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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:37 pm 
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PeterF wrote:
The finished carved and capped braces:
Image

Please tell me what you think. Does it look too heavy still?

Looks good to me. I think you copied from the same Somogyi picture I did :lol: Here's an example of what NOT to do:
Attachment:
Bracing.jpg

I carved down the ends of the braces way too far, particularly the lattice, because the sticks of brace wood I had lying around were a little short. And anyway, I thought it might be good to have the last inch or so be the plate only, since it's naturally so stiff being constrained by the perimeter... but I was wrong. It pulled up, so it has a lot of curvature in the last couple inches before the perimeter. Bass is great, but the trebles are pretty bad. Sort of hollow, nasal tone to them, like archtop guitars. Which makes sense, with the excessive curvature and all.

How thick is your plate? Mine was sitka, about 2mm. Pretty stiff piece, but at that thickness it just needed more bracing. That perimeter style probably would have been fine at 3mm. Of course then the rest of the bracing would need to be shaved down a lot.

The lattice on yours looks good, so if it feels good, it's probably good :) I might scallop your X brace ends back just a bit farther, but you could save that until you have it to the open-backed box stage so you can tap it. Shaving X brace ends makes a clearly audible difference then, and even better if you spool clamp the back on to get an approximation of the closed box sound.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 2:33 am 
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The plate is around 3.2mm at the moment, but I will probably thin it some more from the top because it still feels rather stiff and heavy. When I tap the free plate, it sounds quite good around the edge, but in the bridge plate area it doesn't ring very well. Is there anything you can do to open that part up more?
To be honest, I haven't got a clue what I'm listening for!

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:35 am 
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Well in that case, it may need some adjustment of some sort... the bridge area tap tone could be due to the large bridge plate. Upon closer examination, that thing's pretty thick, isn't it? Too heavy. This pattern is really designed for thin plate building, and the large bridge plate is there to distribute the torque of the bridge over a larger area so it doesn't form a "kink" right in front and behind the bridge. But even then, it doesn't need to be thicker than maybe 2mm, and it's not necessary at all on a thicker soundboard because that will prevent the local distortion by virtue of its own stiffness.

Sooo... I think I'm in over my head on advice giving :oops: I've only braced 5 steel string tops total, and only one was this pattern, and bracing a 2mm plate is a whole different ballgame than 3mm so that's not really applicable. Hopefully someone more qualified will stop by and help out.

But I can definitely recommend thinning that bridge plate down. Take a sharp chisel to it bevel-side down and you should be able to work some wood off of it without having to redo the lattice.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:48 pm 
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Thanks for the tips [:Y:] I know the top is supposed to be thin, but I just got a bit nervous when thinning it, not wanting to go too far. Once I've glued it to the sides I'll try taking it down more and see what happens. The bridge plate is 3mm thick, so I'll try thinning that a bit too. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to use an unusual pattern!

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:34 pm 
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I managed to thin the bridge plate and the top a bit. It sounds slightly better when I tap it, but I think the braces need to come down a bit more. Aside from that, I got the back braces glued on and carved. As it's a 3 piece back, I had to do two centre strips.
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Then chisel out the brace pockets
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The neck has also been rough shaped, with the heel and headstock cut out. Now it just needs a lot of sanding [xx(] .

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I changed the headstock shape slightly to decrease the chance of poking someones eye out! (Actually, I had made it too short laughing6-hehe )

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I'm trying to copy a heel shape by Michihiro Matsuda, but it's a lot harder than it looks. I'm really not good at keeping things simple!
The heel cap is a very unusual piece of wenge (I think).

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:01 pm 
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Woohoo!!!! The box is closed bliss bliss

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My quick and cheap spool clamps in action gluing the top on.

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Top glued on needing trimming. I trimmed the excess with a chisel and small block plane, but I'll wait until the back is on for the final scraping and sanding.

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Checking the fit of the neck.

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The back is currently drying.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:07 pm 
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While waiting for glue to dry on various things, I did some work on the neck. I have glued the headplate on and trimmed it nearly to size.

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Final trimming will be done on the bobbin sander in college.
I have also planed the taper in the fretboard.

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And fitted the position markers.
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(Stupid autofocus!)
The markers are bits of plastic tube filled with rosewood dust and CA glue.

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Shavings! I love working with rosewood - it smells so nice :D I have also epoxied the truss rod in but don't have photos of that yet.
More to come...

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 3:05 pm 
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Got the headstock all smoothed out and thinned with the spindle sander in college and the tuning holes are drilled.
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(The tuners are only in there temporarily)
Then I started on the binding channels. Luckily, I managed to borrow a purfling cutter from a friend whose built a violin, so I didn't have to rely on my wobbly homemade one laughing6-hehe . Cutting them by hand is soooo tedious.

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Then I fired up the bending iron for the last time and bent all the bindings. I seem to have been surprisingly lucky with the bending for this guitar - nothing has broken or even cracked!
Me in my 'workshop':
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Dry fitting the bindings
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I actually believe I have a chance of finishing in time!!

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 5:33 pm 
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It's looking good! Nice clean "shop". I think you'll finish just fine - you're ahead of me for sure.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 6:04 pm 
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I'm getting to the stage where I keep finding little things I have to do before I can put the finish on. I was hoping to start this weekend, but we'll see.
I made the end wedge out of the leftover wood from the rosette. I'm still not sure what it is - it could be zebrano. (Back to front on purpose of course laughing6-hehe )
Image

Once that was dry, I trimmed it flush with the binding channels and glued in the binding itself using a long rubber band and this jig I made inspired by Todd's binding jig.
Image

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While making the jig, I forgot that there would be a lot of strain on it from the bands, and made it out of 12mm chipboard. It was creaking and bending as I tightened it up, but luckily nothing snapped! The binding didn't come out too badly, but there are several gaps that will need to be filled and the ends are slightly out of alignment.
I wanted to mitre the ends of the wedge purfling into the binding, but couldn't figure out how to do it accurately.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 6:09 pm 
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While all that was going on, I fretted the fingerboard using a g-clamp and a jatoba caul.
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It worked very nicely [:Y:] Once that was done, I could finally stick it onto the neck so I could finish carving it (yet to be done).
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I just bolted the neck on to see what it looked like - it looks uncannily like the photoshopped version in post #1!!
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 6:11 pm 
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And a few more...
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 6:19 pm 
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It's coming together nicely. I still like the rosette!

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:10 pm 
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Looking good Peter!! Keep the photos coming [:Y:]

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:53 pm 
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Looks great! How did the box tap tone end up? Hold it up by the neck or with your finger through the soundhole and give the bridge position a quick tap with the pad of your finger. Does it say "pok" or "toom" or something else?

Also, what's up with the missing 2nd fret?

The rest of the frets look like they could use a bit of leveling, but probably will be ok with fairly high action, if you don't have the tools for it yet. Dia-sharp stones make nice levelers (but don't get the 2 sided ones, they're not flat). The StewMac offset diamond file is the best for crowning, but expensive. It can be done with a flat or triangular file, working until there's only a sliver of marking left along the center line of the fret, but of course that takes more time than using a concave file.

Best of luck with the neck carving, and finishing the whole thing. Especially pore filling... most of the difficulty of finishing is just getting to a perfectly level surface. Putting a thin layer of shiny stuff on top of it isn't so hard.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:41 am 
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Thanks all of you! The box actually sounds ok now when I tap it. It does make a big difference having the back and sides on. I would describe it more as a 'toom' with a second or so sustain. It sounds better than my current guitar when I tap that, but I don't know how the bridge affects it.
The missing second fret is where I put in a couple of locating pins to keep the fingerboard in place while it was gluing. I think they will need some leveling, but I'm putting it off for as long as possible, as I am with the finishing! I'm going with a satin wiping varnish, so it shouldn't be too hard.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:42 am 
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Not much in the way of photos, but I've just finished the final sanding, so I should be pore filling over the weekend and onto the first coat of varnish.
I love how the grain suddenly pops when sanding with 240 grit. I didn't really know what it meant until I saw it!

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:05 pm 
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First coat of finish on today bliss . Wiping varnish is so easy to apply - took about 10 minutes to do the whole thing! Just 9 more coats to go...
I pore filled it first with an oil based filler that said it was meant for mahogany, but I don't really like the colour. It's lighter than the wood, so looks a bit funny. I'm getting used to it though. I've accepted the fact that the finish will not be great anyway!

I'm glad I remembered to make a handle.

Image

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 3:30 pm 
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Really nice first build, Peter.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:16 pm 
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What she said ^^^^^^
Looks great, I can't wait to hear it.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 4:57 pm 
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Nice 3 piece back! I'm partial to 3 piece backs, have been since I played a '68 BRW D35 back in 1972.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:22 pm 
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Thanks again!
While the finish goes on slowly, one coat per day, I've been carving the bridge. Madagascar rosewood is so nice to carve.

Image

So far I'm down to 33g, but it is still about 1mm too thick and the bridge pin holes will get bigger, so I'm hoping it will end up at 30g or less.
Image

The saddle is 6mm thick instead of the usual 3. I read somewhere that it made a smoother transition at the break, transmitting more sound into the body.
I have a nasty feeling that I may have gone too thin on the strip in front of the saddle - it's 2mm at one end. We'll see...

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:10 am 
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So close to the end! I can't wait to string it up.
The varnishing is finished and I've started the buffing process. I didn't have time to finish buffing it before gluing the bridge on, so I just finished the top and partly dine the back, sides and neck. I'll finish those after stringing up.
The finish actually turned out pretty good. Much glossier than I expected from a satin varnish, which is good because I decided after buying it that I actually wanted gloss! Still a few scratches if you hold it up to the light, but I'm not too bothered about them - there are so many other mistakes anyway, I'll just do better on the next. Unfortunately, I didn't realise just how delicate the varnish was (when I scraped it off for the bridge, you could hardly feel where the varnish ended) and put it down on a bench in college to buff it, not seeing the dried glue blob underneath. So it now has a few dents in the back as well [headinwall] . Well, you learn by your mistakes duh .
Image

Image

I'll try to take better photos later.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:16 am 
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While the varnish was going on, I was making a bridge clamp of the through bolt variety, seeing as I don't have enough cam clamps. I also made an mdf bridge locating jig.

Image
You simply line up the end with the nut and the sides of the fingerboard, and the other end rests against the front of the saddle.

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Scraping off the finish.

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The bridge clamp in action. It seems to work ok.

Image
I added a cam clamp to increase the pressure.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:17 am 
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And a few more photos:
Image

Image

Image

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