Archive for November, 2008

Guitar 901 – Sides bent, in mold

November 24, 2008

The side bender is brilliant.  I finished both side bends for the zebrawood for the resonator guitar, peeled them out, put in the mold, trimmed the ends and glued in the previously prepared butt block and neck block.  Whee.


Making a drill press planing table

November 24, 2008

Resigned to the fact that I will be thickness planing my tops, backs and sides with the Wagner Safe T Planer, I have designed and am now building a drill press mounted planing table.  I have finished the base, which is a 15″ x 24″ piece of particle board, with mounting bolts to attach to the drill press table.  I inserted a 24″ Tee channel which will be used to direct the top plate.  The top plate will have a cam clamping bar installed to hold down the wood which needs planing.  Here’s the base.  Still need to install a back fence as an additional guide for the top plate.  The top plate will be 12″ x 38″ and designed to allow clamping of both top/backs and sides.  The idea is cool, but we’ll see how practical it is, and if I can really do some accurate thickness planing.


Guitar 803 – The finish will cure

November 24, 2008

Staying home from work this week.  We’ll drive to SLC for Thxgvng Wednesday morning.  I planned to work on guitars up until we leave for SLC.  Today I put the final 4 coats of lacquer on Larry’s Green Guitar.  I think I’ve got the hang of it now.  The whole spray coat process takes about 5 minutes, with a bit of prep and cleaning during each spray.  With an hour between coats, it’s about 3 hours of time blocked out, with opportunity to tackle something else while the coats dry.

Guitar 805 – Headstock chevron

November 23, 2008

Designed and contructed a headstock cover plate to accomodate the fact that the 12 string headstock is too large for the use of my logo encrusted blanks.  Here’s a picture of it prior to gluing to the headstock.


Guitar 901 – Graduation to side bending

November 23, 2008

My next guitars, 805 and 901 will be a new set of adventures in building.  That will include thickness planing, joining, and side bending.  I was going to attempt the thickness planing with the Wagner Safe T Planer, but was given the opportunity to visit a work colleague and use his Grizzly drum sander.  After spending a wee bit of time replacing the sandpaper, we easily planed down the zebrawood sides for my resonator guitar.  The trouble began when we started planing/sanding the walnut for 805.  The zebrawood was already at 4mm and we got it down to just under 3mm with no problem.  But the walnut was over 6mm thick to begin with, and to get it to 3mm required multiple multiple passes.  The walnut, like maple tended to burn, and we killed the sander several times, trying to take off too much in one pass.  We abondoned the planing/sanding, and I’ll have to rethink using the Safe T Planer.

But, with the zebrawood sides ready to bend, and the bender ready to use, I embarked on my first bending machine session.  Prepping for the attachment of the springs between the presses and the bending form was quite distressing.  I was lucky to keep all my body parts and not poke out my eye.  Eventually, through the use of a home made hook on a T handle, and standing over the bender on a stool, I perfected the motion to pull the springed block up from the back side, position on top of the bending form at the center press, then pull down the front side spring with the T handled hook.  The bender is clamped to the bench, but the feet screwed to the bender used screws of too shallow depth, so when pulling the springed blocks across the form, I dislodged the bender from their feet.  Almost another loss of eye.  But, through slow persistence, finished the draw of the blocks across the sides and down into the final position.  It is now sitting overnight in the mold, with the blanket turned off, overnight.


Here’s the bender before starting.  Note the clamped feet.



One of the questions I had posed to myself was:  What order to make the sandwich?  The approach for my first bend was to try (from inside to outside):  stainless strip/silicone blanket/side wrapped in foil/stainless strip.

Guitar 805 – Headstock veneer design

November 19, 2008

Becauase the headstock is oversized for the 12-string, my pre-made veneer with my sMg logo is too small.  I designed an ebony/walnut/ebony chevron with maple stiping so I could use the sMg inlay and craft a veneer piece large enough for the 12-string headstock.  Below is the upper portion construction, just awaiting an insert of ebony on the bottom (top is on left, bottom is right).


Guitar 805 – Headstock template

November 18, 2008

Channelled the neck for truss rod and graphite reinforcement.  Epoxied in graphite.


Designed a headstock, size and shape, made template, drilled 3/8″ holes for tuning machines.  installed to check spacing and appearance.



Guitar 804 – Thinned the headstock, dry fit the tuners

November 17, 2008

Took the headstock down to about 15mm and dry fit the tuners to see how it looks.


Guitar 803 – Larry greases his elbow

November 17, 2008

Larry felt sorry for me (or he wants his guitar sooner than later).  He dropped by and helped me remove the nasty lacquer drips.  He worked the neck, I worked the body.  Tomorrow, 4 – 6 more coats.


Guitar 803 – My patience is tried

November 15, 2008

I ran out of KTM-9, the water based lacquer I am using to finish the guitar.  As I awaited a restock, I was frustrated by not understanding the control and use of the new spray gun.  It seemed all my sprays were mostly air, and I was not getting lacquer to the guitar.  Much cleaning, reading, pondering, let me to believe my gun was clogged due to not cleaning between coats.

I found some literature suggesting the use of denatured alcohol as a solvent for KTM-9 and cleaning the gun between each daily coat, and not waiting until the days final.  The restock arrived and I blithely moved to the spray booth and proceeded to put way too much on the first coat, creating runs, runs, runs, which I now have to sand out before going too next batch of coats.  God I hate removing lacquer runs.  It’s worse than going to the dentist.  I do not want to go down to the shop and fix my mess.  Instead of progressing, I am falling back.  Maybe there’s a guy on craigslist who sands lacquer, I could stimulate the economy by providing jobs.

Regardless of the runs in the finish, the lacquer is now flowing on to the guitar, and I’m starting to see some real shimmer and depth in the green maple.



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