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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2020 9:15 pm 
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Koa
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Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 8:21 am
Posts: 1816
First name: Brad
Last Name: Combs
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Progress from today...

- Received the replacement template from Luthiertool. I posted another thread in the guitar forum to get feedback on how to avoid such a situation. One recommendation that sounded good was to screw the tongue of the template to the tenon to keep it in place. Seemed straight forward enough and worked great.

- Finished cutting the tenon and fitting the neck.

- Rout the headstock shape and trim the nut end using a jig on the table saw.

- Shape and glue on the heel cap.

First thing to do is mark and drill a pilot hole for the template screw.

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Rout the tenon

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I made this little template to allow clearing out the rest of the heel after routing the template. It was too easy for the router to fall in the hole if I tried to just use no template at all.

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Use a 1/2” shim to mark where to trim the tenon down to.

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Here is a template I made that snaps onto the neck angle jig. It lets you drill the hole for the hanger bolt at the same set back angle as the heel. That way it’s square to the body when attaching the neck.

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I sink it 30mm into the heel.

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Next I use another jig to thread in the hanger bolt. This is also done while the jig is still angled. It’s probably overkill because the hanger bolt would follow the hole no matter what, but anyway... :)

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Testing the fit off the jig. The tenon is nice and tight and the depth is right on.

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Mark and trim the heel.

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Chisel relief into the cheeks of the heel to make flossing go faster. For flossing I do a couple passes with 120 and then 2-3 with 220 and it’s usually done.

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I made this little locating pin similar to a dowel pin for drilling the hole in the neck block. I thread it in so there is just a point sticking out and then mark the neck block for drilling.

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Everything looks good and aligned.

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Glue up the head plate lamination

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Glue on the head plate to the neck. The mousetrap is set.

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Shape and glue the heel cap on. For this I take a small block and double stick tape the cap to it a little proud. I put a little stickit sandpaper and sand the cap to shape holding the block up just a bit to keep it square. It goes quick. I glue it on with titebond and clamp it the gobar deck.

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Cut the carbon fiber rod and test fit it.

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Trim the head plate overhang to get it close and then rout it to the template using a pattern bit for the outside shape and oscillating sander for the curves. I made a jig that makes it easy to trim the head plate at the nut end. The jig is something I first saw here on the OLF but I cannot recall from whom. Maybe Hesh, not sure. ;)

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I have some concerns about the headstock situation. The head plate had to be thick to accommodate the slotted headstock and tuners and it’s quite taller than I had envisioned now that the lamination is on there too. It’s quite a bit taller than the fretboard. Maybe I can laminate the bottom of the fretboard to raise it a bit. Then of course I have to contend on the bridge end. :)

Brad


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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2020 11:55 am 
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Koa
Koa
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Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 8:21 am
Posts: 1816
First name: Brad
Last Name: Combs
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Progress so far today...

- After looking at the head plate situation a little more closely I decided to laminate the same purfling as the head plate onto the fretboard. Doing some eyeball testing it looks like the top of the fretboard projected out to the bridge it should be just a bit over the bridge. Maybe 1/2mm or less. It was a little below the surface of the bridge before.

- Rout the slotted headstock.

- Put everything together to see how it’s lining up.

I still need to cut the string ramps, glue in the CF rod and glue on the fretboard. Then final sanding and I’ll put it away for a while before finishing. I have another project I want to get to finishing and then I’ll do several together at the same time.

Stack up the purfling to see how it will look and then glue up the layup in the go bar deck.

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While waiting for the glue to dry I shaped the heel cap and sanded it a bit. One or two pulls of 220 floss and it’s ready to go.

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I drew out the headstock and marked it up so I could reference it. I made a shim that is 2.05mm to align the tuner holes.

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Initial marks look centered.

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Rout the slots.

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Trim the purfling on the fretboard using a pattern bit.

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I’ll need to decide if the purfling should sit under the nut or if I should trim to the end of the fretboard. If I leave it under the nut the intersection with the headstock will need to look good. Just one more thing to worry about. ;)

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Glue in the MOP logo.

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Glue in the plastic side dots.

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Headstock cleaned up and sanded to 220.

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The fretboard projection lands pretty much where I suspected. Once the fretboard is glued on I’ll get a final measurement.

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Here are a few shots with the fretboard and bridge taped into place. I like to do this and then take a few pics and stand back and look at it at a bunch of different angles to make sure I haven’t overlooked some issues and that everything is aligning properly.

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Getting close!

Brad


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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2020 3:57 pm 
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Koa
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Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 8:21 am
Posts: 1816
First name: Brad
Last Name: Combs
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
A little more progress and I’m done for the day. :)

- Pin the fretboard using 18ga nails. I pre-drill the holes with a tiny drill bit. Just before clamping the board down I give each nail a light tap with a fret hammer to set them. I glue the fretboard on and hanger bolts in with epoxy.

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The clamping caul has holes drilled at the 1st and 12th fret to allow the nails to stick up.

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I cut the ramps too but they may need more work later.

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Brad


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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2020 5:25 pm 
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Koa
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Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 8:21 am
Posts: 1816
First name: Brad
Last Name: Combs
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Small progress today...

- Final sand everything up to 220 and mask it off to get ready for the spray booth. Will be trying to take a lot of pics of my spray booth setup for UV finish.

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Brad


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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2020 8:30 am 
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Koa
Koa
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Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 8:21 am
Posts: 1816
First name: Brad
Last Name: Combs
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Progress before work today...

- Set up the spray booth and get everything ready to start spraying tonight after work. I set up the spray booth in the basement which was a tricky proposition. I don’t spray nitro so I’m not as concerned but I took every precaution because the UV cured does have a small amount of solvent in it. Plus I had fun designing and building it. :)

Overall the spray booth takes about 30 minutes to get set up to spray. It’s a knock down booth that is stored outside of my main shop area in a common area in the basement. The basement is 2/3 finished with the remaining area being the shop. There are two shop areas but what is pictured is the woodworking side of the shop. There is a small 8x12 room where the wood stash is stored and where I fret, setup, etc....

First, the fan setup. The fan is a Canarm SD12-XPF fan. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004K1Y8NK/re ... SEbEE2AEMT

I removed the basement window from the frame and built an enclosure to house the fan. I built it in a way where it uses the existing screw holes from the window so there is no permanent changes. I can remove the fan in just a few minutes if needed.

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I framed it in and put up white paneling to help keeping it bright in the booth.

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The switch had an explosion proof conduit above and below the switch and filled with chico.

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I made an enclosure to hold the filters and box in the fan. It’s nice to have a father who has a metal brake and some expertise. :)

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The panels to the booth are stored in the main area of the basement.

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This is the normal shop setup shown in the pictures below. The shop has to be reorganized a bit in order to accommodate the booth. Most everything in the shop is on casters and can be moved around to give space for the booth.

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I use a California Air Tools compressor for spraying. It’s quiet and can spray a coat without having to refill.

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I use Devilbiss SRI Pro spray guns. I bought a couple that were used and abused and refurbished them.

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I use the UV3 UV curing system. The docking station on the right I made using some sheet metal, a fan, and a filter from a microwave. The parts cost was 30 bucks from Amazon.

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I spray Simtec UV cured finish. Adhesion promoter is sprayed first which is chemically cured and then UV cured pore fill.

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Some of the gear needed when curing with the lamp.

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I store all the gear in stackable containers.

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In the booth I use a lazy susan with a drill press vice that holds a stew mac finishing holder.

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Now on to setting up the booth. The booth is made up of panels that are framed with 1” strips and connect together with sash locks and side bolts. The ceiling is framed in with the same 1” framing but is 1/4” plexiglass. I had to make the ceiling in two sections because of the weight. The plexiglass allows the lights to be outside the booth so they don’t have to be explosion proof.

There are two windows on the opposite side of the basement that are opened to allow air intake. Doing a few tests I seem to be able to spray without impacting the temp upstairs. This makes me think the air is basically flowing across the basement.

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The three panels are hinged with piano hinge top to bottom.

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The panels attach to the two fixed 2x4’s with sash locks.

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The outside wall has filters built in to let air into the booth.

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Ceiling panels.

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The last panel has the door built in.

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Holes on each side let the air hose in and the power cord for the fan out.

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I made a simple frame with 1” stock and magnets to hold the filters in place.

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Ready to spray!

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Will spray the adhesion promoter after work today to get started.

Brad



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Last edited by bcombs510 on Wed May 06, 2020 9:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2020 8:38 am 
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Koa
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Posts: 1816
First name: Brad
Last Name: Combs
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Here are a couple of pics of the booth from the outside.

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Brad


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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2020 5:17 pm 
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The spray booth looks like a really nice setup and well thought out design. Thanks for the detailed photos.

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These users thanked the author J De Rocher for the post: bcombs510 (Fri May 08, 2020 8:03 pm)
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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 8:11 pm 
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First name: Brad
Last Name: Combs
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
A little behind but here is the after work progress today...

- Spray two coats of the adhesion promoter. I used the fast catalyst version from Simtec which can be sanded in two hours after application. However I will wait to sand until tomorrow.

The spray setup is the SRI Pro gun with a 1mm tip. I had an issue with the spray being too dry so I dialed back the air a bit from 25psi to around 20.

I like to use a modified wardrobe box to hang the parts between coats. This ensures they don’t pick up any bit of dust from me moving around the shop. I drilled four dowels and attached them to the hanger bar in the wardrobe box. The front flap folds down easy enough that with one hand I can open the box and hang the part using the same set screw from the Stew Mac holder. The dowels have holes drilled to accept the set screw.

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After the adhesion promoter

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I will scuff these and start pore fill tomorrow.

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I’m doing a ziricote uke at the same time. That’s the one on the right.

I do want to make a better attachment situation for the SM holder brackets. I might work on that tomorrow. They work well for guitar but not for uke’s.

Brad


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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2020 8:08 pm 
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First name: Brad
Last Name: Combs
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Status: Amateur
Took a week off for work and to make some dust collection boxes for the buffer. Back to working on the uke now.....


Progress from today:

- Pore fill using UV cured porefill. I follow the process pretty much exactly how Brian describes it here - http://howardguitars.blogspot.com/2018/ ... s.html?m=1

I had the great opportunity to spend three days in Brian’s shop a bit over a year ago. Since then I’ve been doing a lot of testing with UV finish and porefill. I’m getting more comfortable with it and the couple instruments I’ve done so far had good results.

Here is the equipment:
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The uke body has already been cured with the first coat in this pic.

The pore filler is a clear jelly that goes on with a spreader or paper towels. I use it pretty much just like zpoxy with the spreader.

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A pic from under the mask.

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Second coat:

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The rosette gets the same porefill.

Final coat before level sanding.

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I did the other uke today too. :D

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Spraying finish tomorrow!

Brad


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PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2020 6:35 pm 
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Koa
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Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 8:21 am
Posts: 1816
First name: Brad
Last Name: Combs
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Progress from today:

- Final level of porefill and inspection of the surface prep to make sure there are no issues.

- Spray first two coats, UV cure, scuff with 220, two more coats, final UV cure.

- Let the finish rest overnight and then level / buff tomorrow.

Each coat is 2 wet mils.

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First two coats after curing.

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Final coats cured.

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Level and buff tomorrow.

Brad


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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 5:19 pm 
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Koa
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First name: Brad
Last Name: Combs
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Progress from today.


- Leveled out the finish and sanded up to 1200.

- Buffed with the first two buffing compounds.

Like I mentioned before I use pretty much the same schedule and steps that Brian Howard recommends. I spent some time with Brian in his shop and one of the key things I took away from there was that I was using sandpaper way past it’s usefulness. This leads to more aggressive sanding and pressure which inevitably leads to sand through. Brian uses, and I adopted, three cork lined blocks. Each is just smaller than 1/4, 1/8 and 1/16th sheet of sandpaper. This makes for very efficient use of the sandpaper. The small edges of unused paper wrapped around the block can be used for small area and spot leveling. In order to make it so that I’m not tempted to use sandpaper longer than it’s usefulness, I pre-cut a big stack of 1/16th sheets of each grit that I’ll need for the job. This makes it easy to just swap to another sheet without having to stop and rip a new square off.

Leveling I used 400 -> 600 -> 800 -> 1200. I level to about 90% with 400. By the time I’m done with the 600 there is no shiny and I’m just removing scratch marks. The UV poly is very friendly to sanding and doesn’t gum up the paper which also helps it to go further. I also use some scotchbrite along the way to help with tight spots. I try not to rely on it too much because it can take the shiny off without the finish being truly level. It’s hard for me to tell and I don’t see it until buffing, so I use it sparingly. I stay away from any edges or corners. These will take care of themselves at the buffer.

Here is an example. The precut squares are across the top.

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By the time I get up to 1200 the finish is actually starting to shine up a bit.

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Buffing is with Menzerna 113GZ and P204 to start. I need to spend some more time with the P204 before moving to the flannel buffs. I want to let the finish rest some and also let myself rest some. :D

Some pics of 113GZ

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After the P204

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Put the neck on and the tuners in to see how things are shaping up. Starting to look like a thing!

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More to come. This will be the first time routing off the finish for the bridge instead of using tape, so I will take some pics as I sort out how to do it. :)

Brad


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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 6:37 pm 
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State: Washington
That's looking great. The cocobolo is really nice.

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These users thanked the author J De Rocher for the post: bcombs510 (Mon May 18, 2020 6:47 pm)
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 8:46 am 
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First name: Brad
Last Name: Combs
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Status: Amateur
Some before work progress today (playing mostly :))....

- Buffed the body with the next compound, GW16. It’s always amazing to me how the next level compound exposes scratches I couldn’t see before. I follow Brian Howard’s advice (and probably others) and keep the previous compound on one side and the new compound on the other. That way it’s easy to go back down a step once I expose the previously hidden scratches.

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After work I will buff a bit more and start the bridge process.

Brad


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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 8:34 pm 
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Koa
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Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 8:21 am
Posts: 1816
First name: Brad
Last Name: Combs
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Progress from today....

- Buffed with the final compound, Atol 6. To my eye it didn’t change a lot, but it is indeed shiny. :)

- Tested routing the bridge footprint using a Dremel in a SM base. There is another thread in the guitar forum with details where I asked the question there. I’ll link to the other thread.

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You can see my shiny bald head in the shiny headstock. :D

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For routing the bridge, the thread is here - Routing bridge footprint
https://r.tapatalk.com/shareLink/topic? ... source=app

I’m copying my response in that thread here to capture the info here as well.

........

I did some testing tonight. I have a test panel with a thin layer of UV finish from where I worked in test panels at Brian Howard’s shop a bit over a year ago. The bridge is still flat on the bottom so it gave me a perfect setup to have a few goes.

Here is what I’m using. I have the SM base and a dedicated 4000 model Dremel, the foot pedal, and the cute little air pump (which seems to do little). I used a down cut 3/32 bit from drill bit city.

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I first tried Ed’s approach and that is what I’ll use if I decide to route the footprint short and put a rabbet on the bridge. Having the blue tape as a guide made it super simple to see what was going on and where I was. This is likely the method I’ll use, especially for the first one.

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I also tested scoring around the perimeter after double stick tape the bridge down (thanks Greg :)). If I decide to go all the way to the full footprint I’ll use the scoring method. What I noticed was that as I got close to the line the finish would sort of snap off right at the scored line with left a nice clean edge. I don’t know if that happens for all finishes but the UV finish behaved this way.

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Either way it turned out pretty good but I will likely leave it short, for now. :)

......

Brad


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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 8:38 am 
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Koa
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Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 8:21 am
Posts: 1816
First name: Brad
Last Name: Combs
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Progress before work today...

- Clear the finish for the fretboard extension.

- Prepare and cut the fretwire to length.

- Mark and drill to accommodate tuner pinning.

I used the Dremel to clear the fretboard extension and glued it down. For the clamp I use a modified SM clamp that comes with the Jaws2 fret press. I use a small Bessey clamp. It takes a little fiddling to get it in there and lined up, but it works well.

Mark the tape and cut it out.

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Mask off where the router base will ride.

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SM clamp for the extension.

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I use the fret barber to reduce the barbs a bit.

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The Rubner tuners I have are older and have pinning that protrudes out a bit. This has to be accounted for to let the tuner sit flat. I’ve read they have fixed this now, I don’t know for sure, but here is how I dealt with it.

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I put tape on the side of the headstock.

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I then pressed the tuner in tightly which made an impression in the tape. I marked the impression with a pencil and drilled a small hole, just the thickness of finish or slightly more, with a 9/64 bit.

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Here is a comparison to see how much the tuner sticks out. The tuner on the left is drilled and can sit flat. The one on the right is out about 0.020.

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Pain in the neck, but it’s done. :)

Will fret the board tonight after work.

Brad


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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2020 4:13 pm 
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Koa
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First name: Brad
Last Name: Combs
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Status: Amateur
Progress from yesterday and this morning....

- Final install of the tuners

- Fret the board

- Show how to make the Nemo1

I put tape on the headstock to mark the holes and pre-drilled for the screws. The screws are slot head which gives the instrument that pre-war feel. :D

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Time to fret the board.

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I’m using SM medium fretwire because it’s what I had on hand that was still flat. The Jescar wire I use comes coiled already. The fingerboard is flat so I went with the SM. Using the medium wire on a uke is I guess like jumbo wire on an electric. :)

I press frets using a Jaws2 and a Nemo1. More on the Nemo1 below but it was born out of this thread from our friend Dave Farmer.

fixing Jaws 2
https://r.tapatalk.com/shareLink/topic? ... source=app

He’s not around on the OLF as much anymore but there are a ton of gems in his previous posts.

I also use the world famous “Collins over the body fret press extension (tm)”. For anyone that took the fretting classes that Dave and Hesh offered you learned this trick first hand. Simple to make and I don’t think Dave would be upset to share it here.

The fret press extension plate is placed so it sits under where the neck block is. Then a stack of blocks is clamped to support the neck and keeps things straight. This let’s you press the first few frets over the neck heel and body with the Jaws2.

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I use Jescar nippers to clip the fret ends. I like how the cap for the cutter supports the fret end and the cut is clean. For over the body though I like to use their offset cutters.

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Making of the Nemo1 fret press. If the big guy is Jaws2 then this has to be Nemo1. SM should sell this and give me royalties. :D

As I mentioned this idea came from a post where David Farmer replaced the knock off Bessey clamp on the Jaws2 with a real one. Making the press screw into something compatible with the SM clamping caul is pretty straight forward.

First I have to remove the pin in the handle. I filed the pin head flat so that I can drill it out easier on the drill press. I used some scraps to try to square it up.

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Pop the cap off with pliers.

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I used an 1/8” dowel to encourage the pin out with a hammer.

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Pull out the press screw with pliers.

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This is what we are trying to replicate. The pin is 6.25mm with a slot cut that is 4.5mm. The slot is where the plastic set screw goes on the SM caul.

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Drilled a hole in the waste board so I can sink the press screw down and cut the slot using the files edge.

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Cut off the tip that was originally there with a hacksaw and file it flat in the drill press.

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Looks good.

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I used steel pop rivets to put the handle back on.

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I also trim the nose off just a bit so that it can get closer to the neck block. This helps with getting to reach as many frets as possible.

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I use the same modified clamping caul as used for the extension.

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It’s a little fiddly to get it all set up through the sound hole but once set up it works great!

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For fretting the slots that are in the curved area of the fretboard I made a proxy fretboard cut to shape out of mahogany. I put some oversized slots in it so I could press the fret in with finger pressure and then file them to shape. As long as I pay attention when pressing it leaves just a little work to clean up and I don’t have to try to use the fret end bevel file around the rounded shape.

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Next up is bevel and dress the frets. Might be playing this weekend!

Brad


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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2020 9:51 pm 
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First name: Brad
Last Name: Combs
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Progress from today after work....

- Bevel, level, dress and polish the frets.

I use the SM leveling beams to level the frets. 220 / 320 stickit on each side. I learned in the Ann Arbor fretting class to use a couple wraps of tape on the small beam and let the taped end ride at the 13th / 14th fret to mill in a little fall away. The extension already drops off a bit so the leveling goes quickly.

I use a homemade bevel that has 5 and 10 degree bevel. I use a fine file that presses into the slot.

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I go back and forth between the diamond crowning file and the z-file. I used the crowning file almost exclusively this time.

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I use the SM fret erasers. They are more work than a flap of sandpaper but I can wear the optivisor and watch closely as I progress through the grits to watch for tooling marks or scratches as I go. I’d like to get better at this part. Polishing the files I always find scratches I have to go back and get out. I want to get that chrome bumper look. I’m open to suggestions. :).

I finish things off with Flitz polish.

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The fretboard gets Howard’s Feed and Wax at the very end.

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Brad


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"Is this the one where I trot downfield and act like I'm lost ?" - Billy Bob


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PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2020 10:14 pm 
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Koa
Koa
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Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 8:21 am
Posts: 1816
First name: Brad
Last Name: Combs
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Progress from today...

- Fitting of the bridge to the top.

- Rout off the finish under the bridge footprint.

- Rabbet the bridge.

- Glue down the bridge.

- Initial fitting of the nut

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I use the centerline finder from Canadian Luthier Supply to locate the center. It’s very close to the original seam in the top but not dead on. I think the neck pitch shifted just a bit between first being flossed and finishing. It will be fine though, it’s less than .5 mm off.

Once I have the new centerline I mark the bridge with a locating jig I made. Once located on the tape I reset the bridge square on the centerline finder and place the bridge. A few layers of tape above and below and it’s ready for routing.

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Route the finish off. I got it close with the router and finished with sanding sticks.

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Here is the jig for putting the rabbet on the bridge. It’s just a small whisper off the perimeter. I first saw this at Hesh and Dave’s shop and Colin North helped me with pics of his setup. I used them to make this one. The plate that the bridge rides on is radiused to 30’.

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Finish is coming in at between 4.9 and 5.5 mils depending on where I measured it.

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I use a vacuum jig I made for ukulele. It fits Tenor and Concert sized bodies. I use a small continuous pump to provide the vac. I get around 20 in Hg when attaching bridges.

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While the vac was running I made the nut and saddle. I have a template bridge that’s the same as the bridges so I can make the saddle close on the template and final for after taking the vacuum off.

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Tomorrow final shaping of the nut and saddle, strings and setup. Hope to be playing tomorrow!

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Brad


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"Is this the one where I trot downfield and act like I'm lost ?" - Billy Bob


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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2020 9:08 am 
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Koa
Koa
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Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 8:21 am
Posts: 1816
First name: Brad
Last Name: Combs
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Woke up early today to get the strings on.

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Sounds pretty good so far. I’ve never played a uke with a low G before.

I will play it for a couple weeks and tinker with the setup and the record a few clips and take some glamour shots to post. :)

Hopefully some portion of this is useful. I had fun taking more pics than I usually do.

Brad


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"Is this the one where I trot downfield and act like I'm lost ?" - Billy Bob


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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2020 9:27 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:36 am
Posts: 5876
Location: Southeast US
City: Lenoir City
State: TN
Zip/Postal Code: 37772
Country: US
Focus: Repair
Nice uke Brad and a nice thread too. I've done several where I did a lot of photos and it is kind of it's own project, and pretty satisfying in it's own way.

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"Music is what feelings sound like"



These users thanked the author SteveSmith for the post: bcombs510 (Mon May 25, 2020 3:56 pm)
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