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Finish design challenge - Thinking ahead

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Finish design challenge - Thinking ahead

Postby Steve Sawyer » Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:12 am

If this should be in the finishing section, I'd appreciate the moderators moving it there, but this is more of a design issue rather than finishing techniques.

I'm mid-project on a solid-body that will have a painted finish, but I'm looking ahead to the next project.

Left over from the stock I bought, milled and glued-up for the current project, I have two more solid alder body blanks on the shelf. I'm thinking of veneering the face and back and applying a natural finish or perhaps doing some dye under the finish, but I'm not sure about what to do on the sides. It seems my options are:

  • Leave the sides natural with a clear finish, though Alder isn't the most attractive wood
  • Stain the sides to contrast with the face & back veneer
  • Veneer the sides - though I've never veneered a curved surface, so I'm not keen on tackling that with this project
  • Apply a solid opaque color to the sides

In any case it would seem this is a good opportunity to try my hand at binding to provide a clean transition from face & back to sides.

I was leaning toward the solid-color approach, but I'm having trouble finding examples on the web (other than sunburst finishes) to get a sense of how this would look. While a sunburst finish would be cool (and I have an airbrush that would probably be perfect for doing that) I'm trying to not bite off more than I can chew with the next project by incorporating too many new techniques - I'll be busy enough with the veneering and binding and a clear finish!

Thoughts? Ideas? Examples?

Thanks!
==Steve==
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Re: Finish design challenge - Thinking ahead

Postby Peter Wilcox » Tue Jul 26, 2016 2:06 pm

Steve, here are a some guitars I made with the sides hidden with pigmented color (to hide defects in the wood.) I don't know if this is what you're thinking of - bodies are alder.
One has maple veneers top and bottom, no binding.
curly3.jpg

curly--fiddleback.jpg

This one's bound, with a slight sunburst on the back.
thinline3.jpg

thinline6.jpg
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Re: Finish design challenge - Thinking ahead

Postby Peter Wilcox » Tue Jul 26, 2016 2:08 pm

This ones bound, with natural alder back.
tail-and-back.jpg

tail-and-top.jpg
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Re: Finish design challenge - Thinking ahead

Postby Steve Sawyer » Tue Jul 26, 2016 3:50 pm

Thanks, Peter - yeah, that's exactly what I was thinking of.

On the Tele without the binding - how did you transition from the veneer to the edges? Hard to see in the picture, but I would imagine you could carefully feather the edge of the veneer and use filler to hide the last of the transition. And I can't tell on the two with the sunburst and natural alder back - are those glue-ups or were you able to find a chunk of alder that wide? Unfortunately the blanks I have are glue-ups, and the glue line isn't centered. It wouldn't be horrible, but still not very professional, so I'm probably going to veneer both front & back.

Finally - that last one with the natural alder back - am I correct that the curly maple is a solid laminate? I've got some 4/4 curly maple in the stash that I could resaw to do something similar if I have some wide enough.

By the way - beautiful work there, fellah!!

Oh - one other question - I'm intrigued by that cut-away heel plate I see on the one with the sunburst on the back. Did you make that, have it made or did you buy it somewhere? Really nice to be able to provide a more comfortable spot for the palm when playing up on the neck...
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Re: Finish design challenge - Thinking ahead

Postby Peter Wilcox » Tue Jul 26, 2016 7:19 pm

Steve Sawyer wrote:Thanks, Peter - yeah, that's exactly what I was thinking of.
On the Tele without the binding - how did you transition from the veneer to the edges? Hard to see in the picture, but I would imagine you could carefully feather the edge of the veneer and use filler to hide the last of the transition.

Basically. apply several coats of clear to the top (or back), spray the sides, then sand off the overspray on the top.
I explain it in more detail, with pics, part way down this thread: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4563
Steve Sawyer wrote:And I can't tell on the two with the sunburst and natural alder back - are those glue-ups or were you able to find a chunk of alder that wide? Unfortunately the blanks I have are glue-ups, and the glue line isn't centered. It wouldn't be horrible, but still not very professional, so I'm probably going to veneer both front & back.

I think the sunburst one is a 2 piece, and the other is 6 pieces glued together - here's a pic. That's the guitar on the left. The bass on the right has a 2 piece body. I've got a lot of free alder offcuts from a cabinet shop in 2x4 size, so I use that for my design experiments. When I build an instrument for someone, I bite the bullet and make 2 piece bodies. I don't think there is any advantsage to a one piece, if you can even find one that wide.
If the glue line isn't centered, you just have to draw a center line (top and back) and measure everything off that, and try to ignore the glue line.
2-backs.jpg

Steve Sawyer wrote:Finally - that last one with the natural alder back - am I correct that the curly maple is a solid laminate? I've got some 4/4 curly maple in the stash that I could resaw to do something similar if I have some wide enough.

The maple was a solid piece about 1" thick, that I re-sawed, and made into a bookmatched top.
Steve Sawyer wrote:Oh - one other question - I'm intrigued by that cut-away heel plate I see on the one with the sunburst on the back. Did you make that, have it made or did you buy it somewhere? Really nice to be able to provide a more comfortable spot for the palm when playing up on the neck...

They're readily available - just google semi round neck plate. I got mine from China thru Amazon.
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Re: Finish design challenge - Thinking ahead

Postby Dan Smith » Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:00 pm

Steve, keep us in the loop.
I'll be trying to apply veneer to the top and back of a solid body in the next month or two.
The top and back will be one-piece veneers.
I plan to use plastic binding on top and back.
I plan to paint the body sides and neck black.
I'm not sure how to go about trimming the veneer before I glue. It's pretty delicate.
I'll make a set of clamping cauls out of MDF. I thought I could place the veneer sheets between the MDF when I saw the cauls.
I'll have extra veneer to experiment with cutting, gluing, and routing. I'll report anything that worked well and bad.
Thanks and good luck!
Dan
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Re: Finish design challenge - Thinking ahead

Postby Steve Sawyer » Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:29 pm

Dan - don't know if it's done any different in Lutherie, but in furniture making the usual practice is to cut the veneer slightly oversized - 1/16" or so - then trim to the substrate. Since you're adding a binding, you can then route for your binding. Or am I missing something?
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Re: Finish design challenge - Thinking ahead

Postby Peter Wilcox » Wed Jul 27, 2016 2:31 am

I glue on the veneer as an oversize sheet, using the MDF routing template as a caul. I clamp around the edges with bar clamps, and the center portions or edges the clamps won't reach with cargo bars to the ceiling.
I make my own veneer, so it's pretty thick (probably about 3/64"), but it still wants to curl when the water based glue hits it. After the glue is dry, I trim it close on the band saw, then route the roundover or binding channel. If there are defects between the veneer and the top, I fill with epoxy and sand.
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Re: Finish design challenge - Thinking ahead

Postby Steve Sawyer » Wed Jul 27, 2016 9:44 am

There ya go, Dan - Easy Peasy!! :mrgreen:

By the way - that's pretty veneer. In the past I've borrowed a friend's vacuum veneering setup, but snagged a deal on a good diaphragm vacuum pump off Craig's List a couple of weeks ago, and promptly purchased the fitting and valve kit from Joe Woodworker so I can do this in my shop. I've been drooling over some of Joe's veneer. He has some really spectacular pommelle sapele, but unfortunately the least-expensive lot he has at the moment is 4 sheets 7.25" x 80" for $93. Not cheap stuff, but he has a tremendous selection and from what I've heard from guys in my local woodworking club, the quality and service is excellent.
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Re: Finish design challenge - Thinking ahead

Postby Dan Smith » Wed Jul 27, 2016 1:18 pm

Steve Sawyer wrote:There ya go, Dan - Easy Peasy!! :mrgreen:

By the way - that's pretty veneer. In the past I've borrowed a friend's vacuum veneering setup, but snagged a deal on a good diaphragm vacuum pump off Craig's List a couple of weeks ago, and promptly purchased the fitting and valve kit from Joe Woodworker so I can do this in my shop. I've been drooling over some of Joe's veneer. He has some really spectacular pommelle sapele, but unfortunately the least-expensive lot he has at the moment is 4 sheets 7.25" x 80" for $93. Not cheap stuff, but he has a tremendous selection and from what I've heard from guys in my local woodworking club, the quality and service is excellent.


Thanks Steve,
I got this Bubinga from Joe.
It was in the new section.
Dan
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Re: Finish design challenge - Thinking ahead

Postby Dan Smith » Wed Jul 27, 2016 7:23 pm

Thanks Peter!
I ordered some of the cold-press venner from Joe.
I plan to use cauls instead of a vacuum setup.
I have enough veneer for some trials.
I reckon I'll do the top and back in two phases. I doubt a 1-1/2" thick hunk of Mahogany will warp it I so one side at a time.
Dan
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Re: Finish design challenge - Thinking ahead

Postby Dan Smith » Wed Jul 27, 2016 7:24 pm

Dan Smith wrote:
Steve Sawyer wrote:There ya go, Dan - Easy Peasy!! :mrgreen:

By the way - that's pretty veneer. In the past I've borrowed a friend's vacuum veneering setup, but snagged a deal on a good diaphragm vacuum pump off Craig's List a couple of weeks ago, and promptly purchased the fitting and valve kit from Joe Woodworker so I can do this in my shop. I've been drooling over some of Joe's veneer. He has some really spectacular pommelle sapele, but unfortunately the least-expensive lot he has at the moment is 4 sheets 7.25" x 80" for $93. Not cheap stuff, but he has a tremendous selection and from what I've heard from guys in my local woodworking club, the quality and service is excellent.


Thanks Steve,
I got this Bubinga from Joe.
It was in the new section.
Dan

This piece is 17" wide x 84" long. I paid $40 for it.
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