Emerald Ash Borer Build

gb Custom Shop

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Honestly I think either option would be fine to proceed with, given your parameters.

When fretting you'll likely induce some backbow anyways, which you'd need to adjust the truss rod the opposite direction to get back to level. So it's not like you'll run out of room for truss rod adjustment.

Just my 2 cents, but some of the real experts here might have a different opinion.
 

highwaycat

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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:

View attachment 979842

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:

View attachment 979843

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:

View attachment 979845

Four saw kerfs should be good enough:

View attachment 979846

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:

View attachment 979855

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:

View attachment 979857
What software do you use to draw the 1st and 12th fret templates?
 

chaosman12

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What software do you use to draw the 1st and 12th fret templates?

The software is called "OnShape".

https://www.onshape.com/en/

A few highlights

1. Nothing to install. It runs in most browsers. I'm using it with Safari on a 10 year old MacBook.

2. It's a full 3D CAD package. Similar to SolidWorks which is the 600 lb gorilla of CAD.

3. It's free! - As long as you agree to store your drawings on their servers, and allow other to view and copy your drawings.

4. Businesses need to keep their designs private, so they pay (a lot) for licenses.

There was a steep learning curve for me. If you know SolidWorks, no problem, but my last drafting experience was with a T square and triangle in high school. Central to OnShape are the concepts of "constraints" and "parameters" which were very foreign to me.

Tons of tutorials on YouTube. OnShape also has many free courses consisting of multiple lessons on a lot of topics.

The forum is very active and helpful, much like TDPRI.

Sharing

A benefit of being web based, and storing files on their servers is that it is easy to share files. For example, this link SHOULD allow you to view my drawings:

Neck Profile First Facet

I've never shared a drawing, so I'm not sure if you will need to create an account or not. Supposedly you can use all of the viewing tools, you just can't change anything. You can copy it to your workspace and use it as a starting point.

Constraints and Parameters

Dimensions are set via parameters and relationships between lines set by constraints. So... it should be possible to reuse my drawings for your neck by modifying the dimensions. For example, my thickness at the first fret is 0.85", you can change it to your desired size and the rest of the drawing adjusts. Same for neck width and fretboard radius. It's pretty cool. But like I said, a steep learning curve.

If there's interest, I can create a separate thread on how to use OnShape for making neck templates.
 

chaosman12

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My question is when to stop crowning?

I presume the ideal is to stop when there is just a very fine line of untouched metal running down the center of the fret. But based on experience how fine of a line should it be?

The first pic below is after leveling. I then recoated the frets with a red Sharpie then proceeded to do the crowing. The results are in the second picture.

After leveling.jpeg


After crowing. The red shows the metal not touched by the crown file:

After crowning.jpeg


Is this good enough? Or should I continue to work on the parts where the red area is widens?

Note: I think these two frets might have got over leveled and perhaps there is not much more I can do to these frets. These are the first two frets I tried to crown, so I am pausing to get some opinions on what the red area should look like in a well crowned fret.

Thanks
 

highwaycat

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I go thinner. Don’t put too much pressure on the file and follow the radius, try to file as neatly as possible. Neat crowning prepares the fret fret polishing.
 

RHazelwood

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I can't say 100% without seeing the rest of the frets, but it looks to me like you need to work the leveling beam more at the fret ends. It's easy to miss the ends and take too much off the center, which effectively flattens your radius. I think about running the center of the leveling beam along the path of each string, and take a stroke for each string. For the outer E strings that means the beam will be hanging half off the edge, which helps ensure you work the very ends more or less equally with the center.

I crown with a saw file and try to keep a very thin, even sharpie line in the center. Portions of the two frets above look pretty good, but overall they need more work. You don't want any broad flat spots left.
 

chaosman12

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Yes, I did notice that the end of the fret hadn't been touched with the leveler. I think this was caused because I was a bit tentative leveling towards the fret ends because I feared the level would "fall off" the fret end and round off the fret end (effectively, over level the fret end). So my fear of over leveling, led to under leveling!

I also probably shouldn't have bevelled the ends before leveling. Without the bevel there would have been more real estate on the fret ends to balance the level. I used a 2 ft level so it is a little "tippy".

I'll go back and check all the fret ends.
 

chaosman12

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A few notes and lessons learned while fretting. It was a humbling experience. Maybe it will help other first timers...

I bought a set of cut and radiuses frets:

.
1 Fret package.jpeg


As learned on this forum, I beveled the edge of each fret with a triangular file:

2 Fret slot prep.jpeg


First lesson learned is to go lightly on the filing.
I think some of the bevels are a bit large and might have weakened the grip of the barb:

3 Fret slot bevel.jpeg


I tapped in the ends of each fret, then hammered the rest home. After seating the ends, I used various techniques including working from the middle out, from one ends to the other, and the from the two ends working towards the center.

4 Getting hammered.jpeg


Lessons learned: (I had 22 shots at perfecting my technique ;-).

1. Pay attention to the radius of the frets. The fretboard is 12" and the frets i purchased are 7". I noticed that when hammering in the center, the ends would pop up. And then when hammered back in they did not always grip well. Too much beveling of the slot may have also added to the loss of grip.

2. I started to un-radius the frets by hand so they are curved just slightly more than the fret board. In the future, I would buy frets that are the same radius as the fret board, and add a little curvature by hand.

Actually, I don't understand the reason for starting with any over-curvature. It seems that if the fret curvature starts the same as the fretboard, you wouldn't have to deform the fret as it is hammered in.

3. Tap gently across the fret. Don't try to hammer any part in with one whack (especially the center which tended to pop out the ends).

4. The back of the neck was already shaped. When hammering on the end of a fret, the neck wanted to twist. For backup, I was using a piece of wood with a V groove lined with cork contact paper. This helped a little. I can see why some builders keep the back shaping for last. I have also read that you can add the frets to the fretboard before gluing the fretboard to the neck. I'll keep learning and next time I'll have a better plan.


I did check for gaps as a went along.
This is how I learned that some of the ends weren't fully seated.

5 Checking the fit.jpeg


I flush cut the ends as I went along:

Lesson learned: Stresses from flush cutting, if not done very carefully, can put stress on the ends, causing them to loosen or pop a bit. Next time I will 1. leave them long, 2. glue, then 3. flush cut after the glue dries.

6 Flush Cutting.jpeg


I used the radius block to hold the frets in place and then dropped in low viscosity glue in the fret ends.

Lesson learned:
I did make a few grooves in my new radius block. Also, since the radius block spans many frets, it's possible that the block did not put full pressure on every fret, and thus not fully seat every fret when glued.

Next time I would work on one fret at a time. Maybe make a radius block than spans two frets. I can also see now why pressing in the frets with a shaped caul would give better results.

7 Super Gluing.jpeg


To further smooth each fret end, I made a block to hold the file at 90 degrees, but I found it much simpler to hand hold the file:

8 Filing flush.jpeg


Finally, I filled the gaps under the frets with fretboard dust and then dropped on some CA glue. Tweezers worked well for depositing the dust in the right place. In the beginning I was making too big of a pile. By the end I made the pile just big enough to cover the gap. Minimizing the pile size made sanding flush much easier.

9 Filling the Gap.jpeg


10 Gluing the gap.jpeg
 

Mr. Neutron

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@chaosman12 ,

Thank you for taking the time to make this thread, and for all the time taking and importing the pics, and all the "extra steps" that go into making a thread/tutorial like this. And thanks for showing the board/jig you made to hold the neck as you carved the back. That's gonna be handy......

This thread is also kinda inspirational to me. I was given a bunch of rough cut maple from a buddy. Local maple, but I'm not certain of what species it is. Been aged for at least 10 yrs., I'm told. I was really tickled when I got it. But cutting it up into square and smoother workable slabs was kinda disappointing, however. My lumber is chock fulla some sort of boring bug tunnels similar to yours, and has some spalting to boot. Since this is my first stab at a slab, I figured I may as well use it to learn with anyway. The maple was free, but not having things like a planer, decent bandsaw and such, I have some time into just getting it square, flat, and closer to a size I can work with. I'm retired, so the time expenditure is still not a big deal. At any rate, it helps to know I'm not the only in the boat, as far as working on wood with little bug highways in it. :)

My Shinto rasp just got here from Amazon today. I played with my spokeshave a little on a pine or fir 2x4 yesterday. Laid out some lines to facet down to. It's good practice & kinda relaxing.

Adding some pics to my slabs of mystery maple. This is one of the "better" chunks of lumber. Most of it has much more tunneling. One photo shows the spalting along the rt. edge, and a small bug tunnel in the upper rt. corner. The other shows the back side. :( I get a new surprise with every layer I route off with my router sled, hee hee.......
20220621_211705.jpg
20220621_211712.jpg


Thanks, chaosman!

Added in EDIT: I'm gonna go out on a limb here (hee hee..... a "wood" joke.....), and guess that the wood I have is Bigleaf Maple (acer macrophyllum). It's pretty indigenous to Western NW Oregon. Grows everywhere here. I've used it for years for firewood with out knowing it's possible value, and never saw any bug tunnels in what I've cut here on my property.
 
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chaosman12

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Since this is my first stab at a slab,

It's been an interesting journey so far with my slabs too Very helpful people here and tons of knowledge and experience baked into the threads on this site.

You didn't say how thick the wood is, but perhaps if you re-sawed that piece with spalting you'd have a real interesting book matched top. Then the balance (back) of the body can be built from the other pieces. I'm doing a strat-like body and it requires a slab about 20" x 13 x 1.75". So not a lot of wood.
1655924912870.png


I realize you would have to find someone to do the resawing for you. Call around it might be reasonable. Maybe they could do the thicknessing too. I have some sharp planes and have 4 squared lumber, but as you know it is a good workout!

As far as other defects go, if you can't avoid them, celebrate them. I've been toying with the idea of filing bug holes with epoxy and green glitter (EMERALD ash borer).

Good luck with your build.
 

boris bubbanov

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Maybe if you know someone with a kiln but in my opinion the best way is to air dry it.
I hear you, but you're got to be 100% sure the insects and their means of reproducing are fully wiped out. I've heard of surprise damage from wood that was deemed fine.

I'm wondering when the day will come when the guitarists opens the case and finds metal - and lots of "sawdust".
 

chaosman12

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I hear you, but you're got to be 100% sure the insects and their means of reproducing are fully wiped out. I've heard of
In my case, the emerald ash borer feeds on the live tree and lives under the bark. The bark has been removed, and the lumber squared up and with just 4 slabs of wood to inspect, I don't see any evidence of bug life...
 

TheZ

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This is a really interesting build! Neck is looking great. I wish I would have saved some of the wood from our birch trees when they were killed by Bronze Birch Borers. Must be related, all those shiny tree-chomping beetles
 

wadeeinkauf

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Just some things to think about. Most professional players will tell you the weight of the guitar is important. The internet says that a typical strat or tele weighs between 7lbs and 8.2 lbs. When I build my guitars I am trying to get under 7.5 lbs. I don’t believe a heaver guitar improves anything. I don’t think there is an overriding reason to make a guitar 1.75 inches thick. Look at the SG at 1 3/8 inches or so. One of my teles below is 1.53 inches and one is 1.75. I do a carve on mine so it is very hard tell the difference. Look at the horn area and you can see. If you make yours thinner first determine how deep your selector switch requires. 1.53 inches is as thin as I am comfortable with which leaves about 3/16 remaining below the switch. Also anything less that 1.75 will require you to cut off the standard Fender neck screws.

The one on the bottom of the picture is 1.53 inches thick...the one on the top is 1.75.
1.jpg 2.jpg

One on the left is 1.53
3.jpg
 
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chaosman12

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I don’t think there is an overriding reason to make a guitar 1.75 inches thick. Look at the SG at 1 3/8 inches or so. One of my teles below is 1.53 inches and one is 1.75.

I was wondering about that. The wood that is drying is about 1.8", and it will have to be reduced based on any warping. Good thoughts thanks. I probably need to make a decision on the electronics and get those ordered so I can size things up.

Amazing looking jewel-like guitars. I like the no-pickguard, maximum wood look. My wood is rather plain, but I will go for the same look.
 

Mark617

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Lots of ash around my area as well. White ash is very heavy but chambered makes a great guitar. I've made a few guitars from it and IMO they look and play great. White ash body with black walnut back plate and neck with birdseye maple fret board.

View attachment 960374


Cheers Peter.
That’s a beauty. How’d you get the Maple leaf inlay please ?
 

wadeeinkauf

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There is nothing wrong with a classic plain black pickguard. If you use a pickguard you can reduce weight by removing a lot of wood under the pickguard. If you do go without a pickguard consider this look. You can still top mount the pickups. You can use a screw/spring like the install on a P90. Or, you can mount a nut (forgot what this is called but has hooks/points and is tapped into the bottom of the pickup cavity) and use a standard screw and spring. Below is one of my first guitars where I mounted the pickups from the back. It just looks too plain to me. It was a great piece of Koa given to me.

Rear mount just looked to plain to me.
b1.jpg dy.jpg rs.jpg
 




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