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First build! 32" scale 5 string


benh

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Cleaned up the shape of the top with the bobbin sander - it's definitely a keeper. Does jobs like this so well and cleanly, don't know how long I'd have been at it if I was hand sanding.

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Wanting opinions - I woke up this morning with the thought of staining the top. (Sounds like the worst blues song ever 😂)

Have any of you ever successfully stained a spalted top? It's alder, so expecting it to be a bit of a pig to take, but I have no experience with staining spalted wood. Or am I just being daft, and should keep it natural?

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24 minutes ago, TheGreek said:

Are you thinking losing the grain?

Definite "NO!" from me. 

Seal it by all means.

Definitely not losing the grain - I was thinking a lighter colour rather than dark, so that the spalting would still be visible.

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I find that most times even a light colour stain mutes, or hides some of the colours. Stain sort of works to accentuated flame and quilt type grain patterns, but I prefer the more random and complex tops, like your spalted top. Still, that's just my opinion, I've always been a fan of woods in their natural colours.

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I think you're both right, thank you. Just finding ways of complicating things for myself! The original plan was for natural anyway. Onwards!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Major balls up number 1 - took a chunk out of the fretboard between the nut and the first fret. The only way I could think to salvage it was to reduce the width all the way along the fretboard by 2mm and re-carve - which worked fine, apart from the fact that now the dot markers are irritatingly off centre. Been thinking of a remedy for the past week or so and this is the general idea - quite open to opinions!

IMG20210727095203.jpg

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Really if you mess up, first thing is to see if you can fix it and make it (near) invisible. Have you already taken the 2mm off? If so, can you reduce the other side with 2mm also? 5 strings, mean 4 string spacings or 1mm reduced spacing per string. That may still work, dependent on your starting point. Otherwise block inlays may work, but that is another challenge to get right then…

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6 minutes ago, HazBeen said:

Really if you mess up, first thing is to see if you can fix it and make it (near) invisible. Have you already taken the 2mm off? If so, can you reduce the other side with 2mm also? 5 strings, mean 4 string spacings or 1mm reduced spacing per string. That may still work, dependent on your starting point. Otherwise block inlays may work, but that is another challenge to get right then…

Thanks. Yeah I've already taken the 2mm off - the way I'm approaching it at the moment is: if it all goes to pot, it's a learning experience and I'll make a new neck (and hopefully not make the same mistakes twice!). I was starting with pretty tight spacing at the nut to begin with so didn't want to reduce the width too much. 

For the block inlays I have a few offcut strips of padauk which I've pre radiused with a sanding block, if it works it could look OK I thought.

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1 hour ago, benh said:

Thanks. Yeah I've already taken the 2mm off - the way I'm approaching it at the moment is: if it all goes to pot, it's a learning experience and I'll make a new neck (and hopefully not make the same mistakes twice!). I was starting with pretty tight spacing at the nut to begin with so didn't want to reduce the width too much. 

For the block inlays I have a few offcut strips of padauk which I've pre radiused with a sanding block, if it works it could look OK I thought.

Horses for courses, but block inlay appears to be your best bet. In my experience pre-radiusing works, but you will almost certainly need to sand a little once in place. Not an issue if you do it carefully.

 

It will be a challenge to route the block cavities with the frets on. If it were me, I would likely take frets out, do the inlays, radius and then refret. More work, but easier to get right.

 

All part of the process, so hope you can forgive yourself and enjoy the journey. Mistakes are what drives progress.

Edited by HazBeen
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Good to know I'm not alone - I have a sneaking suspicion that this will be my practice neck though, and I'll be making a timber order soon. Time will tell.

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5 hours ago, benh said:

Thought I'd give the blocks a go, with the frets in. Not as neat as I'd like, but I'm confident I'll do better next time. First 2 in.

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Has to be said, not bad attempts. With frets in much more complicated, so well done.

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More wood/truss rod/inlay materials ordered, just in case 🙂 unfortunately couldn't find any padauk dry enough, so gone for sapele and maple. Even if I carry on with the neck I have, I'm sure it'll come in for the next project!

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2 hours ago, benh said:

More wood/truss rod/inlay materials ordered, just in case 🙂 unfortunately couldn't find any padauk dry enough, so gone for sapele and maple. Even if I carry on with the neck I have, I'm sure it'll come in for the next project!

Smart, I do not know anyone who has built from scratch to stop after one. 😀😎

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