Thinking of building an acoustic ---> It's done!

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  • MistergMisterg Frets: 353
    ^ Thank you! Your optimism is appreciated :grin: 
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  • MistergMisterg Frets: 353
    edited April 15

    Me again...

    When I got back from my holiday, I gave the guitar a good looking over with fresh eyes, and was still happy with the coverage of the shellac, so it was time to move on.

    This is what I had been using for polishing, by the way:



    The small bottle contained olive oil that I now needed to remove from the surface by 'spiriting off'.

    I made a new 'rubber' that could be kept free from oil. This was the same as the polishing 'rubber': Cotton wool wrapped in a threadbare cotton sheet. (I found that the worn cotton sheet worked noticeable nicer than the washed out T-shirt material that I also tried.)




    This rubber is used almost dry, with a small amount of very diluted shellac (in the bottle on the left in the photo up there^). The surface is worked in the direction of the grain, removing the oil and smoothing out any residual marks - it takes a surprising amount of pressure that tails away as the pad dries out, leaving a beautiful surface.

    It only needed a few sessions before I thought that I'd got it as good as I was likely to, and I put the body to one side for the finish to harden off again.

    The neck still had the fingerboard masked off, and when I took the masking tape off, it left a noticeable ridge in the finish (I should have taken it off sooner, I think).



    I had to carefully scrape this back and gave the neck another couple of coats of Tru Oil and it all came good.



    I gave the body a week to harden, and then polished and waxed it. I followed Sr. Requena's lead and used Mer car polish, but then used Collinite wax (because I happened to have both)



    I'm really pleased with the way the finish came up. There are plenty of flaws in it, but I have to go looking for them. Being shellac, all the flaws should be curable, but one needs to draw the line somewhere - you could spend forever getting it perfect but it's an instrument made to be played, not looked at, so it will inevitably pick up more marks. At the moment, I'd rate it as 'good' to 'very good'. Most of the people I've shown it to have asked if they can touch it...





    (Small dog for scale)

    The rosewood looks *really* nice under the shellac, even if I say so myself.

    Very, pleased. Itching to find out how it sounds now.

    Thanks for reading.
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  • fastonebazfastonebaz Frets: 4143
    How would you describe its smell currently?   All that waxing must make for a glorious fragrance.   Very nice work. 
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  • MistergMisterg Frets: 353
    How would you describe its smell currently?   All that waxing must make for a glorious fragrance.   Very nice work. 
    Thanks!

    The wax smelt nice when it went on, but that's all gone now (there's only a smidgen of wax on the whole thing). The sound hole has that delicious 'slightly-stewed-tea' smell of rosewood.  :3
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  • fastonebazfastonebaz Frets: 4143
    :yum: I reckon acoustic guitar fragrance should be a thing.   As well as tone wood they should fit fragrance wood too. Imagine wafts of spring blossom emanating from each strum. 
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  • MistergMisterg Frets: 353
    On the home straight now. It's surprising how quickly it comes together!

    Since I'd used CNC to make the bridge, it was easy to machine an inverse shape to act as a caul.



    I offset the surface in CAD to allow for some cork padding



    I had deliberately cut the masking tape in the bridge location slightly smaller than the bridge outline, so I positioned the bridge using the alignment holes that I'd made before finishing and carefully scribed around it with a scalpel and scraped off the narrow line of shellac.



    It was interesting that you could sort of feel the bridge 'fall into place' when it was aligned correctly.

    After a dry fitting, it was time to swallow hard and reach for the glue.

    I just clamped the bridge between the two cauls using two close fitting bolts (M4) in the alignment holes.



    When it had dried the bolts came out easily enough.

    I'd already made a saddle blank before I finished the bridge, but it was a bit of a struggle to get it to fit because some of the finish had built up inside the bridge slot and I chipped the finish on the edge of the slot trying to clear it out.

    I drilled out the rest of the string holes and reamed them to suit the bridge pins with a home made 3° reamer. (I'd bought a reamer described as being suitable for bridge pins, but it's far too steep an angle.)




    While the bridge was drying I dressed the fret ends. I will level the frets when I do a set-up on the guitar so these will need to be touched up again later on, but hopefully the bulk of the work is done. My first attempt at something like spherical fret ends.



    Then it was time for a nut blank



    I've always marked out the string spacing using this little graphic that came from the TDPRI forum years ago.



    I'd got some Gotoh SG381 tuning machines that look nice (IMHO) but are surprisingly heavy.



    I dry fitted the neck temporarily so that I could string it up and try and confirm that the neck angle was somewhere close




    I did tune it up to pitch (with GREAT trepidation) - there may be a scrappy video of it below:


    Luckily all appeared OK (as far as I could tell with a very high nut and a flat topped saddle, anyway).

    Then I took the neck off again and refitted it with glue under the fingerboard extension. Gulp.




    I strung it up again and spent some time getting the nut and saddle a bit closer, but it will need a full setup after it has settled down for a week or two before I can see how it plays.

    (Almost) Finished photos to follow... =)

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  • MistergMisterg Frets: 353
    Photo dump:

















    I'm well pleased with how it looks. I'll let it settle for a week or two, then level the frets and do a set-up and see how it plays.

    Thanks for reading!
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  • PennPenn Frets: 646
    That looks absolutely brilliant. 
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  • WezVWezV Frets: 16811
    That looks great, for a 1st or 101st build
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  • fastonebazfastonebaz Frets: 4143
    Amazing work! 
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  • vernvern Frets: 1
    Just staggering work!!! This looks every bit a pro level result.. wow! Thanks for all the effort to share your work too.
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  • bluechargeboybluechargeboy Frets: 1906
    Bang tidy!
    I'm just a Maserati in a world of Kias.
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  • digitalkettledigitalkettle Frets: 3333
    What's next? ;)
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  • That looks fantastic. Looking forward to hearing it played.  My own instrument building efforts have always been perfectly functional but I've never made anything that wouldn't look out of place hung in a shop - I'm extremely impressed.
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  • MistergMisterg Frets: 353
    Thank you all!

    Next? No plans at the moment!  :)

    Bang tidy!
    Thanks mate - might need an experienced test pilot in a week or two ;)
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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 3128
    Lovely job from start to finish.
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  • BigMonkaBigMonka Frets: 1783
    An absolute stunner of an instrument you've crafted there @Misterg - a family heirloom as well as a class instrument!
    Always be yourself! Unless you can be Batman, in which case always be Batman.
    My boss told me "dress for the job you want, not the job you have"... now I'm sat in a disciplinary meeting dressed as Batman.
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  • Jez6345789Jez6345789 Frets: 1801
    Stunning work and thanks for sharing the journey. I hopeful we migh here a little more strumming on it once its bedded in and settled as always interested in how people projects sound. 

    I do think you really went the extra mile on this and your patience with the French Polish etc is to be applauded 

    Thanks
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  • Dave_McDave_Mc Frets: 2382
    That's seriously impressive considering you've never done it before. My first build would be more like a shoe box with elastic bands! Incredible work, it looks great!  :o =)
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  • SlopeSoarerSlopeSoarer Frets: 852
    Incredibly good. You deserve the highest praise for your efforts!
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