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The FireDragon Triplets


Christine

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Today I worked on the other two fretboards, I'm using 8mm mother of pearl dots, this believe it or not is the very first time I have used them, how simple are they!! Drill and fit, sand and job done. I cut the boards to size and started to think about binding them, I bought a couple of rolls of plastic binding for them but decided to use Sycamore (very like Maple) instead, so I did and very nice it looks too. They've had a coat of Lemon oil and they'll get a couple more over the next few days. I also cleaned up the neck blanks, I think Cherry was a good choice, more subtle than the Gibson laminates

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1 hour ago, Christine said:

Today I worked on the other two fretboards, I'm using 8mm mother of pearl dots, this believe it or not is the very first time I have used them, how simple are they!! Drill and fit, sand and job done. I cut the boards to size and started to think about binding them, I bought a couple of rolls of plastic binding for them but decided to use Sycamore (very like Maple) instead, so I did and very nice it looks too. They've had a coat of Lemon oil and they'll get a couple more over the next few days. I also cleaned up the neck blanks, I think Cherry was a good choice, more subtle than the Gibson laminates

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You make it look so effortless!! 

Don't suppose you fancy giving me a hand when I buy my fretboard? 😁

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I fitted the side dots on the fretboards today, I remembered this time :) I also played around with the headstock design, basically it's the same as on the Twins but with an extra bit on the end with a Tbird feel to it. It's shorter, will be thinner, with the truss adjustment at the other end of the neck and Ultralites it should be less heavy than the Gibson. Also being the same basic design as the Twins the inlays will fit well too. On the subject of inlays, I made a start on the first dragon today too

 

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36 minutes ago, Christine said:

Sorry I missed this, what do you need help with?

Everything!! 😁 

No in all seriousness, it will be my first fretboard so like before I shaped the neck I'm just a bit nervous that everything gonna go a bit 'Pete' and I'm gonna end up with an expensive bit of firewood but I'm sure everything will be fine🤞

Edited by Jimothey
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9 hours ago, Daz39 said:

Looks a bit like the D Bird head; or is that the other way up? Nice either way!

Yes similar, I was aware of the design of that but it didn't influence mine or at least consciously

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All i've done is stretched the end of this one so I could fit the inlays into it safely

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3 minutes ago, fryer said:

what are the dragons made of ? How thick is the material ? But mainly, how on earth did you cut them into the headstock so accurately ?

They are Mother of pearl, it's a slice of a shell, it's 1.5mm thick, which sounds thick but with such tiny pieces it gives some strength while your cutting it which is handy. A tip if your thinking of doing this, clean the floor meticulously before you start because tiny bits will flick off the end of the blade as you cut it free despite your best efforts to hold them down.

Fitting them, marking is the important bit, I do it just like I do with the fretboard blocks: In the picture above where I am assembling the cut pieces, well they are actually being assembled upside down and superglued to the paper. When I'm ready I will cut very carefully around it with a new scalpel blade then stick some masking tape to the headstock and to the top of the mother of pearl bits. Then I will superglue the dragon masking tape to masking tape to the headstock. Then I can mark firstly very gentle then harder the outline of the dragon onto the headstock. Once that's done peel off the surrounding masking tape, that will show you if you have missed any bits, then with a sharp chisel pry the masking tape off the headstock and finally peel it off the dragon. I then rout out the outline with a 1mm router bit in a Dremel in a stand (I have a 0.5mm bit too but it plain intimidates me!!), I cut the line out so it actually disappears, yes that does leave a tiny gap. Then I remove the rest of the wood with a 3mm bit and clean any tight corners with the tip of a scalpel. Finally I have a bag of dust saved from sanding the fretboard, I mix some with a dollop of epoxy to make a thick but runny black mess and paint it into the hole in the headstock and fit the dragon. There is a little oozing of the black gloop through all the gaps but what I do then is dab what's left of the gloop onto targeted parts of the dragon to fill any potential voids. The next day I sand it down using a sanding block and examine for any voids and refill if need be.

That is very easy on a black headstock, the filled gaps will be invisible once it's been finished but on a paler wood you need to take a lot of care to fit the parts very accurately so any gaps are merely hair lines, that is much more demanding but if you just take your time and think before cutting then it is just a matter of time and anyone can do it if they just think first. It's easier on a single piece inlay than a multi piece which may need to be fitted in stages like marquetry. Also with a lighter wood you still need a tiny gap around the inlay but as small and even as you can get it, you may still want to use black powder in your glue to emphasis the design but use masking tape around the hole to stop the gloop staining or getting into the grain of the wood.

The top and bottom of it is that it's a fiddly job that will be no easier for me than it will for anyone else, the trick really is just to take your time and think about the repercussions of every cut if you're having difficulty fitting a corner in, as in if I cut that will it open up a gap somewhere else. My biggest tip would be as hinted above to start on black headstocks, they can hide many sins and you will soon gain confidence to have a go on other things and it really is a lot easier than all that may sound

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3 hours ago, fryer said:

For those of you who don't know - Amazing. This is so accurate.

Thank you :) This is very doable stuff, it just needs a little care, actually a lot of care but there isn't some magic skill everyone can do this, start off simple it is so satisfying to see these when you do them yourself and so much nicer than a decal

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4 hours ago, Christine said:

Thank you :) This is very doable stuff, it just needs a little care, actually a lot of care but there isn't some magic skill everyone can do this, start off simple it is so satisfying to see these when you do them yourself and so much nicer than a decal

Hmmm... I think I am inclined to agree with @fryer - they are indeed amazing.  And yes, so much nicer than a decal...and some! :)

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Well, after a full day cutting inlays I might be inclined to recommend decals!! :laugh1: God my fingers hurt.

 

Short and sweet then, I resumed cutting dragons but found out that the rest of my mother of pearl was a lot thinner, yes I know I could step my routing but that is bound to end up in disaster so I have ordered a load more pearl from good old ebay, should be here in a couple of weeks ( I know!!) . After doing what I could I moved on the the letters using Abalone, I got all three done but as yet they are all loose and need sticking down onto paper for easy placement

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Edited by Christine
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