Need advice on "high end" parts for dreadnaught

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Alan Carruth
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Re: Need advice on "high end" parts for dreadnaught

Post by Alan Carruth »

Osage can be tricky. It changes color so much that you can end up with something you don't expect. I made a sort of 'sun burst' rosette once with walnut for the background and osage for the rays. When I saw the guitar a couple of years later the osage was darker than the walnut. Part of that was probably the water based finish I used on it. Fuming will take the osage along way toward it's final color, and doing a few samples can help with getting a look you like. I'm working on a couple of osage guitars now, and one customer wanted a 'colorful' rosette, so I did a lot of tests before settling on woods for that.

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Peter Wilcox
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Re: Need advice on "high end" parts for dreadnaught

Post by Peter Wilcox »

Carl Dickinson wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 11:11 pm
I've done a couple of builds where I have used the same material for the sides as well as binding. The binding was set off by B/W/B purfling on bottom and top/back. I thought it looked pretty cool.

It sounds interesting. do you have any pics of what it looks like? I have a board of a different pattern of lacewood that might work.
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I've lived in Janesville the last 15 years - moved here from Phoenix so my wife could be near her mother in Loyalton (subsequently she's now moved in with us). We spent a few nights in Forest Ranch about 45 years ago when we lived in Sacramento - a co-worker/friend had some property with a cabin, wine cooling in the creek and mattresses spread out through the woods for sleeping. They were rotten and moldy, but comfortable. My most vivid memory of that was eating from a paper plate outside on a wooden table - when I'd finished I picked up the plate, which was now just a rim because I'd eaten the bottom of the plate. :D
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Alan Carruth
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Re: Need advice on "high end" parts for dreadnaught

Post by Alan Carruth »

One fun thing to do with highly patterned side wood, like curly maple, is 'self' binding. It might well work with lacewood as well. Bend the sides deep, and profile them to the height that you want the outside of the finished box to be. Do not cut them to length just yet. Use a marking gauge to go around and trim off a strip from the top and bottom edges of the sides that is wide enough to use as binding. Make some register marks around the edges before you make the cuts so that you can get them back in exactly the same places. Set them aside, and proceed with your build as usual, with one exception: you'll need to put the liners in just a bit proud of the edges, and, of course, extent the block to suit. The idea is that if the bindings are, say, 1/4" tall, and the top and back are about .1", then the liners and block need to end up just .15" proud, or a bit less. You will have to dress off the mating edges of the sides and bindings to get them square, but you want to remove as little wood as you can in the process, particularly with something like lacewood. Curly maple is just a bit more forgiving, since the main pattern runs across the side.

You'll need to put some sort of line in between the side and the binding; there usually is no way to hide that glue line entirely, but if you're careful a narrow black line will suffice. You also need to take care to make the binding rout just the right depth, so that the bindings go on nice and flush, otherwise the binding will be the wrong length and you'll lose the registration of the pattern.

In practice all of this is pretty easy with care. The result can be a bit baffling at first. I saw this on a Ken Parker arch top, and wondered how in hack he'd managed to set the top and back in below the level of the sides for a few minutes. Then the significance of that black inlay line hit. Anyway it's a nice effect with figured wood.

Carl Dickinson
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Re: Need advice on "high end" parts for dreadnaught

Post by Carl Dickinson »

I don't go to the effort to line up the grain as much as Alan describes. I built two parlors out of Narra that I milled from a ship dunnage beam I got from a friend who's dad was a merchant marine captain in the 60s. West Africa was among of his ports of call. I just ripped a couple of strips off the edges after thicknessing and before bending. Bent them along with the sides. They were shipped off for grandsons' birthdays and I don't have very good pics. Here's a couple of the first one. I had to shade the sides because of some bending scorches so it isn't a good example of the look I was after but I taped off the binding before shading. The rosette and the fingerboard is Manzanita off my property. The other pic is why we don't sleep outside around here. :roll:
IMG_20190125_193148.jpg
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Peter Wilcox
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Re: Need advice on "high end" parts for dreadnaught

Post by Peter Wilcox »

Alan Carruth wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 12:44 pm
trim off a strip from the top and bottom edges of the sides that is wide enough to use as binding.
Thanks Alan. That's something I could try, but with any errors I could screw up more than just a piece of binding, and I always have errors. :) How would you suggest I "trim off" the pieces? Can you cut using a marking gauge, thereby making a smooth cut and not losing a kerf-width plus sanding of figure orientation? Or cut with a knife and straightedge - I'd be afraid of wandering of the blade with the grain.
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Peter Wilcox
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Re: Need advice on "high end" parts for dreadnaught

Post by Peter Wilcox »

Carl - I'm guessing that this picture is more or less what you're suggesting, with the exception of the fancy purfling (which I might consider trying).
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Clay Schaeffer
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Re: Need advice on "high end" parts for dreadnaught

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

With care, you might be able to trim the bindings off the sides after bending with an oscillating saw, which might make "registration" with the sides easier. Here is a link to a recent discussion about cutting prebent purflings:

https://www.mimf.com//phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=6241

With a dreadnought with flatter arching it might not be too bad, but with a highly arched curvy model you would have to figure out a way to have the cut follow the profile of the sides (or let the bindings vary in width).

Carl Dickinson
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Re: Need advice on "high end" parts for dreadnaught

Post by Carl Dickinson »

Yup. That's how the other one came out.
Oh, that same bear came back last night. A year bigger with two cubs. Broke into the feed shed and stole some chicken feed. :roll:

Alan Carruth
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Re: Need advice on "high end" parts for dreadnaught

Post by Alan Carruth »

I use a marking gauge, which does leave a bevel on the binding strip that has to be planed/sanded off. It's also a good idea to rout around the edges once you've got the top and back on to be sure that the height of the binding is even all around. Those steps remove a small amount of material, which can affect the registration of the pattern if the figure runs at anything other than dead across the sides, so a purfling strip to replace the lost wood is a good idea.

Freeman Keller
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Re: Need advice on "high end" parts for dreadnaught

Post by Freeman Keller »

Peter, I use wood binding on almost all of my guitars. Sometimes the same wood as the body, sometimes a contrasting wood that ties in with the wood(s) used in other places. I think about this for a long time before I start building - often I will lay strips of bindings on top of the plates (dampened with naphtha so I can see the colors) and choose what looks the best. When I use the same materials as the body I put a contrasting line to separate them - this is rosewood on rosewood
IMG_6365-1.jpg
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The line on the thin side is glued on the binding before bending, the the line on the tall side is added during the glue up. I bend my bindings on the Fox machine at the same time that I bend the sides and just put the away until I'm ready. If I'm doing some fancy purfling (like the pearl) I route and install that as the usual part of doing the binding. Fwiw I have been dry fitting my bindings, getting them to fit perfectly, then tacking them in place with thin CA. Pull the tape and run a bead of thin CA all around the guitar - both seams. I do this now with both wood and plastic binding - it just makes fitting it so much easier.

I don't think I would try cutting a binding piece off of a bent side - my cheap band saw just isn't up to it. I would rip binding pieces from the unbent side however if thats what I wanted

I've struggled a bit with how I would bind figured wood like your lacewood. Personally I would just lay different materials on top of it until I fount the proper colors and grains. I think I would want something simple and contrasting but I have a hard time visualizing it without actually seeing it. But that is what makes this game so interesting - choosing the colors and grains and effects that we think are best. (and isn't that what you would expect from a "high end" custom guitar?)

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Bryan Bear
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Re: Need advice on "high end" parts for dreadnaught

Post by Bryan Bear »

Freeman’s post reminded me of something I do when picking out binding and purfling. Like freeman I stack different woods together and wet with naphtha. If I have concerns about the look after color change, I will make a mock up. I just glue up some offcuts or scraps in the arrangement I am thinking about, plane it flush and set it in the window while I finish up the previous project. It helps to be planning ahead for the next instrument. . .

I made this one because I knew the red heart would change to brownish red from the watermelon red it starts out as. I wanted to make sure the cherry veneer between would still hold up.
DC55BB95-8029-4047-AD3A-7BF20D596066.jpeg
I have since lost the block but I was happy with the color change and proceeded. Here is the partially built guitar That is only part way through the color shift.
BADFCFC5-457D-4288-8018-25E50E13A9E7.jpeg
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Clay Schaeffer
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Re: Need advice on "high end" parts for dreadnaught

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

Thinking about the "self binding" idea again the thought occurred to me "why cut the binding off at all? In John Greven's retopping demonstration he fits the top inside the binding, so why not do something similar (but simpler) with self binding?
After the rim is glued up and in the mold and profiled, but before the liners are added, place the ribs on the top and trace around the inside perimeter. The top can then be cut to the line and should "drop in" to the sides. Then do the same for the (braced) back. The top can be attached with peones during assembly, for the back you may have to draw a line on the inside of the ribs at the thickness of the back and glue the linings to the line.
After gluing on the top and back you could use a gramil to cut the channel for the top and back purflings as violin makers do. If you want a line on the side you could make a "scratch stock" and scratch a channel similar to what is done for "stringing" on furniture.
This may not be the easiest way to do things, but it would give perfect "registration" for woods that carry a bold design.

Greven's demo:
http://grevenguitars.com/retopping-demo.html

Hey Carl,
A bear with two cubs doesn't seem like a good thing to have around the homestead. What kind of bear is that? The shape was black bear like but in the photo it wasn't very black.

Alan Carruth
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Re: Need advice on "high end" parts for dreadnaught

Post by Alan Carruth »

Getting a liner to an exact depth offset and smooth enough to glue to would be tricky, I think. Peones are a good way to go, but you can't do that on both the top and the back. That's really the main issue IMO. I've done a number of top replacements without removing the binding, and it's sure the way to go, but it that case the liners have been leveled already. All ('all'!) you need to do is remove the top wood from the liners without messing up the surface.

Clay Schaeffer
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Re: Need advice on "high end" parts for dreadnaught

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

Possibly you could use Ryan's A4 linings or the wacky wood linings I've been using, and put a slight bevel on the top similar to what Bruce Sexauer says he does for his peones. With the A4 linings and the linings I use they bend in both directions and would allow you to hold the linings to a line. Pre-beveling them should get you close on the angle of the dome of the back.
Probably the most difficult part would be getting the end blocks at the right level. Any thoughts on that?
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Carl Dickinson
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Re: Need advice on "high end" parts for dreadnaught

Post by Carl Dickinson »

Clay,
Bears are only one of the hazards around here along with mountain lions, rattlesnakes and the occasional methhead.
It is a black bear. We've seen black, chocolate brown and blond ones. It's why we have bear bars on the dumpsters. The 12 gauge is loaded with rubber slugs to hopefully scare them off but I've got #2 shot too if it comes to that.

Clay Schaeffer
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Re: Need advice on "high end" parts for dreadnaught

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

To paraphase Little Big Man "ah yes!the white black bear" :lol:

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Peter Wilcox
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Re: Need advice on "high end" parts for dreadnaught

Post by Peter Wilcox »

Alan Carruth wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 1:48 pm
Osage darkens up considerably if you fume it with household ammonia. It can get to about the value (but not the color) of mahogany with a day or so in a plastic bag with a container of the stuff. It darkens with age anyway, but this speeds it up a lot.
Thought I would give it a try.
#1 fresh sanded
#2 3 days air exposure -no sunlight
#3 3 days ammonia exposure - no sunlight
#4 3 days sunlight (and some cloudy sky)
#5 3 days ammonia and sunlight (and clouds)
They're all lying on a board (same one they were cut from) that has had years of air exposure but no direct sunlight. So it looks like ammonia plus light is the fastest darkening. I'm disappointed that they lack the redness/warmth of the original board, but maybe that comes with more time.
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Clay Schaeffer
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Re: Need advice on "high end" parts for dreadnaught

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

#4 looks like it is the closest to be headed for the color of the original board. The red color is quite attractive and might be a nice contrast with the lacewood.

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Karl Wicklund
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Re: Need advice on "high end" parts for dreadnaught

Post by Karl Wicklund »

I surprised #4 went so fast. Thanks for the samples.
Kaptain Karl

Matthew Lau
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Re: Need advice on "high end" parts for dreadnaught

Post by Matthew Lau »

Hey Peter,

I'd take a Wilcox over a Somogyi any day. I think that your friend should be tickled pink with your guitar.
If you're around Alameda, you're welcome to stop by for some home made gelato (assuming the fires get under control)

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