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Blog entry by David Grimes posted 1011 days ago 2266 reads 1 time favorited 28 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It will be awhile before I have the tools to build a true replica guitar from total scratch. I need templates and drawings and a duplicator, etc, etc. I also need a model of the carved top body for the duplicator.

Instead of tearing down a working instrument, I decided to cheat just this once and get a body and neck to “play with”. It will also give me a chance to get a feel for the aniline dyes and try my hand at a burst finish. I will attempt a “desert burst” on the top and peghead face.

So, here we have the neck and body that I received sanded to 150, but is now sanded to 220 and is sealed and sanded again at 220. I earlier wiped some naptha on the figured maple top and it was really nice (before it went away). ;=)

This project will take a bit because materials (dyes and hardware) are not even ordered yet. But it is a start. This should be fun (for me, anyway).

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia



28 comments so far

View ajosephg's profile

ajosephg

1850 posts in 2188 days


#1 posted 1011 days ago

Looks like the beginning of a long path, but I’m sure you will do well. Will you know how to pick it?

-- Joe

View mafe's profile

mafe

9486 posts in 1716 days


#2 posted 1011 days ago

Looks like a wonderful travel you are about to take.
Look forward to see a video of a guitar palying in time.
Best thoughts,
Mads

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15684 posts in 2845 days


#3 posted 1011 days ago

This could be one of those slippery slopes, David. :-)

As an acoustic player, building one has been a dream of mine. I’m just afraid my skills a woodworker aren’t up to my standards as a musician. So even though I still may take one on someday, for now I had to settle for an early Christmas present to myself… a Taylor GA4. I’m spending more time enjoying it than I’m spending in the shop right now. But I guess that new toy syndrome will wear off eventually and I’ll get back to more woodworking.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2072 posts in 1266 days


#4 posted 1011 days ago

@ajosephg, I have been playing so long that I can’t fathom how the rest of you can’t just pick one up and rip away. ;=)

@mads, a video indeed… when it turns out as it should. :=)

@CharlieM1958, Taylors are very sweet. I have played and recorded several Taylors (with others playing), including “There is a City” I sent you… the singer is playing a Taylor acoustic.

As to slippery slope, I am betting that the facts that there are real ones in the house… and I don’t play junk will set the bar so that its either a nice looker and player… or firewood.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3314 posts in 1821 days


#5 posted 1010 days ago

David,

Good build on the body of the guitar so far….It looks like a Les Paul…...maybe a Gibson ES335 single cut away…..Right now it’s up for grabs…..lol. Like you and Charlie, I’ve been playing guitar all my life, and have a nice collection of old Martin guitars ranging from the mid ’ 40s to early ‘50s…nothing newer….Be sure and post the finish result when you “get ‘ur done”.... I ‘ve built guitars, Dobros, and I even built a mandolin which I might post on here one day.

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2072 posts in 1266 days


#6 posted 1010 days ago

@Rick Dennington, Nothing at all wrong with Martins (pre or post WWII). They will always hold their value and more.

There are quite a few luthiers on here. Many are quite talented and accomplished judging the projects posted. Maybe if all would come out of the woodworks, there might be a luthier section someday. I’ve been spending quite a bit of time on the MyLesPaul forum and let me tell you there are some masters on there. Unbelievable better-than-Gibson work going on over there.

I am about to wet myself waiting on the aniline dyes coming from Reranch. Also nitrocellulose lacquer. If this isn’t awesome, the excuse will not be for lack of quality materials. This is going to be most fun.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2072 posts in 1266 days


#7 posted 1009 days ago

Update: Shaping the end of the peghead / headstock.

I hand drew (no tracing) the shape with pencil, then played with it (eraser and pencil) until both sides were symmetrical. Then it was cut with the jigsaw just outside my lines, filed in one little humped section, then sanded with 80/120/220 until I got what I was after.


A “baby step”, yes… but one of many to come and this one turned out as planned.

BTW, the thing I was most afraid of messing up as a newb luthier was the scraping of the binding around the top perimeter of the body. I scraped using a straight edge razor standing almost straight up and barely tilted a bit away from the top wood. After about a foot or so, I realized it was not as big of a pain as I had thought it would be. Now I think I could do it with my eyes closed. I did watch a video of the ladies at Gibson – Nashville that have done it for 23 and 33 years. They are so good at it that they look bored.

This is the shape I was after:

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View ajosephg's profile

ajosephg

1850 posts in 2188 days


#8 posted 1007 days ago

I don’t know if you guitar aficionados are interested, but here is a book you might want to check out:

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/GuitarTone?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=email

-- Joe

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2072 posts in 1266 days


#9 posted 1007 days ago

@ajosephg, That is an excellent book for a beginner, someone just getting into effects and/or trying to sort out what to do with the pile of stomp boxes they might have “collected”.

Not meaning to sound condescending in any way, but luckily I was there and listening to the tones and sounds since ‘71 when I got my first guitar. I have the equipment (COSM, modeling, digital and analog effects, guitar synthesizer, etc.)... and the know-how to get any sound I can imagine and then a heap more. Luckily, I found my “sounds” and combinations of equipment and instruments that work for me years ago. I am no longer in search of the “lost chord” or any holy grail piece of equipment.

Like a cyclist, when the bike is built or purchased then there is just riding (the original intention) to do. Or woodworking… at some point the shop and tools are assembled and it’s time to make sawdust / shavings and complete projects.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View ajosephg's profile

ajosephg

1850 posts in 2188 days


#10 posted 1007 days ago

Like a cyclist, when the bike is built or purchased then there is just riding (the original intention) to do. Or woodworking… at some point the shop and tools are assembled and it’s time to make sawdust / shavings and complete projects.

This is so true.

-- Joe

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2072 posts in 1266 days


#11 posted 1006 days ago

Update:

I have wiped the alcohol-based aniline dyes to the body… pretty dull because no clear coats yet. I started with black, then sanded back to wood… leaving just hints of black in the stripes. Then amber/yellow over the whole top, then tobacco brown around the edges, and finally amber and plenty of DNA to blend, shape and even.

One coat of clear nitrocellulose lacquer sprayed…

After two coats…

Third coat…

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2072 posts in 1266 days


#12 posted 1006 days ago

Update:

Now six coats on the front…

First coat on the back…

BTW, I’m loving how the nitro lacquer burns into previous coats instead of adding layers like urethane. Also, naptha will not dissolve it (that’s a good thing because I use the Naptha to wipe over blends / touchups to see how it will look. Also, since the aniline dye is DNA alcohol based, it is a great thing that the nitro lacquer is dissolved by DNA (de-natured alcohol).

My first base coat was too yellow to my liking even after I sprayed a first nitro coat. I just wiped it all back off with DNA and started over with more amber/brown and no yellow. Now THAT is forgiveness !

This is very much like dealing with shellac in many ways.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2072 posts in 1266 days


#13 posted 1005 days ago

Update: More coats and in more places…

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2072 posts in 1266 days


#14 posted 1005 days ago

Update: Now the body binding has been scraped properly all around the sides and top edge…

At the beginning I was punished by the edge point of a straight edge razor blade…

THAT painless (but bloody) diversion made me look for something with a handle. I was prepared to go as far as splitting a dowel halfway, inserting a blade to the correct depth and tightening a nut and bolt on the split end to hold it in place.

But that led to being bestowed a divine gift indeed: The Kobalt razor knives’ first positive stop setting is EXACTLY the depth of the binding. The Stanley and the Craftsman versions are close, but the Kobalt is PERFECT. That made the rest of the job a pure pleasure.

Sometimes you lose and sometimes you win. Then sometimes you do both. I’m still having a lot of fun with this.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2072 posts in 1266 days


#15 posted 1005 days ago

Time to play “dress up”. I just had to see kind of what it will look like later with the chosen hardware.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

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