First build, order of operation!

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

  1. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    I can see the angle in the last two pictures. I don't know what's usual for a Jr, a carved top LP is around 3-1/2 to 4 degrees. Here is an SG (actually a double neck), it has a basically flat top but the sided are beveled - you can see how much angle it has

    IMG_5860.JPG

    So angling the neck is definitely one way to get there.

    I agree that your geometry must have been pretty wonky to start with, adding 0.020 inch of veneer to the top really isn't very much. I have some concerns with putting much of a shim in the pocket, either flat or angled - you will loose some of your threads on your mounting screws and with an angled shim the screws might bind in the holes. But I think you need to resolve the problem before you go any farther.

    Setting the bridge studs into the top will buy you some adjustment, will it be enough? Most ToM bridges want the strings about 5/8 off the top right at the bridge, Fender style bridges like less (around 1/2 inch) (by the way, I know you are in the UK and would prefer metric measurements, I'm just too addicted to my Imperial inches and its hard for me to convert).

    Anyway, I don't have any really good answers - its probably going to be a combination of things.

    Edit to add, I'm not much of an expert on LP Jr's, I've worked on a couple of them but I do know that their neck joints have changed over the years. Here is a bit of a discussion, I am surprised how high the neck is over the top

    https://www.vintageguitar.com/3295/53-gibson-les-paul-junior/
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2020
  2. SammyC

    SammyC TDPRI Member

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    I think we have to assume the relationship of this kit to a real LP Jr is purely cosmetic :)

    I have ordered another ToM bridge, this one is trash (you get what you pay for), so hopefully it will be shorter.

    Looking at what you say about shims and threads etc I think the most sensible option is going to be adjusting something at the bridge rather than in the neck. Hopefully countersinking the studs will be enough.

    Thank you again for your help in this, having someone to talk this over with is immensely helpful.

    Oh, and I'm fine with Imperial measurements :)
     
  3. SammyC

    SammyC TDPRI Member

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    Two things worked on this weekend, firstly decided on a headstock shape, cut, sanded, and oiled:




    And second, completed the tests on the finishing and joining the veneer.

    Looks like it needs quite a bit of sanding to get the surface to where I want it before coating, and four coats of the Polyx. Normally you're only supposed to need two (as done on the neck) but with the walnut, it being quite a rich wood, it seems you need a few very thin coats. The first one almost doesn't show!

    For the joining of the two pages for book matching the super glue was quite successful! Trickier to use due to the very short set times but much better looking under the Polyx:


    Normal wood glue:

    Didn't get the join as tight with the super glue but the visibility and bleeding was much better in my view.

    Just waiting on some hardware to arrive now before I can do much more.
     
  4. SammyC

    SammyC TDPRI Member

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    Ok, so all the required hardware for the next stage has arrived.

    New bridge is lower than the previous one but still about about a tenth of an inch too tall.
     
  5. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    I would work with neck angle and possibly tiny bit more height at the pocket. It is not uncommon for screw on neck guitars to have some sort of material in the pocket to make the geometry work out - I've got a jazz bass on my bench with a piece of playing card. StewMac makes these cute little shims, you could easily make your own

    https://www.stewmac.com/Materials_a...itar_Necks/StewMac_Neck_Shims_for_Guitar.html

    Note that Taylor also uses laser cut wood shims to set the angle of their necks.

    We have talked about the downside of a shim - possible binding of the screws in their holes, possibly loosing a little bit of the threads, but this is sure the approach that I would start with. Here is one of the SM shims in a Warmoth Jagstang neck and body - the pocket was designed for the regular fender bridge but the guy wanted to use a different one that required some angle. Worked well

    IMG_3795_zpsujomcjvm.JPG
     
  6. SammyC

    SammyC TDPRI Member

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    Very good point, I've just tried a small 20 thou shim in the heel of the pocket (basically a small piece of veneer) and with that in place the ruler just clears the top of the rollers.

    It's enough to tip the neck angle from 1.6degs to 2.0.
     
  7. SammyC

    SammyC TDPRI Member

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    Ok, so used the bridge and the shim to check and verify the bridge location. I strung up the high and low E strings to test the intonation and set the bridge angle back appropriately:


    This was very useful to ensure the left right alignment of the strings too.

    I also built up five layers of veneer and shaped it to make a truss rod cover:


    I'm going to replace the silver screw with a smaller black countersunk one when I get one.

    Next step is to start drilling the body for bridge studs etc before I move onto working the veneer for the top.
     
  8. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    You should test every one of your finish options from prep to buffing before touching the guitar!

    I foresee one major issue - your body and your "test piece" are different woods with completely different porosity. You need to test similar types or it's irrelevant. The test piece is porous and will need paste wood filler tinted to the finish color.


    The gap along the neck edge is filled by the paste wood filler. Have you read multiple versions of assemblly instructions? This is covered in almost all of them. - but you have to do a complete "dry fit" of the parts before gluing - which is done before any finish work.

    Parts *should* be glued with hot hide glue, which allows you time for repositioning /alignment or steaming joints apart for reassembly if things really go poorly. Advice - DO NOT use acrylic or other polymer glues! They usually cannot be disassembled without permanent damage to the wood - and if this is your first glued-neck build it's almost inevitable that youll need to dismantle the semi-dried assembly at least once because of alignment problems!

    Hot hide glue is actually EASIER to work with!

    One last note for now - why are you gluing a neck on a bolted neck design? Most sellers offer SELL "glued neck" guitar kits - but the geometry is different. IMOP you have the wrong parts - a glued neck design will NOT be drilled!

    I'd stop, contact the manufacturer and get the correct kit. The pocket is set at a different angle in a set neck kit, and the bridge/tailpiece are usually mounted differently (I have helped a dozen or so locals "fix" incorrect parts situations).
     
  9. SammyC

    SammyC TDPRI Member

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    Very good point, I'm in the process of doing that. I have tested the finish for the veneer part and am just letting the test piece harden for a couple of weeks before seeing what mechanical buffing does on it i.e. whether it has any positive effect or not. I'm happy with it at the moment but I should try different options still in case it is better.

    I'm about to test the colouring/stain I have bought next on the body material to check colourings. I can try it in the vol/tone control recess as that will be hidden and covered with sheilding anyway.

    I understand what you are saying completely, unfortunately Paulownia wood seems to be difficult to get hold of in the UK, and especially at the moment getting out and about to talk to wood shop owners about alternatives etc is not easy. I'm trying my best but I think I may have to take a couple of chances and hope for the best.

    I'm not, I'm bolting it on. Sorry if I have posted something that has indicated that I am gluing the neck joint. The only glue being used is for the veneer and for the binding.

    But thank you for your help, it is very much appreciated. I'm trying to listen and learn at much as possible :)
     
  10. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    No worries! The comment you made about the slight gap at the neck joint made it sound like you were doing a glued-in process. FWIW I have never seen a bolt-neck kit guitar with a fully tight neck joint - they're just not concerned with that kind of QC at the price.

    And although folks have fretted (pun intended) for years about "tight neck joints" and worries that small gaps ruin tone and sustain, the reality is that gaps like that are irrelevant.

    Example - more than half the original 1950's Strats, Teles and P basses I've inspected for authentication have had factory original shims installed to adjust the neck angle - and gaps are very common.

    NOT something to worry about.
     
  11. SammyC

    SammyC TDPRI Member

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    Marvelous! Thank you for the reassurance.

    My main concerns in that area were playability, in so much as given in the threads written by Freeman Keller. So making sure everything was in line and could be adjusted properly.

    It is certainly going to be a much better guitar than it would have been without the help and advice given here :cool:
     
  12. SammyC

    SammyC TDPRI Member

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    Busy day of drilling and fixing bad drilling! Borrowed a friends trusty pillar drill:


    A little bit of play but far superior than trying to do things hand held!

    First up I thought I'd get my hand in with some through body drilling that was only cosmetically important. I'm going with a through body ferrule approach, a bit like a cross between a tail stop and a telecaster. I have no idea if this is a good idea but I like the look so thought I'd give it a go:


    Tricky drilling as getting them all in line was hard when drilling through. I also had to drill the holes for the string retainers (or whatever they are called) on the back and ended up with a little bit of tear out:


    I've gone for a staggered approach as I thought that might better hide any misalignment!

    I then drilled the holes for the ToM bridge, I found this quite stressful as there is no ability to compensate for left/right mistakes:


    I wasn't paying proper attention on the second hole and the drill grabbed and moved the body resulting in a bit of tear out again:


    I'm not too worried as this will be hidden by the veneer but will probably need to build it up to give it support.

    The left/right alignment came out pretty well in the end:


    It's about 0.5mm (or 20thou) too far to the right. So the high E string is slightly closer to the edge than the thicker low E string.

    All in all not a bad day, a few wake up calls but everything ok in the end I think.
     
  13. jhiatt1

    jhiatt1 TDPRI Member

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    Good thing about a kit is that all the customizing options are unlimited. Just finished my tele kit yesterday.
    Here is my mod list and some photos. Your only limits are your imagination. Alos all together it only cost me about $350 for everything.

    Fender roller nut
    Wilkinson 3 saddle compensated bridge with brass saddles
    Tuning machines from a Fender Starcaster
    Fender American Standard 3 way switch
    Fender American Standard jack
    Fender vintage 1meg tone pot
    Fender vintage 1meg volume pot
    DiMarzio True Velvet bridge pickup
    GFS vintage 52 neck pickup
    All cavaties are shielded with copper tape
    Vintage wax coated push back wiring
    Hand wired in the vintage 53 telecaster style
    Treble bleed circuit
    Fender Greasebucket circuit from a Highway 1 Telecaster
    String trees are in non conventional locations
    And finally, I aged and distressed everything by hand.
     

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  14. SammyC

    SammyC TDPRI Member

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    Ok, been a while but I've been busy preparing for the veneering stage.

    I've flattened the veneer again ready for the book matching and I spent some time trying different places to cut it for the center of the book matching.

    I decided to use super glue to join the two halves, I'm just trying to avoid the wood glue as much as possible as it shows up much more when the hard wax finish is applied.

    So, cut and joined the two veneer panels:


    From there it was a matter of marking up the position of the body and glueing it to the panel:



    Homemade glue press, six years of home accounts!

    So after waiting 12 hours took it out of the press. It looks really good with absolutely no glue bleed through:


    I think I might have been too worried about that as I'm not sure I used enough glue in some places. I had to dribble a little super glue around some of the edges after trimming to stick it down. Time will tell I guess.

    Trimmed it closer and flush trimmed the neck, pickup, and any holes:


    Next it's routing the channel for the binding. I have an appropriate cutting bit and routing table but I need to adapt the cutter to the correct depth. So that's the next job!
     
  15. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    Looks good. You might find this helpful. Your router table should have a depth adjustment which sets the depth down into the top or back, your follower bearing on the bit sets the depth into the side,

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

    Let me add a couple of cautions/comments about binding. First, I don't know how your veneer is going to react but if it wants to chip out you might consider painting a bit of shellac or vinyl sealer around the edge before cutting the channel. I always do this with woods like spruce or cedar that are prone to chipping. Also, follow the direction of cut from StewMac's website. Be very careful as you approach the neck pocket and extra careful at the jack hole on the side - do not let the follower bearing fall into the jack hole.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2020
  16. SammyC

    SammyC TDPRI Member

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    Ah, fantastic, again I wouldn't have thought of that!
     
  17. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    Hom=nestly, it looks to me like that veneer MUST have one or two coats of tinted paste wood filler.

    Unless it feels smooth as a tabletop it needs lacquer sanding sealer; one or two passes with a dark tinted paste wood filler; another coat of sanding sealer; THEN the finish system.

    You should glue spare veneer on scrap wood and practice application of everything - all the way to final buffing - before gluing it to the guitar. Solve all your problems in advance - don't use the guitar to learn on.
     
  18. SammyC

    SammyC TDPRI Member

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    I've done a few tests on off cuts of the veneer. The guy I bought it from was kind enough to put some extra in for free for me when I bought it.

    I don't think it's got any filler in it, I had lightly sanded the top right area a little bit before I took the photo so that might be misleading.
     
  19. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    Well, if your "finish" is simply a wiped-on oil filling really isn't needed - although it would help keep the guitar clean.

    But if the "oil" is a resinous film-forming material you will need to use grain filler (paste wood filler). The natural color of most types is a milky clear when dry, so it's usually tinted with dye, stain or universal tinting colors (found in contractor paint stores).

    If I'm staining or dying the wood I normally use the same stuff in the filler or blend universal tints to a darker version for the filler; If not I use universal tints blended to a color that will give the entire surface and coating system a sort of 3-dimensional depth. But to do that I'll usually apply one or two toner coats in between clear coats, which you won't be able to do with the oil - so some experimenting on the leftover scrap will be your best bet!
     
  20. SammyC

    SammyC TDPRI Member

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    Yep, I hear you! I did a few tests with the veneer and the hard wax oil I'm going to use earlier in this thread. I tried a few different ideas; sanding, no sanding, multiple coats, slurry first coat, not slurry first coat, etc.

    My conclusion is, for the veneer I'm going to sand it as smooth as I can considering how thick it is, clean it with a tack cloth, then four very thin coats of the hard wax oil. This has given the best results.

    For the back and sides I'm going to sand to reasonably smooth, and then do a final sand to make a slurry with the first coat of the hard wax. Then probably one or two further coats depending on how well it sinks in.

    The walnut veneer is an oily wood so needs more, but thinner, coats than the Paulownia body.
     
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