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Andyjr1515

Psilos Phoenix Dreadnought Acoustic

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Back to the acoustic.  The purfling round the rosette is done.  I will be inlaying a swift into the rosette over the next few days - this is just a paper template - and also scraping and sanding the purfling flush.

Went a bit mad on the purfling this time ;)

 

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Normal stuff with installing the swift -

jewellers saw:

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Dremel with precision router base:

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Epoxy mixed with wood dust:

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The slightly ragged edges and black dots round the purfling will disappear with the final sanding, but this is broadly what it will look like:

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15 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

Epoxy mixed with wood dust:

I'm so glad it's not just me but that is still some accurate routing. It's not quite so easy to hide small gaps on paler timbers as it is on the black I use

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And out comes the Go-bar rig again, but this time with the 25 foot radius dish.

Lots of careful marking out of the bracing positions and then the all-important X-braces are glued in place first, with the radiused bottoms pressing the top into its spherical shape:

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It maybe one of those urban myths, but that little hardwood stiffener across the X brace joint is said to make a significant difference to the tone...

There's a clip somewhere with a demo of without one and then with one subsequently fitted which is fascinating.  I'll try and find it. 

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Posted (edited)

Well, this is probably as far as I dare go:

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It will be a little while before I glue the top on so might have a further tweak but, as I said earlier, I don't really know how far to go - or where - so it's probably best leave it hereabouts.

There is a great video here - the first 30 minutes is theory but skip to 31:29 and he demos tapping it at his starting point and then progressively as he mods the braces:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ei5-DkVTrEE

 

The slightly sobering thing is that I finish, soundwise, basically where he starts!  :lol:

But, I think this is probably pretty much where my previous build was when I halted further tweaking so, hopefully, it will sound the same when it's finished...which was, after all, the purpose of the exercise.

The only bit that completely escapes me (and did on the last build) is the flex on the bass side he talks about.  I've seen other folks wobble it like an Australian whatever-it's-called showing how flexible it is.  I do the same thing and it's as stiff as the proverbial board!

 

Anyway, I'll pick it up in an hour or so and give a tap and, if it's as good as I'm going to get it, then get on with the exiting bit - gluing the top to the sides :)

 

Edited by Andyjr1515
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Final bit of tidying up before gluing the top on, but that's enough for one day.

The top is basically ready to fit.  The dark centre line, by the way, will disappear at the final sanding which won't be done until the back is on and the binding too.

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Posted (edited)

It's when you build the next one, you remember the things you meant to do after the last one.

"I must buy or make some more spool clamps" I NOW remember saying and remembered at the all-important dry-run (there are things you don't want to be messing around with - such as setting the clamp heights - when the glue is on and drying!)

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But it is quite close fitting so, rather than wait a few days for extras to arrive, I reverted to my previous compromise of using tape to keep the pressure on the in-between bits.  Based on the additional squeeze-out, it's probably OK.

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Edited by Andyjr1515
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It's amazing how much pressure tape can put on something like that with a good stretch

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7 minutes ago, Christine said:

It's amazing how much pressure tape can put on something like that with a good stretch

It is!

I have also the glass-reinforced tape that is often used for binding and you can break the wood quicker than snap the tape! 

However, on this particular job the spruce top wood is so soft grained that it is too easy for the fairly rigorous sticky on that tape to bring the top surface of the wood with it when trying to remove it.  I find the 3M masking tape much safer.

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3M is good tape, I've had a lot of success with the last lot of tape I bought, green stuff called Frogtape but tape is a subject for discussion in itself

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If you're worried about taking wood off with the tape you might try  going over it with a hair dryer to  soften the sticky. I  find it works a treat! 

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I suspect he's working on something else that he's not telling us about...

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4 hours ago, TheGreek said:

I suspect he's working on something else that he's not telling us about...

Done a couple of jobs on it.  Had a week of family commitments, but also been trying to sort some decent electrics before I put the back on it.  Just ordered the stuff.  I'll update the thread shortly ;)

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This coming week should see a bit more progress.  I have the fretboard radiusing blocks and stuff arriving today (Matt wants a 16" radius) and have recently received the pickup systems.

I'll go over the pickup considerations in another post but there is a critical-path sequence of events that I have started preparing - especially as my sequence will be a bit unconventional.

Basically, I will be routing and dry-fitting the mortice and tenon neck, so I can dry fit the bridge, so I can fit some of the electrics BEFORE I fit the back...

The short term sequence will be:

- thickness and radius the fretboard                                                and

- dry fit the bridge                                                                               which then lets me

- work out the neck angle (up/down and side/side)                    so I can then

- rout the body heel block mortice                                                   and

- rout, chisel and sand the neck tenon                                            to be able to

- dry fit with bolts and threaded inserts                                          to be able to

- confirm the fit                                                                                which lets me

- glue the fretboard to the neck                                                    and then

- confirm the position of the bridge (not glued yet)                  to

- fit the bridge plate mic and transducers                                  to be able to then

- glue the back                                                                                 and

- rout the channels for the binding                                              while also making a start on

- profiling the neck to templates off Matt's favorite guitar       

 

This morning I've done one of those tasks  :D   I've shaped the underside of the ebony bridge.  Remember - the top is not flat.  It has a spherical radius of 25 feet.  And so the bridge needs that too.

First task was to approximate where the bridge is going to fit:

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I then used a variation of the 'engineers blue but using chalk' technique, using the scratches off a sheet of emery cloth (which has the flexibility and weight to settle into the 25 foot shape) when the bridge was sanded lightly up and down the body length a couple of cm, which showed me where to scrape (using a single-edged razor) until the scrapes on the bottom were even over the whole of the bridge.  

This was it getting close, with just a remaining low-point on the leading edge:

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Ref the radiusing of the fretboard, I've finally bitten the bullet and ordered a G&W jig.  Concept is the same as my homemade one which has served me well - but I would have needed to make another carrier to accommodate the 16" radius and it was easier (and probably more accurate) to get a machined aluminium setup like the G&W one.  This was my homemade rig - I'll take some shots of the G&W equivalent when it arrives:

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Just a slight diversion. 

A few folks who are or have been considering building an acoustic bass or guitar have asked during this and previous builds what specialist tools and jigs are needed for such a task above and beyond those that most builders will already use. 

I would be delighted if other Basschat builders had a bash - whether bass or six-string - and it can be a bit daunting, particularly with so much expensive 'stuff' you see on sites such as Stewmac and LMI, so happy to feed back those things I've found pretty essential

Well, as always, this is just my take based on the four acoustic builds to date of:

- what you really need to buy (not much, but very difficult to get a successful outcome without)

- what you really need, but can make (compared to a solid body, there are quite a few pretty essential jigs and fixtures involved with an acoustic)

- what you could buy, but - with care - you can also cobble together reasonable DIY alternatives

As always, there are a number of ways of doing things.  Clearly, I can only show you pictures of the ways I do it but will, where possible, refer to the common alternative methods.

 

ESSENTIALS BOUGHT, BEGGED OR BORROWED:

1 Bending Iron or Rig

Yes - I made one for my first build, but that involved pointing a gas blow-torch through a metal tube straight towards my stomach.  So, in the interests of safety...

I now use an electric bending iron and hand bend:

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These are very expensive.

There is an alternative.  A hot silicone blanket and former arrangement (I think these are sometimes called Fox rigs?).  These are large, one size and very, very expensive...and almost impossible to get hold of in UK

 

2  Bridge Clamp

It has to reach in the sound-hole to the bridge and be shallow enough to fit inside the body.

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3 Spool Clamps

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Clever people make these themselves.  I buy them.

 

4 Some way of cutting a binding channel on a spheroidal back and top

Various ways of doing this, from the cheap (but skilled) double scalpel tools, to this that I use:

Binding_Router_Guide_sm.jpg.4d9d4654497ae9d72d078e0d7460cf26.jpg

Not the easiest to use but relatively cheap.

To the palm router rig that people like LMI sell.  Good (although quite tricky to set up) but eye-wateringly expensive.

5 Dremel radius jig

If you have a Dremel, you probably already have one of these.

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6 Thickness calipers

I'd love some dial gauge ones but they seem to be inordinately expensive.  These are cheap but only JUST do the job (and not really well enough)

IMG_7325.JPG.0a8237462e092058fda0a5e3c6b72296.JPG

 

Next post I'll outline some of the jigs and fixtures - most of which can be made. :)

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

OK - so onto 

JIGS AND FIXTURES NEEDED BUT WHICH CAN EASILY BE MADE

1 Top and Back Radius Dishes

Messy job, but relatively easily made with a couple of MDF or plywood boards, a router and a swan-neck scraper:

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Bit of schoolboy maths will allow calculation of the depths of the routed steps.  Usually the back is dished to around 15 feet and the top to around 25 feet

 

2 Go-bar rig

Easy to make with a couple of stout boards (I used chipboard but it's not really strong enough - 20mm ply would be better).  4 threaded rods, some nuts and wingnuts and you have the rig, then dowels or fibreglass rods to apply the pressure.  I think I got the fibreglass rods from a kite parts supplier.

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3 Mould

Various ways of making these from solid wood sections to this lightweight 'does-the-job' version

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4 Routing rig for tenon and mortice or dovetails

I modded an old workmate and fitted it with some G&W templates

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5 Jig for applying pressure to bridge wings when clamping

IMG_7641smaller.jpg

 

I'm sure there's stuff I've forgotten.  I'll highlight if I come across more in the build ;)

 

Edited by Andyjr1515
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You know I would love to be able to build an acoustic but I fear the skill set is vastly different from mine. I'll just have to make do with my Hofner

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2 hours ago, Christine said:

You know I would love to be able to build an acoustic but I fear the skill set is vastly different from mine. I'll just have to make do with my Hofner

There's a very steep learning curve involved but, as the saying goes, if I can do it, anybody can do it ;)

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