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Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Sat Nov 16, 2019 7:02 pm

Oh and here's the case I'm going to use - an old, well used thing that Colin couldn't bear to throw away but could never use for a new instrument:

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That's it for this month!
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby Wonks » Sat Nov 16, 2019 7:38 pm

I'd have used nitro, basic drying times are similar and I'd have put more coats on before rubbing back. There's no single correct way to spray, so certainly carry on the way you're doing it.

But given your limited available spraying time, I'd have just added more layers without sanding. Then when you came back next month, you could have both sanded and polished on a cured finish.
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby Folderol » Sat Nov 16, 2019 9:36 pm

Nice to see this project is alive again, and props for sticking with all that sanding. I can't think of anything I hate more :thumbup:
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby blinddrew » Sat Nov 16, 2019 10:01 pm

The whole coating and sanding thing does get tedious pretty quickly, but it's the only way to get a good finish and there's really no shortcut.
Good to see a bit more progress. :)
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:31 am

I don't mind the sanding, I do a lot of grunt work for Col when I visit so I'm used to it. Also can be very satisfying (yes I am weird).

Re the one coat vs many before cutting back question, as Wonks says there's no right way and in fact I think the manufacturer's guide for the AC lacquer says put three coats on at a time.

The reasons I am not doing that are: 1) I want to get as many surface imperfections out as possible before I get too much finish on, single coats early on really highlight where more work is needed; 2) my spraying technique ain't that good and I don't want to risk runs on runs that I then have to sand hard back anyway; 3) this is how Col does it after decades of trying different approaches and subjectively I like the finish on Col's guitars better than many that come in, more silky smooth to the touch, depth of finish looks better and less build up in the nooks and crannies like at the neck/body join. I accept I may be biased. ;)

Talking of imperfections I forgot this: When I cut slots into the guitar sides for the bracing I carelessly went too low on one of them. I put a small pad in to support the brace but it looks a mess from the outside. This was before the binding channel was cut, and its ended up visible below the binding. And of course it's on the upper bout where I'll be staring straight at it. So I filled it in with coloured wax, and I may just touch it up with a dark stain it to make it look more like dark grain:

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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby Wonks » Sun Nov 17, 2019 11:23 am

I looked up one datasheet for AC lacquer and a) you should definitely be wearing gloves and have your arms covered when spraying and b) they say no coarser than 320 grit for between coat de-nibbing.
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Sun Nov 17, 2019 12:16 pm

Fair point about the gloves but hey I'm old and I'm not going to be doing any more of this.

Re the grades - I'm not de-nibbing yet. The first two or three coats I can end up sanding a lot of it off as it uncovers problems. Once I'm happy with the surface I'll go to 320 (and from this point onwards try very hard not to cut through to the wood), then go 400, 600, 800 wet then finish on 1000 wet, then polish. But depending how it goes I might do more than one coat at any grade or (hopefully not) have to go back a grade. I'm happy to take it slow and steady anyway :)
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby Wonks » Sun Nov 17, 2019 12:46 pm

I'm more concerned that for heavier sanding you aren't letting the finish dry properly, which means that you are probably making things harder for yourself. With the finish still quite soft, the sandpaper is liable to tear out bigger 'chunks' (relatively) than if the finish was harder. So, you end up creating small pits than then need to be filled again etc. The two hours dry time for sanding is really for 320 grit and light sanding. For coarser grit I'd wait 24 hours, or the best part of. Also, any runs will be thicker and will take a bit longer to dry. I'd personally wait 1 or 2 days before sanding those down.
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby Wonks » Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:42 pm

You'll obviously get there in the end, but if Col wants you out fairly quickly, then more spraying and less sanding will get you there that bit quicker. It may sound like I'm having a go at you, but I don't mean to.
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:55 pm

Your concern is noted and appreciated! :D and all input is welcome.

I also haven’t been very clear. The first two coats are left overnight. In fact I’d never go to two hours drying because despite what manufacturers say and working in a humidity and temperature controlled environment, it doesn’t always work out like that. But I might go to two sprays a day later i.e. 4 hours if things are going well.

But I’ve been doing the sanding bit for Col a few years now and this process does work. And though he might want me to finish, we both want a good result and this approach is proven. (Caveat - with this finish. Nitro, french etc all different).
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Sun Dec 08, 2019 1:11 pm

I brought the guitar home last month and sanded back one coat in the garage still at 240 grit. I also did a fair bit of drop filling with lacquer, basically dropping lacquer into all of the gaps that appear when you start sanding back. For example:

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That particular gap between the binding and guitar side was where I hadn't done a good enough job of cleaning up the binding channel. The sides are laminate and tend to split at the edges. I ended up drop filling that gap five times, sanding back each time.
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Sun Dec 08, 2019 1:19 pm

Back in the workshop, I gave myself a break from sanding Frankenbro and test fitted the machine heads before I started getting any more lacquer on. I couldn't get any used ones that fitted in the timescale so ended up buying new Schallers. Probably for the best, worn machine heads can be a pain to live with.

The existing holes in the headstock were fine for the tuning posts but needed widening at the bottom to accommodate the base of the posts. Also needed to drill pilot holes for the fixing screws which were in a different position to the existing:

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And test fitted:

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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Sun Dec 08, 2019 1:31 pm

Then sprayed a fourth coat - starting to see the finish build up now:

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This is the stuff I am using:

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Cut that coat back with 320 grit then sprayed again, then cut back again with 320 as there were still areas that needed flattening - each coat reveals more imperfections.

At this stage there was enough lacquer on to apply the waterslide logo, bought from Rothko and Frost:

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You can also see where the tuning post holes have been widened to accommodate ferrules, not strictly needed as the posts fitted well but they'll look better and Col had some in his box of leftovers.
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Sun Dec 08, 2019 1:35 pm

That's it for this year. Sprayed another coat and have brought it home for cutting back with 400 grit (going very gingerly over the logo) and yet more (minor) drop filling.

That's the end of my spraying - my technique isn't good enough yet and the final three or four coats need to be put on nice and even, no runs, so I'm asking Col to do it for me next visit in return for beer and curry.
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby Wonks » Sun Dec 08, 2019 1:40 pm

Keep going Adrian, you're almost there!
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Sun Dec 08, 2019 1:42 pm

Wonks wrote:Keep going Adrian, you're almost there!

Thanks!!
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby Wonks » Sun Dec 08, 2019 2:36 pm

The tuner strip reminded me that I was going to comment on how little tuner strips have changed over the years.

Last weekend I picked up a late 30s/early 40s regal parlour guitar for £100. Can't see any serial number on it so there's no no hope of an accurate date. Whilst the original machine heads work, two of the tuner buttons are very bent and there's so much play in the gears that getting it in tune and staying in tune was never going to be easy. So whilst I'll keep the original tuners safe, I went and bought a set of Kluson strip tuners.

These have exactly the same post centres, fixing screw locations and an almost identical mounting plate size and shape to the originals. And I expect the original strips were available from at least the 1920s (or before). So you can buy tuners today that will fit guitars made 100 years ago. And Gibson still use this strip size on their LP Jr and Specials.

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The tuner post holes should have pressed steel ferrules, which have obviously fallen out over time, so I've ordered some more of those. They don't have any splines, so really need a dab of glue to keep them in place. The Klusons came with bushings, but they were of a wider, more modern design, so won't be fitted.

The guitar itself has many partially loose battens, so I'm in the process of gluing them back before stringing it up.
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby blinddrew » Sun Dec 08, 2019 9:19 pm

adrian_k wrote:That's it for this year. Sprayed another coat and have brought it home for cutting back with 400 grit (going very gingerly over the logo) and yet more (minor) drop filling.

That's the end of my spraying - my technique isn't good enough yet and the final three or four coats need to be put on nice and even, no runs, so I'm asking Col to do it for me next visit in return for beer and curry.
Good work Adrian, looking forward to seeing more progress in the new year. :)
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