Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in '2015 TDPRI GSM Build Challenge' started by jvin248, Jun 14, 2015.
This is definitely one of the most original designs this year. Can't wait to see it in action!
So ... is that a good thing ? ... I've been researching different truss rods for quite a while and this one seems the simplest I found. Unfortunate the welding didn't take and I had to resort to alternative plan B.
Next one I try like this I am planning on notching the side of the coupling nut down to the rod with a grinder and welding the notch. Might give better grip than getting the end weld.
As I noted earlier, this system seems to have originated with old Gibson guitars and Stew Mac sold them for a while but discontinued them - not sure why. This system allows more wood to remain in the neck than the typical purchased double-acting truss rods. My rod is a little thicker than needed.
The link below is a well done descriptive video of how this truss rod works - we'll see if I get close. The rod is really easy acting - I have a PRS SE that seems to use the same system. Watch for the fire-hose clamps, they are cool.
Since it's been raining around here every day I did get time this last week I couldn't work outside on the driveway and did not get much progress on the guitar. The table saw and the router throw so much wood around it makes a mess plus I like having more space than the cramped garage.
I decided I needed a better way to hop out between the sprinkles.
Before I had put my table saw on two casters leaving the other feet to sit firm, thinking I wanted a solid base when sawing. It was quite cumbersome and barely better than no wheels at all.
So I decided to put four wheels under it and lift the corners to put blocks under the base. Long term I want to build a rolling workbench with the table saw and router bench inset but that's for after 'the challenge.
I have access to friends who run a logistics company. They have to get rid of these plywood pallets since their customers have their own unique inbound returnable racks or bins. When the pile gets too high, they pay a company to come in and shred them up, pay another company to haul away and reuse for shipping, or pay for dumpsters to dispose of it all - otherwise the fire department stops in to see them about the big pile. So as projects need plywood, I can get all the pallets I need and dismantle them. The pallets have their issues as can be seen in the pictures but in general they are interior grade half inch plywood with a 'luan' finished A-surface and mostly filled-knot B-surface, the spreading glue picture shows the typical B-side.
There are defects in the plywood. When the plywood plant hits a scarf joint where one layer starts/ends they cut out a strip and those go to shipping pallets. In general, the plywood is as good as I can find at the lumber yard. I can only get it 46x46, 48, or 52inch square though with 27 nail holes.
Experimenting, I've built complete guitars out of it, carved-top body and laminated neck both.
I've tried many methods to take the pallets apart but the quickest way I've found is to put a round punch through a hole in another board (to keep my hands back) and smash it with an 8-12lb hand-held sledge to drive the nails through the plywood. Holes visible in the pictures. Last fall I used these pallets with new siding and a shingled roof to build a bus-stop "toll-booth"-style building for all the neighborhood kids to wait for the bus, we got a lot of use out of it this last Michigan winter with its sub-zero gale-force winds.
Pictured is one of my glue bottles. I saved the squeeze bottle from a pancake syrup container. Really easy to use for glue-ups. I saw this suggestion somewhere and immediately incorporated it into my shop. The wide mouth is good for thick glue. I might try it with some rub-on polyurethane sometime (poly may have dissolve the plastic or too much air seepage).
The build of the table saw cart continues to completion.
While the glue was drying clamped down I screwed a few places together in the center of the panel where the clamps could not reach.
I cut out a piece of paper the size of the table saw legs so I could avoid misplacing the casters.
Found my box of bolts was more anemic than I thought. So I used some drywall screws on two corners and bolts on the other two of each caster.
The bolts were also slightly shorter than I wanted so I countersunk the heads into the plywood.
The finished cart is complete with the table saw mounted to it and clamps on while it cures overnight. Wet driveway can be seen beyond. I got a little wet since I had the saw on its side to bolt the cart on and it started raining more. Could be snow (that's next week).
This really rolls nice in and out of the garage. It hops the threshold gap from the garage to driveway cement slabs easy too. Certainly not fancy, but a quick solution to solve the problem and get back to the real project. Later I'll make that rolling workbench with these same wheels.
Back to the regularly scheduled program, next.
The stewmac version of the rod had rounded/half moon shaped anchors. When I bought it and received it, I was perplexed on how to remove the wood for a perfect fit. I contacted stewmac and their answer was to make a straight rout and fill it with bondo.... . Needless to say I only installed that one.....I suspect that installation may have put off a few others as well.
Rounded anchors like they took a circle and cut it in half and then drilled+tapped each half? seems like I saw that somewhere.
A CNC can easily do the neck routes to a shape that matches the rectangular cross-bars, and probably the half-moon shape. I use a table saw, drill press, and hand chisels.
I suppose a half-moon anchor, if you can cut the bottom of the slot into a half-moon as well, make for a deeper setting in the neck given the neck radius carve.
My cross-bar at the "low" end is in the heel area. When I cut mine, visible in a future picture I did late last night, it actually protrudes a little through the bottom of the neck where the neck bolts to the guitar. I wanted to maximize the 3/4inch board thickness angle I can get with the rod.
So, not wanting to ruin my nice cheap maple neck board, but wanting to check out the truss rod and basic neck route ... I took two scraps of 1/2 inch plywood stacked up and cut it out fast. It also showed me how not to drill the cross holes when I really cut on the neck. No points I know for crude cutting.
One end shows the truss rod at the top surface the other end cut deeper so the rod sits lower. This geometry sets up the rod to work as a guy-wire pulling the top of the neck back against the tension of the strings. So that is the theory anyway.
What happens when I turn the screw?
When I turn the screw the nuts tighten in the slots and I can see the simulated neck move from one extreme to another as the pictures show. It's working!
The simulated neck is about as thick as the finished neck, but is twice as wide as the finished neck. Comparing a multi-laminated pine simulation to a double ply maple neck-walnut fingerboard will be different. A lot of variables that can still go wrong so we'll see how the finish neck adjusts.
Good part is the forge work kept the rod and action-nut firmly fixed together!
Cutting some maple next.
Starting on the Maple neck, the first job is to cut the angled slot.
As I did on the test neck, I locate the riser block and stick it down with double sided tape.
Thickness of the riser block and position from the heel of the neck are important to set the angle of the truss-rod groove. My riser block is quarter-sawn maple. Next build I'm going to find several flat-sawn boards, cut, and glue them up into a quarter-sawn neck blank.
One of the things I learned when I did the test neck is my table saw needed an out-feed table or my block would fall off. Of course I only figured that out while cutting and manually guiding it off the table but a bad idea in the middle of the cut. for the real neck I installed a waste board that extended beyond the cutting area. Clamped it down and raised the blade through it to the height I wanted.
It will take two passes to make the groove wide enough for the truss-rod.
When I have to start this neck over again after I cut something wrong, I should make an angled sled for this step.
First pass shows success!
Second pass allows the truss-rod to slip in the slot cleanly. No slop like I had with the fast-made test neck.
I use the drill to cut the cross-bar slots.
Forstner bit to drill clearance for the truss-rod nut (it's a little bigger than I should have I think)
Hand chiseling work to cut the slots down.
Keep cutting until the cross-bar fits (bottomed out on the rod, by design here but rethinking should have cut it deeper)
Deep chisel work to get the heel end down low in the neck.
Wow, that looks like a lot of work. Looks like it will work great.
This is the first of this style I'm trying so I'm going slower at it.
A couple of more shots I needed to upload of the heel end cut for the truss rod.
Compare how this end of the rod sits low in the board while the headstock end sits high.
I cut the truss strip from the side of the same board. And do some hand planing to get it to thickness to fit in the slot. Not perfect shave curls but I have a few.
Here is where I make a (minor) miscalculation.
I draw the nut profile on the filler strip (both ends). I cut both notches with a thin hand saw and trim out the notch. I get a picture of the parts.
I don't see the problem yet.
My truss rod needs a coat of wax before I glue the filler strip in - I don't want the glue to stick to the rod, I want some long term lubrication for the rod, and it will help protect against some corrosion.
I coat the truss rod in wax.
Picture is adding about 20% beeswax to parafin wax in my pickup potting jar. It's an old pickle jar. If time permits to mess with the pickup before the guitar finish deadline then you'll get to see the vacuum wax potting system I use and this wax once again.
That beeswax is the oldest component I will have in this guitar. My father had tried keeping bees on his farm in the late 60's. He hand built his beehive (traditional rectangular) and used this pre-formed wax as the frame foundations for his bees. The bees ended up leaving, he always blamed it on his hive construction. Probably just what bees do. In the last years before he passed away, I got interested in beekeeping and thought he'd like to get back in on the project. He was enthusiastic but didn't ultimately take to it and so my interest waned but he gave me a few things he had kept. This box of foundation wax among them. I have collected plans for a Kenya-style hive to build sometime that doesn't use a starter wax sheet.
Perhaps this wax will add Vintage Mojo.
I dip both ends of the assembled rod in the wax as well as butter up the in-between section of the rod (with a butter knife).
I glue up the strip I cut previously and press it down into the channel and clamp it in place. I really hope I got enough wax on the truss rod that it still works after the glue dries. I saw one of the other build challenge threads that something got stuck and they had to tear the neck apart.
I see where I made the cut mistake on the center strip after it's covered in glue and wedged down the slot. No going back now!
That workbench in the pictures is my grandfather's old bench. I think the story was he bought it used at a farm auction "way back". I plan on resurfacing the top and repairing the broken vice jaw that split while he had it now that I'm using it more.
A slight intermission...
I got this guitar from a local guy that must have been the third or fourth owner that gave up part way through repairing and relicing this old guitar. I think the body is a Japanese built 70's strat-clone and the neck is from the 80's pointy-guitar years, possibly from Japan as well. Won't ever know, too many owners and no marks anywhere. Body wood appears to be ash with a maple/rosewood neck.
Picture is after I got the electronics all wired up - I kept this one simple with just a volume knob and straight out. Had to clean up the volume pot a few times with the contact cleaner spray.
I really like the big brass screws holding the pick guard down. You may see similar brass screws somewhere soon... Pickguard is white painted over black plastic, by the way, as it came from prior owners.
I did some clean up of the relic work, they had some odd deep gouges on the upper horn that I sanded further down than they did to correct. Then I wet sanded to smooth out a lot of what they had but left much of the two-tone white paint over the original burst natural wood finish. Two owners before hand-cut the opaque control cavity cover. I'll probably make a new one since the material they used is thin. The electronics would be cool to look at if it was more than a volume pot-straight out.
I ended up painting the headstock with 'hammered bronze' like many use on their guitar pedals - so it looks old and authentic but better than the flaking black in the picture. I had to scrounge tuners from the parts drawer. I happened to find six that closely matched each other.
The bridge is surprisingly narrow. At one point I was going to pull the trem out (that I hard-tailed with a maple block) to put a newer fixed bridge on top. I figured the trem cavity would be a mess of detail work and be the last resort. I put a mix of strat and tele style saddles to get things to nearly fit and that worked and looks ok.
The fret job was really bad, even though nearly factory new (no playing gouges). I suspect this guitar had changed hands dozens of times since original and never a one could play it. Cheap guitar made "in the good old days" then a project guitar for so many and never really played. A relic job put on it because they hated it so much they didn't care about it. ... I did a full fret level and polish and now it plays fine with low action.
The pickup was rumored to be "from a mid-market Epiphone or Charvel" but I found no markings of any kind underneath it. I didn't expect to.
I strung it with a new-used set of 9s strings - seemed like the right thing to do. Tuned it up and it plays well. It feels good to hold and play, weight and balance-wise.
I'll add a finished set of photos soon.
I'd be curious if anyone can tell enough details about the guitar shape to know brand and age. I'm sure the protruding truss nut and pointy headstock will help identify its origin.
Finished images for the intermission rebuild.
I repainted the headstock with Rustoleum Forge Hammered "Burnished Amber" rattle can spray paint. It's the same type of paint used by many pedal manufacturers.
I found the trick is to spray it on and let it do its thing. I painted a whole guitar body and neck on a "steampunk" modification to an Epiphone Junior I am working on with a custom coil split switching setup to get single, parallel, and series tones. When I did a few touchups while the paint is still wet it knocks down the cool oily-black second layer making it all uniformly gray with less interest.
The neck construction continues on the Traveling Telecaster.
After the glue has set I use the bandsaw to cut most of the excess filler strip off.
I put a wrench on the truss nut and check that the truss rod is free from glue - the wax did its job. Works!
Previously I said to look for a minor mistake. Or something I will change the next time I build this style of neck. The filler strip cut outs I did were too deep. In the image with the wrench you can see how the band saw cut leaves only a thin block on the side of the rod nut (may want it lowered a bit in the neck too). The heel end, a picture from further in the build, shows an open hole. The hole is from the filler strip sitting on top of the truss rod and this is the remainder gap. It does allow for the truss rod to move with the neck without bottoming out.
Design change for next time is to cut the filler strip width and thickness, notch out the length of the truss rod plus some adjustment length, notch out a little more for the nut clearance. Then it will enclose everything.
I sand the filler strip flush.