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1990 Elite 1868 Project

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DanSavage
Posted 2014-11-24 1:35 PM (#501232 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1611

Location: Lake Forest, CA

The doubler(s) on my 2078TX-5 is only under the immediate area around the epaulet holes.

This may be because the neck is glued on and doesn't need to be self-supporting like the bolt-on neck models.



Edited by DanSavage 2014-11-24 1:37 PM
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DanSavage
Posted 2014-11-24 1:55 PM (#501235 - in reply to #501205)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1611

Location: Lake Forest, CA

arumako - 2014-11-24 6:51 AM
I had a day off today, and made some progress on disassembling my 1868 Elite... found some interesting things as I progressed.

Whoa! You don't waste much time, do you? (heh heh heh...)

The masking tape was probably a shim to make the neck fit right.

The routed bridge saddle slot was probably an attempt to lower the saddle height in response to the change in neck geometry that was raising the height of the action. This solution is not uncommon.

Personally, I would not attempt to re-use the old top. Besides being old and warped, it will be difficult to get it aligned which will make it harder to put in new purfling and binding.

I would guess that the excess epoxy on the kerfing was a result of a botched restoration rather than something done at the factory. The amount of epoxy between the top wood and kerfing has been pretty consistent on all three of the guitars I've got in my shop.

The US factory wasn't shy about using a lot of glue, which translated into excessive amounts of squeeze-out. But the actual glue joint thickness has been fairly consistent.

In contrast, the Chinese always seem to pay bonuses to their workers based on how little glue they use. The inside of my 2078TX-5 has little to no squeeze-out along the edge of the kerfing and binding. When I was building/flying model airplanes, this as a running joke. One of the things that always needed attention first was to reinforce the glue joints. Otherwise the model could and often did, disassemble itself in the air.

Like I say, personally, I would just plan to re-top the guitar using fresh wood and save the old top for reference for bracing & epaulet hole size/location.

 

 



Edited by DanSavage 2014-11-24 1:56 PM
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marenostrum
Posted 2014-11-25 6:42 AM (#501278 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
August 2007
Posts: 978

Location: Tuscany, Italy
I think all guitars with epaulettes have the area around the sound port reinforced. My elite (single epaulet) has the reinforcement.....just saying...
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arumako
Posted 2014-11-25 7:55 AM (#501281 - in reply to #501215)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 652

Location: Yokohama, Japan
tpa - 2014-11-24 1:17 AM

Somewhere I read that on the (older?) Adamas guitars this overlapping fretbord end was not fixed to the soundbord, but on cut-away guitars this part of the soundboard is probably relatively dead soundwise anyway. Regarding the brittleness - I suppose that there diferences in the long-term degradation of properties depending on type and brand. I am no specialist but I have the impression that short term properties are normally considered better for the slow and/or elevated temperature curing types.

I follow the work of You and DanSavage with admiration, pleasure and interest. Thank you for sharing.

Thanks for the kind comment tpa, I really appreciate all the input and encouragement. After reading your post and Mark in Boise's post...

Mark in Boise - 2014-11-24 2:52 AM

tpa is right, but the "floating fretboard" was also used on the first of the Elites. I don't know how long they continued to do that, either. When I saw the pictures with all the glue under the end of the fretboard, I thought someone might have tried to glue it down, thinking that it had pulled up. We've seen several examples of people trying to fix that on old Elites when it wasn't really broken. On the old ones, there should be a slight gap, probably credit card thickness.


...I'm beginning to think that this might have been a floating fret board Elite. It's a 1990 model. I wonder if they made the 1868s that way back in those days? Looking at the glue under the neck and on the body, it certainly looks like the glue was added later. I need to try to learn more about the original condition of this guitar. If it was a floating fret board, then I would sure like to restore it to that condition, as those are probably few and far between now...

On closer inspection, I can see that this was a botched up re-gluing of a soundboard that was peeling away from the body. Some of the braces were also re-glued or replaced; hence the messy wood work in several areas. Who ever replaced and re-glued the braces used a glue that dries white...as in Elmers? Holy molly I hope I am wrong about that assessment! I placed the bowl on a perfectly flat surface and the flatness of the top of the bowl is way-off. It's been filed down by the butt end and the two sides of the bowl. So I can either take everything down a bit or build the butt end and sides up a bit. JB at the Mini-Mother seems to think that rebuilding the filed down areas of the bowl with epoxy (may not be the best solution, but) should be structurally sound.

And thanks for all the comments regarding the reinforcement under the epaulets. Especially OMA and DanSavage for looking under the hood of their 1735 and 2078TX-5 respectively. I took a look at my iDea and it also has a reinforcement that is only applied directly under the 3 oval sound holes. OMAs 1735 looks closest to my 1868 and as marenostrum says, apparently all Elite style guitars have reinforcements under the epaulets...very interesting. The reinforcement on my 1868 is super soft. If I didn't know any better, I'd say it was some kind of balsa wood...I'm sure my assessment there is definitely off, but I had to go really really slow removing that section from the bowl because the wood was so soft...

So at this point, I'm thinking I want to keep the guitar in as original condition as possible. I'm planning on rebuilding the sides of the bowl with G10 and Hysol 9462. Get a nice flat surface on the bowl. For the top, I'm going to heat the polyurethane finish, scrape it off nicely and see if it returns the top to a flat state. If it does, I think I'm going to re-use the top and return it to as original a condition as possible. If not, I'll have to take the re-top route which will obviously be the best way to completely revive this beauty.

By the way, if this is a floating fret board Elite, I'm assuming I need to bolt and glue the heel of the neck to the bowl. There's a very thin residue of glue on the heel of the neck where the Kaman bar meets the body. The adhesive would have to work on aluminum, wood and fiberglass. Does anybody know what kind of glue is used for that? Perhaps CA glue?

I sure do appreciate your input OFC! Domo Arigato Gozaimasu!
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dvd
Posted 2014-11-25 8:54 AM (#501284 - in reply to #501232)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
December 2003
Posts: 1879

Location: Central Massachusetts
DanSavage - 2014-11-24 2:35 PM

The doubler(s) on my 2078TX-5 is only under the immediate area around the epaulet holes.

This may be because the neck is glued on and doesn't need to be self-supporting like the bolt-on neck models.



Dan, is that a loose brace there on the left of this pic?
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DanSavage
Posted 2014-11-25 9:35 AM (#501285 - in reply to #501284)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1611

Location: Lake Forest, CA
dvd - 2014-11-25 6:54 AM

Dan, is that a loose brace there on the left of this pic?


Good eye. It was loose at the time I took the pic. Afterward I went in and glued it down. That was my first ever Ovation repair.

The back story is that I bought the husk off ebay. It was a factory reject that didn't have any hardware. So, I bought the hardware and put it together. I liked the sound, but the low E and A had a dead tone. I took the pics of the inside because there was some discussion about the imported guitars having top wood that was twice as thick as the US of the same model. After taking the pics I saw that the brace looked loose, so I went back in and sure enough, it had popped loose. So, I used some medium CA to glue the brace back down and the dead tone of the E and A strings went away. I also cleaned up some of the squeeze-out on the other braces and it improved the overall tone of the guitar.

The guitar still sounded stiff, so I bought a PrimeVibe and used it on this guitar and it really loosened up the top and improved the sustain and depth of the sound, especially the bass.
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DanSavage
Posted 2014-11-25 12:20 PM (#501288 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1611

Location: Lake Forest, CA

Hi Arumako,

I don't think yours has a floating fretboard. Someone (OMA?) posted pics of one of his Elites with a floating fretboard a while ago after he'd taken off the neck and there's a pocket in the top and the fretboard extension sits on an extended support block that extends almost to the end of the fretboard extension. I don't see either one on your guitar. There's an article in Guitar Player magazine from 2005 that talks about it and the other new features of the LX series guitars. (See: Ovation LX Series)

Edit: I found a thread here on OFC that shows the floating fretboard. See: Tension Rod question

Elmer's glue dries clear or slightly translucent, so if the glue you're seeing on the braces is white, it's probably some sort of epoxy, like Hysol or possibly, polyurethane glue like Gorilla Glue.

I agree. I would use G-10 and Hysol to build up the sides of the bowl rather than try to take the high spots down. These two materials will give you something that's as strong and stable as the original material used. I think trying to take the sides down will be pretty difficult and will cause other problems, such as too big of a gap where the fretboard joins the top. Also, lowering the top will, in effect, raise the neck, which will also raise the action.

In looking at the pics of the cross-grain reinforcement, I don't think it's balsa. Balsa, like spruce, has a tight grain structure. The cross-grain wood looks to me like either basswood or maybe soft pine. One way to check if it's balsa is to try to make a splinter of a piece of it and see if it wants to pierce your skin. (gently, please... LOL!) Balsa is used in the entertainment industry for visual effects exposions because it won't splinter and break the skin like pine, etc.

You don't want to glue the heel to the body. Bolting it is plenty strong. If someone tried to glue the heel to the body, then they didn't know what they were doing. Hysol 9462 will bond all of those materials, but like I say, you don't want to glue the heel. The only part that should be glued is the fretboard extension to the top and even then, you only want to apply a thin bead around the edge to keep it stable. If you leave it unglued, the strings will have a dead sound when you fret them above the 14th fret.

Dan



Edited by DanSavage 2014-11-25 12:25 PM
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Jonmark Stone
Posted 2014-11-25 12:40 PM (#501291 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project


Joined:
May 2008
Posts: 1219

Location: Gnashville
Enjoying watching your progress, arumako.
Regarding the bridge routing, I have two guitars that came from the mothership routed through to the top. One from the 80's, one from the early 90's.
Keep up the good work!
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arumako
Posted 2014-11-26 4:44 AM (#501315 - in reply to #501291)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 652

Location: Yokohama, Japan

Jonmark Stone - 2014-11-25 2:40 AM

Enjoying watching your progress, arumako.
Regarding the bridge routing, I have two guitars that came from the mothership routed through to the top. One from the 80's, one from the early 90's.
Keep up the good work!

Thanks for the kind comments Jonmark Stone. I'm surprised to hear that the Mothership actually routes into the top! But I guess in so many vintage O restorations, the only other option is a "bowl bend" like DanSavage is doing with the "1967 Balladeer Rebuild". That seems pretty risky! I am learning a ton about guitar rebuilds from the OFC, and I am just glad to share my journey! Please pray that I won't end up tanking this beauty in the trash. The more hours I put into it, the more I want to save her!

DanSavage - 2014-11-25 2:20 AM


Hi Arumako,

I don't think yours has a floating fretboard...

...In looking at the pics of the cross-grain reinforcement, I don't think it's balsa... Balsa, like spruce, has a tight grain structure. The cross-grain wood looks to me like either basswood or maybe soft pine. One way to check if it's balsa is to try to make a splinter of a piece of it and see if it wants to pierce your skin. (gently, please... LOL!)...

...You don't want to glue the heel to the body. Bolting it is plenty strong. If someone tried to glue the heel to the body, then they didn't know what they were doing...

Dan


Thanks for the heads up and links to the thread with the floating fretboard pics! You saved me from making a huge mistake! Like an idiot, I would have glued the heel to the bowl with a credit card thick gap between the fretboard and soundboard, and wondered why my fretboard keeps bending and hitting the soundboard everytime I play on the higher frets! Doh!

Balsa or pine? Ouch! PINE...pass the bandaid please...(so thankful that this 1868's well-being is NOT dependent on my observation skills!)

Yup, someone tried to glue the heel! And the comment thereafter, kind of "sums up" the jist of the condition of this guitar!

However, I am not going to give up yet! If you are not used to seeing guitar carnage, the next few pictures may not be for you. Don't say that I didn't warn ya!

So, I wanted to see how far I could go to salvage this top. She was bone dry and curling up at the sides, and I wanted to learn what it would take to re-finish an O...you know, just in case... so I took out my iron and heated up the polyurethane finish, and boy did she peel off easily!

polyurethane

It actually took a pretty long time to do, but the work was actually pretty easy...just needed patience. And the next pic might just make you want to kill me!

I know, I know, "O-Abuser"...please forgive me! So since she was bone dry and curling up at the sides, I decided to put her in an 80% humidity room. She's been there for 12 hours and...

flattening out!

She's flattening out! Whoa Cool! But alas, I've decided to take everybody's advice and go with a top change. One more dry spell and this top is going to crack like so many acoustic tops do...

My daughter made me promise to re-store this to the original black condition. She really likes the 1868 "-5" finish, and seems to be intent on using this guitar when I'm done so...

The original 1868-5 specs say the soundboard is made from AA Spruce. So, I checked out Stewmac's website and dreadnought size AA Spruce is going for a mind-boggling 20 bucks! No wonder why you all were saying, "Swap the top!" I must say, I am learning so much from this project, and I am just addicted to guitar restoration!

I thought GAS was the abyss, but the BFLG is the abyss within the abyss!



Edited by arumako 2014-11-26 4:47 AM
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FlySig
Posted 2014-11-26 8:44 AM (#501321 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2005
Posts: 3739

Location: Utah
Do you have a source of tone wood nearby? I've seen videos of people tap testing wood to find the piece with the nicest sound when tapped. Some pieces sound dull, others have a clear resonance. StewMac is a good source, I'm just wondering if you can do better.
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DanSavage
Posted 2014-11-26 12:01 PM (#501327 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1611

Location: Lake Forest, CA

Howdy!

That's one of the great things about working on guitars, with a few exceptions, nothing is permanent. Most mistakes can be fixed, albeit with a certain amount of effort.

When I was gathering materials for my 1619, I bought Stewmac's cheap sound board to practice on. It's actually pretty nice wood, with good tap tones.

What I've learned about grading is that it has more to do with appearance than with acoustic qualities. The higher grades have grain that is tighter, straighter and is evenly spaced across the entire piece.

If you're going to paint your black, then you may as well get the cheap wood. In fact, if you're going to buy the cheap wood, order two sets while you're at it. This will give you something to practice on.

Here's a good site that shows step-by-step guitar building. While a lot of it is about building a wood box, the parts about joining the top wood, making and gluing the braces are applicable to the job at hand. (See: Hoffman Guitar Building)

Keep up the good work!

Dan

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arumako
Posted 2014-11-27 10:50 PM (#501353 - in reply to #501327)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 652

Location: Yokohama, Japan

DanSavage - 2014-11-26 2:01 AM

Howdy!

That's one of the great things about working on guitars, with a few exceptions, nothing is permanent. Most mistakes can be fixed, albeit with a certain amount of effort.

When I was gathering materials for my 1619, I bought Stewmac's cheap sound board to practice on. It's actually pretty nice wood, with good tap tones.

What I've learned about grading is that it has more to do with appearance than with acoustic qualities. The higher grades have grain that is tighter, straighter and is evenly spaced across the entire piece.

If you're going to paint your black, then you may as well get the cheap wood. In fact, if you're going to buy the cheap wood, order two sets while you're at it. This will give you something to practice on.

Here's a good site that shows step-by-step guitar building. While a lot of it is about building a wood box, the parts about joining the top wood, making and gluing the braces are applicable to the job at hand. (See: Hoffman Guitar Building)

Keep up the good work!

Dan

Thanks a bunch DanSavage. I will definitely get two sets of the AA Spruce StewMac soundboards to practice on. Actually, I was thinking of trying out the bearclaw spruce that you used on the 1619, or redwood (like Patch's or DVD's) beauties. The exotic woods are very tempting, but my daughter was unusually insistent; and this being my first complete guitar top build, I figured, I'd better take the conservative approach, and try more exotic stuff as I build experience!

@FlySig, yup, two tone wood suppliers around here. Gave them a call and found out they get their stuff from, guess who...? StewMac, and their imported AA spruce tops are 4 times the price! Ouch! I haven't read any bad reviews on those AA spruce tops; so I think, I'm going to go ahead and take the plunge.

Now, to order all the parts and wait...I'm hoping to finish the project before the year is out...

Anyway, thanks for all the valuable advice! I pray a very happy Thanksgiving for all of the BFLG and OFC folks out there!

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DanSavage
Posted 2014-11-28 3:49 PM (#501385 - in reply to #501353)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1611

Location: Lake Forest, CA
You're welcome.

The bearclaw (BCS) did sound different from the AA during tap tests. The BCS had a slightly sharper tone and was slightly less resonant. The AA was slightly lower in pitch and had just a little more resonance. IMO, either one would make a nice-sounding guitar.

I've never heard what a redwood guitar sounds like, so I'll let Patch chime in. (pun, intended)

In all fairness to your local suppliers, they need to make a profit, so it makes sense that they would roll the shipping costs and a mark-up into their wood prices. I'm not sure I'd be willing to pay $80/set unless I was unable to get it anywhere else.

Thanks and you're very welcome. I enjoy watching and reading about your progress. Happy Un-Thanksgiving to you, too.
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arumako
Posted 2015-06-26 9:14 PM (#512966 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 652

Location: Yokohama, Japan
Getting all excited after seeing DanSavages 1967 Balladeer Rebuild, just awesome... but it has become apparent, that I won't be able to get Hysol 9462 here in Japan (although it is available, licensing is required as it is categorized as an industrial grade adhesive). Bummer... Instead of using some less effective substitute I thought I'd better wait for opportunity to strike, and it looks like I'll be in the States for a week at the end of the August! So, I can buy it and ship it to myself. Cool!

On another note regarding the bowl repair, a friend of mine who builds surf boards suggested that I repair the bowl using resin and fiberglass sheets. It sounds possible if I building a dam around the kerfing to make sure the resin stayed where it needs too. Cut the fiberglass sheets into thin slices and build up the entire kerfing area and sand down to flatness... It sounds like it would be trickier than fixing the back of the bowl like in DanSavage's 1619-4 Rebuild, but I wonder if the fiberglass/resin will adhere to the bowl. Since it is the kerfing, the newly applied fiberglass resin layer will need to withstand quite a bit of force. Using G10 will no doubt be easier, but... hmmm, decisions, decisions...
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arumako
Posted 2016-05-01 8:24 AM (#524973 - in reply to #501025)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 652

Location: Yokohama, Japan

FlySig - 2014-11-18 12:30 AM

Your current top needs to be significantly changed due to warping and the bowl being trimmed. Wetting the wood might be worth trying, and if it ends up worse, it doesn't matter because it is not usable the way it is now.


This 1868 project has been sitting on the shelf for quite a while. Just waiting for some open time to dig into it, but the other day, as I walked by the sound board that was leaning against the wall in front of my work desk, I spilled a cup of water that splashed all over the soundboard! I wiped off the sound board, and left it where it was; then to my great surprise, the next day, the board was slightly flatter than it was the day before. So I went back and read through this post again, and saw FlySig's comment about "wetting" the wood.

I also did some research on how wood workers flatten veneers, and I decided to give this warped sound board one more try! A slightly wet rag was used to wipe on the moisture, and after a few minutes I could tell the surface was softening up a bit...Cool!

I also wet the back a bit and put the sound board between some weights...

weighed down

I learned that the paper towel and air pockets above and below the weighed down sound board was essential to ensure the wood dried out sufficiently. Since this top is now 26 years-old, I suspect it might be a little like DanSavage's torrefied tops. The thing is the top came out completely flat! So, since I had nothing to lose, I sanded the black residue from the top of the sound board as best I can, and used some Japanese Calligraphy ink called "sumi" (which is filled with minerals) to see if I can get a bit of a black wash effect on the sound board...

sumi

If I darken the edges with a solid black color , add the standard epis and clear coat it with polyurethane, this might turn out kinda nice! The neat thing is, now that the top is flat, it seems to fit the bowl much better than before! My daughter originally wanted this guitar when it was fixed, and asked that it stay black, but the long wait seems to have waned her interest; so I kinda have my sights set on a blackwash finish. Anyway, a little mishap has steered this 1868 Project in an interesting direction. Being a 26 year vintage, the sound board has excellent tap tone, and would certainly be worth re-using! Need to experiment more on blank wood to find the right black washing technique. Thanks for the tip FlySig!



Edited by arumako 2016-05-01 8:33 AM
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DanSavage
Posted 2016-05-01 2:05 PM (#524977 - in reply to #524973)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1611

Location: Lake Forest, CA
arumako - 2016-05-01 6:24 AM

I spilled a cup of water that splashed all over the soundboard! I wiped off the sound board, and left it where it was; then to my great surprise, the next day, the board was slightly flatter than it was the day before. So I went back and read through this post again, and saw FlySig's comment about "wetting" the wood.

I also did some research on how wood workers flatten veneers, and I decided to give this warped sound board one more try! A slightly wet rag was used to wipe on the moisture, and after a few minutes I could tell the surface was softening up a bit...Cool!



The thing is the top came out completely flat! So, since I had nothing to lose, I sanded the black residue from the top of the sound board as best I can, and used some Japanese Calligraphy ink called "sumi" (which is filled with minerals) to see if I can get a bit of a black wash effect on the sound board...



If I darken the edges with a solid black color , add the standard epis and clear coat it with polyurethane, this might turn out kinda nice! The neat thing is, now that the top is flat, it seems to fit the bowl much better than before! My daughter originally wanted this guitar when it was fixed, and asked that it stay black, but the long wait seems to have waned her interest; so I kinda have my sights set on a blackwash finish. Anyway, a little mishap has steered this 1868 Project in an interesting direction. Being a 26 year vintage, the sound board has excellent tap tone, and would certainly be worth re-using! Need to experiment more on blank wood to find the right black washing technique.



It's nice to see this project back on the move again.

WRT to wetting wood, when I was building models and the rounded fuselage needed a fully-sheeting surface, I used to wet the outside of the balsa, which caused it to both soften slightly, and swell on only one side, which warped it in the direction I needed for it to fit on the curved surface. I glued the wood to the framework while it was still wet, then let it dry.

If you want to check what the finish will look like after the clear coat is applied, spray or wipe naptha (white gas - Coleman camp fuel) on the bare wood. It does a good job of simulating the look of the finished wood without any permanent sealing. It evaporates after a few minutes leaving no residue. You could do the same thing with denatured alcohol, but that contains water which might cause the top wood to warp again.

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arumako
Posted 2016-05-21 12:06 AM (#525417 - in reply to #524977)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 652

Location: Yokohama, Japan

DanSavage - 2016-05-01 4:05 AM
It's nice to see this project back on the move again.

WRT to wetting wood, when I was building models and the rounded fuselage needed a fully-sheeting surface, I used to wet the outside of the balsa, which caused it to both soften slightly, and swell on only one side, which warped it in the direction I needed for it to fit on the curved surface. I glued the wood to the framework while it was still wet, then let it dry.

If you want to check what the finish will look like after the clear coat is applied, spray or wipe naptha (white gas - Coleman camp fuel) on the bare wood. It does a good job of simulating the look of the finished wood without any permanent sealing. It evaporates after a few minutes leaving no residue. You could do the same thing with denatured alcohol, but that contains water which might cause the top wood to warp again.


Thanks Dan! Again, being totally inspired by your 1113 Project, and in the process of doing some homework for my CC54i iDea Project (meaning balsa!), I decided to devote a few minutes to my 1868.

It's amazing how much these sound boards respond to humidity. Like Dan said, adding water on the top of the sound board, expands the top and the sound board curls up (convex shape). Adding water to the bottom (between the braces) expands the bottom and the sound board curls downward (concave shape). Very interesting! I wet both and it flattens out completely! But after drying out again, there is still a bit of a curl downward (concave). By the way, I had to be really careful to make sure the epoxy holding the braces didn't get wet (could loosen up the bracing causing it to pop-off later after re-assembly).

But to my great surprise, once the top flattened out, the bowl fit the top nearly perfectly! Raising the kerfing in certain areas of the bowl is still necessary, but no more than 1mm in only 2 places each having approximately a 3cm span! Cool! So, instead of using G10 or the Black Onyx casting resin, I figured just using extra Hysol 9462 in those areas should be sufficient. WOW! What a relief! Really interesting because this suggests that the bowl changes shape depending on how the top is glued on to the bowl (or drastic changes in weather). I remember Dan mentioning that in one of the other threads.

After the top dries; however, there's still a bit of a concave curl, but nothing severe enough to render the sound board useless. But Elite's are really difficult to clamp for me...whether it be the bridge, the neck or the top...so, I've decided to change the order of assembly a bit. First order of business is to get the bridge glued to the sound board...

bridge clamp

No fancy balsa cauls for this 1868, but some shims and pads do nicely when the top is seperate from the bowl. Waited 48 hours and glued the sound board back to the bowl! YES!

top to bowl

For lack of wisdom intelligence or both, I'm resorting to some strange assembly techniques...a hybrid of rubber bands, clamps, weights and straps...

So far, things seem to be lining up really nicely; Since my daughter's lost interest in the color of this guitar (previously demanded the "-5" black finish), I've decided to try some ebonizing using Iron Acetate as a stain (often used when finishing furniture). The batch of iron acetate is about 2-weeks old now, and is a deep red rust color. When applied to the spruce, it should have a deep, deep interesting hue.

Wanted the epi's to be under the clear coat; so I'm planning on shallow routes to glue the epi's in place before a final rub on lacquer finish. The routed epi slots need to be completely flat; hence, the sound board was glued to the bowl before installing the epis. A lot of work left, but am very pleased with the progress made in the minimal time spent! Thanks for the inspiration Dan!



Edited by arumako 2016-05-21 12:09 AM
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arumako
Posted 2016-05-21 9:45 AM (#525421 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 652

Location: Yokohama, Japan

And 24 hours later, the Hysol is secure! Now is the time to trim the flashing! After 48 hrs. the glue is very hard and can be difficult to trim...

mounted sound board

Everything is lined-up perfectly! Woohoo! Iron Acetate ebonizing in 24 hours!

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DanSavage
Posted 2016-05-21 12:51 PM (#525422 - in reply to #525421)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1611

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Very cool, Ken. Nice job.

I kind of like the rustic look the top has in that last pic. I also think it looks cool with just the holes sans epaulets.

It would be interesting to see what it looks like under a clear-coat.
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arumako
Posted 2016-05-22 10:32 AM (#525438 - in reply to #525422)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 652

Location: Yokohama, Japan

DanSavage - 2016-05-21 2:51 AM

Very cool, Ken. Nice job.

I kind of like the rustic look the top has in that last pic. I also think it looks cool with just the holes sans epaulets.

It would be interesting to see what it looks like under a clear-coat.

Thanks Dan! So....this is what ebonized spruce looks like!

ebonized

I really like it. As I'm sure most of you all in the BFLG know, ebonizing is basically iron acetate reacting with "tannins" that are naturally found in wood. Spruce is not really known for its tannin content, so treating the wood with super concetrated coffee or tea helps to darken the wood. It gives the wood that nice rustic "faux" look. One of the reasons for returning to the original sound board for this project is the tap tone. The two sets of new AA Sitka that I purchased from Stewmac were actually nice pieces, but the tap tone was just not the same - probably because this sound board from 1990 is 26 years-old and fully seasoned. Maybe similar to Dans torrefied sound boards?

However, because the spruce is 26 years-old, there is practically very little tannin content in the wood. For this project I brewed some super concentrated espresso and applied it to the sound board. After the espresso dried, the iron acetate was applied and the reaction was immediate. In the photo above, the sound board is still wet, and it should be a fair representation of what the guitar will look like after the final finish is applied. I'll let the sound board dry out completely for a week or more, then seal the stain before proceeding...

Was worried that mixing concentrated espresso with iron acetate (essentially steel wool melted in vinegar) would cause an unbearable odor; but alas, after keeping both in a sealed container for over two weeks, the odor was practically non-existent. Cool! 



Edited by arumako 2016-05-22 10:39 AM
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red-twins
Posted 2016-05-22 11:16 AM (#525440 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
February 2013
Posts: 159

Location: Cologne/Germany
Really interesting and amazing, what skilled people are able to do....

Keep it goin'!
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DanSavage
Posted 2016-05-22 4:07 PM (#525443 - in reply to #525438)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1611

Location: Lake Forest, CA

Ken,

Thanks for the info about the staining process. It's always good to learn about new techniques. I'll give it a try on some scrap pieces of spruce I've got in the shop.

WRT the tap tones of the new wood, keep in mind that until the wood is jointed and thickness sanded you don't really get an idea of how it's going to sound. It changes again once the braces are glued to it.

No doubt the older wood is going to sound better than the new wood. But, until you've actually built the top, it's difficult to make a comparison between a fully-built top and bare stock.

Re-topping the few guitars I have done has given me a little (and only just a little bit) of insight into how much the tap tone can change as the top building process continues.

arumako - 2016-05-22 8:32 AM

One of the reasons for returning to the original sound board for this project is the tap tone. The two sets of new AA Sitka that I purchased from Stewmac were actually nice pieces, but the tap tone was just not the same - probably because this sound board from 1990 is 26 years-old and fully seasoned. Maybe similar to Dans torrefied sound boards?

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BCam
Posted 2016-05-22 6:34 PM (#525445 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project


Joined:
October 2014
Posts: 137

I can see why the tap tone would change as construction continues but, all things being equal, is the best tap tone bare stock just going to get better or is a piece with a poorer initial tap tone going to surpass a piece with better initial tap tone after jointing and adding braces?
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DanSavage
Posted 2016-05-22 7:54 PM (#525446 - in reply to #525445)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1611

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Again, my experience is pretty limited, but from what I've seen so far, tap tones will get better (more resonant, or bell-like) as construction continues.

So, by knowing what the finished piece started off sounding like and how it sounded when completed, it's possible to closely estimate a good piece of bare stock the next time around.

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arumako
Posted 2016-05-22 8:23 PM (#525447 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 652

Location: Yokohama, Japan

Thanks Dan & great question BCam. I'll closely monitor tap-tone changes in the build of each of the two AA Sitka bare stock that I bought. Interestingly enough, they both have different tap tones. This is my first time really even considering "tap-tone"; but it is a mysterious and wonderful component of guitar voicing. One of them will be used to re-top my work horse 12-string, and the other will be used to re-top my Kramer Ferrington fretless bass.

Gives me a deep appreciation for the folks at the Mother Ship who've consistently selected excellent sound board material. Even my 1861 (grade A Sitka) sounds amazing!

DanSavage - 2016-05-22 6:07 AM

Ken,

Thanks for the info about the staining process. It's always good to learn about new techniques. I'll give it a try on some scrap pieces of spruce I've got in the shop.

Thanks for mentioning that Dan, I didn't document the various samples that I practiced on, but it's really important. You could easily spill some iron acetate into the soundhole of the guitar and ruin the label forever. FWIW, I practiced ebonizing on rosewood, spruce, pine and maple BEFORE I took to the 1868!

I probably don't need to mention this, but my iron acetate is made from "000" grade steel wool placed in a jar of vinegar. Since, I'm in Japan, I use rice vinegar, but distilled vinegar is probably better for most applications because it is colorless. The chemical reaction between the steel wool and the acids in the vinegar create the acetate, but the reaction requires that the top of the jar be "Unsealed" to allow the gases to release; otherwise...EXPLOSION! I sealed the jar after the reactions settled and waited about two-weeks. Oh yeah, you should also wash your steel wool with unscented plain dish washing soap thoroughly before combining with vinegar. I don't know about the States, but in Japan most brands of steel wool have lots of oil residue.

Depending on the wood (tannin content) and the intensity of the stain desired, some folks dilute the acetate with water before application. Some of my sample woods turned deep amber (because of the rust particles and no coffee) while others just turned black...still others hardly changed colors or had different shades of black. Some came out splochy and messy. In any case, experimenting with this stuff is great fun!

Here's the top after drying over night...dried top

I think I'm going to keep the epis on this 1868, but some variation in binding and purfling might be in order here! Woohoo!



Edited by arumako 2016-05-22 8:41 PM
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