Tristan Williams - 8-string fanned fret Iceman-ish

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Re: Tristan Williams - 8-string fanned fret Iceman-ish

Postby Mark Swanson » Fri May 04, 2012 5:46 pm

Now that's better! That's a great rod now. And with the added tension of the extra strings and scale you just may need it too.
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Re: Tristan Williams - 8-string fanned fret Iceman-ish

Postby Edmundo Azalde » Fri May 04, 2012 11:54 pm

Cool build Tristan.
How would you compare the properties of the thermo pine vs regular pine?
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Re: Tristan Williams - 8-string fanned fret Iceman-ish

Postby Tristan Williams » Sat May 05, 2012 3:49 am

It seems to be easier to get a really fine fluffy plane shaving from it than regular pine, which seems to have a somewhat sticky characteristic - the resin I guess? It seems to produce more dust when planing. I haven't tried chiselling it yet though, which is where I really hate pine. Overall it feels more like working a hardwood than a softwood - much more pleasant.
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Re: Tristan Williams - 8-string fanned fret Iceman-ish

Postby Tristan Williams » Sat May 05, 2012 5:51 pm

The day started with cleaning up all the maple and jointing each piece for the back and then gluing that up:
DSCN0342.jpg

Then it was time to joint the bookmatched top ready for glue-up (my ever-present coffee mug was closer than usual during this process):
DSCN0344.jpg

I spent a lot of time tweaking to make sure the joint was as tight as possible, then glued it up. I wasn't going to be able to clamp this satisfactorily so I wound up using dots of CA at the extreme ends of the wood and Titebond in between - this seems to have worked great, and let me finely tweak the position of the wood:
DSCN0346.jpg
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Re: Tristan Williams - 8-string fanned fret Iceman-ish

Postby Tristan Williams » Sat May 05, 2012 5:58 pm

Some mocking up with the offcut from the plan printout was in order:
DSCN0356.jpg

I set that aside after that little bit of fun to let the glue fully set up, and moved on to cutting out the guitar shape into the middle layer:
DSCN0358.jpg

A reasonably aggressive blade in a coping saw makes surprisingly quick work of this job, although I think I'll build a 12" bowsaw like the Gramercy ones at some point. I chose to take advantage of the layered construction by cutting the control cavity right now:
DSCN0360.jpg

Finally it begins to look like a guitar! The Iceman-ish shape is actually extremely comfortable - that huge horn sits very positively on the knee, and the slightly offset upper waist is a better fit to your ribcage than a symmetrical one.
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Re: Tristan Williams - 8-string fanned fret Iceman-ish

Postby Tristan Williams » Sat May 05, 2012 6:04 pm

I got impatient after 12 hours and decided to work some more on the back. I first flattened and smoothed the side that will be glued to the pine:
DSCN0362.jpg

Then I cut the shape, again with the coping saw. This time under the beady-eyed supervision of my master:
DSCN0364.jpg

This "plain" maple has some nice undulations to the grain. It gives a nice iridescent effect to the wood.
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Re: Tristan Williams - 8-string fanned fret Iceman-ish

Postby Josh Humphrey » Sun May 06, 2012 12:54 am

Wow, this is looking cool!
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Re: Tristan Williams - 8-string fanned fret Iceman-ish

Postby Mark Swanson » Sun May 06, 2012 10:30 am

I really admire all your handwork and use of hand tools too.
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Re: Tristan Williams - 8-string fanned fret Iceman-ish

Postby Tristan Williams » Sun May 06, 2012 11:11 am

Mark Swanson wrote:I really admire all your handwork and use of hand tools too.

Cheers Mark. Though if I had a bandsaw then I'd be using it all the time! I think I would just have space for Matthias Wandel's 16" bandsaw design (http://woodgears.ca/bandsaw/homemade.html), as long as its on wheels. I might try tackling that project at some point.
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Re: Tristan Williams - 8-string fanned fret Iceman-ish

Postby Tristan Williams » Sun May 06, 2012 5:44 pm

Today started with more coping:
DSCN0366.jpg

I wasn't totally happy with the flatness of the top so I used some offcuts to hold the top while I made another sackful of shavings:
DSCN0367.jpg

I then carefully marked out the pickup locations and drilled them with a 1.5mm bit in a few places:
DSCN0372.jpg
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Re: Tristan Williams - 8-string fanned fret Iceman-ish

Postby Tristan Williams » Sun May 06, 2012 5:51 pm

The 1.5mm holes were just big enough to slip a fretsaw blade through - I proceeded to carefully cut around the outline of each pickup:
DSCN0375.jpg

I cleaned up the pickup cutouts with rasps and files - on a whim I chose to bevel the edges slightly, this should look interesting when finished. Note the rasp-induced tearout in the underside of the top - thankfully it won't be visible when complete:
DSCN0381.jpg

After cutting out the bulk of the neck pocket I took a deep breath and went for the glue-up. I wish I had more clamps:
DSCN0386.jpg
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Re: Tristan Williams - 8-string fanned fret Iceman-ish

Postby Tristan Williams » Sun May 06, 2012 5:54 pm

I've got some devious plans regarding the pieces I cut out of the top, lets see if they come to fruition:
DSCN0390.jpg
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Re: Tristan Williams - 8-string fanned fret Iceman-ish

Postby Tristan Williams » Mon May 07, 2012 7:10 pm

This evening I spent about and hour and a half with surforms, rasps, spokeshave, and files and got the shape refined. I also drew some guidelines to help with the top carving.
IMG_20120508_015441.jpg
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Re: Tristan Williams - 8-string fanned fret Iceman-ish

Postby Tristan Williams » Tue May 08, 2012 7:34 pm

Carving, carving, and more carving! I started by wasting away most of top contours with rasps, then started carving the top. I'm doing this by hand, with a gouge:
DSCN0405.jpg

Carving is fun! This is where I left it off this evening. Plenty more to do, then a LOT of sanding...
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Re: Tristan Williams - 8-string fanned fret Iceman-ish

Postby Tristan Williams » Thu May 10, 2012 6:36 pm

Lots of carving tonight! Primarily with a gouge, although I did use a rasp a bit to blend the curves a bit. The top:
DSCN0411.jpg

Plenty of rasp and spokeshave work on the back to give it a simple bevel for the most part, with a broader bevel around the ribcage area:
DSCN0416.jpg

Before starting the carving I marked guidelines on the side so that I'd be left with a faux-binding on both top and back. I love the result:
DSCN0419.jpg


I sense an epic sanding session in my near future. Not looking forward to it.

I'm looking forward to getting some dye and finish onto this sucker! The finish will be Tru-Oil, and I'll try a grain-popping dye routine with ColorTone (aka Transtint) on that top. I have no idea what colour to go with though! Since this is such an over-the-top guitar I'm tempted to go for something lurid like bright purple, or toxic green. I am normally a fan of more conservative finishes however.

What do y'all think?
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Re: Tristan Williams - 8-string fanned fret Iceman-ish

Postby Michael Lewis » Sat May 12, 2012 1:54 am

Red or orange would be eye catching and a bit less out there. Actually, any color you choose should look good if you do a good job of application. Practice your application technique on some scrap wood before you put ANYTHING on the maple. You get only one chance to do it right the first time.

You could put red on it and sand most of it off and then put yellow or orange over that which would leave red highlights in the end grain of the figure. It makes a dramatic effect.
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Re: Tristan Williams - 8-string fanned fret Iceman-ish

Postby Tristan Williams » Sat May 12, 2012 7:56 pm

Sure does, Michael. I've been playing around a bit on scrap this evening after I finished sanding the body. The unfair thing is that there are so many great looking combinations! Sigh. Choices choices..

With the body now sanded - I went a bit overboard and took it to 600 grit already even though I'll have to work back through the grits again after staining - the plan is to stain the body tomorrow so I can get started applying the Tru-Oil. I'm a huge fan of minimally oiled necks, so it will get only 3 or 4 coats for that lovely supple satin feeling, while I'm hoping to build up the finish a bit more on the body and go for something more glossy. While the body is being finished I'll finalise the neck and get the hardware built.
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Re: Tristan Williams - 8-string fanned fret Iceman-ish

Postby Josh Humphrey » Sat May 12, 2012 11:34 pm

This is so cool! I love your carving work.
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Re: Tristan Williams - 8-string fanned fret Iceman-ish

Postby Tristan Williams » Sun May 13, 2012 5:10 am

Thanks Josh!

Yesterday after completing the rough sanding I took a break by drilling the rest of the holes that needed to be made. First came the jack hole:
DSCN0424.jpg

Then I drilled the long hole through to the pickup cavities - investing in a good quality extremely long bit is well worth it:
DSCN0426.jpg

Next I used a Forstner bit to drill down in the pickup cavities and find the holes. It would have been a better idea to cut slots in the pine part before the glue-up, but in my eagerness to get it in one piece I clean forgot.
DSCN0428.jpg
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Re: Tristan Williams - 8-string fanned fret Iceman-ish

Postby Tristan Williams » Sun May 13, 2012 5:13 am

Next up I laid out and drilled for neck mounting bolts. I'm using ferrules on these, so I counterbored them with a 15mm Forstner bit for a nice clean recess:
DSCN0429.jpg


Here is how it looked after sanding:
DSCN0430.jpg


I've decided on a blue finish, so I have just applied the first coat - black. This will be almost totally sanded away.
DSCN0436.jpg
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