Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Here we go again.

I have all but finished the OOO. I've let it settle and slowly worked the saddle down, getting close to an acceptable action height.

The big news is that I have ordered my second kit, basically the drednought that I worked up on the LMI Kit Wizard. The plan is that by the time it arrives in the post, settles to my climate etc, I will have the OOO complete.

Still before I get too far ahead of myself, here are some photos I took yesterday. Warts and all, I haven't polished the guitar or worked the angles and lighting to have you belive I have a fantastic finish.

One day soon I will redo the finish on the headstock - it just doesn't rate in my list of priorities at the moment - Playing the guitar does.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Okay, so here is the rough enough answers. I had a count back and can tell you that I spent AUD $1,387.45 building this guitar. I still don’t know if I consider that to be extreme. Had I not been able to gain access to a lot of my father’s tools, this would have been a whole lot more. Then again, on the flip side, I bought a lot of new tools, expenses that I will not have to spend on the next guitar

From adding up the blog entries, I have spent 112 days and 89 hours on the construction the guitar so far. Rounding up and down I would say that it will take the average hack (like me) about 100 hours to complete their first guitar.

Food for thought.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The dust is starting to settle

Okay so I got home today and worked out that my enthusiasm late last night was not really that warranted. I am still very happy but I still have a little way to go to get the instrument to settle.

My rant about the action being acceptable was purely a lie, it is not. The guitar is playable but still a long way away from being pleasurable. Not bad at the nut end but way too high at the saddle. Still that won't be too hard to fix up.

I have not touched the truss road yet and I have some reading on that subject to do. I have roughly sawed in the grooves into the nut and I have a nice distance between the strings.

Still, when all is said and done - I built a guitar.

Time taken : 1 hour
Tools used : saw, pencil, string winder
AU$'s spent : Nil

Monday, November 20, 2006

It's a guitar

I've done it. I've played it. I've heard it. I am happy.

I've been flying tonight. I got home from work and took the clamps of the bridge, I drilled the bridge pin holes and then used a tapered file to seat the pins.

Then I roughed out the saddle and put on the E strings... and then I put on the other four strings... threw a capo on the second fret and roughed out the spaces between the strings.... tuned it up about 3/4 pitch and started to play.

I love it. It sounds just as good as my Yamaha right now. The action is just as good as my Yamaha right now. I am amazed how simple it was to play even through the strings were sitting on rough height saddles and nut.

Somehow I need to get to sleep. I would play all night but I sanded off the end of my fingers whilst rubbing down the saddle.

Time taken : 3 hours
Tools used : clamps, drill, sandpaper, clamps, vice, rulers, files, pencil.
AU$'s spent : $9.95 set of strings

Sunday, November 19, 2006


This is amazing.

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

Mixed Emotions

Today I did the sanding and polishing of the neck, added on the tuning machines and fitted the bridge.

For some reason, and I have no idea why, the KTM-9 blistered on the headstock. The finish is useless in one small spot. It is a cosmetic issue really but you can see it easily and it sucks up the "wow factor" when you look at the guitar. I think I can spot fix it later but I am going to push forward for now. I need to hear this guitar.

I stripped back the finish on the soundboard and glue on the bridge. The process was a little daunting but I think that I have it in the right position without too much trouble at all.

Time taken : 2 hours
Tools used : sand paper, polish, drill, buffer, rules tape, paint stripper.
AU$'s spent : Nil

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Off comes the masking tape

Tired of waiting. I've had the neck out in the sunlight (warmth) a fair bit and all looked hard so I took the masking tape off the fretboard tonight. Not exactly disappointed but I am sure I could have achieved better results with a better technique.

My only problem is establishing the angle were the finish ends and the fretboard surface starts.

I tried using a sanding block to rub back the edge of the masking tape but the fret edges were causing difficulties. I ended up sliding a razor blade along the fretboard surface. The final product is not that bad however I can really see were the masking tape fell lower than the fretboard even though it was only a couple of millimeters here and there.

Before I try that again, I will be seeking ideas how people mask, and more importantly, remove the masking tape.

Time taken : I hour
Tools used : scalpel
AU$'s spent : Nil

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Tick Tock, Tick Tock

I am tired of waiting for the KTM-9 to dry. I wanna keep going.

On Sunday I went down to Bunnings and explained to a staff member my needs in making a caul or three in order to clamp (and drill) the bridge into place. I was suggested to try Selleys Knead It. The product is basically a putty that you work in your hand, making it softer as you go, it will then from to any shape you want. Once left to set, it sets rock hard.

So, I protected the bridge with plastic wrap and went to work, making three cauls. I am impressed with the results. Clean and very hard

Time taken : 30 minutes
Tools used : Selleys Knead It
AU$'s spent : $14.95

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Still fence sitting

I just can't commit. There is no doubt that I want to make a dreadnaught next but after playing around with the LMI Kit Wizard, the end price (for what I want) is AUD$722.53... and that isn't really an "all the fruit" package.

Now compare that with the StewMac Mahogany Dreadnaught at AUD$467.21 (plus cost of tuners)

Should I have another practive or just start making what I want and hope that I forget about the AUD$255.32 difference?

Is 3/4 of a thousand dollars too much to pay for a hobby? I have December off work and wanted to have the wood acclimatised and ready to go by then.

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

Sunday, November 05, 2006

What am I doing?

Should I be researching my next guitar before I have even finished this one? I haven't picked up a guitar (to play) in about 100 days, what would I do with another one? What am I going to do with myself over the next couple of weeks, whilst I wait for the finish to cure... I could have started on my next one...

What if this one turns out sounding like an elastic band stretched over a wet cardboard box?

Do I really need to spend all that money of building something flash or should I just try another basic kit.

Planning - Phase II

LMI's Kit Wizard has become my own little dream factory. I've changed a dozen things a thousand times. Hours of unproductive fun. I wish they had more pictures of the woods and bindings etc, a true novice like myself can not picture the final product.

This is what I am leaning towards at the moment... Either that or a straight out Drednought kit from StewMac.

Click on the picutre and then expand - so you can read it.

What are your thoughts? Have I forgotten anything (other than the trus rod)?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Photos as requested

Keeping in mind that I have not rubbed back and polished the neck at all, and the body needs a little more attention. This is the way she is looking at this time.

I am itching to keep going but I NOW think there is merit in letting KTM-9 harden over the following weeks... just like it explains in the instructions.

Time taken :
Tools used :
AU$'s spent

Friday, November 03, 2006

Finish Finished

Or at least I hope so. Four days of finishing have past. In total I have 16 coats. Thats four coats a day, a light 360 grit sand back, then start again. It looks good but this time I will wait at least two weeks before I start taking of the tape.

Any way, I have put the KTM-9 up on the shelf until I am ready to finish the next one. I reckon you could finish three guitars with a quart of KTM-9. I have no hesitation in using this product or recommending it to other first time builders. I know I have nothing to compare it with by I am getting a finish that I would never have expected.

Time taken : another hour in total
Tools used : KTM-9
AU$'s spent : Nil

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Second Finish

Yesterday I put on four thin coats of KTM-9 and then this afternoon, I gave it a very light rub back - to bare wood again. I added in a tiny bit of the stain to the effected area, hiding it well. Then tonight I applied another four coats.

Seems to be coming along okay.

Time taken : 1 hour in total
Tools used : Paint brush KTM-9 360 grit paper
AU$'s spent : Nil