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" A few of the plys are coming loose..."

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by james condino, Jul 10, 2018.


  1. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    This arrived last week from another TBer's shop:

    DSCN5924.JPG

    A bit of cleanup:
    DSCN6111.JPG
    A little bit of love and she's in the big vacuum mold getting two new inside plys:
    DSCN6150.JPG

    j.
    www.kaybassrepair.com

    facebook @ kaybassrepair
    www.condino.com
     
  2. James, just curious, what kind of glue do you use for new plys like that?
     
  3. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    4000 year old eye of newt mixed with extinct unicorn eyelashes, a bit of frankincense, an unknown substance recovered from area 51, and some polychromatic gutteral chanting in an unkown abandoned ancient proto language....
     

  4. Isn't "extinct unicorn eyelashes" redundant?
     
    RSBBass and james condino like this.
  5. RSBBass

    RSBBass

    Jun 11, 2011
    NYC
    You do know most of the unicorn lashes available on the market are really narwhal lashes.
     
    equill, Michal Herman, pcake and 2 others like this.
  6. Mister Boh

    Mister Boh

    Oct 23, 2016
    Annapolis, MD
    Yeah a few coming loose just a lil' bit.
     
  7. Pretty amazing work there... i would have thought that was the end of that bass.
     
  8. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc

    Not $%#@!NG Narwhals again!!!!
     
    RSBBass likes this.
  9. jsf729

    jsf729 Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2014
    Central Maryland
    I
    In other words, you have a better chance of learning KFC's recipe. BUT- finally get to see pics of the vacuum press. Awesome work James!
     
  10. I knew it...
     
  11. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    'Apologies for the sarcasm. Originally, Kays were made with hot hide glue on the ply laminates; nice for repairs, but challenging when very large areas have to be done. I'm very good at doing 1/4 of a layer with hot hide glue. The full plys are more challenging, due to the huge amount of surface area- it usually gels or gets funky by the time you cover the whole surface area with the right amount of glue and then get it in position, get it all inside the vacuum, and then get the bag evacuated of excess air. I have a lot of custom silicon heat blankets, but one large enough for an entire bass top would likely cost around $4000 and shut down the power grid for about 30 miles....

    You can see my mold is made from solid 10/4 Honduras mahogany- stable, durable, and very expensive unless you happen to have a lot of it around the shop already paid for and a giant resaw to cut it.

    I use a pre-charge system in my vacuum just for evacuating the initial bag that is made from a 200psi custom made aluminum tank that was made for an LA lowrider shop. You know the ones they use in competition- pre-charge it and then hit the switch and hold on as your old Chevy bumps 8 foot into the air. Too much hot hide glue can also put up some protests in the vacuum until you get it worked out. I had a couple of failures two months ago with good hide glue and a solid Brazilian rosewood drop to Les Paul style new build that would not cure properly in the press; likely due to a couple of things. It is glued up now- and incredibly cool-yes a Les Paul with a solid Brazilian rosewood carved top!!!!

    American Standard used a very early resorcinol or eurea formaldehyde glue for their plys and they also had one of the first patented vacuum systems. Those tops and backs very rarely delaminate, but there are some rib issues. I believe Kay had those old custom made 50,000psi steel press hydraulic moulds. Eurea formaldehyde glue has a great long open time and no creep- both very important.

    I know of several places that use Titebond for new ply builds and repairs. I won't discredit any of them or their methods, but I chose not to use it anywhere in my shop except for the occasional jig building or non-instrument work. You should see what the vacuum does to it- a funky outerspace sponge like thing when it cures...

    When I rebuild a top, I try to use solid spruce veneers and hot hide glue, even when it takes a lot longer. This one came from another shop with the veneer already supplied in giant sheet form, and a fast turnaround request, so I chose to use eurea formaldehyde- with the big shop doors open and the vacuum vent outside.

    They are all a work in progress, so things are constantly evolving....'hope that helps.
     
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  12. Wow, thank you very much... It sounds like a lot of research and tooling preparation has gone into all you do James. Very impressive.

    Like you mentioned in another thread, this has to be a labor of love to some extent, the kind of money that luthiers charge cannot make a person rich, or in many cases compensate for the time it takes to learn the trade this well.

    Thank you for the clear and very interesting explanation!!!
     
    jsf729 likes this.
  13. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    OT: Can you show us the Les Paul?
    /OT

    That's the biggest vacuum fixture I have seen.
     
  14. RCWilliams

    RCWilliams Supporting Member Commercial User

    Apr 23, 2007
    Merriam Kansas (Kansas City)
    owner RC Williams Co. LLC
    project K-top is under way, Mr Condino was kind enough to lend me his charts on the top and back arches of a K this is a couple of pix of the top negative being immortalized in MDF. Ill send it out to him and he can mess with it a bit and see if it has merits.
    IMG_1082.JPG IMG_1080.JPG
     
    james condino likes this.
  15. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    RC,
    That's quite some dust collection fixture you have there!
     
  16. RCWilliams

    RCWilliams Supporting Member Commercial User

    Apr 23, 2007
    Merriam Kansas (Kansas City)
    owner RC Williams Co. LLC
    too much of it still gets away, but without it...
     
  17. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    Yup. I don't have a problem with hardwoods or most laminates making dust, but MDF? It's a monster.
     
  18. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    Nice Rick! After we talk a few weeks ago I though it may have been mothballed. I'm looking forward to giving that a good test run. Yesterday I could have had two different tops in the press; only having one mold is my limiting factor. 'Wonder how much running two at once will affect my vacuum?

    Charlie: No public images of the chambered Brazilian rosewood Les Paul batch yet. When they get finished, I'll show them off. Where to do the photo shoot though? I enjoyed the graffiti park and my recent ones were old basses and old cars. I know the instruments are coming out well, so I'm trying to make sure the photos also reflect a high level of interest....

    Here is one I resurrected from another TB member. It was in the classifieds for something like $400 a couple of years ago. (I know, the bridge got moved on the second one. Its hard to be the woodworker and the web guy and the photographer and the accountant and all the rest under one hat....)

    1945 kay 4 B. 1945 kay 15.
     
    Joshua likes this.
  19. RCWilliams

    RCWilliams Supporting Member Commercial User

    Apr 23, 2007
    Merriam Kansas (Kansas City)
    owner RC Williams Co. LLC
    Your vacuum pump. if there are no leaks should have no problem, unless it is very small. if you hook in an old compressor tank and use it as a plenum, and use a couple ball valves to split the flow you should be ok. I have one of those on one of my pumps and it works pretty well, instant pull down.

    I'm putting a couple coats of shelac on it now so there is a seal to help keep glue, or eye of newt, from sticking to the form may be good to wax it up as well. IMG_1085.JPG
     
    MDrost1 likes this.
  20. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    James the classic auto shoot is dynamite. I don't think anyone would take you to task for recycling that theme. I will wait (im)patiently for the big reveal.
     

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