Finished Pics! Andyjr1515's Piccolo gains a couple of strings

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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1678
    While the router was still out from @impmann 's build, I quickly trimmed the back of this using the very not recommended method of using the expensive figured top as my template:


    - and started the curvature of the top.  All still just roughing out at the moment:


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  • With the focus on @impmann 's build, this has taken the back seat somewhat.  Still, while Tim's Alembicesque's gloss coat was drying, I spent and hour cutting the pickup chambers and rough-curving the edges.  I've also given the body its first tru-oil slurry coat:


    Next job on this one is slotting the snakewood fretboard blank.  I'm going for a PRS-style 25" scale...
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  • Having finished @impmann 's Alembic-esque build, I'm heading back to the sister build above, which will be for my own use.

    Other than the lack of the carve through arm relief forming the 'sucked lozenge' on , the woods are the same, so the overall look should be similar - I hope so, anyway, because Tim's looked sooo good... :) 

    This is the start of the convex/concave carve:

    _MG_3143thumbJPG99c8e62ba5ba495911334c076a5c8ad2JPG

    There's a bit further to go but hopefully you get the idea.

    Now one thing I'm really, really bad at is spending the time to build jigs.  BUT, I've come to the conclusion that life is too short for hand radiusing fretboards!  Hand radiusing is problematic too.  Even on Tim's - radius was fine, straight all the way down at all points of the radius, no dips at either end...but treble to bass ended up with an angle!  Doesn't affect the feel or the playability one jot, but heck! 

    So, I've cribbed a design from LedBelliBass on HomemadeTools.net and modded it a bit and here it is in progress:

    _MG_3715thumbJPG31754182e0817a8540beda1862415c33JPG

    I'm undecided whether or not to put roller bearings on the lengthways slide or just use guide strips (the whole thing will be mounted on a flat, smooth box-plank.

    For indexing, I will use a simple peg and hole system.

    I'm hoping I can finish it tomorrow and so kick off re-commencement of this build later next week.
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  • Bit of progress on this.

    I'll do a separate thread about the radiusing jig, but it was a decent success in the end.  The snakewood fretboard was accurately radiused in around 1.5 hours, including  set up and final sanding:



    And after that short time, it is straight, un-dipped at the ends, accurately radiussed and square.  This compares with @impmann Tim's Alembicesque which took 3 days, after which it was straight, un-dipped at the ends, accurately radiussed and not quite square! (the whole thing was thicker one side than the other.  Didn't affect the playing at all, but after all that time and care and effort!!!!)

    So "I declare the radius rig as fit for purpose." :)  

    And that meant I could slot the fretboard with my G&W mitre box.  I've gone for a PRS-type 25" scale


    On Tim's build, I was pleased how the retro-fit binding worked so on this one I've decided to go radical and fit the binding BEFORE fitting and fretting the fretboard


    The binding on this is actually acoustic guitar body binding with a b/w/b feature - easier than laying down veneer sheets on top of the neck!


    Similar to my last two or three builds, I've gone for swifts at the twelveth fret.  Here they are cut out before routing and fitting - and yes, it's an optical illusion - the dots are straight and even :)    :


    And this - inlays set in with epoxy mixed with some snakewood sanding dust - brings you up to date :)


    Note the router base rub mark on the 13th fret in the shape of a swift! ;)  This, and the MoP and the binding will all sand smooth once it's all fully set.
     




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  • PhilKingPhilKing Frets: 212
    I love that snakewood fingerboard.  I'm sure it will look great against the body wood.
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  • PhilKing said:
    I love that snakewood fingerboard.  I'm sure it will look great against the body wood.
    Thanks :)  It's lovely...cost the same as a very decent entry-level guitar, but lovely =)
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  • And so here we are - with a fretboard ready to fret:


    So next question is do I fit it then fret (as I normally do but sometimes with mixed results) or should I try a change and fret it then fit?

    Nowadays, with a tiny bead of titebond along the tangs, I lightly hammer just to get it in the seating slot but then then clamp a radius block very tightly to fully bottom it...that bit would certainly be easier with the fretboard off..

    What do you reckon?
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  • And so here we are - with a fretboard ready to fret:


    That looks amazing - was the Snakewood hard to work with - I've heard all sorts of horror stories about it splitting etc.

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  • That's some of the snakiest snakewood I've seen.  Very nice!
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  • And so here we are - with a fretboard ready to fret:


    That looks amazing - was the Snakewood hard to work with - I've heard all sorts of horror stories about it splitting etc.

    The last one I did on the piccolo bass it was fine. This one, so far, also good. I pinged a corner off the (thankfully) oversize blank on my radius jig but that was over enthusiastic use of the jig. The testing time will be when I fret it ;)
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  • And so here we are - with a fretboard ready to fret:


    That looks amazing - was the Snakewood hard to work with - I've heard all sorts of horror stories about it splitting etc.

    The last one I did on the piccolo bass it was fine. This one, so far, also good. I pinged a corner off the (thankfully) oversize blank on my radius jig but that was over enthusiastic use of the jig. The testing time will be when I fret it ;)
    Looking good so far!

    That's some of the snakiest snakewood I've seen.  Very nice!
    Indeed it is -  very nice pattern on it!
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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1678
    Well - the plan is to get this finished by the end of January ;)

    Having capped the trussrod, I chiselled out the fretboard inset in the body top:


    Then, remembering the mantra that 'you can never have too many clamps!' :


    Which an hour or so later, gave me this:


    I think the binding w/b/w stripe is going to work OK.  It's a lot easier than running three lengths of veneer down the whole fretboard and hoping it will come out flat!:


    Next job - fretting while the neck is still flat at the back!
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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1678
    And the frets are in :)


    Next jobs are finishing the body carve and carving the neck profile...
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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1678
    Basic body carve is pretty much there:



    Total weight at the moment is 4lbs 10oz

    Next job is neck carve.
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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1678
    edited January 6
    When I build guitars and basses for other people, I get them to send me the profile measurements and shapes for their favourite neck.  While every guitar has its own feel, the objective is to at least create a familiarity in the playing of the new one.

    With my creeping hand arthritis, this is particularly important for this guitar, which is being built for my own use, because I have guitars now that I can no longer play.  So out comes my most comfortable neck and my £2 Wilko carpenters profile gauge and a bit of old notepad cover and I have my profile templates :


    Each to his own, but for neck carving, my preferred tools are spokeshave for rough bulk removal and the humble cabinet scraper for the main carve:


    You can see the size of the shavings from the spokeshave - brutal stuff.  So that really is, for me, just about taking the corners off.

    Many of the experienced builders use cabinet scrapers, but if you never have:
    • Buy a set (a few £'s in Homebase, B&Q for starters)
    • Learn how to re-burnish them (they will come already burnished for initial use)
    • Try it!

    They act like a mini plane.  These are the type of shavings from this morning:


    They can remove wood remarkably quickly - but very, very controllably.  This avoids every neck-carver's nightmare - taking too much off!  You can literally creep up to your target shape and size.

    Final tool I use, just for the awkward bits round the volute and neck/body join is a fine curved micro-plane blade (mine comes from Axminster).  Wearing gloves, I use the microplane two-handed, a bit like a scraper.  This gives me maximum control:


    I will spend the rest of the day finishing this off, but between washing up the breakfast pots and coffee time - and including re-burnishing the cabinet scrapers - the neck went from a 3-4mm oversize rectangular block to this:


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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1678
    edited January 6
    That's enough for one day.  Looks much the same but this is now pretty close to the templates in profile and the thickness up the board is closer to plan. 

    For this final profile carving I use the scraper very lightly, holding the guitar like a back-to-front cello, picking it up frequently and silent playing to check for the feel 


    I will be scooping the backs of the two cutaways a touch and, in the process, softening the transition of the heel to body and extending the neck profile shape into the heel.  Clearly, the volute also needs finishing.

    Perhaps you can see here one of the advantages of opting for a slim body, apart from the weight.  Compare this with, say, a strat as your thumb comes up to the heel when playing the upper frets.  In fact, even once your thumb is fully on the body, it's only the same depth as an unfitted strat neck!       



    And this will be further enhanced with the planned scoop mentioned above



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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1678
    The nice thing about building a guitar for your own use is that you can experiment and test out concepts.

    If you remember, the primary objective of this guitar was for it to be light, and yet look fairly conventional and play well.

    Presently, it weighs 4lb 5oz which, for a 25" through-neck, isn't too bad.

    The upper fret thumb transition at the heel is also better than many comparable designs, simply because of the slimness of the body.  But I'm hoping for a little bit more.

    I want to take @impmann's Alembic-esque back carve a touch further.  If you remember, Tim's is like this:

    It aims to give clearance to the hypothenor (?) - the bit of your palm opposite your thumb joint...think old fashioned karate film clips ;) - when your left hand is trying to reach the upper frets.

    With this build, I'm going to go one stage further.  Do you remember the Psilos bass where I partially continued the fretboard radius into the top horn of the bass (always an issue with a single cut bass)?:


    Well, I'm going to try to combine those two concepts by continuing the neck profile carve of the lower cutaway up to the 22nd fret itself:


    This lower one will be quite deep at the neck.  The carve will be matched with a shallower version on the upper cutaway, for more visual rather then functional reasons:


    I don't really have the perfect carving tools (or the talent!) to do this - and I'm hopeless at pre-imagining what the shapes will do all around -and so will take it very slowly.  Probably will take me the rest of the day.

    One quite pretty BBQ log coming up! ;)

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  • paulnb57paulnb57 Frets: 1117
    Nice idea for upper fret access at the dusty end, another bloody nice build Andy, which I'm convinced will turn out great!
    Stranger from another planet welcome to our hole - Just strap on your guitar and we'll play some rock 'n' roll

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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1678
    edited January 7
    paulnb57 said:
    Nice idea for upper fret access at the dusty end, another bloody nice build Andy, which I'm convinced will turn out great!
    Thanks, Paul

    OK - I've done enough to know when to put it down until another day.

    It's a bit scary when you take what would have been a perfectly acceptable neck and do THIS to it! :  


    But, having taken a couple more of the pills, it gradually became this:


    And then, with some obvious lumps and bumps still to smooth out, it started getting to where I think I was trying to get:


    I could go deeper but, in terms of getting to the 22nd fret without your fretting thumb being aware you've reached the body, I think this will do.

    Got a couple of days away from the build so I'll keep looking at it and pondering and, if I still think this will do, do the finish sanding and move up to the headstock.

    Oh - and current weight 4lbs 4oz...
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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1678
    I'm sure @impmann won't mind, but I will be replicating the headstock shape from the Alembic-esque build - it is a sister build, after all :)

    First job is to add a couple of wings cut from offcut of the neck:


    Next, to cut a couple of camphor-laurel slivers from some offcut from the top - one will be used for the headstock plate and the other for the control chamber cover:


    This is how the whole thing will look:

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  • impmannimpmann Frets: 7127
    Looking lovely, Andy! :-)
    Never Ever Bloody Anything Ever.

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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1678
    impmann said:
    Looking lovely, Andy! :-)
    Thanks, Tim :)
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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1678
    Cut the headstock plate to finished shape and then glued and clamped it up:


    Then with the headstock back rough filed to shape, it's starting to get there:



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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1678
    Swifts are cut:


    Next job is the delicate routing stuff to fit them into the headstock.  I usually take a shot like this so I can remember where I was going to position them!  ;)    :



    The slurry and buffing (tru-oil) has started - I start early on this to both use the slurry as grain and void filler, but also it shows up any missed sanding marks or tool dig-ins that can be then sanded out before the final preparatory buff coats:




     The body will be eventually finished with Osmo Polyx gloss - troublesome the first time I tried it, but that might have been me rather than the Polyx.  Worth another go, based on how good the semi-mat and satins are :)
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  • JalapenoJalapeno Frets: 3280
    edited January 11



    Rockin' Good Progress !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Imagine something sharp and witty here ......

    Feedback
    elvis.gif 189.7K
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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1678
    And the swifts are safely in flight:


    And so I can start final sanding - removing some sharp edges, lumpy bits, scratches and dinks:


    Last bits of actual construction are the volute, control chamber cover and truss-rod cover.  Then it's more about finishing, installation, fret-dressing, etc..  I've got some relatively clear days coming up so, with any luck and barring major cock-ups, next week should see this basically finished :)
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  • The slurry and buffing (tru-oil) has started

     The body will be eventually finished with Osmo Polyx gloss
    Looking fantastic.  Does the Osmo work OK on top of Tru-Oil then?  Poly on top of oil just sounds wrong for some reason - perhaps Tru-oil isn't as oily as I imagine.
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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1678
    edited January 11
    The slurry and buffing (tru-oil) has started

     The body will be eventually finished with Osmo Polyx gloss
    Looking fantastic.  Does the Osmo work OK on top of Tru-Oil then?  Poly on top of oil just sounds wrong for some reason - perhaps Tru-oil isn't as oily as I imagine.
    Certainly the satin does.  We'll find out shortly with gloss.  Like tru-oil itself, it seems to be pretty unreactive (to be honest, I don't have much tolerance for finishing materials that are reactive...life's too b****y short!)

    This re-body of the Fender Rascal bass on one of my other threads was done in exactly the same way, using satin Osmo on top of slurry and buffed tru-oil:


    You can also, I have realised, slurry and buff Osmo itself!  The reason that I prefer tru-oil, however, is that it dries quicker and is easier to sand once it has dried.
     

    I have had some issues with the Osmo gloss second coat reacting with its own first coat in an early trial - but I may have applied the second coat a bit too soon....maybe.  Time will tell!  Certainly, I've never had any issues with the satins and matts
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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1678
    edited January 12
    Before I start routing out the bottom of the control chamber, I like to drill at least a couple of the pot holes just to give myself a second check of thickness in addition to the rather splendid Crimson caliper measure.

    The only concessions so far on electrics ref the very thin body is going to a barrel jack and a switchcraft angled toggle three-way.  The chamber will be plenty deep enough for the pots and the mini toggles.  Both the 3-way and the barrel are on order so I won't drill all the holes until I have them here, but at its most basic, this is what I'll have (conventional 3-way in the photo):


    Almost certainly, I will add a second volume pot to go: vol; vol; master tone; split neck; split bridge.  Looking at this and the specs of the parts on order, it should all fit fine

    I was happy to drill the holes for the first two pots to give me that extra reference point for thickness before getting out a bearing-bitted router out to deepen the chamber:


    This leaves me with 3mm at its thinnest and 5mm at its thickest.  I could go a touch thinner for most of the area, but I shouldn't need to - so won't until and unless I do need to.

    And that brings the finished body weight - including the hatch - to just a touch over 4lbs

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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1678
    Well, I think I'm on the home straight for this one.

    The finishing proper has started.

    Having used tru-oil slurry-and-wipe as my general grain and void filler, I've then lightly sanded that and now applied a very thin wipe-coat of Osmo Polyx 3011 Gloss, just using my usual choice of dirt-cheap microfibre cloth:



    I will let this dry overnight before applying the second coat. 

    One of the reasons for me being patient (and it's a strain!) is that, while I've have great success with the Osmo satin and also their whitening 'RAW' version, I have had an issue the one time I tried their gloss.  On the second coat it wrinkled and orange-peeled. 

    Now, to be honest, I have no patience with finishes that are super sensitive - it's why I keep away from many of the more traditional guitar finishing products.  Life's too short.  Having said that, I'm pretty sure my problem with the Osmo gloss was that I simply applied the second coat too soon.  The satin and matt versions were not at all reactive. 

    It would be nice to get a modern very low VOC gloss that actually works and can be wiped on....hence the patience ;)

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