Emerald Ash Borer Build

chaosman12

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@wadeeinkauf When you back mount the pots how thick do you leave the top?

Same question for the pickups.

Do you have any details or pictures of the back mounted pickup cavities and how the pickups are attached/adjusted?
 

wadeeinkauf

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@wadeeinkauf When you back mount the pots how thick do you leave the top?

Same question for the pickups.

Do you have any details or pictures of the back mounted pickup cavities and how the pickups are attached/adjusted?
For the electronics cavity I use long stem pots. I only go as deep as needed so the pot stem sticks out just long enough for the nut to go on. You have to go lower for the switch (for the kind of swiches I use..Les Paul type) as its stem is shorter. For that one I use a large forstner bit to get down. It is ok to go that low everywhere but I do a carve on all my builds and it is easy to punch through the top so I leave as much wood as possible. If you must load your pickups from the rear the best way is to treat the top of the guitar like it was the pickguard and drill holes just like on the pickguard for the mounting/adjustment screws through the top for the pickup. That way you can adjust the height as needed just like when mounted under a pickguard. As far as thickness, you could try ¼ inch thick and see if you can adjust the pickups up to where you want them…depends on how high the pickups are. A stacked noise free single coil is higher than standard. Also remember, if you are going to use a standard strat pickup selector switch you will have to mill/cut/rout that very thin slot for the switch. It requires the top to be very thin at the point below the switch. I have never made one. It will be VERY easy to screw this up and screw up your body.

This was my first build in 2013. I do not recommend this. The large angle the pickup was mounted at was because the was a multiscale. I do not recommend one of those either.
a1.JPG a2.JPG

I guess that top thickness under the pickup is a little under 1/4 inch
a5.JPG
 

crazydave911

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Thanks @wadeeinkauf Very helpful. I got some planning/thinking/testing to do. I'm making a test body made from gluing up pieces of saved construction lumber (2x10, 1x8 etc).
A WISE decision doing a prototype body,saves a lot of waste.
FWIW, I mount SC directly to the body with those hard to find wood screws lol. Humbuckers I mount with a ring I often have to modify or make. Rear mount pickups are a no-go for me as I want the back to display as much as possible and only grudgingly aceed to a rear control cover and then as small as possible 😉
 

chaosman12

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Uh Oh. Clean up on fret 7 (and 8 and 9 etc.).

I don't have much experience with super thin CA. To glue in the fret ends I would apply a drop, then another, then another, until it stopped soaking in. To my surprise the glue was "leaking out", and I was sort of freaking out (Well, not really but it rhymes).

CA glue squeeze out.jpeg


I tried scraping with a razor, but the glue was too hard and it was easy to nick up the fretboard. I also tried a cut off wooden coffee stirrer dipped in acetone, but that didn't have enough of a "scrubbing" effect. I was also concerned that some of the acetone would run into the fret slot, and weaken the bond.

What worked great was a piece of jute twine, dipped in acetone. It remained damp with acetone, so not much dripping into the fret slot, and it had a mild abrasive texture that I could vigorously rub into where the fretwork met the rosewood to scrub away the glue.
Jute clean up.jpeg
 

chaosman12

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From a 2x4 chunk, I made a file holder to file the fret ends. The file is a press fit into the slot. It loosened a bit after a day or two, so I used used a piece of paper to tighten the fit.

I also cut a slot in the holder at 90 deg to square off the fret ends, but I never used it because it was easier to simply hold the file level by hand while dragging it across the fret ends.

I used a grinder to notch an old file so it would be the same size as the block. If the file is too long it will run into the headstock.

1 Bevel file holder.jpeg


The bevel is 25 deg. Most of the commercial holders I saw are at 35 deg. I read some discussions on TDPRI about the angle, and it seemed many prefer the higher angle (25) to increase the playable surface of the fret. Also, I could always go back and increase the angle if necessary, which sealed the deal for me...

2 Beveling the fret ends.jpeg


I lapped an aluminum level by gluing 80 grit sandpaper spray glued to my table saw top. Worked out pretty good. Next time I would use 60 grit to make the task a bit faster.

I glued 220 grit sandpaper to the level. I had to use two pieces of sandpaper to cover the 24" level. When leveling, I could feel each fret bumping into the gap between the two pieces of sandpaper. I held the level very lightly, but the bumping was still unsettling. Screwing up this step could have big consequences down the line, so I was approaching this step nervously.

3 Leveling with a level.jpeg


I posted earlier (with the pic) about how this leveling looked. Consensus was I need to go out to the edges. I think I also over sanded the area of the B and G strings. This comes back to bite me later.

I think both issues probably came about from my concern about getting too close to the edge and over leveling the edge. The level is a bit tippy/top heavy, and it is hard to feel if it is square to the fret surface. So I probably avoided the ends, and over compensated by tipping the level towards the center of the fret board.

I also realized I was stupid to bevel the fret ends first. If I had waited I would have had more area for the level to sit on with less chance of it tipping off the edge. I was probably excited to see how the bevel jig worked, that I jumped right in!

Next time I would also get a roll of sandpaper to avoid the "bump" as the gap passed over each fret. Maybe even jump up to 320 grit, to go a little slower

4 First look at the leveling.jpeg


Onward to the crowing. I used a Fret Guru "Dagger" crowning file. It worked well. It took a while to get the feel that balanced a light touch, to avoid "stuttering", with a heavier touch to grab some metal; all in a continuous motion.

I applied red sharpie to monitor my crowning progress. As you can see below, the flat spots at the B and G string I mentioned above are still there, even though the crowning file has bottomed out.

6 Red sharpie crowing.jpeg


I guess I could have attempted to free hand crown with a small flat file, but I decided to first try removing the blue tape so the crowning file could be used to go deeper on the fret. Fortunately this worked and the edges of the crowning file were smooth and didn't mark up the rosewood.

I had to clean out the filings that lodged in the file teeth. I cleaned it with a small metal brush after each fret. This happens with all files, but is probably worse here because the filings are captured in the concave file shape.

5 Finished crowning.jpeg


I used a Stew Mac file to round off the fret ends. One edge of the file is slightly rounded so you can rotate the file against the fretboard at the beginning of the beveling stroke.

7 Fret end file.jpeg


Here's a closeup after a stroke or two at each end. Seems reasonable to me. You can see a small amount of rubbing on the fretboard, but to be honest, it not visible without the aid of magnification. In fact, I was surprised to see it in this picture!

8 First file stokes.jpeg


I followed up with a few grits of sandpaper. I use sandpaper backed by cork contact paper. I used my fingertip to work the end of each fret.

After 320 and 600:

9 Sanding smooth.jpeg


Followed by 1200 to 4000.

10 Sanding to 4000.jpeg


Looks, and more importantly, feels good.
 
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wadeeinkauf

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I completely flood the fret slots with water thin CA (super glue) after pressing in and cutting the ends. I tape the entire neck and run a line of tape on a line just below the fret slot so the glue can flow out. Hold the neck at an angle so as little as possible flows out on the fret board or down on the back of the neck. Some will, no problem. Wipe it off with acetone immediately. I always have lacquer thinner or urethane reducer so I use that. Alcohol works but not as well in my experience.

The angle of the fret ends. I see you have done a good job of rounding the edge of fret ends. The great thing about building your own is you can build it for your comfort. There is nothing worse than a neck that hurts your hands. The greater the angle like your 25 degrees is more likely it will cut into your hands. You may not notice it after an hour of play but it may really hurt after 3 or 4 hours of play. I cut an angle at around 45 degrees and then round it even more. I cut it with a file like you use then sand with 400 grit sandpaper to round it off a little more. Then hit it a few times with green scotch pad. Depends on the bridge spread and nut as to how close your strings are to the edge of the neck. I have never had a problem….however…..depending on how you play it would be easer to “pull” the high e string down the shallower and slightly narrower fretboard area if you bend a string down instead of up. A greater angle is noticeable more comfortable to pay for longer periods (for me). See what the other guys say but I see no reason to reduce that fret end angle.

1.jpg 2.jpg
 

Carcinogen

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Didn’t read through 6 pages of posts to see if anyone else posted about this, but chainsaw mills exist if you want to get precise with the depth and straightness of your cuts.


That being said, you did a pretty good job just eyeballing it.
 

chaosman12

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I have a question about string spacing. I'm just laying things out to get an understanding of how everything relates to each other. Sort of a guitar lab.

I strung up the 2 E strings with fishing line and anchored them to a mockup bridge with the strings set 2 1/16" apart (The bridge I ordered has that spacing). The nut is a pre-made graph XL. At the nut, the side of the two E strings are both 1/4" from the edge of the fretboard. At the 22 fret the strings are about a 1/6" further from the edge.

From the basic geometry, these seems close enough. Is it?

JPEG image.jpeg

The Fender drawing shows the neck pickup route starts at about 1/2" from the end of the neck pocket. I placed a pickup cover on the strings, and it looks like the strings are not very close to the center of the pole pieces. But is this close enough?

JPEG image 2.jpeg


I'm asking these questions because I was considering a bridge with adjustable string spacing (Schaller 3D-6) that would allow me to fine tune the string spacing. But it was $90 vs a $10 bridge from Amazon.

BTW, a $10 bridge seems a little questionable (based on price), but I couldn't find anything else except for the $90 Schaller. Stew mac makes one, but with narrow string spacing of 1 31/32. Do you thing the Schaller would improve anything?
 

peterg

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As GB stated 1/4 from edge of fretboard to the string is too much space. Typically it’s 1/8”.

Are you working with the neck pickup cover? The neck pole spacing is less than the bridge spacing. It’s typically 2”.
 

wadeeinkauf

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Something's off. Remeasure the width of your neck at the 21st fret. Is it actually 2 3/16. My only “standard” tele neck is at 2 5/32 at the 21st fret, so if you are at 2 6/32 you are good for a more or less standard tele/strat bridge string spread. My string spread at the 21st fret is 1.9 inches with a 2 1/8 spread bridge like your test lines. My nut is 5/8. You are 1/16 wider at the nut so you should be at a little greater spread at the 21st than I am. So your spread should be a bit more than 1.9 inches putting your strings closer to the edge than mine. At ¼ at the 21st something must be off.
 

chaosman12

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Whoa - my bad. The E strings are 1/8" (not 1/4") from the edge at the nut and 3/16" at the heel.

The heel is 2 3/16" at the 21st fret.

Sorry about that. (Hmm, I'm starting to think I'd like the metric system ;-)

So I think that the E strings not being directly over the pole pieces of the neck pickup is OK?
 

guitarbuilder

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Fender string spacing on strats varied. I think the max was 2-7/32. That would put the strings more centered over the poles. It'll work with what you have.






 
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chaosman12

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Thanks everyone. I haven't learned this much in decades. Here's some more info I found on the Lollar site about string and pole spacing. See question 4 in particular:

 

chaosman12

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Update on wood drying:
The wood for the body will come from an ash tree that was cut down last October. I milled four boards from the tree trunk last December to 1.75" and then stacked and stickered them. I bound the bundle with straps to help control warping (possible futile, mother nature can be very strong).

The bundle has been stored in my conditioned basement with a small fan blowing on it.

4 Stacked and wrapped.jpg


I have been weighing the whole bundle, including straps and stickers, every week or so to monitor the drying. The weight loss chart is shown below:

1659050924983.png


So, the wood has been drying for about 8 months and the weight loss appears to have leveled off. I've finished the neck and have been "practicing" with a body made from construction lumber.

I'm thinking the wood is dry enough and ready to build a body from it. Each board is about 12"x24"x1.75"

Any thoughts or advice?
 

Wound_Up

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Update on wood drying:
The wood for the body will come from an ash tree that was cut down last October. I milled four boards from the tree trunk last December to 1.75" and then stacked and stickered them. I bound the bundle with straps to help control warping (possible futile, mother nature can be very strong).

The bundle has been stored in my conditioned basement with a small fan blowing on it.

View attachment 1010279

I have been weighing the whole bundle, including straps and stickers, every week or so to monitor the drying. The weight loss chart is shown below:

View attachment 1010276

So, the wood has been drying for about 8 months and the weight loss appears to have leveled off. I've finished the neck and have been "practicing" with a body made from construction lumber.

I'm thinking the wood is dry enough and ready to build a body from it. Each board is about 12"x24"x1.75"

Any thoughts or advice?

Go on Amazon and buy a wood moisture tester. So you can see exactly how much is left in the wood.
 

chaosman12

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I do have a moisture meter. Unfortunately, it measures the moisture only as deep as the pins go in, which is only about 1/8". That why I started using weight to monitor the drying process.
 

guitarbuilder

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chaosman12

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One of the drawbacks of drying too fast is that internal stresses build up like Case Hardening.


https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/FNR/FNR-132.pdf
Thanks for the info. This of course led me down yet another learning rabbit hole; this time about wood drying. In addition to the usual google, click, read, google, click, read etc, I also referred to a book, "Understanding Wood" by Bruce Hoadley. Specifically, chapter 4 "Water and Wood". (my copy is a much older edition):



So the question is, is the wood drying too quickly, and what is the possibility that it is case hardened?

From what I've read, case hardening is typically caused by aggressive drying in kilns. I don't think my basement temps are hot enough to be called aggressive. An attic in the summer probably would be. Also, case hardening can cause surface checks in the wood which I have not seen during the process.

The next question is, is it dry enough?

First some background from the Hoadley book: Water is held in the wood by two mechanisms. Some water is absorbed in the spaces in between the wood cells and is easily removed. This is called "free water". The rest of the water is bound to the cell walls and will not start to be removed until the free water is removed. Which makes sense, because why would a cell start to dry out if it is still surrounded by free water.

Note: The wood does not shrink when free water is removed. Wood shrinkage occurs only when the bound water is removed from the cells.

The analogy in the book is to a wet sponge pulled from a bucket. The free water is easily removed by squeezing, however the sponge still remains damp and in its original shape because the bound water remains. As the sponge continues to dry, the bound water is removed and the sponge starts to shrink.

My chart of the wood weight since last December shows fast weight loss for the first 2-3 months, then a much more gradual weight loss up until now. I'm thinking that the free water was being removed during the first three months, followed by the slower removal of the bound water. Scroll back a few posts to see the chart.

When I first set the wood out to dry, I drew a 10" line across 2 of the boards. On March 17th, about three months from the start, the wood had shrunk and the line measured 9.75" for a 2.5% decrease. I measured it again 4.5 months later (today) and it was down to 9.68" for a total shrinkage of 3.2%.

Since it hasn't lost any weight in the last 3 months, I'm thinking that the wood is near its equilibrium with the air in my shop. The small weight gain of 0.2 lbs in the last week, could be a scale error (bathroom scale), or reflect the higher summer humidity causing the wood to reabsorb water.

I hope this wasn't overly geeked out. I'm learning as I go, so comments or questions are greatly appreciated.
 




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