More Fun with the Modelo Uno: Forward and Lateral Motion

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Freekmagnet, Jul 9, 2019.

  1. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    493
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2015
    Location:
    Ventura County, CA
  2. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    493
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2015
    Location:
    Ventura County, CA
    Weekly update: The last week or two have been largely consumed by Thanksgiving and the imminent passing of a family member. Since completing my first working prototype of the Exotica pickup, I’ve been finding it difficult to suddenly change gears and get down to woodworking when I have all these new ideas for pickups bouncing around in my head.

    The next stage coming up is going to be sanding and finishing the neck and the body. I’ll be sealing the body over the weekend. In conclusion, I don’t really have anything interesting to report other than that I really loooove the look of this holly veneer next to this padauk fretboard...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2019
    tubegeek, CraigB, Zepfan and 3 others like this.
  3. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    493
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2015
    Location:
    Ventura County, CA
    Hooray! I finally got this body sealed up with West Epoxy. In addition, I realized that I should polish the fretboard.

    [​IMG]

    I'll start from the beginning: I have a poplar body bound with holly. I chose to use holly because when I've ABS in the past, the epoxy sealing process presents a small problem; the wood soaks up the epoxy and the plastic does not. I know that this doesn't seem like a big deal, but when you're striving for a seamless transition between the body and the binding, there's definitely some negotiating to be done. So, instead of white plastic, I decided to try white wood.

    Here's what happened - when I applied the epoxy, the turned the holly bright orange! So, I sanded the epoxy back until the holly turned white again. Not too big a deal. Now, I also decided to apply a second coat of epoxy - the poplar drank a lot of the first coat and it looked like I had a few sand-throughs. I was extra paranoid because on the maple-capped bass I built last year, the grain still poked through the finish.

    Now, I was expecting the holly to turn orange again, but to my surprise, it did not. So, my conclusion is that the second coat was unnecessary. Regardless of weather or not a few spots of the poplar looked bare, they were sealed nonetheless. The maple, I assume did not soak up the epoxy as well. In any case, the holly looks great and I'm really psyched I decided to go that route. There's no real grain to it and the color is this nice, bone white as opposed to warm or bright white. The only downside of using holly is that if there is a ding, there isn't really an easy way to repair it. I have one little bit of tear-out that I didn't notice until today. Fortunately, it's not that noticeable.

    On the pickup cavity, you can see a big burn mark - my router has a tendency to extend while it's running. I think before I start on another build, I'm going to buy another router. The one I have has been causing problems and I can't rely on it.

    Today, I realized that I have 2 pickup designs and one I'm sitting on. Once I finish this bass, I'm going to spend some more time finalizing a few of these ideas. But it's bigger than that - I kind of have to decide to what extent I want to make these pickups. If it's something I wish to bring to market as a micro-business, I'm going to have to invest in both equipment and space.

    This weekend, I gotta fret this neck and get ready to paint the body. That will involve setting up a spray booth and building a new mount to attach the bass to a stand.

    Here's a general question: how do you guys finish padauk fretboards? Is lemon oil adequate?
     
    crazydave911 and Arch Stanton like this.
  4. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    9,768
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Location:
    East Tennessee
    I have used Tru-Oil with good results :)
     
    Arch Stanton and Freekmagnet like this.
  5. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    493
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2015
    Location:
    Ventura County, CA
    I spent the afternoon fretting the neck.

    [​IMG]

    I was really excited to use the fret press I bought off of Bruce Johnson for $75. Apparently, it once belonged to Mike Lippe and literally thousands of necks have been made with it. It’s basically a half ton arbor press with this little attachment that Bruce made. It has little interchangeable Delrin cauls for different radii. Pretty cool. It does require some finesse - if you put too much shoulder into it, the fret will crunch into the wood. I did it once, so I pulled out the fret, steamed the board flat and re-installed the fret.

    I also used this little Dremel table I made to nip the fret ends.

    [​IMG]

    I originally made this table to route 1/8” slots in pickup flatwork. It works pretty well, but also requires some finesse. I have to adjust the height with both masking tape and finger pressure.
     
  6. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    493
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2015
    Location:
    Ventura County, CA
    I was hoping to get in a paint this week, but the holidays have put up kind of a smoke screen. I sanded the body down last week, and last night I sanded the neck and masked off the fretboard.

    There’s a storm rolling in this weekend. I basically will have Thurs, Fri and Saturday to paint. I’m tempted to set up a booth in the garage and see if I can at least get the neck mostly done in that time. I’d have to break down the booth while it rains.

    I’m planning to do the neck as follows:

    1) 5 coats Water-based Varathane.

    2) Mask the sides of the fretboard and the holly face of the headstock.

    3) Color-coat the back of the neck with black General Finishes dye stain cut with the clear extender.

    4) 1-2 coats of de-waxed shellac.

    5) Pull off the tape and scrape the black off where necessary. Apply the headstock decal.

    6) 15-20 coats of Varathane.

    Hopefully I can do that in 3 days. I haven’t come up with a schedule for the body yet. I’m going to use that Createx Pearl Blue, and I’m not completely sure how that’s going to work yet. That’s going to have to wait until after the storm passes.
     
    crazydave911 likes this.
  7. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    493
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2015
    Location:
    Ventura County, CA
    Well, I have a gig tonight, so I am going to try and get maybe 3-4 coats of clear on this bass neck before the storm rolls in. In the meantime...

    [​IMG]

    I shot the color coat with water-based black dye stain and sealed it with a few coats of de-waxed shellac. Next, I sanded it lightly and applied the decal.

    [​IMG]

    I’m waiting for the decal to dry.

    So far, this looks pretty firme. I’m really excited about how this is coming together.
     
  8. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    9,768
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Location:
    East Tennessee
    Nice :)
     
    Freekmagnet likes this.
  9. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    493
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2015
    Location:
    Ventura County, CA
    I spent the morning scraping binding.

    [​IMG]

    Createx Pearl Blue mixed with WB Varathane. Not bad. I was worried about the pearl coalescing around the edges, so I tried Bruce’s alcohol trick to get it to dry faster. I didn’t get enough flow and it was pitting, so the last couple of coats I did with straight Varathane, color and water. If I was going to do it again, I’d give it a base coat of white first.

    [​IMG]

    I’m going to clear coat it tonight. It snowed in the mountains behind our house, and it’s actually been chilly here in SoCal. I had to rock the space heater to get the paint to dry. Interestingly enough the high humidity didn’t seem to affect the dry time.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2019
    CraigB, Zepfan, Jim_in_PA and 2 others like this.
  10. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    493
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2015
    Location:
    Ventura County, CA
    OK, I haven’t posted about this project for a while. I ran into a big snag with this build that I will explain at a later date - don’t worry, it’s merely a temporary setback.

    In the meantime, I’ve actually been pretty busy building electronic stuff. I had a couple guys contact me through social media wanting a pickup and a pickup and preamp combo. The former is actually going to have some development involved, so I will be posting my progress on that on a separate thread. Normally I wouldn’t do a development request, but I was actually in early stages of planning this very design, so I said, “OK.”

    Anyway, I built up the preamp for this bass. I actually built two - one of them was for someone else. It’s a two-band version of my modified Stingray Preamp. I just omitted the middle band and kicked the range of the bass control way up into the mids. It sounds really good.

    [​IMG]

    I’m hoping to have a break soon so I can get back to work on this bass. I plugged my testing mule with the Exotica pickup installed to test this very preamp. It sounded great and I am anxious to wrap up this stage of this project.
     
  11. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    22,241
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2003
    Location:
    Ontario County

    Do you farm out your circuit boards to a manufacturer? Those don't look homemade....
     
  12. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    493
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2015
    Location:
    Ventura County, CA
    I get them fabricated at Oshpark.com. I used to etch them myself, but they’re so cheap it’s just way easier to just order them. It’s like $7 for 3 boards of this size. I don’t miss dealing with ferric chloride.
     
    guitarbuilder and Jim_in_PA like this.
  13. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    493
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2015
    Location:
    Ventura County, CA
    I haven't posted here for a while. I had a little setback, and then I had actually had a couple of pickup making jobs come in. In essence, I've been both busy and distracted at the same time. So, let me start from the beginning....

    [​IMG]

    What you see above is the bass body I was working on finishing in December. A yes, the paint has been removed. I decided that I didn't really like the Createx Pearlescent Blue I was using because it just wasn't very pearly. I was more of a bright metallic blue. I decided to strip it and start all over.

    In the process, I realized that the body had somehow become twisted. I quickly realized that when I glued the body up, I'd turned one of the planks around to avoid a huge ugly knot. So instead of having the each of the four pieces oppose the grain of the other, one of the halves of the body had all the grain facing the same direction. As I was gluing it, I thought about this very possibility, but I ignored my instincts and did it anyway in hopes that this very thing would not happen.

    I'd considered attempting a repair, but I decided instead that I should take a breather and regroup. I actually wanted to do some changes on the body design, so I figured that this would be the perfect opportunity to design some new templates.
    [​IMG]

    I designed this in Adobe Illustrator, and came up with a layered drawing to indicate the different operations I wanted to do with the new templates. I made the main cavity completely curved, added wire channels, and made a hollow section in the center of the body. I would ultimately have three new cutting templates that I would swap out with carefully registered holes.

    The other big change was that instead of a 4-piece body, I'd make the new one a 6-piece. I'd use a 3/4" core and cap and a back made from 3/8" planks. This would bring the body to 1 1/2" thick - 1/8" less thick than my previous bodies. I chose this thickness because A) I've been thinking of making a thinner body and B) it would be easy to make from 2/4 and 4/4 pieces of wood.

    So I milled down some planks using a new Porter & Cable router I bought with the money I made building pickups...

    [​IMG]

    By the way, I retired my Craftsman router. The depth adjuster was completely useless. I have actually ruined pieces of wood because it's impossible to adjust accurately and it won't stay at one depth once I tuned it on. This Porter & Cable router has made a task I once dreaded into, "Wow, that was quick!"

    Anyway, here are those planks all glued up...

    [​IMG]

    I also decided to have the body templates laser cut. I figured that at this point, I'm pretty committed to this body design and I just wasn't going to have the time to cut and mill them myself. So, I ordered them. It was about $100 and as far as I'm concerned, that was money well spent.

    [​IMG]

    And with that new router, it took an afternoon to make new templates out of 3/4" MDF.

    From there, I hollowed out the body cavities.

    [​IMG]

    And by the way, this new router made it awesome. I didn't want the glue line to show through the F-hole, so I milled the core down to within 1/64" of the back cap. Yay! Oh, and note the wire channel coming from the pickup area and into the control area. Pretty cool!

    Here's the other side:

    [​IMG]

    I prolly won't bore you guys with the glue up, and milling the body shape. It'll basically be the same procedure you all have seen me do before. I'll report back in a week or two when I am ready to paint this thing. I'm going to do some experiments using Duplicolor and clear coating it with Varathane.

    Oh, and one more thing... I made a slight change to the Exotica pickup...

    [​IMG]

    I did an experiment using these semi-laminated pickup blades. I used them to create a channel shape that goes beneath the string. It seems to work great! With my earlier attempts, I was having two problems: 1) The E string would lose a noticeable amount of sustain as I played further up the neck, and 2) the upper strings would really compress whenever I slapped. This new blade structure seems to pretty much mitigated both of these problems, and in addition, it seems to have really opened up the highs a lot. I'd say that this has gone from a pretty OK sounding pickup to a really good sounding pickup! I've been playing it just plugged straight into my amp. It's in the bridge position, and with a little added bass from the amp, I'd say that I might be able to get away with supporting the rhythm section with out active electronics. I will probably install one nonetheless.
     
    guitarbuilder and LowCaster like this.
  14. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    493
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2015
    Location:
    Ventura County, CA
    Oh, and one more thing I've been working on that's a little off topic - the stepboy and a nephew of ours both play guitar and both have birthdays coming up. I decided to design distortion pedals for them. It's basically an Electra distortion circuit with a Baxandall tone stack and a recovery stage. I'm calling it "El Apache". Here's a 10 second clip with the stepboy demo-ing it.

     
  15. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    22,241
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2003
    Location:
    Ontario County

    The porter cable 690 is a nice durable and reasonably priced router. I had always had cheap routers until I got a new pc690 at a flea market 12-13 years ago. The guy selling it got it as a gift and never used it. I think he wanted 40 dollars for it in the box. I have 3 of them now. In a poll it would be the fan favorite at this forum I believe.
     
    crazydave911 and Freekmagnet like this.
  16. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    493
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2015
    Location:
    Ventura County, CA
    Wow! Cool score.

    I’m really happy with the Porter Cable. Having a depth gauge that is accurate and easy to adjust makes a world of difference.

    My Craftsman has a rack and pinion adjustment mechanism that is integrated into the clamp. I don’t know why anyone would design a depth adjuster that way. It’s impossible to adjust and the clamp is never completely secure. I bought it a few years ago for $50. I was unemployed at the time, and it just seemed perfectly rational to get myself into an expensive hobby like luthiery. I dunno what I’m going to do with it. I thought maybe I could just use it as a table router, but the clamp won’t lock well enough.
     
  17. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    493
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2015
    Location:
    Ventura County, CA
    While bikes and guitars inhabit a similar category of dorkiness, there are few occasions where cycling and luthierie meet.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    493
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2015
    Location:
    Ventura County, CA
    I thought I’d share this. The step-boy was listening to it and I had pretty good chuckle.

     
    61fury likes this.
  19. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    493
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2015
    Location:
    Ventura County, CA
    I stocked up on paper products on account of the Coronavirus.

    4ECE4112-B1BA-4A13-A171-DDED8AEC1347.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2020
  20. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    493
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2015
    Location:
    Ventura County, CA
    “Yes!”, is the feeling you get when you realize that you’ve cut the best pickup template ever.

    [​IMG]

    “No!”, is the feeling you get when you realize that you’ve lost your pattern bit.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2020
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.