buy CA, look into hobby stores. Make sure it is fresh and hasn't been sitting on the hobby store shelf for months.

Ken

Jan 17, 10 | 9:40 am
Ken C

Total Topics: 30
Total Posts: 554
Oh, one last very important thing. If for some reason you decide to use CA on the bindings, make sure you seal the binding channels in the top with something like shellac. The CA could wick up through the grain of the top and cause some discoloration that you won't get out.

Ken

Jan 17, 10 | 9:42 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Bob -- Ditto on the Weld On #16. It won't soak into the grain and discolor like CA. (Note: It is not interchangeable with DUCO on all binding plastics and ABS.)
Bill

Jan 17, 10 | 11:58 am
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Holy Moly!
I just routed the purfling and binding channels a few min ago. No big gouges, becaused I used Ken Cierp's attachment. I'm not the best with a router, but once I slowed down, using that jig, things went pretty good. Unfortunately, my sides even though smooth, were not symetrical from top to back. So, I have some uneveness. I just tried to keep it as steady as possible. The jig top even being flexible, helped prevent any horrific errors. It also seems, that in the waist, and along the tail end, my cuts are not as deep as on the rest. By deep, I'm talking how far they go into the top. It's only noticeable on the purfling channel, as it's wider.
There is one particular place where the cut changes abruptly since I started/stopped 2 different cuts in that location. I'm betting a small file will smooth out any inconsitencies all the way around.
Here's that error.



All in all, the purfling sits exactly flush with the top. The binding is ever so slightly proud on the sides, so it won't take much in the way of scraping even after adding a glue layer.
By the way, on the router attachment, I ordered another plastic base for the Colt, and epoxied the attachment to the current one. Now I have a permanent router jig and didn't have to drill into the Colt. Ken had suggested this or maybe cutting a base from 1/4" plywood. I liked it this way as the holes were all cut, and I'm out of plywood. Shrug.
Lessons learned? Have a good mold to get the best chance of having sides as straight as possible. Go slowly with the routing, staying registered to the sides, after making sure that the depth and width settings are good. I also saved a lot of the sawdust from the mahogany in case I need to fill in anything later.

Jan 18, 10 | 1:30 pm
Tony_in_NYC

Total Topics: 29
Total Posts: 448
Naccoachbob, I was scared to death to rout my binding channels!! I figured that was where I would end up making an unfixable mistake. But I also used Ken Cierp's router attachment and had no issues at all. In fact, after I did the back (which I did first so if I screwed up it would be covered by my gut) I actually felt confident doing the top channels. It was a great tool.

Jan 18, 10 | 5:35 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
I don't think there is one of us out there that wouldn't agree..routing the binding scared the crap outta me too. Still gives me the willies when its been almost a year since the last one.

Jan 19, 10 | 6:11 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Usually when a channel is shallow it's because the apex of the guide is tilted one way or the other off the line perpendiular to the "cord" of the inside or outside curve. So you must think in terms of having the apex of the guide and bit tracking straight line as the diagram on the right. This applies with a straight or bearing guided bit.

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978



Jan 19, 10 | 8:05 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
When I had a friend cut my fretboard on his band saw, we left the line I'd drawn still visible. It's still proud of the neck by a decent amount.So I made a shooting board with 80 grit sandpaper, but sawing back and forth on it for a good while has not reduced the size very much. The ebony is pretty persistent. Any help?
Another thing, there's a bit of a tiny gouge on the board. I'm saving up the sawdust, thinking maybe some black glue mixed with it and then sanded down will do the trick. Does that indeed work?

Jan 20, 10 | 6:16 pm
David Bolin

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 28
I used a level for a shooting board as described in the SM video with some top quality 100 grit on one side and 150 on the other. It took a little while, but I sanded out the white lines and fit it up to the neck without too much trouble. I used the same shooting board to clean up the fret ends after cutting them with a hack saw blade clamped with cauls similar to the ones Ken mentioned in the KMG kit instructions. The quality of your sandpaper might be an issue.

Used the same shooting board to slope the fret ends and gently round the edges of the fret board by putting a 3/4 inch thick board about 1 1/2 inches parallel to the fret board to prop the level up at about the correct angle. Sanded the fret ends and edge of the fret board with the level same as before except at an angle. Worked perfectly.

My fretboard is glued up now. Trimmed the overlap edges from around the box tonight and leveled up the rim. Hope to cut the binding channel tomorrow night. I'm using the KMG binding machine. It's really simple to use so far and did a great job trimming the overhang.

David

Jan 20, 10 | 6:55 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Sounds good, David, I'll give it a shot with better paper.
Maybe I can try those other things when I get that far.
This weekend I'll be gluing the binding and purfling hopefully, and get the neck work done in the next week.
Then I guess it's finishing time. I've been reading about the Emtech6000 that the guys are using in the Finishing Forum, and will go that route.
Bob

Jan 20, 10 | 7:31 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Ha Ha Ha. I just had the dangedest thing happen while putting on the binding across the back. I had just finished watching the StewMac dvd about binding, to refresh my memory.
If you look above where I had routed out too deep around the neck when flushing up the back to the sides, you'll see that I put in a couple of pieces to fill in the hole. Well, I did that after routing out the channel for the binding, and intended to chisel it all out. Well, I didn't. I got the binding started at the tail of the back, and was working my way around front. When I got there is when I realized that it hadn't been chiseled yet. So I stopped gluing a little bit short and started cutting the channel when the chisel slipped and cut my thumb. Before I knew it, I had several drops, big drops, of blood on the back of the guitar. Sheesh! Most of it came out, but there's one spot about 3/4" diameter still showing. Binding got finished ok.
I'll probably leave it there and call this guitar "Widowmaker".

Jan 23, 10 | 4:40 pm
Ken C

Total Topics: 30
Total Posts: 554
Are we having fun yet?! Hang in there, Bob. The end is worth the journey!!

Ken

Jan 23, 10 | 5:53 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Give a new spin to "Bloodwood," huh! We all put or blood sweat and tears into these things, but, gosh Bob, it's not supposed to be part of the finish!

Just remember to treat your wound -- remember what happened to Jim Henson, the Muppet creator.*

Bill

*Died of a blood infection from a very small cut on his finger.

Jan 24, 10 | 4:56 am
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
While scraping down and sanding the sides, back and top, getting ready for finishing, I've come across a problem I thought was solved.
When I was flush trimming the top and back, I used a flush cutting bit. Seems I should have housed the roller closer to the top. I'm thinking back that it might have been exposed about 3/4 to 1" overall. At any rate, I saw indications later that the blade of the bit had touched the sides as I went around. Now this only happened on the edge of the side adjacent to the top. The back was not impacted at all.
Before I cut the binding channels, I sanded the sides to get rid of any glue or imperfections that would mess up the routing. I had noticed then that there was raised grain, for lack of a better term, in the area about 1" below the top, not all the way around, but a darn good bit of it. I sanded and sanded, and at one point on the side I found I was almost thru the thickness of the side itself, and to the kerfing.
So I stopped, used about 120 grit softly to knock down the grain.
Well, it's come back now that I'm scraping and sanding again trying to clean up the binding and purfling. I'm very worried about sanding a hole in the side along the way. I've found that if I brush with sandpaper in one direction, the grain starts to go away, but if I go the other way, it raises again. The bad parts are about 1/4" wide.
Help!!

Jan 29, 10 | 1:57 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
Try making a scraper with a simple razor blade. They work wonders! VERY lightly, scrape the area instead of sanding it. See if that doesn't clean it up.

Jan 29, 10 | 9:45 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Just an update. The binding and purfling went on fairly well. I just located a gap between the side and binding. Still exploring ways to patch that up. If I could shave a piece of mahogany to close to the size of the gap, I'd glue that in and sand it out.
All the sanding is done to 120 on the sides and back. I'll do some 220 and then 320 a bit later. Then, when all the back and side work is done, the top will be worked on. Seems like that's a good plan to avoid having any residue get on the top.
The fretboard to neck attachment is on hold while my questions get answered, but I'll concentrate on cleaning up the frets that are on it now. Then put on the rosewood veneer on the head plate.
Ended up buying Stewmac's plastic headed hammer. Not real happy with the quality considering the price, but that's the breaks. It does work well, and it'll get used.
The razor blade idea worked well, Ken. Thanks much for that.
Have been stymied about the finishing, but finally settled on using the Emtech 6000 and all that goes before. I emailed Tim at Metcalf Guitars about staining, and awaiting his response before doing that or not.
I'm posting 1 picture of the current state of affairs. If anyone has ideas on stains or anything else to make this better, please post them. I appreciate any and all the help I can get.
Bob




Jan 31, 10 | 1:58 pm
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 981
Bob,
She is looking real good. I just love seeing a new guitar coming together, it is so amazing that us normal folks can build something as complicated.
I know it will fantastic when it is finished.

Kevin

Jan 31, 10 | 5:32 pm
David Bolin

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 28
Bob,

Looks good! Here's my project as of tonight. Fit the neck today. I think I'm ready to start the finishing process...epoxy and then KTM-9.





KMG's binding machine is very cool. It was painful to put another $200 in this project, but it was worth every dime even if I never make another guitar. I routed perfect binding and perfing channels with almost no practice. I just tested the depth and width of cut on scrap before cutting the channels.

David

Jan 31, 10 | 7:23 pm
David Bolin

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 28
Not sure what happened to the photos in that last post. Here's a link to the photo album:

http://picasaweb.google.com/searcysowbug/2009GuitarKit#

Jan 31, 10 | 7:25 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
It's looking good, David. I was wondering where you were.
I'm going to try the finishing like that topic on Emtech 6000 on the finishing forum.
I'm not racing you though!! Looks like we're going at the same pace, however. You're doing great work.
Did you have to do any fine tuning to get the fingerboard to fit the neck? If so, email me on what all you did. I'm kinda wondering where to go with mine. I have an idea to just file it flush with the side of the neck, and then sand them both at the same time. But am looking for any better ideas.
Can't wait to see your finish using KTM9. We can compare notes later on the good and bad sides of our finishing materials/schedule.


Jan 31, 10 | 7:36 pm
David Bolin

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 28
I just made sure the finger board was slightly narrower than the neck before gluing it on. I didn't want to have to sand the fingerboard down to the neck after gluing it on. I wanted to sand the neck down to the fingerboard...just slightly. But you know I don't know what I'm doing...

David

Jan 31, 10 | 7:45 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
In my office the other day, one of the supervisors, a blonde woman, was instructing a worker (who wasn't so bright) about something. I passed by on my way to my boss's office, saw that, then asked him if he had seen it. I told him it was a case of the "blonde leading the blind". I'm starting to feel that way on this guitar, lol.
An old soccer coach told me " there's more than one way up Everest". The job can probably be done either way with perfectly acceptable results.
Keep at it.
Bob

Feb 01, 10 | 5:58 am
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Nearing the end. Finished fretting yesterday and decided to put the f/b on the neck before I procrastinated myself into the weekend. (Finishing stuff arrives Friday!) Drilled 3 holes in the f/b and neck while they were clamped together. Checked everything twice. Then put small brads with some soap on them in the neck to index the two pieces together. Clamps didn't work well, as I suspected, so I took one of the rubberbands and wrapped it around the two up and down. Enough squeeze out to let me know that I got good coverage, but not so much that I'm cleaning every inch over and over. Using Bill's math, right now, before I had glued them, the fretboard extended with a straightedge showed that I'm about 1/32" below the top edge of the bridge on dead center. That means about .02" having to be removed from the bottom of the heel. I'm not sure I can even see .02". Just a precaution, but since I did it, I'll 'fess up. I bought new red shop rags the other day, and am using one to clean up glue squeeze out. Accidently left it touching the side of the box up near the neck joint. Those things need to be washed before use because they can bleed. Light sanding cleared it up though.


Feb 03, 10 | 4:12 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Belt and suspenders, I went back and clamped up the whole thing. Saw that the gaps might be a bit much. Can't hurt though.

Feb 03, 10 | 4:15 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Brushed on two coats of HSF 5100 filler with silica today. The first batch I was afraid got too thick, so I thinned it a bit. On the 2nd I used almost a 1:1 ratio, probably 1:3/4 HSF:silica. Can't sand the 2nd coat because it's raining outside and I'm sick anyways. My wife and daughter presented the male side of the family with whatever they've had the past week.
I cleaned the whole box with denatured alcohol after I'd sanded to 320. And boy, when that hit the grain on the sides, my eyes almost popped out. This wood is gonna look fantastic to me. There are nuances that you just can't see until the finish is on, I guess, but if this is any indication, HOT DANG!
I love how the wood has turned more golden/amber.



The neck, barely visible, got the same treatment. I doubt I'll go to work tomorrow, so I'll finish the pore filling then if I can. I hand sanded between coats with 400 grit with a block, per what I read in the finishing forum on Emtech 6000. Tomorrow, I will probably use the RO sander to get down a bit deeper in the wood just to see how well it's filled.

Feb 08, 10 | 5:00 pm
David Bolin

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 28
Bob,

You've jumped out ahead of me by a couple days. I've been sanding tonight getting ready for epoxy. My binding is white plastic. I can't seem to get all the rosewood dust color out of the plastic after sanding. Can someone tell me how you get the white plastic really white after sanding and before epoxy?

David

Feb 09, 10 | 7:05 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Use a "fresh" single edge razor blade like a scraper -- make sure to keep it at angles to the surface. Sand paper just grinds in the dust.

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

Feb 09, 10 | 7:14 pm
David Bolin

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 28
Thanks Ken. I'll give that a try tomorrow.

David

Feb 09, 10 | 7:24 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Don't be hurrying, David. I'm sick as a dog these past few days and couldn't touch anything today. Gonna be real interested in your epoxy technique. I'd considered it, but decided another route.
There are many ways up Everest. Let's just get there and don't race, lol.

Feb 09, 10 | 7:30 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Began finishing this evening. It's too cold to work out in the shop, especially while being sick, so I rigged up a finishing station in the office here. Found an old vice that never got attached to the work bench. Clamped it down on the table I've been using for the build. Then I put a 1/4" insert into a dowel and a piece of threaded rod. Ran two nuts together to lock them and connected the guitar body to it. Set that in the vice, kinda like what Ken Cierp shows in his topic, but not as elegant. I can now rotate the body as needed. Couple of drop cloths and the 1st coat is on. One more tonite, then 3 a day for the next 4 days if I'm lucky. I've never pore-filled before, so not sure what to look for, but I put two coats on the other day as mentioned above and the neck and the rest look pretty good. I think.
Here's the rig:


Feb 11, 10 | 4:16 pm
Ken C

Total Topics: 30
Total Posts: 554
Hey Bob, good luck with the EM6000! If you were spraying, I'd give you some pointers, but I have never brushed. What I would do, though, is put on five or six coats before you do your first leveling. When you level, use a good hard rubber or cork block and keep it away from the edge so you don't sand through the edge.

Hope the EM6000 works well for you!

Ken

Feb 11, 10 | 4:53 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Thanks, Ken. That will work perfectly. I'll have 5 on by tomorrow night, and can sand (600 grit?) before starting on Sat. How often after the first 5-6?

Feb 11, 10 | 5:59 pm
David Bolin

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 28
I'm going to use System 3 epoxy to fill pores this weekend. Should I do the rosewood back and sides first, and then do the top? I assume the rosewood color could streak onto the top if I try to do both at the same time.

David

Feb 11, 10 | 5:59 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
David am not a fan of System Three since it is really a product designed for boat builders --- last time I looked there was no information on the package regarding pore filling guitars. Have you read about problems if it is not mixed exactly right? Anyway, there is no need to put filler on the Spruce top it does not require pore filling. Pore filler is only needed on open grain woods. I would recommend apply sanding sealer as a protective coat on all the light color woods -- you are correct the first coats of anything on dark woods can pull out the dust and make a mess since it acts like a stain.

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

Feb 11, 10 | 6:44 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
Ken's absolutely right....no pore fill on the top. I have used the System 3 pore fill method. First time was a disaster...I did not mix properly. Was not accurate with the weights, and also did not mix twice (once in a fresh container). Took some spots a week to harden.

I had good luck measuring onto a cheap $10 mail scale from the local office supply. The ratio is 100:43, oddly enough. I would measure out 10 grams of one, then 4-4.5 grams of the other. I would mix it real well, then transfer to a clean container to mix again. This is also where I would add the silica. Using this method, it never took more than two hours to dry enough to handle. I would be able to sand at three hours. Part of the key is to transfer and mix again. If you don't, you risk dragging some unmixed resin from the side of the container on to your guitar. It will almost never harden.

I am currently using 30 minute two part stuff at the local HD, comes in a double syringe. It works well, but only mix enough for one side at a time. Your working time is supposed to be 20 minutes, but it starts pulling up as you wipe across it at 7 or 8. I also use the silca with this, and have had quite good results. I bought a couple of jars of 1-hour epoxy, but can't seem to find them. Since most of the epoxy is scraped or sanded off, I am not concerend with yellowing or holding strength. Only what stays in the pores stays on the guitar, and so far, it's worked out very well. I just didn't feel like ordering another batch of system 3 and waiting.

My Wife always repeats the adage "Patience is a virtue....." to which I always say "Patience is but a waste of time....". We butt heads occasionally.....he he.

Feb 12, 10 | 10:14 am
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Ken C, could you contact me by email? Ken Cierp said you might be able to help me with something. I'm trying to locate someone who could create an inlay of a small kangaroo for the headstock on a guitar I want to build for my daughter. I've tried Andy Depaule and the guy in Saigon/Taiwan, but neither have responded.
Thanks,
Bob

Feb 12, 10 | 1:01 pm
John B

Total Topics: 15
Total Posts: 76
Bob,
From experience, be careful with a clamped down vice!

The force of the heavy vice and the guitar crashing to the ground is much greater than dropping your guitar by itself! On my last guitar, I had to build 2 necks for the one guitar after my "clamped down" vice came loose! I think there was another recent thread about expletives I can relate to:-)

John..

Feb 12, 10 | 1:21 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Thanks, John. Actually I have been pretty watchful on that. But you just reinforced my vigil.

Feb 12, 10 | 1:31 pm
David Bolin

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 28
What about filling the rosewood with CA? I've read a little about it hear on the forum. Would anyone recommend that. If so, what's your procedure?

David

Bob, I'm sorry about jumping into your thread. I hope you don't mind. But it's sorta cool that we're on the same project going different directions.

Feb 12, 10 | 5:52 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
The 4th thru 6th coats with Emtech 6000 went on today. It's starting to shine like a hubcap on a '32 Hudson!
Gonna sand some of that shine off tomorrow. I found a couple of runs, but they were mostly on the binding and should come out without a lot of work, gulp.
David, no prob. I'm learning as much from that as anything else.






Feb 12, 10 | 7:47 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
The finishing is finished................well the laying on of finish is. Here's some pics of the box and neck after my last coat of Emtech 6000.
I'm gonna hang it up in this closet until next weekend when the buffing commences. The back and sides finally filled in pretty well; the front has some places where wood had torn out from tape removal, and I was afraid to sand down to that level. Note to self - protect the top religiously next time.









Bob

Feb 21, 10 | 6:51 pm
David Bolin

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 28
Looks good Bob. The epoxy is finished on my box and ready for finish. I'm going to work on the inlay for the peg head tonight. Hope to have the neck ready for finish by this weekend.

David

Feb 22, 10 | 3:38 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Cool David. How'd that epoxy come out? Hard to do? Easy? Smelly? I kinda botched my pore filling but escaped with enough finish and sanding.
Love to see your inlay work and hear about your experiences with it. Drop me an email if you like. My email is on my profile.
Also, there's a "Guit-to-gather" going to be held around Lake Houston on April 17 - unless somebody squashes the date. Seems there's a Guitar show in Dallas that same weekend (it's geared more to electric, but will have an acoustic room/area). I saw things mentioned on another forum, and had considered attending. I know you're in Ark and didn't know if you were interested or not.
Bob

Feb 22, 10 | 3:58 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Shined it up today. Used micromesh thru the grits (9), then the polishing kit from LMI. Bit of a haze, probably due to my lack of knowledge on how to really polish, and the fact that I had to do it by hand, not owning a buffing wheel. AND!!! the bubinga arrived today. It's gonna make a great looking guitar.





Thanks for looking,
Bob

Feb 27, 10 | 4:47 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
That's looking GREAT Bob. Way to go.

Bill

Feb 27, 10 | 5:15 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Thanks, Bill. Much appreciated. And much appreciated for the site, your help, and the help of all the others.
Gotta wait until Mon for the bridge setting jig from Ken, but she'll be strung up by Tues for sure.
Sorry about the size of that one pic, I thought I put in the width thingie. Can you adjust it?

Feb 27, 10 | 5:30 pm
David Bolin

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 28
Bob,

The epoxy was easy to work with. But I would like to try something that I can sand down to bare wood. Maybe next time. Houston is a stretch for me to make a gathering. You may not be into folk music, but do you ever visit Mountain View Arkansas (my home town)? That would be a cool place for a gathering.

I'll post updates on my project sometime next week. The inlay is okay, not great. I put epoxy on the neck this afternoon. Mixed black pigment with the epoxy to darken the neck and the pores. Looks good so far. Another coat of epoxy tomorrow afternoon and it should be ready to spray. I'm just waiting for the EM6000 to arrive.

David

Feb 27, 10 | 5:50 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Cool, David. I thought the epoxy did go back to bare wood. I'll have to read up on it more. I think I'm going to try inlay myself on the next build. Been looking at some cool headstock and fretboard sets. This build taught me a lot about pore filling (or lack thereof). As soon as I can get some cash to set aside for it, KMG is going to set me up with a kit for my daughter.
Looks like you and Adaboy are somewhat close to each other. I have friends in either Memphis or Nashville, and if we visit them, we'll make a detour up your way. We're about 3 or 3 1/2 hours south of Little Rock. Maybe this summer.
I love Country music of the '60s and '70s, and folk and bluegrass, and, and.....

Feb 27, 10 | 6:02 pm
David Bolin

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 28
Ever cross paths with Rick Crenshaw in Memphis? Rick made a mandolin a few years ago. He's a bluegrass player friend from the bamboo rod making community. I'm an amateur picker. Been carrying a guitar around for almost 30 years. Just now getting serious about learning.

Feb 27, 10 | 6:19 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
We must be kin. I've got one I bought in Spain in '81, and just now trying to play better. I'm left handed but play right handed. So my finger "picking" is suffering. The only time I was in Memphis was '80 when I caddied the Danny Thomas tournament. Didn't get to see much of the city. My friend, Buck, is in Nashville my wife just said. We were navy buddies. Haven't seen each other in a way long time.
LOL, the guitar I bought in Spain has a story. We had made a port visit to Barcelona, and I was going to buy a "Spanish" guitar. After searching all over the city for one, I found out that I didn't like the wide necks of the spanish or classical guitar, and ended up buying one that was a regular steel string. A few days later, after leaving port, I finally looked in the soundhole. It was a Terada guitar..........made in Japan.......... by Fender.
Ain't that a kick?

Feb 27, 10 | 6:37 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Got the bridge on today. Used KMG's bridge setter and clamp. Compared Ken's measurements with what Bill has in his book, and after some errors at first (I've no idea why they didn't match up), the bridge found its home.
Do I really have to wait 24 hours for the glue to set? Ugh.



Thanks for looking,
Bob

Mar 02, 10 | 2:26 pm
David Bolin

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 28
Bob,

Did you tape off the area under the bridge and fret board before finishing or use stripper after finishing as suggested in the StewMac instructions? I need to tape mine off tonight if that's what I'm going to do.

David

Mar 02, 10 | 3:23 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
I did it after finishing. And I just sanded it down to bare wood. Didn't take much at all.
If I had it to do over, I'd just mask under the bridge before anything else. If you do that, leave the masked area just shy of the bridge outline, so the finish will be ever so slightly under the bridge and give you a nice top.
Good luck.

Mar 02, 10 | 3:28 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
The guitar is finished. I had the fretboard about level with the bridge once it was all bolted on, but later it was discovered that it dropped below the bridge about 1/16 when strings were tightened up to playing tension. After filing down the bottom of the heel, I got it back to where under tension, I am at level.
One other thing that creeped in is the B string has a buzz. I've angled the slot down toward the tuner, but it won't seem to go away. I think I still have some leeway on the nut to go deeper, but not too far. If the slot is too wide, will that make it buzz?
Also, I seem to remember in Bill's book that he leaves the nut and/or saddle a bit high for the first month. What's the rationale on that? Mine is still high, and I'm resisting temptation to lower the action right now because of what I read in his book.
Thanks for any help,
Bob

Mar 07, 10 | 1:44 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
It's more likely that a slot that is not angled or leveled on the bottom will cause a buzz.

While the action will surely settle in after a while and intonation may need tweaking, setting the action low is OK if anything the tension of the strings will cause the action to get higher over time. $.02

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

Mar 07, 10 | 1:55 pm
Ken C

Total Topics: 30
Total Posts: 554
Bob, also make sure your string is breaking over the fretboard end of the nut and not the middle of the nut. I like to fan open the slots on the tuner side of the nut which, seems to help reduce buzzing from the nut.

Ken

Mar 07, 10 | 2:08 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Finally finished this thing, and the pics are in the Finish forum: http://www.kitguitarsforum.com/forum/threads.php?id=5418_0_7_0_C
Thanks for everyone's help.
Bob

Mar 14, 10 | 3:06 pm
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Change the location of the completed kit to:
http://www.kitguitarsforum.com/forum/threads.php?id=5418_0_9_0_C
Sorry, I had put it in the wrong section.

Mar 14, 10 | 7:29 pm



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