Myrtlewood "Equator" Build by Chad McCormack

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Chad McCormack
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Myrtlewood "Equator" Build by Chad McCormack

Post by Chad McCormack »

Hello all.

Some firsts for me with this build:

1. Building with Myrtlewood (Lightweight, a bit soft, a bit funky smelling)
Myrtlewood Equator 1 - Front Body Tilt.jpeg
1. Using Roadhouse pickups (TERRIFIC! Hand-wound to order by a super fellow out in Portland, OR)
Myrtlewood Equator 2 - Body Rear.jpeg
1. Tinting the EM 600 finish with TT Honey Amber (Thanks for the suggestion, Mark Swanson!)
Myrtlewood Equator 5 - Headstock Rear.jpeg
1. 25.5" scale length (vs. the 25" scale length used on my first 4 Equator builds)
Myrtlewood Equator 7 - Headstock Front.jpeg
oh, and...

... 1. Fixing a catastrophic error with a graft/inlay (One of those I-Can't-Believe-I-Just-Did-That moments)
Myrtlewood Equator 6 - Between Pickups.jpeg

Chad McCormack
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Re: Myrtlewood "Equator" Build by Chad McCormack

Post by Chad McCormack »

Specs:

Myrtlewood (Oregon) semi-hollow body with curly claro walnut "Equator" binding, f-holes trimmed with walnut veneer
3-piece curly maple set neck with walnut veneer between plys
24-fret, 25.5" scale rosewood fingerboard with maple/rosewood binding, MoP side markers and double at #12
3-ply (walnut, maple, walnut) headstock face overlay, single ply walnut rear overlay
Hand-turned Myrtle control knobs
Curly claro walnut graft with w/b/w/rosewood binding between pickup routs
Hand-made 4-ply Abbott House Guitars logo truss rod plate

Roadhouse TripleCrown humbucker pickups with nickel covers in black metal mounting rings
Master Volume and Tone controls with CTS pots
3-way selector switch, mini-toggle for neck position coil cut
1/4" output jack in a chrome oval plate

Gotoh stop tailpiece and tune-o-matic bridge in chrome
Grover midsize Rotomatic tuners in chrome
Bone nut
2-way truss rod by Allied Lutherie
Myrtlewood Equator 3 - Full Length Front and Rear.jpeg
Thanks for looking!

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Mark Swanson
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Re: Myrtlewood "Equator" Build by Chad McCormack

Post by Mark Swanson »

That's great! And I am glad that the tint worked out, too. Good work
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Jason Rodgers
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Re: Myrtlewood "Equator" Build by Chad McCormack

Post by Jason Rodgers »

Good stuff! This is your "clamshell" design, yeah? I think you've got something going on here. The wood choices are particularly yummy on this unit.

Think you could shift the neck out and get a couple more frets clear of the body? It looks like that would work and keep everything in good functional and aesthetic relations.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.

David King
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Re: Myrtlewood "Equator" Build by Chad McCormack

Post by David King »

Where does the name "equator" come from? I've seen it in other contexts but not been clear on it.

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Peter Wilcox
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Re: Myrtlewood "Equator" Build by Chad McCormack

Post by Peter Wilcox »

I think it's because of the walnut binding in an equatorial fashion around the body - not real clear from the pics.
Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it

Jason Rodgers
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Re: Myrtlewood "Equator" Build by Chad McCormack

Post by Jason Rodgers »

So, do tell! What happened that you needed the fancy cover-up plate between the pickups? I think it's just screaming for a third pickup!
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.

John Catto
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Re: Myrtlewood "Equator" Build by Chad McCormack

Post by John Catto »

Jason Rodgers wrote:So, do tell! What happened that you needed the fancy cover-up plate between the pickups? I think it's just screaming for a third pickup!
I believe that's the neck tenon

John Catto
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Re: Myrtlewood "Equator" Build by Chad McCormack

Post by John Catto »

ah, just realised it's an inlay. Well looks great! I really like the fact that the centre of gravity is quite far back on this. To me that's a really desirable design trait for a guitar making the neck sit "closer" to you.

Jason Rodgers
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Re: Myrtlewood "Equator" Build by Chad McCormack

Post by Jason Rodgers »

John Catto wrote: I really like the fact that the centre of gravity is quite far back on this. To me that's a really desirable design trait for a guitar making the neck sit "closer" to you.
Ha! And here I am telling him to stick it out further! Guess we all have our aesthetic and functional points of view.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.

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Pete Halliday
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Re: Myrtlewood "Equator" Build by Chad McCormack

Post by Pete Halliday »

Chad--nice as always! What's been your experience with the EM6000? I have used on of their competitors in both a water-based lacquer and water-based spar varnish and have had nothing but trouble in getting it to spray decently. Way too much pebbly orange peel leading to sand-throughs when having to level so much. Further, I have a couple guitars that were finished and polished out to a nice gloss and a year and a half later they could be called matte at best. The only gloss remaining is under the bridge (Tele-style in this case).

Chad McCormack
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Re: Myrtlewood "Equator" Build by Chad McCormack

Post by Chad McCormack »

Jason Rodgers wrote:Good stuff! This is your "clamshell" design, yeah? I think you've got something going on here. The wood choices are particularly yummy on this unit.

Think you could shift the neck out and get a couple more frets clear of the body? It looks like that would work and keep everything in good functional and aesthetic relations.

Thanks, Jason. I certainly could have moved the whole string assembly "out" from the guitar body by about the distance spanning the last 2 frets. I prefer to have the tune-o-matic bridge more or less in line with the cusps on the f-holes, and with the 25.5" scale it resulted in the bridge location being just a bit lower (towards the lower bout) than that preference.

Chad McCormack
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Re: Myrtlewood "Equator" Build by Chad McCormack

Post by Chad McCormack »

Peter Wilcox wrote:I think it's because of the walnut binding in an equatorial fashion around the body - not real clear from the pics.
Peter is right. Here's the scoop on that, only from a different guitar:

1. The two body halves are prepared as mirror images of one another:
Chambering process 5.jpg
2. After glue up, I true up the sides relative to one another and then use a 1/4" tall rabbetting bit with a ball bearing that leaves 1/16" of cutter exposed to prepare the inlay channel:
Equator inlay 1.jpg
3. I prepare 1/4" wide binding to be 1/16" thick, then steam bend it to install all the way 'round the "equator:" I start/stop at the lower bout strap button position and somewhere in the neck pocket region (which gets routed away anyway):
Equator inlay 2.jpg
4. And finally flush-trim it on the router table, followed by my front and back round-overs:
Equator inlay 3.jpg

Chad McCormack
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Re: Myrtlewood "Equator" Build by Chad McCormack

Post by Chad McCormack »

Pete Halliday wrote:Chad--nice as always! What's been your experience with the EM6000? I have used on of their competitors in both a water-based lacquer and water-based spar varnish and have had nothing but trouble in getting it to spray decently. Way too much pebbly orange peel leading to sand-throughs when having to level so much. Further, I have a couple guitars that were finished and polished out to a nice gloss and a year and a half later they could be called matte at best. The only gloss remaining is under the bridge (Tele-style in this case).
Hi again, Pete! Thanks for the kind words. Personally, I really like the EM6000. I've only other sprayed one other waterborne finish, and that was a gloss Minwax Polycrylic for an early guitar that I just kept for myself. With that guitar, the finish actually gummed up in my hands on the neck on a hot/muggy/sweaty day, and the gloss-goes-matte issue that you describe definitely happened after a few years. I used the EM6000 for the first time on a guitar I built for my brother more than 2 years ago, and his finish looks and feels just like the day I delivered the guitar to him. That guitar sees a lot of use, too.

For me, I really have no choice but to use a waterborne product, since my little basement shop is on the other side of a wall adjoining a finished family room section of my basement, and I have a young family at home. I'm really happy to have discovered the EM6000, as it is a non-hazard to use, a breeze to clean up after, and the cured finish seems to remain as-is over time. And as for the application goes, I'm also very pleased with it. The manufacturer, Target Coatings, claims 100% burn-in coat-to-coat, which in theory would eliminates those witness lines that you'd likely get when level sanding through a section of orange peel. I don't know that the 100% claim is really accurate, but I'm pleased with the results I tend to get with the stuff. When held up in just the right light, I can sometimes see that topographical map sort of effect with the sand-through of the high spots, but buffing and polishing pretty much takes care of it. Try as I might, I can't ever seem to lay down a perfectly orange-peel free coat with my setup at home, but I am plenty happy with my end result after level sanding through the grits, hand-buffing and polishing.

Chad McCormack
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Re: Myrtlewood "Equator" Build by Chad McCormack

Post by Chad McCormack »

Jason Rodgers wrote:So, do tell! What happened that you needed the fancy cover-up plate between the pickups? I think it's just screaming for a third pickup!

Hi Jason. I cracked the top while "tapping" the bridge bushings in. After a few choice words, a thrown mallet and a day or two to cool down, I purchased a little (3" x 16" x 3/16") piece of nice curly claro walnut from my local Woodcraft and one piece of w/b/w/rosewood binding from StewMac to fashion a little something to lay in there. From now on, I'm pushing those bushings in with my drill press. Again, it was certainly an I-can't-believe-I-just-did-that kind of moment. Not one I'm proud of, but one that I've certainly learned from. Oh, and no 3rd pickup :)

David King
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Re: Myrtlewood "Equator" Build by Chad McCormack

Post by David King »

Chad thanks for the great explanation. It must be a "guitar" thing because a bass builder would just stuff a slab of curly maple in there, end-grain and all.

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Re: Myrtlewood "Equator" Build by Chad McCormack

Post by Bob Francis »

David King wrote:Chad thanks for the great explanation. It must be a "guitar" thing because a bass builder would just stuff a slab of curly maple in there, end-grain and all.
YES 8-)

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Peter Wilcox
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Re: Myrtlewood "Equator" Build by Chad McCormack

Post by Peter Wilcox »

David King wrote:Chad thanks for the great explanation. It must be a "guitar" thing because a bass builder would just stuff a slab of curly maple in there, end-grain and all.
But what a waste of a nice potential top. :o Thanks for the explanation of your method, Chad - something for me to steal in the future. Very nice guitar.
Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it

Jason Rodgers
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Re: Myrtlewood "Equator" Build by Chad McCormack

Post by Jason Rodgers »

Nice series of construction pics for the "equator. " I'm remembering similar shots from your first couple posts with this design. Gonna have to go look those up.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.

Jason Rodgers
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Re: Myrtlewood "Equator" Build by Chad McCormack

Post by Jason Rodgers »

Yep, went back and looked at Equator 004, and that one pretty much does it for me: delicious walnut, and the neck/fingerboard in just the right location relative to the body. Of course, we're talking subtle details here. You do good work, and this is a sexy machine.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.

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