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First build, order of operation!

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by SammyC, May 1, 2020.

  1. SammyC

    SammyC Tele-Meister

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    Hi All,

    First post, first guitar build (well technically second but that was about 30 years ago).

    Been reading lots of topics on here to get a better idea of how to go about my project but I'd like to run it past wiser heads than mine to see if I'm heading in the correct direction and/or missed anything.

    Guitar is a simple LP Jr DIY kit, paulownia body and maple neck. I'm going to veneer it on the front with some walnut burl I have and also run binding around the edge.

    I don't have access to any workshop space so finishing wise I need to be careful with fumes so I was thinking of using Osmo Polyx oil.

    In terms of order of operations I was thinking:
    • Fill in any holes in body from unused screw holes etc.
    • Route channel for binding.
    • Heat mold binding to shape of body
    • Pore fill the grain of the body
    • Glue on veneer with Titebond Original
    • Trim veneer
    • Glue on binding using acetone?
    • Scrape binding to level
    • Sand to super smooth (400 grit?)
    • Coat body with layers of Osmo until glossy
    • Buff with mechanical buffing

    Questions:
    Does this look correct?
    Will the acetone be ok with the glued on veneer?
    Will it mark the wood?
    I'm guessing sealing the binding inside the Osmo will be fine?
    Any recommendations for pore filling the body? It is very very open/coarse pores on the wood.
    Any recommendations for products for softening the veneer?
    Any recommendations for products to help fill in all the cracks and gaps in the veneer?

    Anything that I've (very very probably) missed?

    Thanks
     
  2. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    A couple of comments. I bind almost all of my guitars and wrote up a little thread about is, might be worth reading thru

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/binding-101.1002709/

    I would reverse the order of a couple of your steps. Do the veneering first - get it glued down perfectly flat and tight around the edges. The route your binding channel, you want your binding to hide the seam between the veneer and the body. Acetone or acetone based glues have kind of been the standard for plastic binding for years and I used it on my first couple, as I discuss in the thread I have switched totally to wicking thin CA into the seam after the fitment is perfect. Acetone cements fail after a period of time and it is extremely messy trying to tape binding in place while its covered with goopy cement.

    Each of us comes up with a pore filling system that we like, some of it depends on the effects that we want in our finish. I used paste pore fillers on my first few guitars (and still do when I'm not trying for the most stunning finish possible) but I now use finishing resin.

    I don't know why you need to soften the veneer - an LP Jr should be flat and not require the veneer to be bent. I have bent veneers over a hot pipe but only to bend in one plane. Veneers are frequently used in laminates (like an ES335 top or side) - in that case they are bent under pressure in a mold.

    For filling gaps do not use wood filler or pastes or mix sawdust with any sort of glue - it will show up under finish. In fact you should test whatever you are going to use on scrape of the same wood with your finish. The finishing resin that I use for pore filling will fill and stabilize small cracks and does not show under clear finishing.

    I have no experience with your finishing material so I can't comment.

    Good luck, post some pictures.
     
  3. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    Thinking about this a bit more, I want to caution you on one thing. I don't know what kind of neck joint a DIY LP Jr has, a real one would be a set neck with probably some angle and some overstand. I'm guessing the kit is a screw on, but either way when you add the veneer to the top you will effectively be moving the neck down with respect to the bridge by the thickness of the veneer. The simple solution would be simply to shim the pocket with a piece of the veneer to bring the fret plane back up relative to the top. I'm guessing that your veneer is 50 or 60 thousands thick - that would be enough to screw up your whole geometry.
     
  4. SammyC

    SammyC Tele-Meister

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    Ah, I'd have never thought of the neck/bridge issue. I'm changing it to a ToM bridge so I was thinking I may have to recess the bridge a little anyway. I've bought a cheap Chinese bridge to experiment with at first to see firstly if it's a problem and secondly what my options are.

    On the binding side of things, thank you for the link that's very helpful. When you say CA do you mean cyanoacrylate for, i.e. super glue?

    The veneer I have isn't perfectly flat, problem about an inch worth of undulation in it. I'm testing a small scrap of it at the moment just using water to soften it for pressing flat. I think I need it flat as I'm book matching it.

    If you don't mind me asking, what finishing resin do you use?
     
  5. SammyC

    SammyC Tele-Meister

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    This is the kit after initial assemble:


    And this is a scrap from the walnut I have:

    Jobs completed so far have been:
    • Replaced nut
    • Leveled and finished frets

    I have been surprised about the finish on the neck, the nut was terrible, not glued in straight and with a massively high action that forced it out of tune just by fretting the strings.
    The fret ends were like razor blades, really sharp.

    I'm currently working out what shape for the headstock and making some dowels to fill the holes for the current bridge.
     
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  6. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    1 - I can't see your links. It tells me I don't have permission

    2 - When you say "change to a ToM bridge" what did it have before? An LP Jr should have been a wrap around bridge. I am noted on this forum for being anal about guitar geometry - I'm constantly checking my guitars as I am building them to make sure there will be no surprises at the end. My rule of thumb is that as long as the fret plane hits the top of the saddles at their very lowest adjustment I'm pretty sure that I will have enough adjustment to get playable action. I check this with the actual bridge that I'm going to use. If you would like more information I did write a thread about how I think about geometry.

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/building-for-playability.991659/

    3 - CA is cyanoacrylate, ie super glue. For binding I use the water thin stuff - StewMac sells it as their #10 (you will have to find an equivalent). The nice thing about this method is that I can bend and tape the binding in place completely dry, take all the time in the world to get it right, then wick tiny drops of the thin CA into the seam. It will be pulled into the seam and hold the binding in place, I can take the tape off and then wick it the entire length of both top and side seams. There will be almost no CA on the outside wood and if there is any it doesn't appear under finish, the joint is very strong (I have two guitars on my bench now with failed acetone glue joints that I will fix with CA). I think I pretty much explain in that thread.

    4 - The finishing resin I use is Zpoxy. Forum member in various parts of Europe seem to be able to find it altho I hear its expensive. Once again I did a thread

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/zpoxy-for-pore-fill-and-grain-enhancement.940522/

    5 - I don't have a lot of experience with veneers, I've used small pieces on headstocks and pick guards but never a complete guitar. I agree that you will want to have it as flat as possible and really clamped well. I know they make some special veneering glues but I used AR (Titebond) on my small projects. Be very careful with any glue that might work its way thru at the center seam - AR glue just really stands out under finish

    6 - I'm not surprised to hear about your quality issues. If possible I would like to see your pictures.
     
  7. SammyC

    SammyC Tele-Meister

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    1) Ok , I think I've fixed the image permissions!

    2) yes it had a wrap around bridge but personally I don't like the lack of adjustment. The one that came with is very poor quality and the posts were very loose. I could pull them out with my fingers and I think this was the main cause of the crazy high action (4mm at the 12th).
    Thanks for the link again, I'll take a read

    3) That sounds a great approach. I'll just have to remember not to glue my fingers to the guitar!

    4) Interesting, I'll take a look. Hopefully the finish product I'm thinking of using will arrive soon so I can do some tests. I'll report back with progress on that side of things.

    5) It's very confusing with things like this as there are so many different approaches and so many opinions. I'll just have to try some things I guess.

    6) I am probably being a little unfair as it was only £100 for the complete kit. It was something to keep me busy during the CV19 lockdown and I'm really enjoying the process of research and application. Thank you for your considerable help so far!
     
  8. SammyC

    SammyC Tele-Meister

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  9. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    1 - can see the pictures now, pretty much as I expected

    2 - I've never really cared for wrap around bridges but they can be made to work. I was more interested in what the geometry of the original kit was and how that would change. If you had 4mm of action with the original bridge and you raised it by making the top thicker it would be even worse. Get your new bridge and do something to simulate the additional thickness - get that right before you go too far.

    3 - Don't ask me about an early attempt at using CA to glue binding on a guitar. It was a LP clone, I had the tape already, put my latex gloves on, ran a bead of medium CA in the channel, tried to hold the binding in place while putting the tape on and totally glued my gloves to the top. Thats when the light went on that said "wick the glue into the seam".

    IMG_0697.JPG

    4 - I'm sold on the finishing resin for all my pore filling now, but there are sure other choices. I personally have only used lacquer over it but others report success with other finishes. As with any finishing operation, experiment on scrap

    5 - My veneering experience is very limited. I have put it on several head stocks, when I do it on a Fender style head I bend it on my hot pipe.

    IMG_4490-2.jpg

    IMG_4494.JPG

    IMG_4502.JPG

    IMG_4506-2.jpg

    I also used some of the same veneer on a couple of pick guards

    IMG_4541-2.jpg

    IMG_4559-2.jpg

    They were less than successful since the thin woods wanted to warp with every change of humidity - they wanted to look like potato chips.

    6 - My limited experience with any of the PacRim kits has been less than stellar,
     
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  10. SammyC

    SammyC Tele-Meister

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    Ok, tried a bit of book matching, well specifically trying to get a tight fit on the edges:


    Came out pretty well I think, be interested in opinions. No glue bleed through this time as well (see, I'm learning!).

    Next question though, what are my options on dealing with holes:


    The body wood is very pale, like ash, so would be even more noticeable than here. I was wondering about (effectively) colouring the wood underneath before I glue on the veneer with stain or paint?
     
  11. SammyC

    SammyC Tele-Meister

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  12. SammyC

    SammyC Tele-Meister

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    Oh, and if a moderator is able to move this thread over to the Home Depot forum that might be a better location for it now it's turned into a general progress thread.

    :)
     
  13. SammyC

    SammyC Tele-Meister

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    Ok, so first couple of veneer finishing tests/experiments are done. Mixed results!

    I really like the look of the wood under the coating:

    It has retained that real wood look/feel without being too glossy. However you can see that the finish of the wood before application massively affects the result and that it is also only a thin coating over the top and therefore you will get/see the texture of what is underneath:

    However, the book matching attempt was not so successful:
    (ignore the finish as that was part of the "how much sanding do I need to do" test)

    You can clearly see the glue from where I glued the two halves together.

    Would something like superglue/AC work just as well?
     
  14. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    Have you tried shimming the neck pocket the same amount as the thickness of the veneer? Possibly kicking the angle a degree or so? I think I would try to avoid recessing the bridge if at all possible.

    As far as book matching the veneer, remember how book matching is done. You take a piece of quarter sawn wood and literally split it down the middle, the two halves fall apart like the pages of a book and have mirror images of the grain on both sides. You loose the saw kerf but otherwise the pieces are identical and you line up the grain as it crosses the spline of the book. Veneers are peeled off the log so they are neither quarter sawn nor mirror images.

    Also the veneers are very thin and I was worried that glue could be forced thru small cracks only to haunt you on the show face. I do like the burl however.
     
  15. SammyC

    SammyC Tele-Meister

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    The bridge is the height of the saddles/rollers too high, it's considerably larger than the thickness of the veneer (which is only about 20 thou thick). In that picture up there the straight edge is lying flat along the frets to show the fret plane (term from your Geometry 101 thread). I think I'm going to ask a joiner friend to help me with the binding channel and recessing as the more I read around these things the more I feel like they need to be done well.

    Yep, I understand what you mean by book matching, this is just a test to try techniques for gluing two bits together and what happens.

    The few glue spots I had on the original (larger) test piece I was able to sand out (or at least minimise) and don't seem to be visible now. Its just that horrendous glue line in the "book matched" test.

    But, this is why we test! :)
     
  16. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'd like to see a picture of the neck sitting in the pocket - how much does it stand proud of the body? Is there any angle? Without the veneer would the geometry have worked?

    What you are doing with the shims is exactly what I do when I build a guitar, in fact I am constantly checking and rechecking that as I build and I always breath a big sigh when the strings finally go on and I know its right. My thinking is that if the geometry was OK without the veneer, the simplest thing would be to shim the neck by 0.020 (just use a piece of the veneer). Another possibility would be to run the body thru a thickness sander (which most of us don't have) before gluing the veneer on and take the 20 thou off the top. Angling the neck is perfectly OK too but it gets complicated if you have to do very much. StewMac and others even make little 1/2 or 1 degree shims for this purpose.
     
  17. SammyC

    SammyC Tele-Meister

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    Yep, I hear what you are saying, and thank you.

    The original bridge was already too high, the action was on the edge of comedy. I think it's just a side effect of the cheap kit.

    The neck pocket seems about the only part of the guitar that's actually well done so I'm nervous about messing with the one good thing :D
     
  18. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'd still like to see a few pictures of the neck and pocket - both with the neck out and in place. I'm not crazy about what I see in the first picture you posted of the kit, I'd like some better views.
     
  19. SammyC

    SammyC Tele-Meister

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    So about 1.8 degrees
     
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