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  #16  
Old 10-12-2020, 01:06 PM
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ArchtopLover ArchtopLover is offline
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Default Epiphone Blackstone project continues...

I had a chance this weekend to continue the repairs on my 1949 (not a 1954, as I had thought), Blackstone. After my Stew-Mac order was delayed by a few days, I placed a back-up order with LMI and bought two of their very expensive, but USA made, low profile truss rods (the adjuster nuts are 1/4" O.D., which is nice and compact). One of the rods, is a simple single-way and the other is a two-way adjustable type. These arrived via FedEx Saturday morning! So, after some real strong considerations about which rod to use and which way to locate the adjuster nut, I decided on keeping the adjuster mechanism nut at the modified headstock position and to use the two-way rod. I began by scraping the old glue off the neck/fretboard joint and then lightly sanding the surface. The old truss rod groove was then milled out to accept a maple filler strip. Once the new maple filler strip was cut to fit the cleaned out groove, it was fitted and clamped tight and then set aside for the glue to cure. After the glue dried, the filler strip was precision routed to LMI specifications and the headstock notch was modified to accept a 9/64" hex key wrench. Finally, an access hole for the adjuster nut was bored-out and the new truss rod was test fitted. Here are a few pics -

Thanks for letting me post on your forum. Let me know what you think.
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  #17  
Old 10-12-2020, 04:01 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchtopLover View Post
...I decided on keeping the adjuster mechanism nut at the modified headstock position and to use the two-way rod...Let me know what you think.
Since you went that route, you might want to go with a late New York-style, single-screw white/black/white truss-rod cover to match; here's an original example from a '53 Triumph:



- and since it looks like you'll need to go oversize, Kiesel (nee Carvin) carries something that should be close enough for your application:



https://www.kieselguitars.com/products/TC1W
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  #18  
Old 10-13-2020, 02:09 PM
RoyBoy RoyBoy is offline
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Great work archtop lover! You really took the time to do the job the right way, especially after it had been butchered. Luthier's Merc does have great stuff, I use their truss rods in all my builds. Their shipping is pricy but fast. Can't wait to see your guitar all back together.
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  #19  
Old 10-14-2020, 04:52 AM
Arumako Arumako is offline
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Wow! That's some great work ArchtopLover. The maple filler fits perfectly! Which adhesive did you use to secure the filler? Carry on! Carry on!
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  #20  
Old 11-16-2020, 03:28 PM
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Default The Project is moving forward.

After some delays I have made some great progress on this beautiful 1949 Epiphone Blackstone. Now that the truss rod slot has been refurbished and the truss rod installed, the top of the neck needed to be carefully inspected to see how much warpage was causing the upbow I was seeing before the project began. Using a straight edge ruler I measured a 0.040" "depression at the center of the neck. Thankfully, the upbow was nicely centered between the heel and the nut, so I am confident that any adjustment of the truss rod will place the point of maximum force exactly where it will have the most effect. After some thought about this project I decided to flatten the neck before the fretboard was reinstalled, this way, the truss rod would not need to be overstressed trying to correct such a large up-bow. At first I thought I would just sand the whole neck flat, then I caught myself and realized this would have been foolish, since I would be removing 0.020" at each end, compromising the neck at each end and losing some of the fretboard extension, since at the extension end, once the neck is flattened and the wood is removed, the neck gets shortened by about an 1/8".

So, the best solution was to do the real work and craft a maple shim, feather edged at both ends, with a center thickness of exactly 0.040". This wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be, just time consuming at the machine tools, however, the results were well worth the effort. Once glued down using the back side of a 16" aluminum radius sanding beam, the top of the neck is now perfectly flat.

The photo is not so great, but you can see the flat sawn maple used and the four holes I had to punch in the shim, so that I didn't cover up my alignment indexing pin holes.
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File Type: jpg 1949 Epiphone Blackstone repairs 11-04-2020 008.jpg (41.4 KB, 57 views)
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1918 Gibson L-1
1928 Gibson L-4 (Blond w/Ebony Fretboard)
1930's Kalamazoo KG-32
1930's Gretsch F-50
1934 Gibson L-7
1934 Gibson L-50 (KG-11/14 Body Shape)
1935 Gibson L-50 (Flat-back)
1935 Gibson L-30 (Flat-back)
1942 Gibson L-50 (WWII Banner Head)
1948 Gibson L-50
1949 Epiphone Blackstone

"a sharp mind cuts cleaner than a sharp tool"
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  #21  
Old 11-16-2020, 03:41 PM
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Default The fretboard gets some TLC

The next step in this project was to prepare the fretboard by routing out some damage done by the previous botched repair job by fitting and glueing in a maple filler strip. Once this was done I lightly sanded the bottom of the fretboard and then radius sanded the top nice and flat. A few of the fingernail gouges, at the first three positions, were too deep and I left these alone.

Next, the fretboard slots were cleaned out, and the slot tops lightly chamfered. Then, a full fret job was performed on the Indian rosewood board, using medium-wide, medium-high wire (a personal preference on my part). This was the first fret job I have done on a fretboard which had been removed and lying flat on a work table. Using a 9.5" radiused brass fretting caul, mounted to my drill press chuck, I was able to press-in all of the frets in less than 15 minutes. This modern process was such a joy to work to the end; I sort of wanted another fretboard handy to just keep going .

With the frets installed, the fret ends were nipped, filed and beveled. Now that the fretboard was fretted and prepared, I was ready to reglue the fretboard to the now perfectly flat neck.
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1918 Gibson L-1
1928 Gibson L-4 (Blond w/Ebony Fretboard)
1930's Kalamazoo KG-32
1930's Gretsch F-50
1934 Gibson L-7
1934 Gibson L-50 (KG-11/14 Body Shape)
1935 Gibson L-50 (Flat-back)
1935 Gibson L-30 (Flat-back)
1942 Gibson L-50 (WWII Banner Head)
1948 Gibson L-50
1949 Epiphone Blackstone

"a sharp mind cuts cleaner than a sharp tool"
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  #22  
Old 11-16-2020, 03:50 PM
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Default Glueing up the fretboard

Using a set of four 1/16" wire alignment pins, glued into 1/2" wood dowels, I used LMI yellow glue to secure the fretboard to the neck, this way any future repairs will only need heat to loosen the joint. By inserting the pins into the 1/16" holes I drilled at the second and 13th fret, I was able to glue and clamp the fretboard along the full length with no slippage. Neat and clean.
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1918 Gibson L-1
1928 Gibson L-4 (Blond w/Ebony Fretboard)
1930's Kalamazoo KG-32
1930's Gretsch F-50
1934 Gibson L-7
1934 Gibson L-50 (KG-11/14 Body Shape)
1935 Gibson L-50 (Flat-back)
1935 Gibson L-30 (Flat-back)
1942 Gibson L-50 (WWII Banner Head)
1948 Gibson L-50
1949 Epiphone Blackstone

"a sharp mind cuts cleaner than a sharp tool"
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  #23  
Old 11-16-2020, 04:11 PM
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Default Treat the frets right

Now that the fretboard has been reinstalled, and securely glued to the top of the neck, the frets were leveled, crowned and polished. This was also the best time to file and smooth the fret ends, before the binding was glued back on, this way I was not causing any damage to the delicate plastic binding during this process.

Next, the binding was glued on and scrapped flush to the sides and top of the fretboard. And finally, side dots were inserted using the traditional, 1940's era, Epiphone arrangement of using only one dot to mark the 12th position.
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1918 Gibson L-1
1928 Gibson L-4 (Blond w/Ebony Fretboard)
1930's Kalamazoo KG-32
1930's Gretsch F-50
1934 Gibson L-7
1934 Gibson L-50 (KG-11/14 Body Shape)
1935 Gibson L-50 (Flat-back)
1935 Gibson L-30 (Flat-back)
1942 Gibson L-50 (WWII Banner Head)
1948 Gibson L-50
1949 Epiphone Blackstone

"a sharp mind cuts cleaner than a sharp tool"
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  #24  
Old 11-16-2020, 08:35 PM
Arumako Arumako is offline
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Wow, ArchtopLover! That is some great work. You're definitely taking me to school, as I will be following in your footsteps with my Nardan project in the next two weeks. Fortunately, no truss rod issues for me, though! Thanks for sharing! Can't wait to see the finished instrument!
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  #25  
Old 11-17-2020, 10:05 AM
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Default Working on the Dovetail Joint

Thanks Arumako for your comments. I am watching your progress on your Nardan No. 65 MIJ archtop and I look forward to seeing this lovely archtop sing again.

I am now working on the dovetail joint. I have chipped and scrapped all of the old hyde glue out of the joint and have begun the trial-and-error process of fitting the neck to the body. Once the joint was cleaned, and after the first slip-fit check, I noticed that the original factory fit was not very good. Because the fit is so loose, I had to glue a set of thin maple shims to the neck dovetail, in order to make up for age shrinkage or just a poor fit from the factory, nevertheless, the neck reset process is underway.

Also, shout-out and thanks to Steve DeRosa for his suggestion on the Kiesel Guitars truss rod cover plate. I placed an order this morning for a new TC1W style, white, 3-ply, plastic, Carvin style cover plate.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 1949 Epitphone Blackstone Repairs 11-07-2020 003.jpg (51.6 KB, 47 views)
__________________
1918 Gibson L-1
1928 Gibson L-4 (Blond w/Ebony Fretboard)
1930's Kalamazoo KG-32
1930's Gretsch F-50
1934 Gibson L-7
1934 Gibson L-50 (KG-11/14 Body Shape)
1935 Gibson L-50 (Flat-back)
1935 Gibson L-30 (Flat-back)
1942 Gibson L-50 (WWII Banner Head)
1948 Gibson L-50
1949 Epiphone Blackstone

"a sharp mind cuts cleaner than a sharp tool"
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  #26  
Old 11-17-2020, 10:34 AM
MC5C MC5C is offline
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Interested to see that you applied the binding after fretting and dressing the ends of the frets, since the more popular way is to bind the fretboard first, install the frets over the binding and then dress. I found that interesting because that's clearly how the frets on my '46 Epi Zephyr were done. The binding is definitely proud of the ends of the frets, no overlap.
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  #27  
Old 11-20-2020, 09:14 PM
Saxonbowman Saxonbowman is offline
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This is coming along nicely!
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  #28  
Old 11-21-2020, 06:09 PM
Dave Richard Dave Richard is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MC5C View Post
Interested to see that you applied the binding after fretting and dressing the ends of the frets, since the more popular way is to bind the fretboard first, install the frets over the binding and then dress. I found that interesting because that's clearly how the frets on my '46 Epi Zephyr were done. The binding is definitely proud of the ends of the frets, no overlap.
I believe most manufacturers installed the frets, to the edge of the fingerboard, then applied the binding. Some, like Epiphone, left no nibs on the binding, some, like Gibson, did leave nibs. On Epiphone necks, the binding is usually nicely rounded to meet the fingerboard edge, making for a very comfortable feel. That's not possible on a Gibson neck, with the nibs. I no longer fret over the binding, after realizing how much I preferred the feel of a vintage Epi neck.
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