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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:06 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:58 pm
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I've been thinking of building my own guitar from a kit. I thought if I'm going to put all that time and effort into it might as well get some good materials from a good kit. Those are expensive but i think worth it. Then I read a bunch of stories of unfinished kits and disaster projects from first time builders. I have wood working experience but never any instrument building. I Also have this junk guitar, my first, that my brother bought me from a pawn shop for $20. The thing sounds bad, is hard to play, and looks ugly. Quite frankly i'm not sure why I still held on to it. But I think if I could fix this up nice then i'd know I could build a kit guitar and wouldn't be throwing my money away.

So that is the project. This thing was clearly a homemade guitar and not very well made. I thought it needs a new finish, a neck reset, new binding, and the frets replaced. Also I noticed the bridge was a bolt on so I thought i'd change that as well. I already started this after doing research, watching youtube videos and reading forums. I've already made a few mistakes so i'd figure I'd blog my progress so far so I could get some constructive criticism of what i've done and get some advice on what to do next. The goal here is to gain some experience in guitar building and wind up with a playable guitar that sounds better that it did before while reusing as much of the materials that I can. I realize that i'll be putting effort into a junk guitar but its the knowledge and experience that i'll gain that I find valuable.

I wish I took pictures before I started working on it but I didn't get to far into it before I started documenting the process. Here a a few so you get an idea of what it looks like. First mistake I made was I took the finish off right away. Even though that was going to go it was protecting the guitar and could have for all the other steps to come. A small mistake I think but I wish i left it on.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:16 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:09 pm
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Location: Hegins, Pa
it is a good way to learn.
Take your time and observe
ask all the questions you need we are all here to help

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Blues Creek Guitars Inc
Authorized CF Martin Repair Center
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http://www.bluescreekguitars.com


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:36 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2017 3:58 pm
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Location: St. Louis area
Keith, welcome to the forum! Sounds like a great project, and one that will be fun to follow. Does your guitar have a truss rod?

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:18 am 
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It does have a truss rod. It's "adjustable" from the headstock. It didn't seem to do anything when I tightened it. I backed the nut off and it came all the way off the rod. Didn't get it back on yet so not sure what to do there. I've done a few other steps with pictures which I'll post when I get back from work tonight.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:07 am 
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To continue, after i removed most of the finish I took the neck off. I watched a lot of videos and it didn't seem like it would be too difficult. I did buy a needle and hose from Stew mac for the steam. I already had a pressure cooker.

First was the tongue and i realized I didn't have a spatula right for the job. Ended up using the kind for flipping burgers but it worked. I used and iron on the frets to heat the glue up, then heated the spatula on the iron as well. This world fine until i put the gluey spatula back on the iron to heat up. Made a mess for me to clean up. Got the tongue separated with a little patience. wasn't too difficult.

Now for the neck joint. I figured this was a dove tail since I didn't see any bolts. Removing the first fret on the body was easy with a soldering iron and a pair of angle cutters. It came right off. I drilled two 1/16th holes right where the fret was and proceeded to steam away. Here I could tell there was a problem. It didn't seem like the steam was going anywhere. I didn't see any come out of the heel of the neck and it felt like when I was putting the needle in the hole it was stopping the steam from coming out. I tried for a good while, attempting to put steam in and wiggling the neck back and forth but it wouldn't budge.

I gave up and did some research. I double checked it wasn't a bolt joint, still no bolts present. I saw a video where somebody had a dowel joint on the neck and thought that was what this was. So I decided to use a liberal amount of heat gun and pull hard on the neck straight out. I had my friend assist me, he held the body while i was pulling on the neck. I did wiggle back and forth while pulling on the neck and that helped. As soon as there was a gap between the neck and body I put lots of steam in there. I was glad I did that. I pulled the neck straight out and lo and behold it was a dove tail joint. This didn't come out by lifting up from the body, it was pulled straight out from the body. How it escaped with such little damage is amazing. I figured the steam softened the wood. I did see the guitar sides separated a little from the block but that would be simple to glue back on.

I think there was a mistake with the construction and the female side of the dovetail wasn't deep enough. Drilling into the first fret on the body of the guitar made the holes in the neck block, not in the joint. I have an idea on what to do here before putting it back together when i get to that point.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:19 am 
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Here I have a close up of the headstock. It was super hard to adjust the truss rod. There was a little pit where I had access to the nut. I already penciled out what is going to happen here. I marked roughly where the new truss rod cover would be and penciled out a channel to cut out. I did do that and while playing with the truss rod managed to get the nut off the rod accidentally and now it won't go back on.

It was at this point I decided to add perfing to the project to go along with the binding. I ordered Herringbone perfing and rosewood binding from stew mac. From here I thought it would be as simple as make the channel, install the pefing and binding, reset the neck, finish the guitar and glue in a bridge......


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:48 am 
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When you drilled the holes, you should have felt the drill drop down into the cavity...but you didn't know to pay attention to the fact that it didn't. When it doesn't, you have to try drilling at an angle so the drill breaks through into the cavity.

Since you may have initially drilled (vertically) into either the neck dovetail pin, if it happens to be long, or into the head block, if the socket is shallow (as happened in your case) you may have to try tilting the drill in both directions before you get it right.

This rebuilding exercise will be very instructive.

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There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:58 am 
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When you drilled the holes, you should have felt the drill drop down into the cavity...but you didn't know to pay attention to the fact that it didn't. When it doesn't, you have to try drilling at an angle so the drill breaks through into the cavity.

Since you may have initially drilled (vertically) into either the neck dovetail pin, if it happens to be long, or into the head block, if the socket is shallow (as happened in your case) you may have to try tilting the drill in both directions before you get it right.

This rebuilding exercise will be very instructive.

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Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:54 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:49 pm
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Right now sounds to me like a dandy time to make sure that the saddle is in the right place for good intonation, and to be able to positively get the bridge into the right place after all the finishing gets done on the top... If a new bridge is going to be installed, the bridge pin holes may not be in the right place if they ever were.

This sounds like a good fun project. Enjoy!

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 1:44 am 
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Quote:
If a new bridge is going to be installed, the bridge pin holes may not be in the right place if they ever were.

My thoughts are that their probably will need to be a change to the bridge location. I plan on filling the holes and doing my best to put a new bridge where it should be.

Quote:
When you drilled the holes, you should have felt the drill drop down into the cavity...but you didn't know to pay attention to the fact that it didn't.

This is why I started the blog. Once I catch up on where I am now I can start getting advice like this before I try it. Still good to know what I did wrong in hindsight for next time.

The next step I took was to glue the sides that came up from the head block. I lifted them up to get some glue in there, pushed down to squeeze out some of the glue to wipe it up. Was trying not to make a gluey mess and succeeded. Wax paper wend down over the glue area, then a towel, then a block of wood. The towel was because the block of wood and guitar top were not perfectly flat. The hope was as I squeezed down on the towel it would fill up any gaps. This worked nice. I didn't have clamps long enough so I reversed the ends of pipe clamps to make it a spreader. I then put two sets of wood clams down on the workbench and put the guitar between them. Then used the spreader to put pressure on the block of wood that was pressing down on the glue job. two wood clamps were needed on both ends of the guitar, it was sliding the first time around. Another clamp was used to stop the whole thing bowing up when pressure was applied. I used the guitars bridge to even out the pressure on that clamp. I tried this out before using glue. Glad I did as this was not the first setup I tried. The others failed. Would have run out of glue time. For not having the right tools this setup worked well.


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