Emerald Ash Borer Build

Jim_in_PA

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Could I just soak the wood down with some bug spray??
That can be effective for surface pests, but not generally for anything that's a borer. Remediation requires either heat above a certain temp for a minimum amount of time, or a chemical treatment that can be forced deep into the wood by vacuum or other means.
 

chaosman12

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Bug spray, boiled antifreeze, vacuums?! Double double toil and trouble...

Do you think there are still bugs living in the wood? I can see a few holes in the slabs, probably from bugs, but my understanding of the EAB is that it lives in the outer layers of wood under the bark.
 

chaosman12

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Did you think about self roasted ash?
Interesting idea. Roasting brought out some nice "flavors" in this build


I also learned about Oldie's oil in this thread which apparently is great for a more natural look.
 

chaosman12

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I'm a little nervous about shaping the back of the neck. Up to now, the neck building steps have been an adaptation of what I've done on other wood working projects and now it seem a bit more "artistic"(?). Barring a real bonehead move, I will probably get something close, but I do have a higher goal to make something that a good player, picking it up for the first time, won't notice anything unusual.

I'm following the facet method and intend to take it slow, making sure to measure (and think) three times, before carve away wood.

The first step is to tapering the back to the desired thicknesses at the 1st (0.88") and 12th fret (0.93").

The two templates show me the distance from the rosewood/maple joint to the back of the neck:

1 templates.jpeg


I marked those distance on the side of the neck, then connected them with a straight line. Repeated on the other side of the neck:

2 marking the back taper.jpeg


Before I start to remove wood, I made a few saw kerfs across the back, to the depth of the taper line. As I remove the wood, the kerfs will be a visual guide as i get close to the line:

3 saw kerf side view.jpeg


Four saw kerfs should be good enough:

4 more saw kerfs.jpeg


I read about the Shinto rasp on TDPRI and it looked interesting. Worth a shot at $20. It made quick work of getting close to the line. It cuts about the same speed as an old rasp I have. What nicer though, is that it is wider which is an advantage when trying the create a flat surface.

The saw kerfs help me easily see that I'm getting close and that I need to pay more attention to the right side:

5 getting close.jpeg


After the rasp, I used the sanding block with 80 grit, to creep up on the guide lines on each side of the neck. The block also helps to create a flat surface:

6 sanding to final depth.jpeg
 

crazydave911

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I have always enjoyed shaping necks 😁 but have yet to use a contour gauge or pattern. Skill or idiocy you be the judge 🤣🤣🤣🤣
 

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chaosman12

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Is that a banjo? I’m reading this on my phone, and in the small image I first though it was an apple pie!

I’m probably have a little too much OCD in me to wing it. Especially given that I don’t own an electric and so I wouldn’t have a clue as to where I was going.

I’m working on the “facets” now. I’m probably going a bit overboard with figuring the tangents and all the measurements to a 1000th of an inch, but it keeps my head in the game.
 

crazydave911

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Is that a banjo? I’m reading this on my phone, and in the small image I first though it was an apple pie!

I’m probably have a little too much OCD in me to wing it. Especially given that I don’t own an electric and so I wouldn’t have a clue as to where I was going.

I’m working on the “facets” now. I’m probably going a bit overboard with figuring the tangents and all the measurements to a 1000th of an inch, but it keeps my head in the game.
Indeed it is a banjo, 27" scale fretless 😃 but what is more interesting (I think) is what the necks are made of (I'm a LITTLE unconventional).
The first is oak, the second mahogany, the third aspen, and the banjo is striped eastern red cedar 😁
 

Moldy Oldy

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I’m probably have a little too much OCD in me to wing it. Especially given that I don’t own an electric and so I wouldn’t have a clue as to where I was going.

I’m working on the “facets” now. I’m probably going a bit overboard with figuring the tangents and all the measurements to a 1000th of an inch, but it keeps my head in the game.

Nothing wrong with going slowly and carefully on the first one. FWIW I don’t use templates either, and I’m about as OCD as they come. On my first one I did 3 facets on each side pretty much like it sounds you’re doing. I purposely leave some extra material to sand off. Then do the shoe-shine motion across the grain with a strip of 60 or 80 up and down the neck to get a basic shape. After that it’s just sanding and filing until I get something that feels good in my hands. I use a straightedge and one of those curve copier things with all the little fingers to check that I’m keeping everything more or less straight and symmetrical. I also find it’s easier to feel where I’m at if I sand to about 150 or 220. But I do this knowing I’ll be taking more off with rougher sandpaper and will have to resand again, usually several times. Also for me I find I think I’m finished before I really am. After I let it set for a couple days I come back and feel it again and pretty much always end up removing a little more.

But you’ve totally got this. So just try to relax and enjoy it. It’s one of the funnest parts of a build.
 

chaosman12

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Thank @Moldy Oldy for the encouragement. You're right, I am doing 3 facets, and quite honestly, it's coming out well. By following the lines of the facets I am avoiding accidental low spots. And low spots are a problem because the only way to get rid of them is to lower the rest of the neck.
 

chaosman12

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Here we go, time to shape the back of the neck. I'm using the "facets" method which starts with a dimensioned drawing of the current uncharved neck and the desired neck shape as shown below.

I played around with the tangent line in the left drawing (1st fret) until the two areas in green were about equal. Then I drew a tangent on the right hand drawing at the same angle (55 deg).

1 First Facet dimensions .png


Using the center line, and the line between fretboard and neck as references, I marked the ends of the tangent line at the 1st and 12th frets (circled in red). Then connected the marks to form the edge of the first facet.

2 1st fret facet marks.jpeg


3 12th fret facet marks .jpeg


I used a a regular rasp and my newly acquired shinto rasp to remove the the corner. I worked carefully making sure to leave the pencil line.

4 First side rasp.jpeg


Never done this before, so I'll try something different for the facet on the other side of the neck.
I started with a half round rasp and made a sort of "stop" cut at each of the facet"

5 Second side start with transition.jpeg


6 Second side heel transition.jpeg


This allowed me to use a spokeshave to create the facet. This worked great and was great fun. You can even see the curl

7 Spokeshave.jpeg


I didn't have an explicit plan for how to do the transitions, so I just kept nibbling away with the half round rasp very slowly, until I could kinda visualize what it will look like. But I won't work on the transitions anymore until the second set of facets are done.

8 First facet done.jpeg
 

chaosman12

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The second set of facets follows the same technique at the first set, starting with a drawing of the current neck, and then figuring out where the tangent lines should go to form the second set of facets.

0 Second facet dimensions.png


I transfered the dimensions from the drawing to the neck (red circles), followed by connecting the marks to create the lines for the second set of facets.

1 mark facet edges at heel.jpeg

2 Mark facet edges at head.jpeg


At this point, there's really not a lot of wood to remove, so I was very careful to keep the rasp at an angle that kept the cut centered between the two pencil lines.

3 Shinto rasp.jpeg


When I walked into the shop the next morning, the only light was from the basement window. Nice photo op. Clearly shows the facets:

4 second facets done.jpeg


At this point I considered going to town with sandpaper to round off the edges. But the facets were working so well, I thought I"d try to use the same concept to remove the edges. I marked the facet edges with a pencil, then used a card scraper to remove the pencil line. I tried to keep the card scraper at an angle to create a mini facet centered on the pencil line.

5 Highlight the third facets.jpeg


Now I sanded the remaining ridges smooth using a sanding block moving up and down the neck. I frequently checked with a straight edge looking for high or low spots. I've been checking the template along the way; here's the final check.

6 Template check.jpeg


I was curious what it would look like with a finish, so I sanded through the grits 150, 220, 320, then wiped on a bit of mineral spirits. Definitely starting to look like a neck. Very cool, and thanks to all the helpful folks here on TDPRI...

7 Sanded smooth.jpeg
 

chaosman12

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This is the simple jig I made to hold the neck while shaping the back.
Starting with a 2x4, I ripped off a thin strip to get rid of the rounded corners. I added cork contact paper in the area where the fretboard will sit.
1 2x4 with cork.jpeg


I'm holding the jig between two bench dogs. If you make the jig a bit taller (e.g from a 2x6), the jig can be clamped in a vise.

One hole to clamp at the heel...

2 Heel clamp.jpeg


... and a hole for a clamp at the headstock end. Since the headstock has already been thinned, I used two construction shims to take up the space.

3 Headstock clamp.jpeg


Using the table saw, I made a 2 deg bevel meeting in the center on the top of the jig. The angle is barely noticeable, but it provides two points of contact which locks the neck solidly into the jig when clamped.

4 2 deg contour.jpeg
 

chaosman12

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This build is made possible because the emerald ash borer (EAB) bug killed my ash tree. To stick with the theme I thought about inlaying bug shapes for the fret markers, like PRS uses birds. Then reality kicked in and I realized that inlaying bugs is way above my skill level. So I chose instead to use abalone. It has that greenish shimmery look of the EAB - and they are round!

The most important visual aspect is that the dots are all in a line (except at the 12th fret). So I drew a centerline, and then a diagonal to locate the center of the abalone marker:

1 Mark centerline and diagonal.jpeg


I used a very pointy pick to make a starting point precisely where the lines crossed:

2 Point center punch .jpeg


The dots in the upper frets are 1/4" and Forster bit makes a perfect flat bottomed hole:

3 Forstner bit.jpeg


I'm drilling these with a cordless drill, so I stop frequently to check the depth. I got this depth stop (?) at a flea market a few years ago, not really knowing where I'd use it (I couldn't pass up something made by Starrett that cost just a few bucks). I don't know what it was designed to do, but it's a great go/no-go depth check for round fretboard markers...

4 Depth check.jpeg


The higher frets have smaller dots, so I used a brad point bit. The spurs cut deep groves relative to the small depth, and the wood in the center comes out in chunks, so the hole bottoms are not very flat. To level them a bit, I glued some sandpaper to a sawed off golf tee:

5 Golf tee bottom leveler.jpeg


The dots are glued in with thickish CA glue. I used a file to get them near level. I misted the fretboard with water to keep the dangerous dust from getting airborne.

6 Level with file.jpeg


I then sanded with 120 grit using a radius block. This is a pre-radiused fretboard from StewMac, but it had a lot of tear out requiring a little extra sanding. I probably would have sent it back if I noticed it earlier.

7 Finished fretboard markers.jpeg


I followed up with 220, and 320 grits backed by a flexible pad. I tried to capture some of the abalone sparkle in this close up. It also shows that I need to do some more sanding before fretting! I'll probably go up to 600 grit.

8 Close up of one marker.jpeg
 

chaosman12

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I have a question about leveling the fretboard before starting to install the frets.

With no tension on the truss rod, there is a bow of about 0.005".

0 level pre-fretting.jpeg


Using the truss rod, I can eliminate the bow within the accuracy of my cheap straight edge. (Comparing to my table saw top, I can slide 0.001" feelers under at several points.)

Should I do additional sanding to get it flatter under no trust rod tension?

Should I do the fretting with the truss rod tightened to remove the bow?

I plan on hammering in the frets.
 




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