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Andyjr1515

Dreadnought Acoustic Build

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I'm sure you'd want to get looking perfect, but if it's any consolation, the finish imperfection is looking remarkably like the top of my 1970's Martin D28. Potential relic'ing technique? :) Edited by roman_sub

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[quote name='roman_sub' timestamp='1458827797' post='3011294']
I'm sure you'd want to get looking perfect, but if it's any consolation, the finish imperfection is looking remarkably like the top of my 1970's Martin D28. Potential relic'ing technique? :)
[/quote]
Well funnily enough, that was the first thing I thought of...its just like many old acoustics you see. But I thought if it starts off like this, goodness knows what this one would look like over 40 years ;)

I've sanded the top back down and give. It the first coat of a more conventional finish. I'll leave the back and sides with the egg white though :)

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"Egg White" - is that literally the whites of eggs? Doesn't it go off? Do you need to add anything?

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[quote name='BigRedX' timestamp='1458829939' post='3011313']
"Egg White" - is that literally the whites of eggs? Doesn't it go off? Do you need to add anything?
[/quote]

The big problem is cross-hatching; makes the guitar look cheep. On the upside, chicks will follow you anywhere. :mellow:

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[quote name='Dad3353' timestamp='1458831710' post='3011336']


The big problem is cross-hatching; makes the guitar look cheep. On the upside, chicks will follow you anywhere. :mellow:
[/quote]
Now this really has to stop...or feathers will start flying!!!! ;)

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[quote name='BigRedX' timestamp='1458829939' post='3011313']
"Egg White" - is that literally the whites of eggs? Doesn't it go off? Do you need to add anything?
[/quote]
Yes, no and nothing :)

It's just the albumen - both the light watery stuff and the thicker jelly-like stuff mixed together and brushed on or wiped on. All you need to do is to take care to avoid getting any yolk in or the stringy gristly bits mixed in with it.

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[quote name='Andyjr1515' timestamp='1458866617' post='3011779']
Now this really has to stop...or feathers will start flying!!!! ;)
[/quote]

Calm down. :mellow:

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[quote name='Dad3353' timestamp='1458867159' post='3011784']


Calm down. :mellow:
[/quote]
OK I surrender....you have beaten me into an omelette!

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[quote name='Andyjr1515' timestamp='1458871148' post='3011793']
OK I surrender....you have beaten me into an omelette!
[/quote]

OK, I'll let you crack on, then. :mellow:

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I got the body right down to the bare wood, and a little bit further for luck to make sure any residual coating would be fully sanded away:




Difficult to see in the shot here, but actually there are definite darker areas in the grain. I re-sanded those areas just in case but they are definitely in the wood.

I then did a tru-oil slurry to act effectively as the sanding sealer. And yes - the same patterns in the same places. I've darkened the shot a little which exaggerates the effect a little :




So my conclusion is that the funny markings was nothing to do with the egg white in terms of fast-ness or moisture but is simply a quirk of the grain of the wood.

It will be interesting when I get to the re-varnishing if it shows up the same way. I'm pleased the egg white still ticks the boxes, but I'm also pleased for the peace of mind in doing it again with my normal method :)

It was a dry day all day (again!) so I abandoned the household chores and finished off the neck volute and heel sanding. The profile will be fine tuned when the guitar has been fully assembled.

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Looks great!

FWIW I agree re the pickguard, but it's a real personal taste thing - I myself would prefer no guard at all, but I can appreciate the desire to do something different! :)

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[quote name='6v6' timestamp='1459246629' post='3014667']
Looks great!

FWIW I agree re the pickguard, but it's a real personal taste thing - I myself would prefer no guard at all, but I can appreciate the desire to do something different! :)
[/quote]

Actually, I'm probably going to finish it without and give the new owner the option (I'll probably use some of the Taylor non-glue clear removable ones for him to try out the guitar without scraping the top at first strum). The reason is that, while I was waiting for the sides to fully dry after their final varnish coat, I did some tap tuning tests.

Now, bearing in mind this was just the body, sitting on a shoebox on some jiffy:[list]
[*]No pickguard, full drum sound with very obvious harmonics and sustain
[*]This lacewood pickguard[i] just laid in place, loose[/i]. Muted drum sound, NO audible harmonics
[*]I cut out the same shape in 0.6mm veneer and laid that one on. Back pretty much to the original full-range sound
[*]Back to the lacewood guard, this time lifted off the top at the sides with a couple of pieces of thin foam and touching at the soundhole, a bit Les-Paul-ish. Pretty much back to the original full sound.
[/list]
So I am now persuaded that the pickguard [i]might [/i]tangibly affect the tone - especially at its present thickness and weight.

I also showed it to MrsAndyjr1515 and she definitely prefers it without pickguard - with the finish now finished, it is indeed a lovely piece of wood.

So (remembering this is a surprise special birthday present for our old-gits-band's vocalist in July) the plan is now:[list]
[*]give it to him sans pickguard. Take a non-glue Taylor clear film one in case he's too worried about scratching the top as a temporary measure
[*]fit him a glued clear one if he wants a pickguard purely for protection
[*]give him the lacewood one, fitted with les paul brackets and, if HE likes the look and wants it fitted, but fit with brackets so the only contact point with the top is a couple of places at the soundhole (which is internally reinforced anyway so is not a resonating feature.
[/list]
In terms of the overall build, the body varnishing is done, waiting a week or two to harden fully before:[list]
[*]Gluing the neck
[*]Gluing the bridge
[*]Double checking the heights and gluing the fretboard (with or without maple veneer demarcation depending on height)
[*]Installing pickups, preamp and jack
[*]Fitting tuners and saddle
[*]Stringing up
[*]Fine tuning neck profile shape
[*]Tru- oil the neck
[/list]
That really isn't much left and - more to the point - relatively few things I can do that could wreck it altogether!!!! :D Edited by Andyjr1515

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The varnish on the body is hard enough now to start the final stages, starting with fitting the neck.

Here's the body...the top will get a touch of final treatment (more later) but this is broadly what it is going to be looking like:







The small light mark in the middle of the bottom waist is a small bear-claw in the grain. The other light patches are reflections.

Then, after a final fit check, the neck was glued, hammered and then clamped to dry:




Now the varnish has fully dried and shrunk, top will have its final two stages - wet and dry 2000 grit used wet followed by the final wipes of thinned varnish. Then it's left for a couple of weeks and simply polished with Meguiers Ultimate Compound. For reasons too complicated to explain in this brief update, you do NOT buff this type of varnished finish.

It's fortuitous that I have that final stage to do....you might be able to just see to the left of the clamp a bruise in the top....yes - dropped the clamp :rolleyes: I'm quite relaxed about it as I think it will be pretty invisible in the final look even though it's irritating that I let it happen! Edited by Andyjr1515

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Thanks, folks :)

Not a lot to show, but actually not a lot still to do

The next job - hopefully tomorrow - will be fitting the fretboard. Now the neck is on properly, I've been able to quadruple check the angles and heights and am pleased to find that I can fit the 'feature stripe' under the fretboard. It is a length of maple veneer:




I don't recall actually seeing this on a guitar neck before, although I'm sure it's a very well trodden path. Whatever, it should link in nicely to the bwb stripe on the binding....

After this it's fitting the bridge and then final bits 'n pieces :) Edited by Andyjr1515

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Thanks, folks :)

Today was fitting the fretboard.

I had already applied the veneer to the back of the board, so now it was a case of a quintuple check of the fretboard positioning and an final check that, when all was clamped down, the action was still going to be in the right place!

As normal, I used violin clamps again, with a piece of offcut wood at the back of the neck as a protector and to give the clamps somewhere to tighten against. This was the final dry-fit check:




Action should be spot on!

Next was application of Titebond Extend (the modicum of extra sliding time before it grabs is useful) and some heavyweight clamps for good measure:



This weekend is fitting the bridge!

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Onto fixing the bridge.

I have used a fairly standard approach for this. The only variation from when I did the OM is that I had bad floating issues with the OM when I was trying to clamp the glued bridge, so this time, after checking and checking and rechecking the bridge position, I drilled a couple of undersized holes in the two E string positions to put some temporary positioning pegs in:




Then scored round the perimeter:




Then scraped off the varnish:




Added some masking tape:



Then added the titebond and positioned it using the pegs for an initial clamping and glue squeeze out:




Then pulled out the pegs, popped a larger caul underneath and a top caul I made last time to clamp the main area, using the captive screws to push the sides fully down:




Last job was cleaning up the final squeeze-out and removing the masking tape. I'll be leaving this clamped up overnight...just to be sure :)

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This looks brilliant Andy, your usual ultra-high attention to detail.
I might has missed it on an earlier post, but are you installing any pickup system?

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[quote name='Len_derby' timestamp='1460277227' post='3024184']
This looks brilliant Andy, your usual ultra-high attention to detail.
I might has missed it on an earlier post, but are you installing any pickup system?
[/quote]
Thanks, Neil :)

Yes - Shadow Sonic Doubleplay. Got one on my OM and it sounds great. It has a piezo and a mini magnetic pickup which are fully blendable. Should do the business...

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The various usual burdens and tasks of life has got a bit in the way of progress, but there really isn't a whole lot more to do and things are being ticked off each time I get the odd hour or so to work on it.

I've drilled and taper reamed the bridge pin holes:






I've levelled the frets - call me uncannily perceptive, but I reckon a few of the upper frets and some more down the bottom end are a bit high....




The once they were level, a bit of crowning:




I rough them out with the Hosco fret file, but then wrap micro web of decreasing grit round the file to do a progressive polish. The edges of the ebony fretboard still has to be rounded so I should lose the rough and chipped edges in this shot. That and a bit of slurried and buffed tru-oil on the fretboard:





The gap in the rosette will be covered by the pretty invisible black fretboard shaped magnetic pickup of the Shadow Doubleplay system. This is fully blendable with a standard peizo strip under the bridge saddle.

I'm hoping the tuners will arrive in the next couple of days so I can string it up before the weekend to do the final adjusting.

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I have a surprising amount still to do, but I now know that it can take the tension of the strings without clapping hands and actually sounds like a dreadnought acoustic! :D

I am a bit weird (generally, I suppose, but also specifically...) because I do the final neck shaping when the guitar is fully strung. I have all of the critical dimensions now at their final position (eg overall depth and width) but have left the profile a teeny bit clubby. Personally, I can't judge when the profile is just right until I'm playing, so that's what I do. I will get the scrapers out and fine tune the shape - probably creating a soft 'V' profile from what is presently halfway between a 'C' and a 'D'.

Here it is at the first stringing up trial:






Still to do, as a minimum:
[list]
[*]Finish profile the neck and re-slurry/oil
[*]Polish the top
[*]Reset the nut - I am using a zero fret but the nut behind it needs to be higher with deeper slots to keep the G and D strings in position better
[*]Sort a truss rod cover
[*]Take the sharp edges off the fretboard
[*]Install the fretboard side dots
[*]Install the electrics
[*]Final set-up
[/list]
In the meantime, I'm well chuffed how it sounds. The comparison with my OM is just as it should be - this is for strumming and has volume, balance, sustain and a bassy smoothness. OK too for fingerpicking. The OM has the edge on fingerpicking but is much rougher with the strumming.

I'm a happy chappy who is hoping this will be complete by the end of this weekend :D

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