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 Post subject: The Unintended Project
PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2019 10:20 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
Posts: 1982
Have you ever started to work on a guitar, only to find more and more that needs to be done?

A very good friend of mine gave me an old Norwood "Adjustomatic". I've never heard of them. They're among the huge number of guitars churned out of Chicago back in the 50's. It's about the size of a Harmony Stella.

The "adjustomatic" refers to the neck/action. The action is adjusted by the turn of 2 screws, which tilt the neck. It's an interesting design with one HUGE glaring flaw; the neck was never reinforced. So, over the past 60+ years, the string tension has bent the neck forward. When you put a straight edge on the fretboard, there is more than a 1/8" gap in the center.

First, I thought I could compression fret the board. I actually replaced all of the frets with the widest tang I had, and after allowing the neck to sit for almost a month, it hadn't moved at all. So, I decided to install a truss rod.

Since it had a subpar fretboard, I went ahead and replaced the funky board with a rosewood fretboard that I had on hand. The new fretboard is a long scale, 25.4", and the old board was ~ 24.125". However, the old board was installed quite a distance down the neck. I was able to move the nut a good 3/4" up toward the headstock, keeping the 12th fret at body. I'll replace the old plastic nut with a bone nut.

I routed a channel and installed a truss rod before gluing the board in place. The top was as funky as the neck and fretboard. I had a slope shoulder OM top that I had joined, installed a rosette, but never used. I cut it down for the Norwood, and braced it. The Norwood had a floating bridge with a trapeze, instead of a pinned bridge. I think I'm going to install a pinned bridge in it's place, but I've not made a firm decision. At any rate, I installed a bridge plate so a pinned bridge can go on.

I've just got done doing a tobacco sunburst on a 1940 Washburn restoration. Since i had the dyes out, I dyed a burst on the top of the Norwood.

So, what started out as a guitar that I was going to tweak, has turned into quite a project. It'll be a knock around guitar, not worth much monetarily, but it was a well-meaning gift from a good friend.

I'm in the process of finishing the top.

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PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2019 6:42 am 
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Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 8:03 am
Posts: 1119
Location: Chestertown Maryland
Diane

Do you have any in-progress shots of your sunburst process?? Looks great

Ed


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PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2019 2:56 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
Posts: 1982
ruby@magpage.com wrote:
Diane

Do you have any in-progress shots of your sunburst process?? Looks great

Ed

Thanks Ed. No Ed, I don't have photos. I can tell you that my sprayer isn't working, so I did the Washburn and this top by hand, using cotton. I use Keda Aniline dye powder, that I buy from Amazon. This burst includes yellow, red, and dark brown (brown and black dye, mixed). I used the same combo on the Washburn, with the addition of black dye.

Overview:

I started by using the yellow on the entire top. When dry, I did the same with the red. Then, I used dark brown, starting on the outer rim of the top, putting it on in a small circular motion, followed immediately by a dampish clean piece of cotton, using the same motion. I did 1/4 of the way around the top, followed by the clean cotton, continuing the same pattern all the way around. After going around the edge and smudging it, repeating about 4x, I used a scotchbrite scrub, and "sanded" the entire top. Then I repeated from the beginning. I left the norwood fairly bright; the Washburn is darker.

I know what I've said may not make a lot of sense, so I'll find some scrap wood and go through the process, and take photos for you.


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PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2019 3:40 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 8:03 am
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Location: Chestertown Maryland
Thanks Diane. What you describe is what I have done, using water as the solvent. I found I could keep working if I left the wood wet but not soaking, then hit it with a hair dryer for a minute. I could keep working as long as I wanted with no fear of distorting the wood. I just did a piece of furniture with a sunburst much like you did, using amber, medium brown, and tobacco brown (almost black).

Ed


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PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2019 8:20 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
Posts: 1982
I've found that it reaches a saturation point, even with drying the dye with a hairdryer or using the air from a compessor, to where you move the dye around and even remove it if you keep working it with anything moist. I used a combination of the 3M pads, then cotton that was barely damp to blurr any demarcation between colors. The Washburn is a better representation of the tobacco sunburst.

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PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2019 9:23 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 8:03 am
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Location: Chestertown Maryland
Diane

That's beautiful

Ed


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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 5:47 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
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ruby@magpage.com wrote:
Diane

That's beautiful

Ed

Thank you Ed. This is the first time I've bursted a guitar.


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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 11:52 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2015 9:04 pm
Posts: 228
Location: San Jose, CA, USA
Much nicer than my first attempt at a sunburst. Well done!

_________________
- Randall Newcomb
10 fingers in, 10 fingers out - another good day in the shop


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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 12:34 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
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rcnewcomb wrote:
Much nicer than my first attempt at a sunburst. Well done!

Thank you Randy.


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