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Early 60's Epiphone Newport Build

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Serek_Basses, Jan 24, 2012.


  1. Serek_Basses

    Serek_Basses Supporting Member

    Mar 26, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    I've always wanted a Newport or EB-0, but could never justify the price, so I am building an early 60's (pre-batwing headstock) Epiphone Newport.

    Specs:

    African Mahogany 2-piece body
    3-piece Maple neck (I had Maple leftovers from my other build)
    Bubinga fingerboard
    30.5 scale, 20 frets
    Dimarzio Model One with push/pull coil switch

    Here is my progress so far. Just waiting on some parts, should be finished by the weekend after this.

    2011-12-02205505-1.
    2012-01-11170901.
    2012-01-11170948.
    2012-01-15121523.
    2012-01-15121532.
    2012-01-23201027.
    2012-01-24142524.
    2012-01-24172947.
     
  2. emblymouse

    emblymouse Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2006
    W'Sconsin
    Lakland Artist Endorser
    Extra Cool! Subscribed!
     
  3. Basshappi

    Basshappi

    Feb 12, 2007
    Tucson,AZ
    Cool! I love Newports, I'll keep an eye on your build. Can't wait to see the finished instrument. What finish are you going to use?
     
  4. PDGood

    PDGood Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    Sub'd. Always nice to see something out of the ordinary.
     
  5. Serek_Basses

    Serek_Basses Supporting Member

    Mar 26, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    Thanks! Probably just gonna use Tung oil. Don't want a real heavy finish, this will be a player that I'd like to see get worn in.

    Still debating whether or not to add a touch of Cherry stain though... any opinions?
     
  6. emblymouse

    emblymouse Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2006
    W'Sconsin
    Lakland Artist Endorser
    Cherry, yes! Then it can fade out over the years.
     
  7. PDGood

    PDGood Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    Hmmmm. With just a tung oil finish the bass will get gooey dirt in the grain. Not the typical road worn look, but might be cool.
    The problem with Tung is that you are supposed to apply it once a day for a week, once a week for a month, once a month for a year. I assume you won't want to disassemble the bass each time, so you'll be dodging all the pu's, bridge, strings, controls etc. That's going to give you a bit of an uneven finish. Maybe that's OK...just sayin'.
    Anything less than that and you'll not be protecting the wood from moisture, so you'll be dealing with expansion, contraction issues.
    I'd be more inclined to a light coat of poly or nitro at the least.
     
  8. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    So what your saying is it takes a year to do an oil finish? Thats news to me.
     
  9. PDGood

    PDGood Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    Yes, according the experts. I can't give you the chemistry behind it, but I've researched this extensively for a drum builder's forum. That method of application is the recommended amount for protecting the wood. Can you do less? Sure. Results will be less also.
    In this case, that might be OK, since the goal is road worn. But the moisture issue is the other factor. Wood expands and contracts with moisture. The less you can get in the wood, the smaller those changes are.
     
  10. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Supporting Member

    If you want a real oil finish, get Polymerized Tung Oil. When the oil is cooked (polymerized), it changes the physical properties, so it dries hard, and can be built up to a thin-film finish. It seals well enough to resist stains, etc., and never gets sticky or gummy. Turners use it on bowls, etc.

    Lee Valley sells the real thing. A lot of "Tung oil products" are anything but.

    I wouldn't use stain with an oil finish, though. the whole idea is that oil finishes are repairable. If you sand a ding back and re-oil, there will be a bald patch in the stain...

    It's true that the normal rule of thumb for oils is "once a week for a month, once a month for a year, and once a year for life". But as PTO builds, it needs to be done less often than other oils. There's no patchiness or other problems, and it just wipes off non-absorbent surfaces, like bridges, pickup surrounds, etc.
     
  11. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    I didnt know that, I thought you just build it up until you reach your desired result.
     
  12. PDGood

    PDGood Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    I'll be the first to say that I haven't always done it "by the book". But it never hurts to pass on the information so that everyone can make an informed decision - whatever that is.

    Also, pure Tung oil naturally is extremely slow drying. Some will say it never totally dries. The stuff at your local hardware store likely has other ingredients to speed the dry time - one more factor to be aware of.
     
  13. Serek_Basses

    Serek_Basses Supporting Member

    Mar 26, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    This option is available to me as well. Should I avoid using the Tung first if I do a light spray?


    I would also love to get it to look like the new Faded SG Reissues, I love the finish on those basses, the way the pores in the wood are still there. Can anyone tell me how to achieve that?

    Thanks for all the feedback so far!
     
  14. iiipopes

    iiipopes

    May 4, 2009
    I like the feel of tung oil on the neck, and it will work because of the hard maple, but the body needs something a little harder to wear well.
     
  15. PDGood

    PDGood Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    You can poly over tung but I think the wait time is about 2 weeks in between. I called MinWax who made the brand of Poly I was using and asked them for their recommendation and that's what they said. If you use another brand you may want to call them for their suggestion.

    I'm not familiar with Nitro.

    Both Tung and Poly will add amber color to your finish. It almost always make the wood more beautiful, but if you're not expecting a color change, you may be in for a surprise. It's always good to test finishes on a spare piece of wood before doing the real thing.

    The wood on old SGs is mahogany, but there are different types. That type (Phillipine??) has very open pores and that's why it looks like it does. I love the SG look too.
     
  16. Serek_Basses

    Serek_Basses Supporting Member

    Mar 26, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    All in all a good day for the Newport, however, I did hit a bit of a speed bump. Got my Model One today and routed the cavity for it, no problem. Then, I realized I forgot to drill the wire channel while the neck was still not set into the body. This would have allowed me to drill straight to the cavity with no angle.

    Instead, I had to drill from the control cavity to the pickup route. Very scary, and my fears were realized as my bit poked through the top of the bass before hitting the pickup cavity :scowl::rollno:

    Keeping in mind this is just a bass for fun and it is going to get beat up anyway, I let this blunder roll of me. To fix it I took a piece of Afr. Mahogany leftover from the body and sanded a little oval piece to fill the hole with, matching the grain best as possible. Here is the result, I am happy with it and will do a little more sanding to blend it better. The pickguard will cover half of the plug and the G string sits right over it, so it shouldn't be visible at all from a moderate distance. Oh well!

    2012-01-25201725.
    2012-01-25201743.
     
  17. PDGood

    PDGood Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    Good save. I can't imagine building a bass and having everything come out perfect the first time around. It's a prototype.
     
  18. Serek_Basses

    Serek_Basses Supporting Member

    Mar 26, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    Thanks, that's a good way of looking at it!
     
  19. Serek_Basses

    Serek_Basses Supporting Member

    Mar 26, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    Had some time to fret the Newport today. Used FW74 from LMI, good stuff. I use a drop of CA at the ends and middle of each slot and then hammer away. I also beveled the edges by hand (gonna make a block this weekend) and hit the ends with some 320 grit and then steel wool. They are smooth enough for me, but I may still buy a fret end file and practice getting more of that teardrop shaped fret end that looks so nice.

    I have decided to go with Cherry for the body, going to mix some samples this weekend. I will be shooting the body with lacquer, and the blacking out the headstock, but will stick to Tung oil for the neck and fingerboard.

    2012-02-02165840-1.
    2012-02-02165947-1.
    2012-02-02170047-1.
     
  20. mellowgerman

    mellowgerman

    Jan 23, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    Mmmmm the model one is in my opinion one of the best pickups out there. Love both the single coil and humbucker modes. My favorite thing to do though is to put a volume pot instead of a switch, so that way you can blend between single coil and humbucker.
    Can't wait to see the finished bass!
     

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