Monday, October 30, 2006

Day 92

That's right! I've been on this buid for getting close to a third of the year. And, I think I've been making fairly good time. Don't ever think that you'll wizz you way through the first build. I have no doubt that my second (and following ones) will be quicker as I will have a number of different processes going at the same time instead of following the pages in the manual

I'm feeling good about the buil again. Today I put on the two coats of stain again. Tomorrow I will start putting on the KTM-9 again. To think, I had planned to have this all done by mid November.

Still I am glad that I took the time and effort to restart the neck. I think it is better this time around. Practice makes presentable

Time taken : 1 hour
Tools used : sandpaper, stain, rags
AU$'s spent : Nil

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Neck Setting - Again

Well I think I might be back on track. It’s not pretty but I have sanded back the neck and started again. That silly Martin diamond – I almost sanded the whole thing off. Then I went crazy making new shims and resetting the neck again. This time I (finger) tightly bolted the neck on before I took any measurements. I also tidied up a few of those blemishes that I have been frowning at since I started finishing the neck.

I took to my beautiful finish with paint stripper so that I will one day have a gluing surface under the fret board.

It’s late now but so I have stopped, tomorrow I might sand a little fret board relief into the top, like Kenneth Michael suggests.

Time taken : 4 hours
Tools used : sandpaper, craft knife, steel rules, superglue, mahogany
AU$'s spent : Nil

Friday, October 27, 2006

I give up.

Because I like to play with things I positioned the bridge today, taped it down and checked my neckset. It's out. The gap is about twice as much as I remember. What's going on? Angry Angry Angry

Time taken : Nil
Tools used : Nil
AU$'s spent : Nil

Thursday, October 26, 2006

More reading ahead

I've been sitting here thinking. I will have to strip it and start again. I might go back to reading about Tru-Oil and the like. Then again, I am now thinking that I did not leave the finish to cure long enough before leveling and final sanding.

Time taken :
Tools used :
AU$'s spent :

I don't want to talk about it

but I will.

Once again I am reminded that I am a novice, a fool and a cocky idiot. As mentioned yesterday, I was on a high turning out this sort of result on the body...

So today, I start on the neck. Somehow, and I still have no idea how, I managed to sand through the KTM-9, it must have been so very thin. How did I manage to get through a dozen or so coats? I rubbed back the body fairly vigorously, trying to get out all of the shine, trying to make it as flat as possible and I think that I ended up with a great result. So today, I just took off mindlessly, following the same steps and then I look down and I see... light coloured mahogany.

THEN! I say to myself, "Self, you could hide that with a tiny bit of stain on a cotton wool tip, only you will know Self." - Drongo - Alcohol based stain EATS plastic KTM-9.

THEN! I notice that there are two spots on the fretboard edge that appear to have once been air bubbles under the KTM-9. I don't know, they weren't there/visable before.

THEN! I think "Let's try and buff that tiny spot out" so I start, following the same steps as I did on the body and... with a slip of the hand, I let the chuck of a high speed spinning drill drag along the neck, leaving two great big scratches.

THEN! I pull off the masking tape. No matter how slow, gentle or controlled I tried to be, I pulled the KTM away as well. Let me tell you - It is thick. I don't get it.

I have sort of calmed down - I can not find my memory card at the moment (honest) but I promise I will show you all the mistakes ASAP. That neck will have to be stripped back and done again... one day.

At the moment, I am thinking about moving on and coming back to it.... after I've heard the guitar - I CAN NOT WAIT. I can't foresee any steps from here on in that will prevent me from going back and re-finishing the neck.

Time taken : 1 hour
Tools used : drill, buff, wood polishing compound, sandpaper,
AU$'s spent : Nil

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Gee. I'm good

Now I am not saying that I am a pro but I am really impressed with my result. I rubbed the body back to nearly flat with 360 grit paper and then wet-n-dry at 1200 grit and then again at 2000 grit.

By that stage I thought that I was almost back to bare wood, it looked too my eye there did not appear to be any KTM-9 left and I started to worry.

Then I took to the body with a polishing compound and buff on the electric drill and up it came. Lovely flat shine. I'll show you the photos once I've completed the body and the neck. Stay tuned.

Time taken : 2 hours
Tools used : Electric Drill, cloth buff, polishing compound
AU$'s spent : $18.95 polishing compound, $28.00 cloth buff, $8.00 sand paper

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Getting closer to the finish finish

Craig has asked for an update about the finishing process so I thought I would post a few progressive photos. I am starting to get the hang on brushing on the KTM-9. I am confident that the thinking of less is best is the way to go. I was trying to get thick and well covering layers of lacquer on each time but I have found that the bubbles or drips that go along with the thicker coats are harder to deal with once they have dried.

I also found that the KTM tacks off rather quickly and touching the area again can result in disaster. The latest coats have been thin, light and imperfect but I no longer have drips or air bubbles.

I have now applied about ten or twelve coats now and rubbed back the higher points with 340 paper about every 3 or 4 coats. I’ve also noted that the sand paper doesn’t seem to last very long – which was surprising. I am most likely using the wrong type of paper.

The photos below I took today and I am thinking that tonight, I will sand the surfaces back until there is no shine left of the surface. Please keep in mind that with these photos I have tried to take images which show the flaws in the finish. I have turned the piece so that all the brush marks and thin parts are visible.

In general I am happy with my first effort at finishing. Those that have seen the guitar have all commented on how good the product looks. Maybe next time (planning is underway) I will spray but I think that brushing KTM-9 is suitable for the home builder to brush on.

Time taken :
Tools used :
AU$'s spent :

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Closer to the end

Another few coats of KTM-9 went on tonight but a majority of the evening has been taken up because I finally gathered the courage to add up the total $AUD I have spent whilst making this guitar. It is an interesting amount. I will report as to the cost, tools used and number of hours soon.

Time taken :
Tools used :
AU$'s spent :

Monday, October 16, 2006

Finishing Woes

I am getting frustrated, basically because I have no idea what I am doing. I have all but lost count of how many coats of KTM-9 I have brushed on, I'll say seven. The first few went on really well, smooth and with next to no brush marks.

It may be because the surface is less absorptive now but no matter how I let the body "rest", I am getting bubbles where the finish pools, following gravity. I have tried brushing thinner but I find that as I brush the coat thinner, the lacquer gets tacky and then the brush marks increase and/or I get small pieces of lacquer rolling up into tiny gel like balls.

When I try to take back the hardened bubbles, I end up bursting through and it leaves a concaved surface.

I am sure this all has more to do with operator error as opposed to it being an issue with the product. I scuffed back with 340 grit after the first three coats. I think I might start moving up through the higher number grade papers tomorrow.

If any of the readers out there have brushed on KTM-9 before, I love to know what steps you took and how you finished it all off. Please leave a comment.

Time taken : About 2 hours, it doesn't take long for each coat.
Tools used : brush, KTM-9, sand paper
AU$'s spent : Nil

Monday, October 09, 2006

Spray Handles

In answer to Greg's question, I have used the broken waste clamp as a spray handle. I used one of the 8 inch rods from the clamps I had made to glue down the top and bottom to attached the clamp to the neck block. It has worked out well, I have a small clamp that rotates as well, this enables me to turn the body as I apply the finish. The neck I have simply attached to a length of wood.

I have scuffed back the first coat of lacquer and applied another two layers on top since. It seems to be all coming along nicely. Touch wood

Time taken : 30 minutes
Tools used : brushes, KTM-9, sandpaper
AU$'s spent : Nil

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Finish Goes On

Perhaps it won't be the best finish put on by an novice, but I have decided to press ahead and just start with the KTM-9 finish - and I am brushing it on.

Obviously the blog will slow down for a while now as it would be a bit pointless to tell you all about each coat and the days of drying in between

Time taken : 30 minutes
Tools used : brush, KTM-9
AU$'s spent : Nil

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I'm an idiot

I read the instruction manual, I read the bit where it said "mask the sound board" and in a lot of respects I did. I masked of about three edges all the way around, heaps. It worked fine for the first three applications of the stain and then tonight I had a totally brain melt down and for some reason I thought it would support the guitar by placing a couple of stain covered fingers in the middle of the sound board.

I am an idiot.

This idiot has also been think about setting the neck again... considering how much sanding I have done to the neck block area etc. Did not dare look at it tonight. Left the workshop fairly angry tonight.

Time taken : 10 minutes
Tools used : stain, rag, stupidity
AU$'s spent : nil

Moving right along

I got stuck into all that white wood filler with the sand paper and took it all back to bare wood again. The only places that the filler remains is where I made horrible (but little) mistakes, places where there was a gap between the wood and the binding for example.

Then I put back on the first coat of stain.

You really notice how your technique improves the second time around. You can practice and practice on scrap wood but there is something different about putting wood stain onto your guitar... it seems a lot more "fluid"

The wood putty coloured up okay - it was just a brighter pink.

Might get the second coat of stain on before bed tonight. Honestly, If I could have, if the build was flawless, I would not stain the mahogany. When I wet the wood to raise the grain, that is the way I would like the wood to look the whole time. I can however acknowledge that the stain will hide some of those little marks and knocks that I have pick up along the way.

Time taken : 2 hours
Tools used : sandpaper, electric sander, stain
AU$'s spent : nil

Monday, October 02, 2006

Back to Square One

I remember a couple of weeks ago, when I was setting the neck, and getting it all wrong. I was getting close to putting the whole thing into the chipper. Tonight I am ready to put myself in.

I was feeling really comfortable with the way the finishing was progressing. I still felt that there was a little too much red, but already the colour (Australians spell colour correctly) was growing on me.

Then, I moved on to the pore filling and this is where I have totally mucked up – this is where the master wood workers would have been good to have around.

Now, I’ve never used pore/wood filler before. I’ve heard and read that on most occasions they are easy to sand back and the instructions on the product I used simply said something like “spread with a plastic scraper”. I went in thinking that I couldn’t really overdose on the filler. I thought that if I used too much I could simply sand it back.

To compound this – Neutral is not – It is white – and it looks really bad on mahogany.

As soon as I started sanding it back, I started wearing off the stain on the edges. I could see that I was going to leave the surface

My only option now is to rub it all back and start again. Great – No doubt next I’ll sand right though. Did I ever mention that I love sanding?

Time taken : 1.5 hours
Tools used : plastic spatula, wood filler, sand paper
AU$'s spent : Nil

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A second coat

Tonight I put on a second coat of the stain in an attempt to darken the redness - there was almost a pinkish tinge that I wanted to darken over. Gee I wish I could have pressed pause when I put on the second coat. When it was wet, the stain had a kind of honeycomb appearance about it... and then it faded away as it dried.

Just to remind me that I don't know what I am doing, the second coat has highlighted glue marks that I couldn't see before - nothing major, just annoying.

Time taken : 10 minutes
Tools used : Stain, rag, glove
AU$'s spent : nil