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The dirtiest, s#177iest, chippest acoustic...

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by betocool, Jun 15, 2018.

  1. betocool

    betocool Tele-Meister

    190
    Jan 11, 2016
    South of Perth, WA
    But I'm enjoying it nonetheless!

    Let's see.

    While I was building and painting my Les Paul Jr. build during the summer holidays, I said to myself, why not have a crack at building a quick and dirty acoustic? Just for fun, see how we go.

    Most of the parts I had anyway, I just had to buy tuners. Use reclaimed wood, and make this a journey, not a destination.

    Because I don't have the setup yet to bend wood, I decided to use three former IKEA shelves, chipboard, for the body. And the neck from lots of plywood I had around. This is the point where you should stop reading if you're cringing already, because once the pictures come up... what has been seen cannot be unseen!

    I grabbed the three shelves and cut two for the top and bottom, and one for the center, giving a nice thickness to the body. The inspiration for it was the Guild A150 Savoy, although as inspirations go, it changed a bit, quite a bit. The top and bottom part of the frames came with "bracing". Absolutely no science behind it, other than holding the top a bit better.

    The f-holes, as usual, inspired by Vox Virage, damn I like the look of them!

    IMG20180205104642.jpg

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    This also gave me the opportunity and excuse to test the neck radiusing jig I build with my router. A few tests were done on a sacrificial piece of wood. And then the proper on some jarrah (a dark hard sort of eucalyptus in Western Australia). It came out the straightest I've ever had... or so I believe.

    IMG20180318112104.jpg IMG20180318112346.jpg IMG20180318112402.jpg IMG20180318130002.jpg IMG20180318130820.jpg
    Time to cut the slots. An excuse to get this superb saw. The jig I made out of MDF and it works a treat.
    IMG20180402135047.jpg

    More to come, image limit reached!

    Cheers,

    Albert
     
    Arch Stanton, Zepfan, bgmacaw and 2 others like this.
  2. Tommy Biggs

    Tommy Biggs Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 17, 2010
    Northern NJ
  3. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County


    Looks like a fun project. I'm not a fan of either plywood or MDF for an instrument, but one has to go with what you need to go with. I think a good fretsaw is worth the money as opposed to a workaround like a coping saw or bendy flush trim saw.
     
  4. betocool

    betocool Tele-Meister

    190
    Jan 11, 2016
    South of Perth, WA
    Moving along...

    I decided to give this one a neck binding. I mean, why not? If it's to be stuffed up, might as well do it on this experiment. Nothing to lose.

    And yet it came along not too bad. A bit of CA glue on the sides, press it with a square straight aluminium bar I use for things like these, and it went well!
    IMG20180402170624.jpg

    What followed was a long and slow process of filing each and every one of the frets to have them nice and flush on top of the binding. A spent a fair part of that afternoon cutting, filing, gluing, pressing, repeat.

    The other thing you'll see is an experiment gone a bit astray. I tried the method of filling the fretboard top with CA. I need more practice.
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    Next one... the neck.

    Cheers,

    Albert
     
    Arch Stanton and Zepfan like this.
  5. betocool

    betocool Tele-Meister

    190
    Jan 11, 2016
    South of Perth, WA
    Some plywood I had lying around will be the neck. I find plywood to be very strong and works very well as a neck, however, I still have to get my head around using it with a clear finish. Means, this guitar will have some color.

    I cut the shape of the center, and then routed the glued plywood pieces together. Also a "repeat as required" process.

    IMG20180408114456.jpg
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    Using this self-made routing table I routed the truss rod cavity. Came out well. Just made sure to make shallow passes each time.

    IMG20180415155039.jpg
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    Cheers,

    Albert
     
    guitarbuilder likes this.
  6. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    57
    Mar 17, 2003
    Spring City, Pa
    Drill press fret press.
    Cool!
     
    Tommy Biggs and Danjabellza like this.
  7. betocool

    betocool Tele-Meister

    190
    Jan 11, 2016
    South of Perth, WA
    Time to glue the neck.

    I cut a small tenon (is that the correct name?) in the neck for it to fit on the body. I didn't make it too big as I know the fretboard will/should (I hope!) hold some of the neck. Time will tell. First is the neck on the guitar, getting the position sort of right.

    IMG20180422111207.jpg

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    The template is being held by generous amounts if D-Tack, double sided sticky tape. Very strong stuff, you actually have to pull quite hard to separate it.
    IMG20180422111240.jpg

    And there it is in all it's holey glory.

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    Mock up build to keep motivation up!
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    Finally, the tools of the moment to shape the guitar neck. One of the good things about ply is that it comes with integrated lines, and I was very careful this time to leave the center almost untouched. Too many incidents (2) already where the truss rod cavity appears out of the blue. And then the appropriate expletives.
    IMG20180501153616.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

    Arch Stanton and loopy reed like this.
  8. betocool

    betocool Tele-Meister

    190
    Jan 11, 2016
    South of Perth, WA
    You thought it was bad so far? This is where it starts getting ugly.

    I debated internally between a full black, some emerald green, California blue, white (as in Coco), cream coloured, but none of these options appealed to me. Going back to the original premise of "this is the one where we try stuff and see how it works" I went for a quick and dirty water based sunburst. Except that it looks like a bad job. Not only that, I admit, I got my dimensions a bit wrong, based on electric guitar builds, so, the neck is fairly long at 24.75", and the higher frets are rather out than into the body. She's gonna look a bit out there...
    IMG20180506163249.jpg

    Using some Jarrah, I cut the saddle and the bridge. I'm happy with the saddle, but I'll see about the bridge, not 100% convinced yet. To avoid the saddle flying off to unknown places or my face, I strengthened it with two dowels. I'm pretty sure I could hang from there now and it'd be ok. But let's listen for cracking noises just in case.

    IMG20180508214109.jpg


    Finally, route the binding channel and sand away all excess of... excess. This one will see the light of day all bruised and battered. The top is this dodgy sunburst, the sides are black sanded down, and the back is black as well as the neck, with some paint peeled off for good measure. I suppose I got used to the looks of it.
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    As of today, I'm giving it a few coats of clear, and then I still have to glue on the nut and position the bridge. But the first bridge test will be just positioned until I get the intonation right, and then glued on.

    IMG20180615164159.jpg

    Still more to come. Thanks if you made it this far!

    Cheers,

    Albert
     

    Attached Files:

  9. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Jan 18, 2010
    on my bike
    It's alive!

    Nice work man.
     
  10. loopy reed

    loopy reed Friend of Leo's

    Nov 14, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    You had me hooked here. I love this build!
     
    Tommy Biggs likes this.
  11. betocool

    betocool Tele-Meister

    190
    Jan 11, 2016
    South of Perth, WA
    Not much going on lately, as watching paint dry is not the most exciting thing... and I think I sort of botched the back lacquer coat... but I'm not fussed about that.

    A little progress though with an update of what's to come tomorrow, prepped the guitar and it's ready for fret leveling. To ensure that the neck is as straight as I can possibly measure it, I grabbed three small hex nuts that were within less than 0.1 mm from each other (they were) and measured them with a caliper. First nut went on the first fret, held down with blu-tak (monkey snot), second on the 12th fret, third on the last fret. I grabbed my very straight aluminium square rod and placed it on the three nuts, and immediately you (I) could see the centre nut "higher" than both at the extremes. A little tweak on the truss rod, until all three nuts line up perfectly with the rod. And now I know the neck is straight.

    I suppose once the strings start pulling, I'll have to re-adjust in the opposite direction.

    Here's an image or two of what I just did.


    IMG20180630175856.jpg
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  12. betocool

    betocool Tele-Meister

    190
    Jan 11, 2016
    South of Perth, WA
    The beginning of the end.

    The missing pieces were the bridge and strings. The bridge I had in mind, kind of, and the strings I went and bought.

    This is the bridge, a piece of jarrah painted black that would go on the guitar, with a rounded piece of steel filed to the appropriate height. Some additional filing was required to keep the strings in position and get the action lower, because as it was it was really too high.
    IMG20180705095139.jpg


    And here's putting the strings on, one by one, with the floating bridge. I did not glue in the bridge until I was happy with the position and intonation.
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    The good news, it didn't break! I think it's the first time I wore safety goggles while stringing up a guitar. Luckily, no dodgy creaking sounds were forthcoming, and after a while it all settled in nicely.

    Here it she is in all her dodgy glory
    IMG20180711102409.jpg

    The nut was a piece of steel I cut off from some parts of a rail installation we did a few weeks back. Bugger, that thing ate up a fair amount of saw blades and I guess I need to replace my files now. Tell you what though, tough as nails! Next time I'll work with some softer material.
    IMG20180711102418.jpg

    The bridge with the height adjustments made.
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    I'll try to get some sound clips posted soon-ish, but I need to practice first! Otherwise it's too embarrassing. I won't comment much about how it sounds, I mean, really, how much can you expect from a former Ikea shelf and some plywood, but still, I'm rather pleased with it, the playability is really good, but my fingers are weak. That's the problem, see, while I'm building them I'm not playing them. What a conundrum.

    Anyway, hope you all enjoyed so far, it took longer than expected (as usual), but she does look ok after all. Lessons learned, get the dimensions right, I could easily have shifted the bridge a good 5cm (2in) direction bottom, it looks a bit too centered; maybe get some a tad bit better wood for the body; either learn to work with CA glue to seal wood or avoid altogether (leaning towards the latter); and use easier materials to work with on the nut and the bridge.

    Cheers,

    Albert
     
  13. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

    What scale length did you make it?.... does the intonation work where the bridge is set?...


    it's a good exercise build, instead of starting with more expensive wood.... it probably sounds OK...:)
     
  14. betocool

    betocool Tele-Meister

    190
    Jan 11, 2016
    South of Perth, WA
    If I recall correctly the scale length is 25.5, and yes, the intonation works well where the bridge is. In that sense the guitar is A-OK. What I meant to say was, I realised too late that the higher frets on the fretboard were adjusted (by me) to fit all on top of (or within the space ov) the cutaway, hence pushing the bridge further up giving it this funny look.

    In retrospect, and for next builds, I should neglect the higher frets a bit more (not that I use them much... at all) so that the bridge is a bit lower, but keeping the scale length the same.

    Cheers,

    Albert
     
  15. Macrogats

    Macrogats Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    51
    May 15, 2017
    Auckland, New Zealand
    How did I miss this first time around?

    Way cool build Albert. Pretty much exactly how I do hollow bodies, except I don't tenon or dovetail the necks. I do bolt on. My next project is pretty much along these lines, with an arch top idea in mind.

    As for your bridge placement - that would annoy me where it is. You'd be better off having the top part of the neck joining around the 15th fret region. Other than that, fantastic job.

    How's the neck holding up? I've heard of laminated ply necks before, but hadn't seen one built.
     
  16. betocool

    betocool Tele-Meister

    190
    Jan 11, 2016
    South of Perth, WA
    It's only been a few days, but the neck is top notch, no issues so far, I guess we'll have to see in the long run.

    Yeah, the bridge was a bit of a mishap, but hey, live and learn. I seriously must have counted my frets wrong! All in all I'm pretty happy with it, so much so that I'm considering selling my other acoustic which gets zero use lately.

    And of course, planning a nylon acoustic for next...

    So much to do!

    Cheers,

    Albert
     
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