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Andyjr1515

Dreadnought Acoustic Build

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[quote name='allighatt0r' timestamp='1458312370' post='3006514']
Flippin luvverly :)
[/quote]

Eggsactly. :D

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In summary, I'm very pleased indeed with the egg white. And it's tough! Not impossibly tough-to-the-point-you-wish-you-hadn't-bothered epoxy-kind-of-tough, but tough enough that when you sand even the soft spruce, for a long while you are pretty much polishing the sealed surface rather than cutting through straight down to the wood.

I've done what is probably the last coat of egg white before the first coats of varnish so, while that is drying, I've been cutting my moniker swifts.

Like many others, I use a jewellers saw and very simple slotted mdf board to cut them out:





...and here they are - three for the headstock and one for the heel block:

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[quote name='Andyjr1515' timestamp='1458330789' post='3006795']
That's a good yolk ;)
[/quote]

You could have used shellac. :mellow:

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[quote name='Dad3353' timestamp='1458330947' post='3006798']
You could have used shellac. :mellow:
[/quote]
Anyway, regardless, pleased with the result - I think I've cracked it.... B)

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[quote name='Andyjr1515' timestamp='1458331605' post='3006807']
Anyway, regardless, pleased with the result - I think I've cracked it.... B)
[/quote]

Chic..! ;)

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Away from egg puns and back to progress - I like getting to the inlays stage because it tells me the end is in sight! Yes - eggsactly ;)

Normal process, starting with tracing round the inlay:


Dremel out the chamber:



Gluing with epoxy mixed with sawdust:



...and finally sand. The extra one is for the heel cap:
Edited by Andyjr1515

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May we have the 'back story' concerning the choice and conception of those swifts, please..? Very fetching, let it be said in passing. B)

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[quote name='Dad3353' timestamp='1458405466' post='3007387']
May we have the 'back story' concerning the choice and conception of those swifts, please..? Very fetching, let it be said in passing. B)
[/quote]
The back story is simply that the house we have lived in for the past 30 odd years has swifts nesting in the eaves (almost) every year. They are absolutely my favourite bird and they - to me - herald summer. They are the last to arrive of the migrating birds and the first to leave again. The sound of their screams as the flock whistles around the various house's roofs and chimneys at suicidal speed and proximity is the sound of summer. Worryingly, four breeding pairs have dwindled down to two over those years and last year we are pretty sure there were no fledglings from the two remaining (is it just me who thinks we are actually well into the globe's next great extinction period?)

Anyway, sticking with birds and egg-related matters - egg white as a grain-filler has my vote :D .

After the easiest and most convenient grain filling I can remember, this is 'the reflection test' after one very thin coat of wiped-on varnish (and before you ask - this isn't still wet, it is after it is touch dry) :



I maybe being overly optimistic, but I reckon a couple of days and the body will be fully varnished.... :)

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Beautiful work, and thanks for the back story.

Just in case you're wondering what to do with all that egg yolk left over...

[url="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tempera"]Tempora ...[/url]

B)

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[quote name='Dad3353' timestamp='1458426284' post='3007604']
Tempora ...
[/quote]


Mmmmmm... I feel this is a good [i][b]time[/b][/i] for eating tempura!

:) ;) Edited by BassTractor

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[quote name='BassTractor' timestamp='1458429990' post='3007631']
Mmmmmm... I feel this is a good [i][b]time[/b][/i] for eating tempura!

:) ;)
[/quote]

Do it now. [i]Tempus fugit[/i]. :mellow:

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[quote name='Dad3353' timestamp='1458436573' post='3007653']
[i]Tempus fugit[/i].
[/quote]

:lol:
You's one crafty little lad, dad.

On a serious on-topic note, I'd never expected that one would use any egg or varnish or whatever on the spot where the bridge has to come. Until today, my knees (jerks that they are) would assume the pores in the wood have to be filled with the glue. I knew egg was strong, but was unaware it could be this strong and bond like this.

I love your work, Andy.
This thread started out great, and only became greater. Edited by BassTractor

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[quote name='BassTractor' timestamp='1458471081' post='3007787']
:lol:
You's one crafty little lad, dad.

On a serious on-topic note, I'd never expected that one would use any egg or varnish or whatever on the spot where the bridge has to come. Until today, my knees (jerks that they are) would assume the pores in the wood have to be filled with the glue. I knew egg was strong, but was unaware it could be this strong and bond like this.

I love your work, Andy.
This thread started out great, and only became greater.
[/quote]
You are quite right, BassTractor. The 'traditional' way is that you varnish it all and then scrape away the varnish / sealer back to bare wood at the bridge area before gluing the bridge on. It seemed very odd to me when I first learned that...until you work out just how hard it is to get a nice finish on such a big top area when the bridge is in the way!

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[quote name='Andyjr1515' timestamp='1458473995' post='3007812']
You are quite right, BassTractor. The 'traditional' way is that you varnish it all and then scrape away the varnish / sealer back to bare wood at the bridge area before gluing the bridge on. It seemed very odd to me when I first learned that...until you work out just how hard it is to get a nice finish on such a big top area when the bridge is in the way!
[/quote]
On that subject, there is a fantastic [url="http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/69464/om-acoustic-build-mark-bailey-course/p1"]blow by blow thread of an acoustic being built as part of a Mark Bailey course by one of thefretboard forumites, ArchtopDave[/url]

This is the bit where he is removing the finish (and you need to see that finish...it is absolutely stunning!):


He actually dremeled it. Far too risky in my book - I use a stanley knife blade as a scraper

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[quote name='Andyjr1515' timestamp='1458473995' post='3007812']
...until you work out just how hard it is to get a nice finish on such a big top area when the bridge is in the way!
[/quote]

Ah! Thanks for explaining! That sounds like making sense. I'm kinda in awe of a procedure whereby you remove hard stuff from a well-defined area with a Stanley knife blade.
All the best with the rest of the project!

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The final varnishing of the body is ongoing (wipe-on thinned polyurethane varnish as normal) so while the various coats are drying, it's time to make some more progress with the other bits.

As I have said, this is a surprise birthday present so I don't have the opportunity to take the neck profile shapes from his own present acoustic. However, he's played my OM and was pretty complimentary about the feel, so I'll start off with a similar size and shape. I prefer to do the final tweaks when it's fully strung up (and probably once it's been passed to it's new owner) but I'll get it close enough to just need a bit of scraping / sanding to his ideal later.

I therefore used a profile gauge to take the profiles of my OM:





Because I go by feel as much as by measurement, I temporarily stuck the fretboard on with 2-sided tape:





Then started off with a medium fine rasp to rough shape at the 1st and 9th fret positions:





....and joined the two up with a spokeshave:





As I neared the target, I switched to the safer cabinet scrapers. To be honest, with a neck as small as this, and in the relatively soft mahogany, I could have just used scrapers and skipped the spokeshave:





Then chisels and the ridiculously good but tiny Ibis plane to start getting the headstock and heel transitions:





Also cut out the teardrop scratchplate and gave it an initial Z-poxy coat - our vocalist gets very enthusiastic with his guitar-pick strumming :rolleyes:

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[quote name='roman_sub' timestamp='1458575970' post='3008740']
This is well on the way to turning out as one of the prettiest acoustics I've ever seen! Great job!
[/quote]
Thanks, roman_sub :)

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OK - I might have a bit of an issue with the egg-white. Or maybe not with the egg-white but another aspect my finishing technique

I have two problems. The first is definitely related to egg white and is a simple schoolboy error. Egg white is remarkable tough and rigid when it's set. But it is instantly water soluble. So on early coats of the finishing varnish, the usual wet n dry used wet is NOT an option!!! Any breakthrough allows the water to get to the egg white which immediately disappears! I remembered and was careful at the grain levelling stages but switched back into 'auto' when I started the varnishing proper. The result is a series of 'snail trails' wherever the above has happened:




That is fixable. Just sand back down to the eggwhite and start again, remembering to sand dry.

The second problem is a much more serious concern and may well lead to me abandoning the technique on this project, for the top at least. Here's what it looks like from above:




...and from most angles, it looks the same. Very pleased :)

But I caught a glimpse of it from THIS angle and wow! :



That's really not good. These areas had not got down through the varnish with the wet sanding so I don't think it's the same issue, but it maybe a moisture issue of some nature or it might be a grain-direction issue.

I've since had a really really close look under bright light and subdued light and [i]from the top or across the grain[/i], however close you look, there is no discernible issue. In fact it shimmers like a great tight piece of proper vertically grained lacquered spruce does.

However, if you look obliquely from either end [i]along the grain[/i], the areas of difference are as plain as the stripes on a freshly lawn-mowered and rolled lawn. My thought is that it is, indeed a grain direction issue.

Clearly, I have sanded differently or to a different level or finished in a different direction in those areas somewhere in the grain levelling process. Whether the egg white has caused or exacerbated the issue, I can't tell.

The back and sides look OK, so I will continue with those as normal. (the Lacewood is a very smooth tight grained, almost formica-like, wood so no grain issues there). The top will be sanded down to the wood, maybe this evening, and re-done, probably skipping the egg white as it is such an important project. I will be using it again in other projects, though, without a doubt.


On the positive results side, I tried thinning down Z-poxy with acetone for the first time to get it to be able to wipe-on to the pickguard. That appears to be a bit more successful!. I think denatured alcohol is the recommended (and probably healthier) way of thinning but I had acetone and didn't have any alcohol. I made sure the windows were open and let the cloth dry outside to avoid any spontaneous combustion stuff!!! :

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([i]Pops head over garden fence[/i]...)

If I may express an opinion (Disclaimer: I have notoriously poor taste...), I'd not be too happy with that pickguard. It looks fine on its own, and has interesting figuring, but, to me, distracts from the otherwise sober aspect. Maybe stained very much darker, but still retaining the wood grain..?
Just sayin'; feel free to ignore.

([i]Bobs down and continues to weed out the seedlings and remove slugs from beer-traps, humming Schubert's 9th[/i]...)

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[quote name='Dad3353' timestamp='1458762723' post='3010679']
([i]Pops head over garden fence[/i]...)

If I may express an opinion (Disclaimer: I have notoriously poor taste...), I'd not be too happy with that pickguard. It looks fine on its own, and has interesting figuring, but, to me, distracts from the otherwise sober aspect. Maybe stained very much darker, but still retaining the wood grain..?
Just sayin'; feel free to ignore.

([i]Bobs down and continues to weed out the seedlings and remove slugs from beer-traps, humming Schubert's 9th[/i]...)
[/quote]
I know what you mean, Dad3353 and it's a little bit Marmite, but I'm trying to pull away from the 'same old same old' dreads you see rack after rack of in most guitar shops. The headstock ties the back with the front so it's a close call and I'm not fully certain myself....it will be the last thing I fit when I can see what it really looks like fully assembled and stringed up.

What do t'others think to it - yay or nay?

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I think if the pickguard is as dark-stained as the bridge it's a winner. The figuring on it is very classy. I would be pretty proud to be the owner of this instrument.

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