Looking for advice on first build

Discussion in 'Guitar Building' started by Axeman270, Jun 2, 2014.

  1. Axeman270

    Axeman270 Member

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    Any tips on how to avoid it in the future given that I clamped the heck out of it? (somehow the boards are slightly uneven along the surface too despite all the clamps along the caul at the top and bottom, but it's small enough I think I can get it once I sand). I re-glued the top side of the seam last weekend (and the crack in the edge), doing the back side this weekend, any other ideas on how to fix it?
     
  2. poro78

    poro78 Well-Known Member

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    I use a plane and a shooting board to get the joint perfect (in both tops and body blanks), don't know how it's done with power tools.
    And I hold the pieces together against light to see if there's any gaps.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xOJAjdGZUY"]Luthier Tips du Jour - The Shooting Board - YouTube[/ame]
     
  3. Renkenstein

    Renkenstein Well-Known Member

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    I use a Stanley #5 for all body joint prep.
     
  4. KnightroExpress

    KnightroExpress Active Member

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    I used a #4, though if I had a 5, I'd have used that.
     
  5. Heretic

    Heretic Well-Known Member

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    You wee girls.

    #8

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Renkenstein

    Renkenstein Well-Known Member

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    I've got an 8, but man is it unwieldy. It also has a chipped iron that need a LOT of work to get down to a clean edge, so I haven't used it. I've cleaned it up since this pic.

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. poro78

    poro78 Well-Known Member

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    It's not about the size, it's the technique. :naughty:
     
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  8. Axeman270

    Axeman270 Member

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    In terms of stability, it actually seems pretty good, in terms of appearance, I'm not satisfied with it. I'm still going to move forward though to at least practice all of the other tasks on this one, vs starting over and possibly screwing up a finish or cavity/neck pocket route on a good one. Going to probably try the saw dust+Ca glue to fill in what's left as a gap after we get everything level.

    And in relation to the other post, I did something similar. I was talked out of using a plane, being told by someone with more woodworking experience than myself that it was the 'wrong tool for the job' despite every video/book I went through to prepare recommending them.

    Anyway, what we did wasn't too far off though. We started trying to use a router as a jointer, but realized the edges of the boards hadn't been squared to the ends and kept having issues getting clean edges with the router. We then squared them with a table saw and it came out pretty smooth, better than the router edging.

    We then did the light test and saw quite a bit of light coming through and took some scrap wood and made a few sanding blocks and worked our way down the grits, until light no longer came through. As a precaution, when the boards were held where no light came though, we drew the carpenter's triangles on the back side at the top, middle and bottom of each join to ensure we were joining the portions of each board we had made flush to each other

    I have no doubt the plane was the better and probably faster way to do it (took us at least 2 hours), but if the light wasn't coming through, I'm not sure why it looks so bad now.

    We didn't use a shooting board, but did sand it against the edge of the table on the table saw.




    Also, something similar to how the guy in the video did his glue up, one of my books had an interesting alternative where you have a scrap board and trace your wood to be joined onto it and then pound a border of nails, just inside the tracing (was either 1/16, or 1/32 inside, don't recall which). You place a block in the middle, along the edges to be glued, allowing the boards to rest on it with the edges exposed for gluing. You then glue the edges, remove the strip, press them flat against the supporting board (there is wax paper between them and the board to prevent gluing them to the board) and the nails act as the clamps. Thought it was an interesting idea, but we didn't go that route.
     
  9. Axeman270

    Axeman270 Member

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    Renk, isn't the 5 mainly for getting out large irregularities. I would think you'd have to follow with a jointer or #4
     
  10. KnightroExpress

    KnightroExpress Active Member

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    As long as you've got your plane set up nice and smooth, a #5 will produce an extremely tight joint. Any decent plane will, really.
     
  11. Renkenstein

    Renkenstein Well-Known Member

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    Probably. It was the first REAL plane purchase I made, and I spent the most time truing it and fine tuning it, so it's the one I grew most comfortable with. It works great for prepping body joints where the stock is narrower than the blade.
     
  12. Axeman270

    Axeman270 Member

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    making some progress on the build, pics to come later this week. I realized after the fact last summer that I order the Mexican strat bridge by accident. As far as I can tell the only differences are that the string spacing is bigger and the screw spacing smaller than a standard one and this will somewhat change the neck width when I get to making that.

    I'm going to have to make a new template for this tremolo....how snugly should the block fit the hole. I was thinking that laterally it'd be fairly snug (enough to limit wiggle without creating friction), but then opened up a strat style Harmony and saw a lot more space than I expected (in all directions). Is there an ideal?
     
  13. rainH2O

    rainH2O New Member

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    I would change the bridge to fit the plan before I would change the plan to fit the bridge.
     
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  14. bruce bennett

    bruce bennett Active Member

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    I only just started reading this thread today.

    but i gotta tell you that when I hit this photo , I said out loud to my wife.
    "That is not very good material to be using for a guitar body".

    its a moot point now...but for the future.. remember that Luthiery STARTS with your material selection.

    Material that looks like the far left and the far right boards, should IMHO, be passed over. the grain is far too wild and there are too many defects visible on the surface.... the color difference alone would keep me from using it.

    Also, learn to "listen" to the wood. "tap toning" will tell you if a crack like that exists inside the wood.
    if a piece doesn't have a "CLEAR RINGING NOTE" or instead has a "Dull Thunk" to it... then it probably has a crack or "inclusion" somewhere inside.

    a very sharp 3 time International Championship woodworker once told me many years ago.
    Wood IS grain.. learn how to "read the grain" and you have the best chance of using that piece to its fullest potential.

    there are several basic "rules" to woodworking, you will want to take the time to learn them first.

    One of them is to De-Stress your material when making your joints.

    Joints should never have gaps of any kind in them..
    I will go along with the 80 grit sanding idea .. it will in fact "Hide" a multitude of sins. especially if you don't have access to a good Jointer/Planer.
    but there is NO BETTER joint than a "Knifed" surface with zero light gap between the two parts.
    a seam that is hard to even see, is the Best seam for a guitar.

    I'm Sorry if I come off as just an A** to you, I assure you, that's not my intent.
    I just remember when I was learning this Art, and REALLY wished someone would have gave me a few pointers.

    Best of luck to you as you proceed.
     
  15. Musclesturtle

    Musclesturtle New Member

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    Tap tones for a Strat? You are a madman my friend. More than likely I imagine it would end up a solid color, so I don't think the grain pattern will make much of a difference. He's not making a violin, so a "thud" is just fine. Frankly, one can construct a solid body electric guitar from a myriad of materials and it can still sound good so long as the action fit and finish is all up to par and it is set up correctly. I've made basswood strat bodies that "sound" great. They even had knots and a crack here and there.
    The material is fine to be honest. As long as the hands working with it are competent, it will be suitable material for a great axe.
     
  16. Musclesturtle

    Musclesturtle New Member

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    But, I do agree with the jointing being knife edge for a solid connection. Otherwise it can fall apart with minor stress or just the time factor. the glue is not there to create a layer in between the two laminated pieces of wood. The wood should be making contact with one another, with the glue, "interwoven/interlocked" (for lack of a better term) in the wood fibers.The joint will be stronger than the actual wood if done correctly.
     
  17. Axeman270

    Axeman270 Member

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    working on the uploads (forgot my photobucket password). As for the wood/join, I didn't notice the color difference in the lighting in the shop, only once I got home. I'm ok with it though as I am trying to keep it to a budget as it is the first build I've done and is a prep of sorts for the next one. Don't want to jump straight to the good expensive stuff. I've also been told basswood makes stable and light guitars.

    Debating between a solid color to cover it, and a sunburst as most of the outer pieces would be covered wither by black or the pick guard (the entire back of the body would then be black). The sunburst would prepare me for the burst I want to do on the next one.

    I have noticed since resuming my build this month, that the router bit we originally used as a jointer used did not have a bearing and am thinking using the flush trim bits that I have since acquired would be a much better option. with the wood on/aligned with a straight edge of some sort.

    I've also seen conflicting info online...should I be putting glue on both boards to be joined, or just one side of the join? We did both and I'm wondering if that just ended up being too much glue.

    Also on the laws of woodworking, I agree, but don't have anyone at anywhere near an expert level to learn from. Trying to work them out on my own working with my dad (some experience, but not a ton, has never used some of the tools we've been using for this) and reading/watching videos.
     
  18. Axeman270

    Axeman270 Member

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    Here goes.

    Started with trying to finish the template starting from here (what are the +'s by the jack and the upper left for?)

    [​IMG]

    started making templates for some of the holes, just used a straight edge with the flush bits for many of the others. The router got away on some of these, but improvements were made with each pass (I'm only barefoot because due to an injury I actually can't fit in shoes (I wore shin guards to protect my legs/feet while actually working)

    [​IMG]


    After completing the template, I checked to make sure everything fits well. Ended up having to make the jack hole bigger because I couldn't fit the jack in at the size in this pic. This is where I noticed the bridge screw holes don't line up (I did check and everything else appears to be the same including the string spacing (Apparently, some Mexican strat bridges are 2 1/6 and some are 2 7/32)). The only other issue noted is that the pick up screw holes in the pick guard don't match to the actual pick up, which is annoying. Also, we had to peel the paper off gradually as we went because it kept catching on the router. Next time I'll tace it on with carbon paper.

    [​IMG]

    Started drilling the cavities out. Cant reach most of the bridge pickup due to the press only having a 6 inch swing., but got through a lot.

    [​IMG]

    First pass on the router (test this on scrapwood first)

    [​IMG]

    Cleaned it up a bit, still need to go deeper in the control cavity, but had was delayed because we couldn't locate the plunge router and once we did it, it only took 1/4 shank bits and some of my longer ones were 1/2, oh well, we made it work by adding some extra bearings I ordered. (the pickups at the top of the picture are going in, the bridge will be saved for a better one, was just seeing if the screw holes lined up better, they don't)

    [​IMG]

    We somehow went a little deep in the control cavity, will have to fill that with glue or putty. We then blocked it off so that nothing could move when doing the trem cavity or jack cavity. Somehow the router cut into the template, so we lost our perfect line on the top side. What's the best fix here, putty to both the template and body?

    [​IMG]

    That's where she stands presently. Will take a day or two off to get some errands done and then resume work.
     
  19. Axeman270

    Axeman270 Member

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    So the pick ups ended up going into the pick guard well when using the sleeves and leaving them a little out. It might prevent a very elevated position, but probably not to any functional extent.

    I do have a new problem that I could use some guidance on and a question as well.

    After routing the hole for the trem block, I checked to see that all of the hardware fits and the pickguard ends up overlapping the tremolo, which is not good. I then rechecked vs a fresh print of the template and everything was cur correctly. I tried a second bridge that is supposed to be a direct replacement for a standard trem and same issue. Is there a reference distance as to where the saddles should be? I'm thinking that is the most important part. I could re route the headstock end of the cavities slightly further towards the headstock to allow the pick guard to slide up some, or try trimming the pick guard if the tremolo is in the correct spot. If the tremolo is wrong, then I'd think I'd basically have to choose between ordering a different model that hopefully fits or gluing in a shim and moving the hole back some.

    Second, a basic router question. When using a table router and moving wood against the fence (bit is between you and the wood, the fence is behind the wood from your view), you are suppose to go right to left, correct? Has worked flawlessly until routing the outside edge, takes the guitar right out of my hands, and even when I had a second set of hands (kinda made me wish I'd gone with a V). Going the other way was fine and seemed to make more sense given the way it spins, just inconsistent with what I remember reading/watching. The glue join was better than it looks, absolutely no new damage and it went 10-15 feet and landed once on grass and once on concrete.

    For reference I used the strat body template on this site in the blueprints thread.

    Thanks for the input.
     
  20. Axeman270

    Axeman270 Member

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    too late to edit, bur I just realized my error with the router question so I don't need a response there.

    rephrase the 1st question because I'm seeing different info in my search.. is the trem block against the front of the hole, or centered in the hole?
     

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