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Budget pressing

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Max3000, Jul 15, 2018.


  1. Max3000

    Max3000

    Jul 9, 2018
    Say I were constructing a hollow body or semi-hollow body guitar on a fairly tight budget. If I wanted to put a laminate arched top onto a piece of wood that would make up the sides and back, would it be unreasonable to first carve a mold for the top out of a solid piece of wood, press the veneer on it (using sandbags above it), and then gutting the solid piece of wood and repurposing it as the side/back piece? This is my first time doing something like this and I wanna know exactly how cheap I can get away with being
     
    Christine likes this.
  2. Christine

    Christine Guest

    Aug 3, 2016
    That potentially could work along with a top caul on top of the sandbags clamped down, it was a traditional way of veneering for furniture makers in years gone by. A better approach would be a vacuum bag press if you can find someone near who has one, it will give a lot of extra pressure in those hard to get to bits.

    Another thing worth thinking about is how tight any carved radii might be, especially compound radii. Veneers may not want to bend into that shape without creasing or splitting, if that is the case you can spend a couple of days trying to train the veneer to fit. How, easy, just wet the veneer, clamp it down and let it dry, protecting your caved top in a plastic bag of course. Do that a few times until the shape is there then glue it down. For very tight curves you can further soften the veneer with PEG, polyethylene glycol, used by woodturners who use wet timber.

    I would use a powder/water mix urea formaldehyde glue like Cascamite if you can get it for the glueing too as it will give you much more time to work than a super fast drying glue like Titebond
     
    SlingBlader likes this.
  3. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    @Christine 's got some good ideas. What kind of budgetary limits are we talking about? Are you hoping to avoid expensive woods, or are you hoping to build the entire thing without most tools/supplies?

    To clarify on your first question, you want to use the wood from your form to later construct the sides of the instrument?
     
  4. Max3000

    Max3000

    Jul 9, 2018
    Without most tools yeah. And yes I want to use the form later as my sides and back (like the CS-336 and the reverse of most rickenbacker semi-hollows in that it’s one carved piece).
     
  5. Max3000

    Max3000

    Jul 9, 2018
    Would wetting the veneer also wet the form?
     
  6. Christine

    Christine Guest

    Aug 3, 2016
    Yes so put it in a plastic bag to keep it dry
     
  7. Max3000

    Max3000

    Jul 9, 2018
    Are these expensive if you buy your own?
     
  8. Christine

    Christine Guest

    Aug 3, 2016
    Yes they are quite hefty, I have one but unless I had or did have very regular use for one I couldn't justify one. In the U.K. The cheapest reasonable one is £595 The Standard AirPress Veneer Vacuum Press System
     
  9. Max3000

    Max3000

    Jul 9, 2018
    How difficult of a shape is an ES-type thing?
     
  10. Christine

    Christine Guest

    Aug 3, 2016
    Quite easy but it would benefit from a bit of training first just to be sure it will work when it has all that slippery glue on it
     
  11. Max3000

    Max3000

    Jul 9, 2018
    I think I’d have to train it anyway before glueing since I gotta gut out the sides/back right? Thanks a lot for all the advice btw
     
    Christine likes this.
  12. Christine

    Christine Guest

    Aug 3, 2016
    Training isn't strictly necessary with something like an ES it should be quite a straightforward pressing but it will help a little and the practice it will give you will help a lot. Oh and remember to keep a plastic bag over the mold when gluing the shape otherwise you'll never get it off
     
  13. Max3000

    Max3000

    Jul 9, 2018
    Wait then how is training different from pressing? Sorry I’m not understanding
     
  14. Christine

    Christine Guest

    Aug 3, 2016
    Training is just that, pre pressing the veneer wet and leaving it to dry so it learns to assume the shape you want without creasing or splitting, pressing for real is using glue instead of water so if things go wrong then they stay wrong
     
  15. Max3000

    Max3000

    Jul 9, 2018
    Ooooooooh ok that makes sense, thank you so much!
     

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