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  #31  
Old 11-06-2011, 08:10 PM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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Nah - more like "what am I about to get myself into?" Now I know, but I have no regrets.
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2013 OLF MJ (DIY build, western red cedar, Honduran mahogany)
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  #32  
Old 11-14-2011, 09:06 PM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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For the past week I've been prepping the sides to accept the plates. From what I've read the most common procedure is to leave the braces long enough to extend beyond the outline of the sides, measure the dimensions carefully and then cut notches into the kerfing and sides so that the braces stick out. When I saw Mr. Kitchen Guitars do this with his first build I thought it was ugly but he told me that he did it because he was in turn told that it would "lock in" the braces with the rims and make the guitar stronger.

I'm not totally buying it but I figured I'd give it a try - and I'm paying for it with the back. The issue is that the rims on the back taper so that the entire back plate has to bend so that it fits. That complicates who you would go about measuring and marking where to cut into the kerfing/sides. Last night and earlier today I tried measuring and even made some cuts with the back just lying free on the rims. I was driving myself crazy because I had to repeatedly realign the back to the sides and made MANY marks. When I started making my notches I started with the lower bout because it was easier since the bend is at the upper bout. The problem happened when I went to notch the upper bout. When I bent the back everything shifted, but luckily nothing's broken and my cuts are shallow enough that I can fill any oopsies for structural reasons and for visual aesthetics the binding will cover them.

I posed this problem over at the Kit Guitars Forum and somebody suggested I use rubber bands to secure the plate to the sides. I was wondering how I'd do this without taking the sides out of the mold when it occurred to me that I had some bungie cords lying around. They lock right on to the sides of my mold nicely and I think I've got a good working solution. It's too late tonight to fire up the Dremel (I got a smaller model for Xmas from my wife last year) but tomorrow hopefully I'll have my notches finished and the oopsies filled with scrap spruce.

Now for the pics:









The top's rim isn't tapered like this so it's mostly ready to go. I just need to sand things smooth with progressively smoother grits of sandpaper. Once that's all done - and I don't jinx things with overconfidence followed by the inevitable brain fart - I should be ready to close the box. (Crosses fingers)
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2013 OLF MJ (DIY build, western red cedar, Honduran mahogany)
2012 McKnight McUkulele
2009 Martin D-16GT
2006 Larrivee OM-03R
1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster (Natural ash)

Last edited by Neil K Walk; 11-14-2011 at 10:31 PM.
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  #33  
Old 11-15-2011, 05:13 AM
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Gotta trim back the inner back strip off the top and bottom of the back. That will stop much of your sliding around.
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  #34  
Old 11-22-2011, 10:00 AM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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It's been about 4 weeks since I braced the top and about 2 since I braced the back and scalloped each. After that I had the hardest time notching the kerfing - and this past week I had a cold that got into my chest and caused me to lose my voice - but now I think it's ready to go. The back more so than the top so I'm going to glue up the back as soon as I can.

There are a couple of issues I'm willing to move past if they're not crucial. Firstly, it took me a long time to find the right position for the back plate and several times while cutting the kerfing I had to adjust it, leaving gaps. Will it be an issue if I don't fill them in with scrap? The kerfing is also a little high around the waist, though; it stands proud of the sides about 1/32"-1/16" in places. Will that be an issue?

FWIW when I was "finished" with the slots I set the sides on the back plate and applied a little pressure since the back is losing its radius. I turned out the lights, then used a flashlight to find any leaks." The only ones were around my braces:



Once I was satisfied with the placement of the centerline I held everything fast with a pair of bungie cords and flipped the mold:



Then I went and marked where to trim the center strip. I had to take everything apart and the lack of a radius on the back made the trim less precise than I would have liked but I'll live with it for now. Once I got everything back in place I went and traced the outline along the kerfing. That's so I know where to put the bead of glue when it's time to quick hymning and hawing about it:



All is still not quite ready yet though. Firstly, I don't have access to the 20' radius dish I used to brace the back, but I don't think that's going to be an issue. My plan is to lay the mold face down with the back up so that I can apply the go bars using some scrap soft wood as cauls:



Another factor is the RH in my basement; it's all over the place. Recent rainstorms have spiked the RH to the upper 40% range. I'd rather it were in the upper 30's. It seems the closer to the floor the higher the RH. Having a couple of desk lamps nearby seems to help - at least in the immediate area. Hopefully it's good enough:

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~ Neil

2013 OLF MJ (DIY build, western red cedar, Honduran mahogany)
2012 McKnight McUkulele
2009 Martin D-16GT
2006 Larrivee OM-03R
1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster (Natural ash)
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  #35  
Old 11-23-2011, 08:11 AM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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Finally things are glued up and it's sitting at Kitchen Guitars' humidity-controlled workshop:



I can't wait to get back there and inspect the results - and then work toward closing the box!
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~ Neil

2013 OLF MJ (DIY build, western red cedar, Honduran mahogany)
2012 McKnight McUkulele
2009 Martin D-16GT
2006 Larrivee OM-03R
1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster (Natural ash)
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  #36  
Old 11-26-2011, 12:04 PM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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It's close to being a box. Right now I'd call it a bowl or a basket or something. That just means I could take it out of the mold without worrying about the waist flexing and setting it down on the router table to trim off the excess. Flip it over and it makes a nice conga noise too!









Yes, there was a little tearout that was the result of a crack that had formed when I did a dry fit with the go-bar deck, but that's going to be routed out for the binding/purfling anyway so no big deal. All in all, not bad since I didn't use a flush cut bit on the router.



Next up is to flatten the extension on the neck block so that it's flat (so that there's no hump at the 14th fret) and at 1.5° so that the neck angle is right when the time comes. I've yet to sign the underside of my soundboard but I have a little more sanding to do in order to get rid of all the flat surfaces.
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2013 OLF MJ (DIY build, western red cedar, Honduran mahogany)
2012 McKnight McUkulele
2009 Martin D-16GT
2006 Larrivee OM-03R
1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster (Natural ash)
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  #37  
Old 11-27-2011, 12:04 PM
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Neil, you are doing a great job. Slow and steady. This is wise. It looks good.
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  #38  
Old 11-27-2011, 09:37 PM
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Its quite common to refer to a guitar in that state as being a "boat".

Just stopped by to say "hi neil, keep up the good work!"

Mike
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  #39  
Old 11-28-2011, 08:47 PM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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Thanks, Mary and Mikey!

Today I was doing a dry fit of the top under pressure in the go-bar deck and I had Joey helping me, handing me the rods and sticking a mag light in the soundhole to see if any light was leaking through between the top and sides. His favorite thing right now is banging on an old set of bongos that were left to me from my dad and I showed him how a guitar's body is kind of like a drum by knocking lightly right where the bridge will go. It was definitely one of the better father/son moments.

As for what's next, the top is almost ready to go on for good. I just have to chisel away at a couple of places, then sign and date the underside for posterity. I also need to print out a label to glue inside that will be seen from the soundhole. I just haven't decided what to call it yet. I hope it turns out to be a family heirloom though. I know many luthiers like to keep their first for sentimental reasons.

John Kitchen once showed me the story about Joan Baez's Martin parlor and how a luthier who once repaired it wrote "too bad you're a communist" underneath and backwards so that it could be read with a mirror. It's got me thinking of writing my boys a little message in my own build.
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2013 OLF MJ (DIY build, western red cedar, Honduran mahogany)
2012 McKnight McUkulele
2009 Martin D-16GT
2006 Larrivee OM-03R
1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster (Natural ash)
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  #40  
Old 11-29-2011, 04:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwakatak View Post
Thanks, Mary and Mikey!

Today I was doing a dry fit of the top under pressure in the go-bar deck and I had Joey helping me, handing me the rods and sticking a mag light in the soundhole to see if any light was leaking through between the top and sides. His favorite thing right now is banging on an old set of bongos that were left to me from my dad and I showed him how a guitar's body is kind of like a drum by knocking lightly right where the bridge will go. It was definitely one of the better father/son moments.

As for what's next, the top is almost ready to go on for good. I just have to chisel away at a couple of places, then sign and date the underside for posterity. I also need to print out a label to glue inside that will be seen from the soundhole. I just haven't decided what to call it yet. I hope it turns out to be a family heirloom though. I know many luthiers like to keep their first for sentimental reasons.

John Kitchen once showed me the story about Joan Baez's Martin parlor and how a luthier who once repaired it wrote "too bad you're a communist" underneath and backwards so that it could be read with a mirror. It's got me thinking of writing my boys a little message in my own build.
Like "This sound hole is not for Orange Juice"
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  #41  
Old 11-29-2011, 05:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitchen Guitars View Post
Like "This sound hole is not for Orange Juice"
I like that. John, you're a nut.

Neil, if there is any special memory, a quote, verse, lullaby, (their names?) that will help your boys forever hold your guitar as a a part of their lives that Daddy spent so much time creating, write it on the inside of the top now. You will never have access to your first like you do not. A simple #2 pencil does the trick. You don't have to write a book, but be sure to date it.
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  #42  
Old 12-01-2011, 09:50 PM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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Today was a brisk December morning with frost on the rooftops and the furnace kicking on, reducing the RH to the mid-30% range. Perfect conditions actually to put the top on. After signing the underside of the soundboard and recording its tap tone one last time for posterity I did some final sanding of the tail and neck blocks to make sure that the angle right. Even if things aren't dead on at this point I can still still tweak things after the top is trimmed. :



At this point it was time start the day so I had to wait until after lunch to do the glue up.



Then I enlisted a little help with the go bars. He was adamant that he do one all by himself - even though I feared for his safety and the structural integrity of my ding-prone cedar top:



"It sounds like a drum, Daddy!"



That was right when I was supposed to be dropping him off at preschool; about 12:30PM. It's nearly 12 hours later and I'm itching to take the go bars out and pull the box out of the mold but I'll wait until tomorrow night.

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~ Neil

2013 OLF MJ (DIY build, western red cedar, Honduran mahogany)
2012 McKnight McUkulele
2009 Martin D-16GT
2006 Larrivee OM-03R
1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster (Natural ash)
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  #43  
Old 12-02-2011, 02:23 AM
dekutree64 dekutree64 is offline
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Congrats on your first closed box! And good job to your son getting that go bar in just right Might have a little builder on your hands in a few more years.

And I hear ya on the torture of waiting to unclamp it! Just wait until it's the bridge you're gluing, and you can get right to final setup after it's done But really, 24 hours is overkill for closing the box. Plenty of room for moisture to escape, so it dries pretty quickly. The fingerboard, on the other hand, needs minimum 24 hours and preferably 48 to make good and sure that the moisture has equalized through the whole neck and won't be moving after you unclamp it.

Did you end up putting a message on the inside of the top, or just sign/date?
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  #44  
Old 12-02-2011, 05:11 AM
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Neil you left your laptop inside the box!
Great stuff. You did it!
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  #45  
Old 12-02-2011, 07:15 AM
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He is adorable, Neil. Pre-school can wait. There are more important things in life like time with Daddy!
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