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1990 Elite 1868 Project

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arumako
Posted 2019-01-14 2:50 AM (#546537 - in reply to #546505)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 846

Location: Yokohama, Japan

2wheeldrummer - 2019-01-11 8:17 AM

...perseverance and patience will pay off in the end!!!!

Thanks 2wheeldrummer! Not looking for a big pay-off. Hoping for an instrument that "sound" that we all love so much.

Already seeing limitations with the epoxy finish I used. Because of my miscalculation and resin over flow, there was a lot of flashing that needed to be cleaned up around the bowl and epis. Maybe my mixing was bad or the resin just got old.  The stuff is very brittle, and chips off too easily. The chips are hardly noticeable, but I was hoping for a more durable result. Good lesson learned!

Anyway, the bridge's saddle slot needed to be routed, and the handy jig used for my 5986 Nakao came in handy again...

1868 bridge  1868 saddle slot  1868 saddle slot clean

Everything fit together pretty well; so after some dry runs of clamping the neck into place, I decided to put it all together. Despite my misgivings about the Finishing Resin, I have nothing but praise for Z-Poxy adhesives. Scuffed up the body with 100 grit sp to ensure good adhesion. Put everything in the right place to ensure process efficiency. Turned to Z-Poxy's 30 Minute Epoxy product again. Applied just the right amount of adhesives under the fret board extension. Placed the neck in the correct position and finger-tightened the neck bolt (I know I've said this many times before; but man, I love these K-bar necks).

Grabbed my first clamp... squeeze, squeeze, squeeze... okay, that's about right... turned around to grab my second clamp, and CRACK! No, no, not the guitar, (thank God! That was my first thought too) but my first clamp... looks fine, but something in the clamping mechanism must have cracked... wasn't expecting this! Would have been SOL , had this been a mid-depth bowl! Time to invest in some better clamps... After the minor mishap, I was able to run to my shed and grab a standard C-Clamp... not exactly "textbook", but nothing about this project has been "textbook" after all. LOL!

1868 neck clamped

Neck fit and position - perfect! Fret maintenance in 24-hours, install pre-amp and take her for a spin! Woohoo... Got a GOOD feeling about this one!

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DanSavage
Posted 2019-01-14 4:45 PM (#546553 - in reply to #546537)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1949

Location: Lake Forest, CA

arumako - 2019-01-14 12:50 AM

Already seeing limitations with the epoxy finish I used. Because of my miscalculation and resin over flow, there was a lot of flashing that needed to be cleaned up around the bowl and epis. Maybe my mixing was bad or the resin just got old.  The stuff is very brittle, and chips off too easily. The chips are hardly noticeable, but I was hoping for a more durable result. Good lesson learned!

Hi Ken,

I've been following your progress on this. I'm glad to see it nearing completion.

Generally speaking, the slower an epoxy cures the more rigid (brittle) it will be once cured. The ZPoxy finishing resin is pretty much the most rigid formulation ZPoxy sells. It's main use in modeling is as a laminating resin to apply lightweight fiberglass to the outer skin of the model as a base for the painted finish.

I'm curious to read how it sounds.

Dan

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arumako
Posted 2019-01-15 9:12 PM (#546583 - in reply to #546553)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 846

Location: Yokohama, Japan

DanSavage - 2019-01-14 6:45 AM

Hi Ken,

I've been following your progress on this. I'm glad to see it nearing completion.

Generally speaking, the slower an epoxy cures the more rigid (brittle) it will be once cured. The ZPoxy finishing resin is pretty much the most rigid formulation ZPoxy sells. It's main use in modeling is as a laminating resin to apply lightweight fiberglass to the outer skin of the model as a base for the painted finish.

I'm curious to read how it sounds.

Dan

Hi Dan! I've surely missed your wisdom and insight! Thanks for chimming in!

Yeah, I'd have to say my Finishing Resin experiment ended as a failure. The chipping also seems to indicate that the epoxy finish isn't adhering well to the nitro based sanding sealer. I'm guessing using the Finishing Resin instead of the sanding sealer, and following that up with a finishing epoxy would have been better. I was getting a lot of bubbling with the FResin; so as an experiment, I tried some 30-minute Z-Poxy on some wood blanks, and that was much easier to work with (no bubbling) and my sample finished durable without chipping. Unfortunately, I opted to use the FResin because, I kept assuming the 30-minute product as an "adhesive". Still, a good lesson learned. This current finish will probably chip off after a year or two. Will probably remove the epoxy and shoot a nitro clear coat when the time comes.

While you're at it... got any other advice for me? Oh yeah, my son is building his 1st electric kit from Stewmac @ college (X-mas gift). He's planning on using the Eastwood 2K over a sonic blue lacquer. Will that work out okay?

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arumako
Posted 2019-01-16 11:04 AM (#546588 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 846

Location: Yokohama, Japan

After at least four years of silence my 1990 Elite sings again! Woohoo! The recycled AA Sitka spruce top is only just starting to get back into the swing of things...

done 1

She is looking & sounding mighty fine indeed! Here's another shot of her resting in her case! 

done 2

Will post sound byte later, but I can't thank the BFLG enough for all your generous encouragement. Think I'm gonna take DetlefMichel's advice and swap my stock gold tuning buttons for some black ebony ones. Woohoo!

 



Edited by arumako 2019-01-16 11:09 AM
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marenostrum
Posted 2019-01-16 11:33 AM (#546589 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
August 2007
Posts: 1002

Location: Tuscany, Italy
Well done job, Ken. Congratulations !
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Jonmark Stone
Posted 2019-01-16 1:04 PM (#546590 - in reply to #546589)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project


Joined:
May 2008
Posts: 1396

Location: Indy
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Love O Fair
Posted 2019-01-16 1:29 PM (#546592 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 1103

Location: What week?
Just think how nice it would have turned out if you hadn't rushed through the project.
--or--
That promise you wouldn't shave your beard until you finished this has at least kept the floor swept nicely.
--or--
Don't worry, there will eventually be a red light and the train will stop.
--or--
--or--
--or..
Nice job, Ken! Congratulations, and thanks for an interesting journey. Your skill and talent once again shine through! Oh, and your patience, too.
(sorry, couldn't resist)


Edited by Love O Fair 2019-01-16 1:45 PM
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moody, p.i.
Posted 2019-01-16 5:41 PM (#546600 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project


Joined:
March 2002
Posts: 15289

Location: SoCal
Looks beautiful! Looking forward to hearing it.....
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DanSavage
Posted 2019-01-16 6:53 PM (#546604 - in reply to #546583)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1949

Location: Lake Forest, CA

arumako - 2019-01-15 7:12 PM

Hi Dan! I've surely missed your wisdom and insight! Thanks for chimming in!

Yeah, I'd have to say my Finishing Resin experiment ended as a failure. The chipping also seems to indicate that the epoxy finish isn't adhering well to the nitro based sanding sealer. I'm guessing using the Finishing Resin instead of the sanding sealer, and following that up with a finishing epoxy would have been better. I was getting a lot of bubbling with the FResin; so as an experiment, I tried some 30-minute Z-Poxy on some wood blanks, and that was much easier to work with (no bubbling) and my sample finished durable without chipping. Unfortunately, I opted to use the FResin because, I kept assuming the 30-minute product as an "adhesive". Still, a good lesson learned. This current finish will probably chip off after a year or two. Will probably remove the epoxy and shoot a nitro clear coat when the time comes.

While you're at it... got any other advice for me? Oh yeah, my son is building his 1st electric kit from Stewmac @ college (X-mas gift). He's planning on using the Eastwood 2K over a sonic blue lacquer. Will that work out okay?

One good thing about using the finishing resin is that the hardness won't deaden the sound.

Keep in mind that the finishing resin and 30-minute are both epoxies. AFAIK, the main difference is the cure time and viscosity.

There are very few materials that epoxy will form a chemical bond. It usually only makes a mechanical bond. If you use sandpaper with too fine of a grit the epoxy won't get enough tooth and it can separate. I'll usually use 320-grit as the final prep.

I agree. If it starts looking too bad you can always peel it off and put something else down.

Eastwood 2K over lacquer should be fine, but finishing a test piece first would be in order. At the very least the lacquer will need to be sanded to give the finish some tooth.



Edited by DanSavage 2019-01-16 6:56 PM
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Love O Fair
Posted 2019-01-16 8:59 PM (#546606 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 1103

Location: What week?
@Dan - >>>'ll usually use 320-grit as the final prep.<<<

A step that I am curious about. Is that wet or dry? If wet, do you first dampen the paper, or the surface, or both? How deep?
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DanSavage
Posted 2019-01-17 1:36 AM (#546612 - in reply to #546606)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1949

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Love O Fair - 2019-01-16 6:59 PM

@Dan - >>>'ll usually use 320-grit as the final prep.<<<

A step that I am curious about. Is that wet or dry? If wet, do you first dampen the paper, or the surface, or both? How deep?


Whether I dry sand or wet sand depends upon how far along in the finishing process I'm at.

Initial sanding is done dry so I don't get the wood wet. Once I've got a decent base, I'll switch over to wet sanding.

Once I get to the wet-sanding step I move up to 400-grit.

I sand the top using a 2"x2"x3" styrofoam block with whatever grit sandpaper I'm using. I keep a small plastic bowl with some water in it. I dip the sanding block in the water, shake off the excess, then sand a 6"x6" area at a time.

When I'm done sanding that area, I wipe off the sanding slurry with a paper towel and move on to the next area.

I try to sand off as little as possible. It's really easy to take off too much and burn through the finish into the bare wood.

So, I only sand the area a little bit, clean off the slurry and dry the area to check my progress, then repeat until all the surface imperfections, such as orange peel, etc., are gone.



Edited by DanSavage 2019-01-17 1:41 AM
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DetlefMichel
Posted 2019-01-17 11:41 AM (#546615 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
May 2011
Posts: 581

Location: Muenster/Germany
...if I go back to page 1 and watch the pics...you made a wonderful guitar out of this piece of junk. The top with the inlaid epis makes it look look like a 3k$ guitar. I just love it. Chapeau!
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Love O Fair
Posted 2019-01-26 12:48 AM (#546766 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 1103

Location: What week?
Thanks for the reply and sanding tips, Dan. I missed it from last week, but I AM paying attention. We have an old oak table here with a top finish that looks beaten to something like the surface of your workbench, and since I so badly suck at finish woodwork I think I'd better start my career as such with the table top and hope that one day I am able to graduate tongue-in-cheek to a decent musical instrument. In the meantime I'll buy a tablecloth just in case. You guys amaze me.
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arumako
Posted 2019-02-05 7:49 AM (#546908 - in reply to #546604)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 846

Location: Yokohama, Japan

DanSavage - 2019-01-16 8:53 AM

There are very few materials that epoxy will form a chemical bond. It usually only makes a mechanical bond. If you use sandpaper with too fine of a grit the epoxy won't get enough tooth and it can separate. I'll usually use 320-grit as the final prep.

Thanks for the valuable tip Dan. Yup, went all the way up to 1000 grit with the sealer. That pretty much left the epoxy with nothing to grab on too. But I've learned so much from the BFLG on this project. Can't wait to tackle my next project.

And thanks to everyone for the nice comments. Really appreciate your interest and encouragement! Been real hectic over the last few weeks; after stringing her up with my fav Adamas 1919E strings, I've been taking her through the paces. She took a few days to 'open-up', and I was tempted to Prime Vibe the stiff sound board, but resisted the temptation.

I took DetlefMichel's advice and ordered the ebony tuning buttons. They arrived the other day and were immediately installed. WOW! I really like the understated look! The inlayed epis really look nice too.

ebony buttons  standing tall  inlayed epis

Unfortunately, the brittle epoxy finish has already started chipping around the epis and edges of the guitar. However, the 'Ol New Hartford label reminds me of her noble lineage which promises articulate resonance chips or not!

chipped epis  label

And despite the polishing and buffing, I couldn't get the finish completely level. Of course, the over-spill from my epoxy miscalculation will need to be covered with black paint.

flat top  over-spill

Was able to make a foam pad for the manhole cover... not exactly uniform or symmetrical, but good enough to secure the cover in place. All-in-all she's a joy to play.

foam for manhole  playin'

So, wanted to leave some conclusions about my various experiments implemented in this project as I close this running 4-year thread down...

1.   Re-purposed original AA Sitka Spruce top with ebonized stain: excellent results.

2.   Inlayed Epaulets: excellent results.

3.   Warwick Bell-bronze frets: Bear to install, but looks very good.

4.   Re-radiused 20" fret board: improves finger's attack angle, but brings the strings just a hair closer, making it difficult for my stubby fingers to get clean access to the strings. Need a new nut to resolve this issue.

5.   Nitro-cellulose sealer & Epoxy Resin finish: Failure. Sanded sealer with sand paper that was too fine (1000 grit). Epoxy could not securely adhere to sealer. The chosen finishing epoxy was too brittle and began chipping away.

However, despite the failed experiment, this SSB sounds incredible! She is the loudest SSB I've ever heard. No doubt the original sound board chosen and built at the Mother Ship combined with the cosmetically failed, but resonantly successful nitro/epoxy finish, and the bell-like toned Warwick frets all contribute to that dynamic and punchy uniquely Ovation voice. Bass tones are not deep, but very strong; as a matter of fact, she blows away my Mid Depth bowl CC247 that just came out of a 190 hour Prime Vibe session (Prime Vibe really opened up the spruce-lamInate top of my Celebrity - definitely recommend the treatment for all laminates!). Here's a short demo... My pudgy fingers are still trying to get used to the closer strings of the 20" radiused fret board so forgive my uninspiring technique!

<iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/HMQtKKXyWVk" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315">

a link just in case... https://youtu.be/HMQtKKXyWVk

As is always the case, the camera's mic doesn't do this beautiful sounding instrument justice, but with a new nut and maybe a full epoxy or nitro-cellulose finish down the road somewhare, I might be able to say, "She sounds as good as she looks." But for now, I'll just settle for, "She sounds way better than she looks!" Thanks for letting me share BFLG!



Edited by arumako 2019-02-05 8:18 AM
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DanSavage
Posted 2019-02-06 11:58 AM (#546928 - in reply to #546908)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1949

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Hi Ken,

Thanks for the closing comments of this project. It turned into a really nice guitar.

WRT to point #5, the finish, I'm finding that the fewer different types of finish applied to the top, the better.

For example, a lot of luthiers recommend that you lay on a coat of shellac before routing the binding/purfling channel to help prevent tear-outs. But, what I found is that once I started scraping down the binding/purfling I would inevitably scrape off some of the shellac exposing the bare wood underneath. Because the shellac is not translucent, this would leave parts of the top that was lighter than other areas. So, I stopped doing the shellac layer.

As you know I was a fan of Minwax poly-u finish, either as an 'primer' to the Eastwood 2K, or as the sole finish. What I found was that the poly-u actually behaved a lot like lacquer in that it really should be allowed to dry for a full month so that all the solvents had time to evaporate and 'shrink' the finish prior to cutting and polishing. Not doing so led to the finish shrinking which left the guitar top with what looked like a 'vintage' finish instead of the glassy-smooth finish usually seen on Ovations, even when top-coated with EW2K. On the plus side, a thinner finish is always better than a thicker one.

I've arrived at the point where I have decided to stick with EW2K as the sole finish, mainly because it's a catalytic finish instead of an evaporative one. This means, low shrinkage during the post-polishing period. Of course, I've only done one guitar finished only with EW2K and that one got shipped off a couple of months ago so I haven't had a chance to view it long-term, and probably won't have the chance unless the buyer posts photos a year or so from now.

I'm not sure if you've done a nitro finish on a guitar, but I have and I probably won't do it again. It was a major pain. Because the coats go on so thin, it takes a lot to build up the finish to a decent thickness for finishing. Then, once it's done it's still a pretty delicate finish.

Edited by DanSavage 2019-02-06 11:59 AM
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arumako
Posted 2019-02-09 2:22 AM (#546965 - in reply to #546928)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 846

Location: Yokohama, Japan

DanSavage - 2019-02-06 1:58 AM
WRT to point #5, the finish, I'm finding that the fewer different types of finish applied to the top, the better.

I've arrived at the point where I have decided to stick with EW2K as the sole finish, mainly because it's a catalytic finish instead of an evaporative one. This means, low shrinkage during the post-polishing period.

Hey Dan! Thanks for your insights.
Fewer different finishes makes a lot of sense, and I think I'll stick to one type of finish from now on. I've read and heard about the shellac top coat to protect the wood when scrapping the binding down; and in addition to sealing the AA spruce top, the relatively thick coat of nitro sanding sealer did just that. Interestingly enough the JP brand sanding sealer I used is catalyzed, and dries and finishes really quickly and nicely. For some reason, polyurethane spray-can finishes are unheard of over here. Other poly finishes are generally very very expensive (and almost always water-based).

As the temperature changes here in Japan (incidentally it's snowing out today!) begin to affect the various finishes on my 1868, I'm pretty sure there's going to be some shrinkage differences that will make chipping and peeling more and more pervasive. However, like the sanding sealer I used, there's a plethora of catalyzed nitro products over here and I'm kinda keen to try some of those.

DanSavage - 2019-02-06 1:58 AM
I'm not sure if you've done a nitro finish on a guitar, but I have and I probably won't do it again. It was a major pain. Because the coats go on so thin, it takes a lot to build up the finish to a decent thickness for finishing. Then, once it's done it's still a pretty delicate finish.

I used nitro on my electric guitars in the past with great results, never on acoustics though. "Major pain" is a good description! However, nowadays if I'm going to go through the pain of using nitro, I would much rather do a French Polish (shellac). With nitro, you gotta spray and wait and wait and wait, and do it all over again, but with FP, instead of waiting you get to rub and rub and rub; and for some reason, I find the pore filling to the final finish process a lot of fun! Of course, you don't get real polyurethane type of protection, but classical guitars are not meant to be banged around like our Os!

Having said that, I'm really impressed with the acoustic characteristics of my 1868. It is like no other O that I own. Of course, it's no "torrefied wonder", but the response of the re-purposed AA top is clear, resonant and sustaining. As mentioned previously in the thread, it out performs my mid-depth CC247, even after the 190 hour PV session (which really improved the voice tremendously). My only other "onhand" SSB is my sons 1861-5 - no contest. I loved the 5986 Nakao too - it's close, but it can't keep up with this Elite. Of course, I must admit that maximizing the resonance of the top of an SSB is somewhat of an exercise in stupidity (since these were designed to be plugged-in), but I keep wondering what my 1117-4 and my CS249 (nylon) would sound like with a FP or catalyzed nitro finishes. Won't get to my iDea project for awhile, but my head is mulling things over...that could be dangerous!

By the way, I never could embed YT videos very effectively. Apologize for the link only in my previous post. Ran out of time, as I tried to edit the video into the post - oh well. So, here's some info that I was hoping to include in my last post; string action: 6th string 12th fret - 2mm; 1st string 12th fret 1.7mm with no buzzing. Also, while Warwick's Bell Bronze frets work well and provide sparkling highs, the gains are not worth the extra effort they take to install them (slightly wider fret slots needed). Just go with EVO Golds.

Okay, I think that's it! Stay warm and Happy strumming!



Edited by arumako 2019-02-09 2:27 AM
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DetlefMichel
Posted 2019-02-09 6:24 AM (#546968 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
May 2011
Posts: 581

Location: Muenster/Germany
" maximizing the resonance of the top of an SSB is somewhat of an exercise in stupidity"....NO! It´s always an heroic deed!!

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