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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 » Fri Oct 05, 2018 4:17 pm

I've discovered it's impossible to over-estimate the amount of sanding that goes into making a guitar.

Anyway, on we go. No update last month as life got in the way, hopefully back to normal now.

This visit I started by hand sanding off the headstock veneer, which was compressed fibre and appeared to be painted brown. Not a good look, so I am replacing it with real wood.

Also this neck had been fitted with a zero fret which I am going to replace with a bone nut, so I made space for the nut by using a fine saw to cut almost through the fingerboard at the zero fret and then chisel off the unwanted wood. I then sanded the headstock until it was dead flat starting from a point 5mm from the end of the fingerboard. The truss rod is held at the head end by a metal block, this also needed filing back so I have a nice flat surface for the new veneer.

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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Fri Oct 05, 2018 4:25 pm

The new headstock veneer is, as with nearly everything else on this guitar, something Colin has had kicking around for years but can't bear to throw away.

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This is an old piece of walnut that has a knot at one end and has warped. We use the flatbed sander to bring the thickness down from 4mm to about 1.5mm, then I draw round the headstock and use a bandsaw to cut out the veneer, slightly oversize. Then it's just glue and clamp it on till dry, and then use a small plane and chisel to clean off the extra.

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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Fri Oct 05, 2018 4:29 pm

We use a pillar drill to drill holes in the veneer for the tuning pegs using the existing headstock holes as guides.

Then drill through the veneer into the truss rod recess and open it out using a file and small carving chisel.

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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Fri Oct 05, 2018 4:41 pm

Time to have a go at the heel. First I plane the maple block down level with the side of the neck.

Colin carves his necks mostly using feel, having carved maybe a couple of hundred of them. However I need some pencil lines so I roughly draw the shape I'm aiming for, and have at it with the rasp and a small rounded file with very sharp teeth (or whatever it is that files have).

Finally it's starting to look heel like, so I smooth it off with a fine file. Not quite there yet but not far now.

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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Fri Oct 05, 2018 4:45 pm

Last job this month was to remove the orangey lacquer from the neck with a scraper and sandpaper. Not a fun job! But quite satisfying to see that nice clean maple neck. Just a little bit of fine tuning the shape to do especially around the heel join, but definitely looking guitar neck like now :D

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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby blinddrew » Sun Oct 07, 2018 1:58 pm

Been waiting for this update, glad to see it coming together. :)
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby Wonks » Sun Oct 07, 2018 2:12 pm

Come on Ade, get a move on and finish it! ;)
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Sun Oct 07, 2018 2:36 pm

I don't know why it's taken me so long! :bouncy:
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby Martin Walker » Sun Oct 07, 2018 7:56 pm

adrian_k wrote:I don't know why it's taken me so long! :bouncy:

It's because you refuse to compromise on quality :clap:


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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:35 pm

I'll take that ;)
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:39 pm

Actually I've been doing it all wrong - here's how to do it in one day ....

https://youtu.be/vdrck92KhDI
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby Wonks » Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:58 pm

All you needed was one you'd prepared earlier.
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:53 pm

This month's lesson is don't rush things, focus on what you are doing, and a little planning goes a long way.

Didn't have a lot of 'me' time in the workshop this visit and much of that was taken up with fixing my mandolin. Dropped it recently, not too badly damaged, a small split in the top near the edge and a crack in the binding, nothing superglue and a partial refinish couldn’t fix.

But I wanted to make some sort of progress on Frankenbro. I had a couple of hours before I had to be somewhere else, should be time to replace the plastic fret markers with something a bit nicer. We’d previously ransacked Colin store of bits and found some 7mm awabi dots to replace the 1/4 inch plastic and some 3mm ones for decoration.

So first I drew a centre line up the fingerboard, which revealed that the original dots were 1 to 1.5 mm south of the centre line.
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This kind of thing drives me nuts. Of course it doesn’t make much difference, I hadn’t even noticed till I measured it. However I really didn’t want to intentionally put the new dots in the ‘wrong’ place, but I would have to unless I bought some bigger inlays. But that would be against the ‘use what you can find’ ethos.

So I grumpily re-drew a line that was about .75 mm north of the existing dot centre at the 15th fret, less at 3rd. I calculated I could move it that far and the 7mm dots would still cover the slightly smaller 1/4 inch plastic ones, and it would be nearer to centre. I then drew lines for the 3mm dots, scaled in line with the two existing dots at the 12th fret. See the fallacy in all this? (a) probably nobody would ever notice, and (b) what’s the likelihood I can even drill to .75 mm accuracy on my first attempt at doing this?
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Sun Nov 11, 2018 1:31 pm

All this faffing about was wasting time. Need to crack on. Using a sharp bradawl I made guide holes for the drill, fine on the rosewood but didn’t work so well on the plastic, more like dents than holes. Oh well I would just have to be careful drilling those.

I then drilled the 3mm holes about 1.5mm deep making sure they would leave the new dots slightly proud, put a drop of superglue in, popped the new dots in and pressed home with the flat of a screwdriver.
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16 out of 17 went in pretty well, one I managed to drill very slightly out of line. Blast!
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Sun Nov 11, 2018 1:36 pm

Quickly on to the 7mm dots. The first one is a problem though - despite taking it fairly slow and easy the bradawl hole isn’t enough to guide the drill centrepoint and I slide off into the wood. Not helped by the fact that I'm steadying the neck with one hand while drilling with the other.

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Colin has a look that for once isn’t instantly reassuring. Hmmm is all he says. He searches his assorted fret markers and offers me a larger snowflakey shaped one made from pearl. The irregular edge might help hide the damage to the wood. So on top of having dots out of line I will now have one dot different. I will never sleep again.

Using a 1.5mm bit I drilled a pilot hole in the crater of my last attempt. While I was at it I drilled pilot holes in the rest of the plastic dots (what I should have done in the first place). Col then held the work so I could get two hands on the drill, and I used a 9mm bit to drill out for the snowflake. However the bit caught the edge of the hole and split off some small fragments of rosewood. Looked a right mess. I ploughed on and glued the snowflake in. I have some filling to do.

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While Colin held the work I drilled out the rest of the dots with a 7mm bit, which went ok. Lesson - secure the work properly, make sure the pilot holes are good, don’t rush.
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby blinddrew » Sun Nov 11, 2018 1:42 pm

These are important lessons, that all of us learn, generally several times, and generally as a result of forgeting the previous time...
Looking forward to seeing how you sort this out, I know you will. :)
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Sun Nov 11, 2018 1:48 pm

I filled the damaged area around the snowflake with superglue and rosewood dust. Where that hadn't filled completely I pushed in some coloured wax. Not great but if you don't look too closely....

I then sanded the neck to clean it up and bring the other dots down level with the fingerboard. And that's it for another month.

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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Sun Nov 11, 2018 1:50 pm

blinddrew wrote:Looking forward to seeing how you sort this out, I know you will. :)

..with a little help from someone who knows ;)
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Sun Nov 11, 2018 1:52 pm

blinddrew wrote:These are important lessons, that all of us learn, generally several times, and generally as a result of forgetting the previous time...
Yes - annoying that we have to keep making these mistakes!!!
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby Wonks » Sun Nov 11, 2018 2:59 pm

Well, you can always practice by drilling out all the round dots and replacing them with snowflakes so they all match! ;)
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