Time to continue this build log.
Without going any further all my gratitude to Brandon as the tip he gave me is not a minor one (for screw-ups like myself), judge yourself: Before
You can still notice some of the fixes but that is just because it took me a little while to get familiar with the technique. To get the dust I used a piece of sapele scrap from my previous build instead of the current which was more pale and yellowish. I thought that the dust was going to get darker and it’d match better the current colour, but it actually darkens very little (as Brandon advised).
Anyway I believe that it's because I rubbed the dust too little too late on those spots, what made them look clearer. I don’t mind much as the body came out great and the cover will be isolated with copper foil anyway. I may even re-do those spots later. I used white glue instead of yellow by the way.
After progressing at a very fast pace (for my standards that is
) I started to progressively sink into quicksand
. See what I mean:
I glued the headstockīs front and back laminates. When doing the front one I forgot my own golden rule, that is, being especially careful pressing the edges of any gluing. So I ended up with the two upper corners raised:
To fix this one I applied some heat with a hairdryer, which only helped to get some of the glue excess out of the gaps underneath the raised areas with a spatula, then I clamped the neck vertically, dropped some CA through the gaps and I humidified the corners and applied pressure. That saved the day.
Lesson learned for the back plate:
This time I shaped the back plate before gluing it in, which so far seems to work just fine
I continued shaping the silhouette. It has some tight curves so I had to do some gymnastics to get as close as possible to the design idea.
Now here the real problems started
Thing is that my graphite bars sit tightly in their cavities. I mean they fit perfectly (6mm wide rods and a 6mm bit), tight enough to leave no room for glue. I was pretty comfortable with the idea of leaving them un-glued although Iīve read that glued they provide maximum stiffness. I thought that having a perfect fit was close enough. But at the time I attempted gluing the fretboard I got the brilliant idea of putting a CA thread over each bar, while using water resistant white glue to bond the fretboard to the neck. My line of thought was that if the rods are glued to the fretboard (instead of the cavity itself) the effect would be the same since the FB is in turn glued to the neck. Probably this is correct if properly achieved but what I got in practice was that the CA dried so quickly that even using toothpicks to fix the fretboard in the right place I could not clamp it fast enough and I ended up with an area of the fretboard close to the nut separated like 1 or 2 mm from the neck plank
This really felt as a kick in the nuts
I was this close to drop the whole neck to the scrap bin
But I decided to try to save it. I read that I needed acetone to deal with the CA but I was not sure how to deal with the water resistant white glue. I finally went shopping and got myself a bottle of acetone and a heat gun. It was only the latter that really worked. I used a spatula and the heat gun at 300 C and the fretboard slowly started to come off. This was extremely slowly and despite all my efforts the spatula took off some material from the neck plank, leaving a dent close to one margin, precisely where it would have been visible when tapering the neck.
After 2 days this was the result:
Because of the leverage done with the spatula and the heat, the fretboard got concave. I cleaned the back of the FB as much as I could with the spatula and the heat gun. I then clamped iron bars at both sides of the FB and moisturized the center. I kept it clamped for several days.
After taking out the clamps the fretboard was back on track. I then got rid of the rest of the mess by sanding.
Now the mess of the neck was another story, it was not going anywhere with just the heat gun. But since there was this dent that I needed to get rid of, I used my thinning jig to shave the surface until both the mess and the dent were gone (fortunately I had some millimeters of thickness that I could spare). Once I had thinned the whole length of the neck I realized that I needed to deepen the truss rod cavity, which was also a slow process because of the big risks involved. All went well there.
Once that was done I realized that the thinning did not reach properly the edge of the headstockīs front plate (including the TR access cover), hence the transition with the fretboard was not properly squared (looking it from the side) leaving a gap between them. I tried fixing this by using fine files but not only I could not achieve a dead perpendicular angle, I ended up carving slightly the bottom, which ruined even further the transition (which was perfect before this sequence of errors).
So once again I made use of my thinning jig. I set my routerīs depth, double checking that all was ok. I fired it up and after a little while of using it I realize that for some reason it was routing deeper than it should.
I quickly went through the 7 phases of screw-ups:
Thing is that I really checked everything twice. Proof of that is that I did not change a thing and tried once more, this time I took more care into checking that the fixture where the router is attached to was moving always perpendicular to the rails. Everything went fine this time. But I had to deal with the hole left by the first attempt. It was around 1.5 mm depth. So what I came up with was to carve a 1.5 mm deep slot and a couple of cms wide to get rid of the hole and then I glued a piece of Padouk scrap from the fretboard. Once completely dried I repeated the thinning and this time I got it right.
To make things worse, while doing all this transition clean up I had not 1 but 2 chipouts on the margins of the TR cavity that I managed to fix successfully, but hell how they contributed to my frustration.
I added a maple accent to the nutīs edge of the FB, and attempted the gluing once more. This time I drilled not 2 but 6 fixation points, I used nails instead of toothpicks, I did a way better job when clamping and no, this time I did not use any CA
The outcome was ok this time. I could roughly cut the neck to have it ready for tapering.
Although I intended to have a more prophylactic build ala Dave Hingham, and clearly this is not the case, being able to recover from these issues gave me back the motivation to finish this build.
Well, I guess that this is enough for a single post. Stay tuned