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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Small Acoustic Archtop

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by richa, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. richa

    richa Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Apr 23, 2016
    Washington
    Thanks Zep!

    I'm almost sure this is the route I will go. The biggest question is whether I will be one of the ones that can't get acetone/binding goop to adhere to wood or not (for whatever reason that happens). If that is the case I'll probably glue the first layer with acrylic cement and then weld the subsequent layers of binding to each other with acetone.
     

  2. richa

    richa Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Apr 23, 2016
    Washington
    Well... here's a thing. This is maybe the tenth fretboard I've slotted and while some came out better than others I've yet to screw one up to the point where it wasn't salvageable. And I'm not about to let this one be the first... remember this is officially a practice build.

    Have I said lately that Jatoba is a pain in the tucus?

    So here's my homemade slotting jig. The notches are cut in a piece of aluminum bar stock shown edge on attached to the fretboard here. A design shortfall with this setup is that there is just a little pin that has to rest up against one side or the other of the notch. It doesn't matter which as long as you make sure you get the first fret where you want it and you are *consistent* on every slot. That last bit will become important.
    20170827_172943.jpg

    No it doesn't really curve - just barrel distortion from the lens on my phone. So the right-hand side of this trainwreck looks like my first ever fretboard (maybe not that good). The left-hand side looks almost like I know what I'm doing. I started on the zero fret and was just having a devil of a time. I was trying to do everything the best way I knew how. Clamping the workpiece down for every slot, trying to take even easy strokes...phooey. Saw kept binding and would get going catywumpus before I noticed and just no end of trouble. Probably partially filled and re-cut half the slots on that side. By the time I got to number nine there I was really loosing focus and should have stopped for the night. This is where for reasons known only to Anoia (the goddess of things that get jammed in drawers) I got the wrong side of the aforementioned notch against the pin. Well that won't buff out I can tell you.
    20170828_181912.jpg 20170827_202403.jpg

    Huh. Fret won't cover it up. Thought about trying to put a patch in. The grain lines are so strong I can't see that working. And this stuff is really brittle. And hard. Did I mention hard? Just the thought of trying to cut the piece for the patch was making me contemplate retirement from the hobby. Ok - could scrap the fretboard and start over. Maybe try making a fretboard out of balsa. That would be a nice change. Then impregnate it with CA. You know I might just have to try that sometime though I'm not sure why. Anyway I digress.

    So here's full disclosure time. I had thought about trying a different look with this fretboard. But I have difficulty covering up grain that might look pretty on it's own. That said I had doubts this was the color I wanted on this guitar. So I am officially concluding that this whole debacle was my subconscious asserting it's desire to do this.

    20170828_183628.jpg

    Yeah it's too early to be doing this for reals but it's going to get sanded off in radiusing so it was worth trying out the idea. Just call me Ebonizer Scrooge. Need to decide if I'm going to leave a little grain or fill smooth.

    Oh...so why did the slots on the left go some much better? Ahem... I sharpened the fretsaw.


    While all that hilarity was ensuing this was on the side drying. I had to laugh at my Rube Goldberg clamping job. It looks precarious but it's really not. I spent a fair bit dry clamping to figure out how I was going to get that fretboard extension glued on. There is a caul somewhere in that mess. The canonical approach is to have a long caul and lay the neck upside down on it and clamp everything. But that would be easy.

    20170827_165601.jpg

    This is a dry test fit of the fretboard on the neck. You can see how the extension will work. Presumably the fretboard provides most of the strength because that joint between the extension and the neck is...not quite useless. Edges of the neck got a few more dings than I can remember. Hopefully when the neck get's tapered and smoothed the joint seams and dings there will get taken care of. The extension gets tapered from where the dovetail ends out to the end of the fretboard so that it slopes out above the arch of the top.
    20170828_184149.jpg

    And to think I was looking forward to taking a break while I waited for the binding to do some nice straight-forward neck work.:lol:
     
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  3. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

    Jun 22, 2010
    Osaka, Japan
    We Shall Overcome!
     
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  4. richa

    richa Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Apr 23, 2016
    Washington
    I was starting to anthropomorphize the fretboard into a willful adversary. Making a sign and picketing might have been therapeutic. :)
     
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  5. Zepfan

    Zepfan Friend of Leo's

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    When I glue the fretboard on a neck, I always drill a small hole through the FB(in one of the fret slots) into the neck and use 2 small nails as pins. Drill the holes during dry fit. Just remember to remove the pins before the glue dries.
    I also use a flat board on top of the FB and one or more on the back side of the neck. You want even pressure across the entire FB to keep drying glue from pushing up and creating an uneven FB. I've had better luck with screw clamps. Don't be afraid of using all the clamps you can find.
    Here's a pic of one of my FB applications.
     

    Attached Files:


  6. richa

    richa Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Apr 23, 2016
    Washington
    Hmmm - spool clamps on the neck. Add that to the list of reasons to make some. Good suggestion on the registration pins. I've done that on two necks... one of them I put too close to the edge and intersected it on the carve. Doh. I'm not quite ready to glue the fb yet. I wanted to check the fit against the neck extension though. Going to place dots and maybe radius first.
     

  7. Zepfan

    Zepfan Friend of Leo's

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    The problem with carving the backside of the neck and sanding a radius on the fretboard before gluing the board on the neck, is trying to clamp 2 pieces that aren't square on both sides and keeping them straight in the clamps. You can get away with 1 piece being curved(like the neck on my example), but both pieces will be difficult. Do the FB radius after gluing the FB to the neck.
    You might be able to do it, but why put yourself through the trouble if you can do that step after.
    Don't ask me how I know this.;)
     
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  8. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

    May 24, 2010
    Canada
    It would be best if you had some cauls for the curved neck and fretboard. I went to gluing the fb on before carving the neck and with clamps on either side of the fretboard, lot of clamps.

    The ebonizing does not look bad, how did you get it to look as dark as it is? I tried doing some jatoba and it just does not look right.
     
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  9. richa

    richa Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Apr 23, 2016
    Washington
    You just reminded why I've usually glued then radiused. I clamp the radius block in the vice and hold on to the neck. If the fretboard is glued then the neck keeps it pretty rigid and gives me handles.

    I was planning to carve after gluing the fb so I'll have twl flat surfaces before clamping if I stick with the above. I have a caul as well with leather strips in the edges to put a little more pressure toward the sides.

    Ebonizing is Dick Blick India ink. Going to do a little durability testing in it.
     

  10. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

    May 24, 2010
    Canada
    I used the iron in vinegar solution, works great on oak, jatoba not so much.
     
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  11. richa

    richa Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Apr 23, 2016
    Washington
    Yeah. Watched some videos on this. Decided I wouldn't mind trying that for a weathered wood look sometime. The Ink is actually pretty durable. It scratches off easily with a knife...well yeah. But actually holds up to a certain amount of abrasion. What I noticed is that adhesion is very good. It doesn't flake off or anything. But its not hard and it does just sit on the surface of Jatoba. Easy to repair though.
     

  12. richa

    richa Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Apr 23, 2016
    Washington
    Got these nifty binding strips in the mail. I had been reading up a bit on binding and thought - why not use binding paste to fill fret markers? What I wasn't finding was much prior art for this technique. One post I found said it bubbles badly and you need to build it up. Another indicated that if you work with it when it's about the consistency of putty it's better. Remarkably there were no posts saying "binding paste for fret markers - BAD IDEA, DON'T DO IT".

    Following my usual approach I completely ignored all the suggestions just to see if it was really as bad as all that. So I melted some binding material in acetone and stirred until it reached about the consistency of silicone caulk. Slapped a blob in that marker hole and...
    20170829_194048.jpg

    Ah. Yes. Well. That was predictable I suppose.
    20170829_222458.jpg

    By the way - mixed the binding paste by putting small pieces/flakes of binding and acetone in a lidded glass jar until melted as suggested on a stewmac article.

    Then tried to get this putty consistency by taking some of the paste and working it with a knife on a piece of metal (card scraper). Putty? Never got anything like putty. I got something about like bubblegum freshly deposited on the bottom of your shoe. Tricky part is that it doesn't stay this way very long so I kinda had to scramble. Pressed this into the marker holes and... it forms a skin almost immediately so I kinda pressed it until the skin broke and it splooged then worked it a bit to get it flat'ish.
    20170830_182252.jpg

    Had varying degrees of success but overall figured I could get it to work eventually with enough fussing. Still got a divit in number nine but I expect it will get there. My verdict is that this is a pretty stupid way to do markers. Here you can see where I stress tested the ink.
    20170830_225021.jpg
     
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  13. richa

    richa Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Apr 23, 2016
    Washington
    This fretboard ain't done messin' with my head yet.

    Glued the fretboard. Started to radius. I usually start with a plane to give me a head start so I don't have to sand so much...only the grain reverses above the 12th fret. Got a little careless and had a bad tearout. Not a disaster but I ended up having to take the fretboard down a little thinner than I normally would. I had some depth to spare and don't really mind getting it a little closer to the deck because I was worried that the bridge might already be sitting pretty high. Anyway, by the time I got all smoothed some things were becoming clear.


    20170901_232234.jpg

    1. I've got more work than usual deepening the fretslots. A point for radiusing before gluing since it would be a bit easier. But not a big deal.
    2. Still got bubbles in the fret markers. Turtles all the way down.
    3. Started to burn through to the bottom of the hole on the 12th fret markers. I would say that the binding paste fret dot experiment is officially done and about to be undone.
    4. That terrible horrible no good very bad extra fret slot is looking pretty diminutive. I don't think I want to sand it all the way out because I really don't want to thin it any more. But I think I could refill it with something lighter and find it acceptable.

    Hmmm - Well if I'm not committed to the idea of ebonizing. Thing is using ink seems like it would work better on a base that is already pretty dark - just because scratches won't be immediately obvious. But I have to decide this color works. And decide on the dots. Should be black. Almost liking the cream though.

    20170901_232250.jpg

    Then there's this. I think I would want to darken the top - or possible try a burst. The colors just don't look right to me. Still...
    20170901_232327.jpg

    In other news I found the finer dust from sanding the Jatoba kinda irritated my sinuses. This is good because it gives me the necessary cover. "Yup, I like me some Jatoba. Takes a lot of skill and patience to work but worth the trouble if you've got what it takes. 'Course I don't use it anymore on account of being allergic to the dust. Too bad - I like that stuff." :lol:
     
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  14. richa

    richa Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Apr 23, 2016
    Washington
    Of course if we're talking about dye then black isn't the only option. The one on the left doesn't impress me but doubling down and going real dark has possibilities.

    20170902_092315.jpg
     
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  15. richa

    richa Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Apr 23, 2016
    Washington
    Then of course there's the little matter of binding the body that I was trying not to think about. Tried a few tests to see what I was getting myself into. As per SOP I started first with the "see why the simplest thing doesn't work right" test. Took a few pieces of binding, slopped on some acetone and stuck 'em to some wood.

    20170830_184329.jpg

    Scraped it flush... huh... not so bad. Until...
    20170830_185513.jpg

    Change the angle of the light and...yuck. So there are a few things that seem to be going on here. I guess the binding material is not exactly ready to go out of the box - at least the thicker stuff. It has a fair amount of cupping to it. And some of the edges have some slight beveling. And what I noticed with the binding paste experiment on the fret markers is that the acetone and plastic if there is any gap almost tends to foam like polyurethane glue - which does not lend itself to a nice clean surface.
    20170830_185527.jpg

    Moving along. I prepped the surfaces with scraper to try to get them more flat. I put the acetone on and let it sit a few moments then put some more on. Then rubbed the together until there was some good splooge. Then scraped. This is the worst lighting angle I could come up with. One seam invisible, the other still slightly there. I seemed to still have some irregularity on that one so I guess this is just not going to leave much room for error.
    20170830_203148.jpg

    Hmmm... not sure where that leaves me.
    • I can make a tool for scraping the binding. Figured I was going to have to have to do that anyway to get the thickness right.
    • I can't exactly rub the pieces against each other to get them to bond so I think I'll need to really go slow and let the plastic soften.
    • Strength-wised it seemed ok. I couldn't pull the piece off the wood with my fingers. But it didn't put up much fight under a chisel. Wouldn't really expect it too. Looking at the surfaces after pulling it apart there were bits of wood residue on the the plastic and bits of plastic residue on the wood. So it's got some stick to it. Having a wood surface too smooth would probably be counterproductive.
     
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  16. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

    Jun 22, 2010
    Osaka, Japan
    Put some thin black strips in between!
     

  17. nresponse

    nresponse TDPRI Member

    Yes, I second the idea of adding black to the binding. It would likely hide the flaws better, plus it would go really well with black fret markers. Other than these "two cents", I am enjoying watching this build! (First f-holes I've seen that I love!)
     
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  18. richa

    richa Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Apr 23, 2016
    Washington
    Now don't go getting all reasonable on me! :eek: I been fight'n it but I'm slowly swirling into the inevitable conclusion that this is where I'm going to have to go. Not that it's a bad thing really - I was just fixated on this one look. I might have one more test run at this to see if I can figure it out. But in all likelihood I'll end up finishing the neck while I'm waiting for more binding. :rolleyes: Seriously though - I appreciate the feedback and the nudge.

    Oh - about those black fret markers... well just keep reading. But there will likely be other dark accents for the binding to key off should I go that way.

    I decided I really wanted to go with the cream fret markers and darken the fretboard in one way or another. And rather than wait for cream fret markers I decided to try making some (rule number 1 - the easy way is for...uh...people smarter than me). So I filed teeth in some tubing to make a plug cutter. The little hole is to poke the plugs out.
    20170902_134051.jpg

    They look a little rough around the edges but all the rough bits are in the waste part of the dot (or can be contrived to be).
    20170902_133508.jpg

    Still had some binding paste left from the last ill fated experiment and it turns out it works just dandy for doing what it was meant to do.
    20170902_134025.jpg

    Started to use a chisel to trim the caps but just switched to a file which actually worked better (this may because I need to spend some quality time sharpening tools). When it was close I switched to a scraper to get them flush.
    20170902_144207.jpg

    Then I tapered the neck roughly on the bandsaw and finished it with a plane.
    20170902_161027.jpg

    The neck extension joint isn't invisible, but it's not hideous. The other side nearly matches grain by shear dumb luck. Initially I had some grand scheme in mind about using the adjacent piece from the plank that was used for the neck to try to get a better match, etc. etc. But that got lost in the fog of war. I need to start writing my plans down and actually following them...

    Nah.

    20170902_161041.jpg

    • Going to go ahead and start on getting the neck extension fit to the body so the neck can seat properly again.
    • headstock wings.
    • shape neck
     
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  19. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

    Jun 22, 2010
    Osaka, Japan
    Cream/white/cream might look cool too, and more subtle than black...
     
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  20. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    At the Charles Fox school circa 1980,we used a versa vise to prep our wood binding. If your vise jaws are parallel to each other you would put some abrasive on both sides of the jaws. I think we used rubber cement, but sticky back abrasive would be ideal for that. Next, adjust the jaws so they are making contact to the binding, but not tight enough to clamp it, and pull the binding through the jaws. This technique might help here.... I don't know.
     
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