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Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Ronkirn, Apr 14, 2008.
Really great stuff. Thank you Mr. Kirn.
Thanks Ron, I am learning a ton of good stuff watching this build.
looks fantastic Ron. I have decided on blond for the color and am thinking about going with a Lollar set of pickups. My reason, at the start, for thinking about using Lace alumetones was that they are dead quiet and very clean sounding.After watching this beauty get built, I think a more traditional set of pickups are in order.
Thanks, Ron. I'll definitely be looking in on this thread.
Meanwhile. . . . It’s to get ‘er ready for a bit of paint… prior to doing so, I need to check all the hand shaping to be sure the curves and round-over are smooth and liquid, not hard lines.
In this shot you can see the round over is a little irregular, so I’ll go at it with a sanding block and something like 100 grit paper… carefully and gently allowing the natural weight and force of simply pushing the block to follow the lines of the body.
After a few strokes you can see it is not a bit more fluid.
By “eye-ballin” is down the edge you can see the round-over produced by the router, and compare it to that you are producing by hand. By rocking back and forth between the two you can see any areas in you work that need addressing.
And that done by machine… you can see here the hard edge the light is making more apparent, that will be smoothed out momentarily.
I use the same method on the back. Just checking and sanding out what doesn’t look like a Strat.
Some may wonder why I don’t use a scraper cut to the ½” radius to shape the roundovers through the contours. It’s actually easier and faster to do it this way. Further the scrapers will only track over a section of the body’s edge only as long as the scraper is thick, this introduces entirely too many opportunities for it to hit a piece of grain and dig in. Diggin’ in… not good… not good at all.
Here again, by checking the area done with the router and instantly comparing the part you are doing you will gain a good indication of what needs to be done.
Once the round-overs are done, go over them with some thing like 150 grit sand paper. Giving particular attention to the edges done with the router, you want to remove the mechanical appearance the machine leaves.
Here you can see the hard edge as revealed by the sunlight.
And after sanding (I simply use my fingers as the pad) the mechanical appearance will be gone, replaced with a nice smooth flowing curve.
I’m spending so much time on the importance of smoothing the body, because it’s this kind of detain that separates the “off the rack” bargain guitar from the up scale piece. You’ll be checking the next time you visit the Guitar Mart, I know hehehe..
Now Move up to 220 Grit and do a final sand, if you’re doing an opaque or semi transparent finish, 320 if doing a completely transparent finish.
Here you can see things are coming together.
Check all those sneaky little areas you may wanna skimp on….
Here you can see the round-over in the horns, how smoothly they flow into the top surface.
Now, the sunlight it unmerciful in revealing things that have to be addressed, here are two small “dings” I have no idea what I bumped, but let’s get rid of ‘em.
Those two little chinks would stick out like a Debutante at Buddy’s Beer, Bait and Bop on Saturday night.
Now, to do this we use a highly specialized tool. . .
Those following this are probably looking for little secrets that keep everything flowing smoothly, so run get a pencil and paper, you’ll wanna write this one down.. It’s among the most important advice I can give ya….
DO NOT USE YOUR WIFE’S IRON……here’s why….. The one you see above cost me 15 bux at Target.. or Tar-jay for the culturally bloated..
If you have a brain far* and elect to use your wife’s, here’s what happens. The iron’s bottom gets funky like you see above…. So you clean it off…. Using whatever is at hand, which will scratch up the Teflon base…. She’s gonna notice it the next time she’s ironing her whatever and it snags. She’s gonna hit the ceiling, and it’s gonna cost you a Dinner at Ruth’s Christ Steak House, at 125.00 for 2 steaks, some old grape juice, salad, baked tater, and steamed veggies…then about 40 bux for a dozen good roses, ‘cause those at the grocery store for 9.99 ain’t gonna cut it. Then worst of all, you gotta sit around that evening, chattin’ with ‘er about how the sheets don’t really match the curtains, and what some dork said while on Opera that after-noon, acting like you’re interested, then promise to take her to see Dr. Phil next week when he comes to town, and they remember THOSE promises.
Just go spend 15 bux and get your own damn iron, you’ll be glad you did.
OK . . what were we doing… oh yeah, the dings…. Put a few drops of secret ding removal liquid on a paper towel.
Put it on the ding and iron it, oh yeah, the iron should be hot… the hottest setting….
Leave it there for a few seconds, and then remove…let the steam dry…
Your dings should now look like this. . .
Well, not exactly like this, because this is the body I’m doing, and you, of course will be doing another body, so they should look totally different, it they looked exactly alike, then something really freaky just happened, and we should be calling somebody to get a book deal shouldn’t we?
While in the sun, go over the whole body, look for anything that may be helped with the steam treatment..
Here you see where something, probably a chip of wood was where it didn’t belong and left it’s calling card..
Here’s the shot I forgot to include in the last post, just place the water soaked towel on the dinged area and roll the iron across it.
What happens is the steam is under slight pressure so it gets forced into the immediate surface, causing the fibers to expand. This forces the compressed fibers to resume their previous position and often swell beyond.
For those thinking, “Wait, don’t we pay extra for dried lumber of very low moisture content?” Yes we do, but this treatment will only effect the outer surface and dries back to normal very rapidly. This is a common technique used by quality furniture makers world wide and has been for as long as guys have been trying to get a quality finish on a piece of wood. Don’t sweat it, just do it. It’s also common for some to completely wet the surface of the piece they are working on to force the fibers to swell. That way when painted, if there is any swelling, it is greatly reduced.
To take care of a larger surface, wet the paper towel and iron away..
Here you can see the swollen fibers and the scrape is gone.
This works best for shallow dings where the wood’s surface isn’t broken, the resulting “repair” is absolutely invisible. If the surface is broken, it will still cause the ding to expand up and out, but the broken area will leave a “fracture” mark in the surface.
Here you see the dings removed, and ready for sanding.
Check all the surfaces for dings, and to be certain the round areas are smooth, and flowing, take care of anything that needs attention. In these shots, you can see how nicely the curves meet the flat areas… we’re about ready to give ‘er a squirt.
Now give the body a final (this will be about the last final) sanding with 220 (320 if clear finish)
The lumber revealed a slight coloration when it was planed down, and while ti will be virtually unnoticeable under the semi transparent Honey Blonde finish, it bugs me.. so I’ll dig out the air brush…
I wet it with alcohol to make it more apparent.
using a piece of scrap remaining from the blank, I’ll mix a little dye in lacquer thinner, with a very small amount of lacquer to give it a little body, then try it on the scrap.
you can see it is a little too pink, so I add a toothpick tip drop of brown and try again..
That’s about right….
Now I shield the area that is already dark, suspending it slightly above. This allows a little “blow back” to soften the edge and look much more natural.
I now mount a paint handle….
keeping it above the pocket so there will be no chipping or peal off when I remove it in a couple of weeks..
So it gets a few coats of sealer. Which will be thoroughly sanded before any color goes on…
I wanna be Ron Kirn when i grow up.
You can see the dark strand looks much more natural now.
And remember, I jointed at an angel to reduce the point where the two sections were joined?
It’ll sit for a few, then it gets sanded… see y’all for the color coats…
It was early in the morning when he rode into the town
He came riding from the south side slowly lookin' all around
He's an outlaw loose and running came the whisper from each lip
And he's here to do some business with the big iron on his hip
big iron on his hip
Sorry, I can't stop this song from going through my head.
Marty Robbins rules, and so does Ron...
Yeah, but Ruth's Chris Steak House is fantastic, even if you get the Halibut or the Crab Cakes. Don't forget the asparagus, the broccoli and the sweet potato casserole. And a bottle or two of Parducci. Doesn't sound like punishment to me.
Thanks Ron. Great thread.
Nope, it don't, but there is Dr Phil.....
I got a little done today; it’s hot and dry so lacquer dries to the touch in a few nano seconds, so I thought I’d take advantage of it.
So the sealer is plenty hard, so I sand the surface with 220 grit…. I use a finish sander on the flat surfaces… I slow it down with a variable speed control.
And on the inside and outside curves, I use a specialized multipurpose tool I always have at my disposal..
On a Strat I prefer using my fingers for the same reason you would NOT want to use them on a flat area, they create a more flowing surface, not mechanically flat like you want on the larger flat surfaces.
I now have the complete surface sanded with 220.
Here I went through the sealer, but since the stuff I use soaks into the wood slightly, it’ll be fine, but Check the complete surface to be certain you haven’t missed anything. Fix it now BEFORE the color coat goes on.
Fixing small chinks and dings that have gone unnoticed can be drop filled, and any visual anomaly will be covered by the color coat…
Do some woods respond better to the iron and water? I use poplar frequently because it is cheap and abundant where I am, plus I almost aways paint, any issue?
Thanks again for taking us along for the ride.
Popular is great, it's only the very dense resinous woods that may give you a problem like Rosewood, Cocobolo, Ipe, etc... but even those will respond to some degree.