1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Let's do a Sharp dressed Strat.....

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Ronkirn, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. Shadowrunner

    Shadowrunner Tele-Meister

    Age:
    39
    Posts:
    211
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2008
    Location:
    Independence, MO
    well, technically speaking, about as much as the "on" or "one" bits that comprise the image :)

    so i propose that the images are worth a lot more than their weight in gold.
     
  2. tdowns

    tdowns Former Member

    Posts:
    3,520
    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2003
    Location:
    Texas
    Excellent post as always Ronkirn !!!

    I made one of these a while back.

    [​IMG]
    It seemed to scratch up my frets something awful. Got any tip on how you formed that end? Frets obviously have different crown profiles. Do you use a "max" radius approach with that profile in the screwdriver tip?

    I heard Fender used a nail with a formed end like that back in the early days.

    Great work!!
     
  3. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    12,380
    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    that what I heard.... I just used a "rat tail" file and shaped until it seemed to do the trick... I polished it up a bit, I don't let it remove all the lacquer, I allow the fret leveling to do that.. then clean up everything before final polishing.

    rk
     
  4. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,248
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2007
    Location:
    Glen Head, NY
    I read the same thing about Fender using a nail, but quite frankly there was so much lacquer on the sides of the frets on my '97 strat I doubt they did much to try to get it off. Anyway for my builds I tried making such a tool starting with a collated nail which has a sort of an offset heart-shaped head so there's already a shape on it. I just filed the top flat to get more or less a sharp scraper profile and it worked fine without scratching the frets too much.
     
  5. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    12,380
    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    I make my own pickguards. Those available from the many manufacturers seem to vary considerably, even from the same supplier. This way, I can only get mad at my self...

    I take a piece of PG material, and trace the outline from a PG template, then cut it out on the band saw… My trusty Nikon was set on the wrong setting so you will have to imagine, tortoise shell plastic, MDF template, Sharpie marker, and my stubby fingers…

    I’ll use golf grip tape to double stick it to the template and step over to the drill press to drill the holes. Here the access for the pickup holes…

    [​IMG]

    And her for all the screw holes..

    [​IMG]

    Then over to the router table…to circum-navigate the periphery of the pick guard with a straight edge bit.

    [​IMG]

    That took about 5 minutes from plastic sheet to this,

    [​IMG]

    Ron Kirn
     
  6. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    12,380
    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    Now changing bit to a 3/8ths, simply because it will fit inside the ½ inch hole I have drilled, I cut the pickup holes..

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    now I take a piece of sandpaper and go around the edge to remove any of the “fuzzies” the routing left behind, because cutting the bevel requires a very flat surface, the plastic can throw things off.

    [​IMG]

    Now I install a 45 degree bevel bit, and adjust it so I KNOW it’s too low, and make a test cut…

    [​IMG]

    Here you see the white has been exposed but very little of the black. I adjust it up just a touch, cutting and checking until I have it right..



    Ron Kirn
     
  7. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    12,380
    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    12,380
    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    I’ll go around several times, this gives the bit the chance to produce a smoother cut.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Since all the holes are drilled, I whip out the Dremel with a modified base to cut the switch slot..

    [​IMG]

    I mount the slot template, sing the existing switch screw holes… and lower the Dremel into the work.

    [​IMG]

    The bit is a 1/16 D rasp.

    Ron Kirn
     
  9. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    12,380
    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    The results…

    [​IMG]

    Now back to the drill press and countersink the screw holes…

    [​IMG]

    I check to be certain I am deep enough..

    [​IMG]

    and the little bugger is complete.

    [​IMG]

    Ron Kirn
     
  10. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    12,380
    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    Oh, I allow the shank of the Dremel bit to ride against the edge of the MDF slot template, to guide the bit.

    Now we wire the thing, collecting all the goodies... let’s go..

    [​IMG]

    Some use plastic spacers under the pots… I do not, they can shrink over time causing the pots to come loose, I use real nuts… I know, it takes one to know one…

    [​IMG]

    I insert the pup adjusting/mounting screws with the rubber spacer. I use silicone tubing, it doesn’t dry rot, and isn’t affected by whatever gets to the normal tubing and causes it to deteriorate. This stuff will be around for a while…

    [​IMG]

    Everything is just finger tight at this point, so I can get all the holes aligned and everything installed without forcing anything. I don’t like to see wrinkled shielding because something wasn’t right.

    I now tap the screw holes in the pickup bobbins (camera failure again), mount them then tie the leads to keep things neat. I use linen string. Why linen, ‘cause it’s not poly, and the string looks much more tidy than the typical tape. I try to build my guitars so when the curiosity gets the better of the owner, and they open ‘er up, what they see of my attention causes a moment of respect for the fact that it looks like it was assembled by someone that gives a hoot.

    [​IMG]

    And those are Curtis Novak’s Pickups, very, very, nice.

    Ron Kirn
     
  11. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    12,380
    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    Now I continue the wiring… keeping all nice and neat.

    [​IMG]

    I use an isolated ground through an audio grade capacitor. This dramatically reduces the hum and preserves the classic Strat sound..

    [​IMG]

    Completed, ready for the body…..

    [​IMG]

    Ron Kirn
     
  12. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    12,380
    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    The BODY!!/… oh yeah… that babe should be about ready…..let’s rock….

    This time, I’m using a power sander on a variable speed control to do the initial “break glaze” its 500 grit being used wet with water. This tales literally about 1 minute to do both sides.

    [​IMG]

    I only do this to break the glaze and allow the hand sanding to gain “purchase” much quicker.

    As you can see in this shot, the surface is darn near ready for polishing, but I’ll go over it by hand with 800 grit first..

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    as your sanding keep stopping, allowing the surface to dry thoroughly and looking at reflected light to fins any “low” spots, they will be shiny,

    [​IMG]

    Ron Kirn
     
  13. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    12,380
    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    As you’re looking for the low spots, they tend to be along the edge, they can be quickly removed by hand sanding, but doing so will result in a less than Plano-flat surface, If you will continue using the block on those areas, your final gloss will be virtually mirror flat.

    To do concave curves, I made a slight rounded block, this one is made from Corian..

    [​IMG]

    it follows the curve much easier than trying to “make do” with whatever you can find..

    [​IMG]

    the results are spectacular..

    [​IMG]

    Now the areas where a flat block just are not appropriate, I use my good ‘ol fingers…

    [​IMG]

    Ron Kirn
     
  14. Telepatio

    Telepatio Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    471
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    A bit late, Ron, but with your fret leveling technique will I have any problems with stainless steel frets?

    Will 150 grit paper sand the steel?

    Thanks,
    Chad
     
  15. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    12,380
    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    the stainless used for frets is softer than the stainless we see in tools etc, so it'll be no problem... just a little more work, 150 will be fine... I use 180 for everything.

    rk
     
  16. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    12,380
    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    Once she’s all wet sanded, it’s time to choose one of many different ways to polish. For those long on elbow grease and short on bux, you can sue plain old automotive cleaner car wax, it will do a super job too. Just rube the cack out of the body and you’re done.

    I use a little faster approach. First up is red rubbing compound… if you sanded to about 3000 grit wet or dry, you can skip this step, but this is a heck of a lot less fatiguing.

    [​IMG]

    This is available in a past at your local auto parts store over by the finishing goodies, but I use it in the quart size squirt bottle.

    I use a very “tactile” method of distributing the compound once it leaves the bottle, it takes me back to finger painting in kindergarten…

    [​IMG]

    Then is to the buffing wheel at about 700 rpm, and a gentle quick touch. This stuff will burn through faster ‘n you can say, ?Dammmm I hate it when that happens.”

    [​IMG]

    You will notice the wheel shows red residue, that’s because I use a specific wheel for the specific compound, you don’t want to move to the next finer grade using the same wheel.

    In a few minutes.. literally, you have a semi buffed surface…

    [​IMG]

    all this is doing is removing the microscopic scratches left by the wet or dry paper.. now we move up to a finer polishing compound…

    Ron Kirn
     
  17. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    12,380
    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    The fine polishing compound is usually identified by a white color; here I'm using a compound stick, its compound suspended in a "wax" substrate. You simply "charge" the buffing wheel by holding the stick against it for a few seconds.

    [​IMG]

    Here you can see the difference about 10 seconds makes between the red compound, and the white, oh, at the auto parts store, next to the cans of red compound, you will see white, this is the finer roughly the equivalent of the compound stick I’m using here.

    [​IMG]

    Now, it’s simply a matter of buffing the entire surface. A word of caution for those venturing into this world for the first time. DO NOT buy a small polishing wheel for your Craftsman Grinder, it rotates at 3480 RPM or thereabouts and will burn the finish right off the body and take a bit of wood too so fast you won’t believe it happened. You must use a relatively slow speed RPM to prevent learning that first unpleasant lesson.

    [​IMG]

    After the entire body is buffed, examine it carefully, making certain it is indeed done…. Then you can now choose several other methods to finalize the polishing, simply wax the body, it’ll look darn good, or use one of the many automotive glamour waxes to give it a wet appearance, or, as I do, I move to an extremely fine polishing compound, roughly equivalent to 10 to 20,000 grit they tell me,

    [​IMG]

    It’s a super fine volcanic ash suspended in something wet (that’s the technical description) but it does pot down a hellova shine..

    Ron Kirn
     
  18. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    12,380
    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    Again, I rely on my tactile method of application, you will notice its very wet and it only takes a few drops from the bottle, interestingly it also smells a lot like burnt rock, if you don’t know what burnt rock smells like, take a small pebble, hold it in the flame from your Zippo…. No… that’s not burnt rock, that’s your fingers dummy, hold it with a pair of pliers….

    [​IMG]

    And back to the buffing wheel, and once again, I have changed to the appropriate wheel for the compound...

    [​IMG]

    Go all over the body once again; adding compound as necessary, and the results, is one shiny body…

    [​IMG]

    At this point, I’ll give the entire body a coat of a good wax; it simply adds a layer of protection as we enter the home stretch.

    Now what???

    Ron Krin
     
  19. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    12,380
    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    At this point, I’ll fit the neck to the pocket…. As I’m making the body, I keep things tight, knowing that as I add lacquer to the neck, it will get even tighter, therefore I’ll take a small block I have made and remove lacquer buildup and a few thousandths from the inside edges of the neck pocket..

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I will also remove any accumulated crud from the neck pocket, Here the lacquer buildup.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This gives me a clean floor for the neck.

    Ron Kirn
     
  20. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    12,380
    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    Taking the Dremel, I’ll go at the lacquer on the walls to get a secure fit.

    [​IMG]

    and follow up by scraping any remaining funk into oblivion.

    [​IMG]

    Because I know it’s snug, I give the walls a good coat of wax, Minwax Finishing wax here, but there are plenty of other brands available.

    [​IMG]

    throw in the shim… I shim all my Strats…..

    [​IMG]

    then it’s time to get serious…

    Ron Kirn
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.