my first build thread

Jim_in_PA

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Poplar is WHITE.
Depends on the the type of "poplar" you have. True Poplars/aspens are very white and sometimes can be a little "fuzzy", depending on the actual variety. It's relatively light in weight. Tulip poplar, also called yellow poplar and a member of the magnolia family, and is used heavily in the furniture industry, is yellow-brown and generally with a greenish tinge when fresh cut. The green fades with exposure to air and UV. Tulip Poplar is generally heavier than the true poplars.
 

Wheelhouse

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I should probably order a blank for pickguard soon. Which means I'll have to decide on a color soon. Since this is a completely original rout, the pickguard will have to be completely custom, too.

And I wonder if I should start project #2 while this work is still fresh in my mind, LOL.
 
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Wheelhouse

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Depends on the the type of "poplar" you have. True Poplars/aspens are very white and sometimes can be a little "fuzzy", depending on the actual variety. It's relatively light in weight. Tulip poplar, also called yellow poplar and a member of the magnolia family, and is used heavily in the furniture industry, is yellow-brown and generally with a greenish tinge when fresh cut. The green fades with exposure to air and UV. Tulip Poplar is generally heavier than the true poplars.
Jim, this wood came from northern Wisconsin. Not tulip poplar. Aside from being really white with little character, it's super light and rather soft. My planned second project would be a smaller body than the Tele, and I'm now wondering if it will be neck-heavy.

BTW, after I did the routing I got the moisture meter out again, and measured in the pickup pockets, well inside the slab. 8.6, so this thing dried MUCH faster than expected.
 
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Wheelhouse

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Got to 220 grit today. I guess I also need to get a paint sprayer soon. :)

At the very beginning I pointed out the cracks in the discolored part of the wood. With the sawdust blown out, they're very clear. They don't go all the way through, so I should be able complete the project. It will likely work, but it is concerning. As Jim said, there was something wrong with it from the tree. Some sort of filler is on the agenda for next week. Since it's my first time, I'm still calling the whole thing practice anyway. :)
 

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Wheelhouse

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Not much to report this week. Sanded to 320. Waiting for Z-poxy to fill & seal. It needs a fair amount of sealing, thanks to problems in the wood, operator error, and a couple of remaining router trouble spots.
 

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Wheelhouse

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This week's update: I put Z-poxy on Friday morning. With the wood cracks I have, this is probably as good a grain/pore filler as I could use. I was wondering why it was so thick, not thin and smooth like the StewMac video. Turns out, I was too hasty when ordering, and I ordered a slightly different product. The box is almost the same, but I got 30-minute epoxy instead of finishing resin. :(

Other threads have said this isn't a terrible thing, so I'm still pressing on. But because this stuff went on so thick and didn't spread well enough, I have streaks & buildup. When I went to sand this morning, I started with 320 and quickly saw that wasn't good enough. I'm sending at 220, and even back to 180 in spots with too much buildup. I still need plenty more to fill the cracks, so I'm not concerned if I go back to wood in places. This was not a very smooth piece of wood in the first place. Next coat of Z-poxy, I'll thin it with denatured alcohol, and see if I get better spreading and lower viscosity.
 

Wheelhouse

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2nd coat of Z-poxy. I splashed about 1/3 to 1/2 the volume of epoxy with denatured alcohol. At first I thought it was too thin, but it spread nicely, and I could smear the corners with my finger. I hope no bugs land on it before I bring it inside for better curing. Because the wood cracks are so big, I'll probably do a third coat before I turn to priming & painting. I may have this done by labor day. :)
 

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Freeman Keller

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When I use Zpoxy I'll put one one or two coats with a plastic card and sand them back completely level with the wood - it doesn't matter if I go thru but I want to leave resin in all the pores. Once I get it level I'll apply one or two coats highly thinned as you have done - I don't measure but its probably 2 or 3 parts of DNA to one of resin. I can flow that on with a throwaway foam brush and it should come out almost perfectly flat. Its about the same as just flowing some alcohol on - it penetrates and carries the resin with it. A very light scuff sanding and its ready for a coat of sealer and then finish.

When I am evaluating a piece of wood to be used for a guitar I always wipe it with DNA or naphtha - that shows me what its going to look like under a wetting finish like lacquer. I might choose to do some sort of staining, that is separate, the DNA shows me the natural wood grain and color. The final DNA/Zpoxy coats just duplicates what I saw first. which is almost always what I was hoping for.
 

Wheelhouse

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Thanks for the insight, Freeman. I'm paying attention to your comments and other relevant threads.

Not much of an update again this week. As I expected, I usually just have (part of) one day a week to work on this, so progress is slow. On the plus side, I don't worry about dry times or cure times. ;) The Bondo spreader I'm using with the Zpoxy is not giving me a smooth enough finish. I ended up sanding most of the epoxy off. I used an epoxy filler to build up that router cut where my roundover dipped into the jack hole, and the router tearout at the back of the neck pocket, sanded down the filler, and gave it one more coat of Zpoxy. I didn't coat the whole thing though, just the spots where there are still real issues in the wood. I think at that point, I'll be ready to put on a good primer. I'm not expecting perfection, it's a first build after all, and the cracks in the wood were pretty big. But it feels REAL smooth. :)

I guess that leaves me at the point where I should do the rest of the drilling. I need to locate the bridge and do the string-through holes before I do the finishing. I'll need to drill for the neck screws, too, which are parts I don't have yet. After the locating & hardware tinkering, I think I'll be ready to start finishing.
 

Wheelhouse

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After all drilling and 98% sanding, the body weight is 3 pounds 2 ounces, or a bit under 1.5Kg.

I am at a very unfortunate and unhappy stage. I can see a few scratches. ☹️ And I know from other helpful threads that the finish doesn't cover up flaws, it emphasizes them. Do I have that right? I had to do a ton of sanding this last go-round, because I apparently did a bad job with the last coat of Zpoxy filler. I want to get it nice and smooth so I can put primer on it soon.

Also, the holes for the string-through ferrules are really ugly. Not on the surface, but inside. What is the right way to dress those holes? Or does it even matter? Also, I have one ferrule hole that is kind of loose. Not much loose, but I can easily remove the ferrule just with my fingers. Is this a concern? Will the finish do enough to the holes that this will tighten up?
 

gb Custom Shop

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finish doesn't cover up flaws, it emphasizes them. Do I have that right?
Yup, you got that right. I see you've mentioned you'll be applying primer, which I assume you mean an opaque primer, and will be followed by colour coats. In that case, primers can actually fill in minute scratches, and you would level sand your primer coat before applying the colour coat.
If you were going for a clear/transparent finish though, then you did the right thing in sanding out the visible scratches before proceeding further.

When sanding, I always assess my progress with a bright light at a low angle. I also wear a good headlamp. Natural sunlight can also be helpful.

As for your ferrule holes, I would address those after you've applied all your finish coats, because you will get finish built up in there.
 

Wheelhouse

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Thanks. Yes, I'm using a dark primer then a green topcoat. Then clear, of course. And it's sandable primer that says it will fill small flaws, but I want to minimize the need for it as much as possible. So, more sanding. 🤨

I've done a poor job about using clean sandpaper, and about cleaning thoroughly enough between grits, which is how I suspect the scratches showed up. So I'll give it another go tomorrow afternoon with a better cleaning before, between, and after, and clean sheets of 220 & 320. Then I start spraying. Without rushing anything. :)
 




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