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1990 Elite 1868 Project

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leonardmccoy
Posted 2016-05-23 12:08 AM (#525450 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
December 2015
Posts: 215

Location: Katmandu
I find it great that you decided to reinstate the old top again; not a fan at all of the "greywash" though.
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arumako
Posted 2016-05-23 6:55 PM (#525476 - in reply to #525450)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 652

Location: Yokohama, Japan
leonardmccoy - 2016-05-22 2:08 PM

I find it great that you decided to reinstate the old top again; not a fan at all of the "greywash" though.

Thanks leonardmccoy! I originally thought wetting and drying the top would just ruin its integrity after a while (like plastic). I'm really glad I did my homework. It would have been a total waste to toss a 26-year old vintage solid Sitka spruce top!

As for the "ebonizing", well I hope the cringe factor is not unbearable for you! By the time I'm done with this thing you may not "be a fan of 'greywash'", but hopefully it won't be at the very bottom of your list of guitar finishes (like the DJ Ashba stuff...oops, I apologize if that's in any of your "fav" category)! Once the epi's are in place and I install the binding and purfling, you "maybe" pleasantly surprised? Of course, for the "natural finish purist" that may never happen, but...I'm just hoping I don't botch this thing up completely somewhere along the line...Lord help me!

Edited by arumako 2016-05-23 6:56 PM
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arumako
Posted 2016-05-30 11:31 AM (#525577 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 652

Location: Yokohama, Japan

Just waiting to apply the sanding sealer, and...

ebonizede

dreaming of just the right bling... Cream binding with gold (brass)/black/brass trim. Getting closer!

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DanSavage
Posted 2016-05-30 4:23 PM (#525579 - in reply to #525577)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1610

Location: Lake Forest, CA
That's turning out to be a really pretty guitar, Ken.
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arumako
Posted 2016-07-18 11:18 AM (#526712 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 652

Location: Yokohama, Japan

Thanks Dan. Been working up the courage to move forward with this project. Since my CC54i iDea Project is on-hold (waiting for some parts to arrive), I decided to get back to work on this Elite. Three coats of sanding sealer brought out the beauty of the ebonized sound board. It also protects the wood and finish from any scratching that might come about from usage of the Dremel plunge router. So, it's time to route the epi slots in the sound board.

The first order of business is alignment. The new epis that Mr. Budny of Mother Ship fame sent me has some nice pre-drilled alignment holes. So to take advantage of these markers, the sound board was covered with pink masking tape, the center of the holes in the sound board were marked with easily visible blue ink. Once the marker holes were aligned with the blue center markers, it was easy to trace the outside of the epis.

epi markers

The outside edges of the epis were traced on the masking tape and I used an exacto to cut out the shape of the epis, The process was painstakingly slow...

masking tape epis

After a bunch of dry runs and practice runs... onto routing with my plunge router! The spruce sound board was surprisingly challenging to route. While I routed in the direction "with the grain", the sound board seemed to be softer in some areas and harder in others, interesting. After my first rough cut, I felt a bit relieved...

rough cut

Edging the epi holes required a lot of time and concentration! Whew...intense!

final cut

After the final cut, I stuffed some newspaper into the bowl (in case the epoxy spills into the bowl or onto the label) and applied Z-Poxy 30-minute Epoxy into the epi slots routed into the sound board. Put a sheet of saran wrap on top of the epis and weighed the whole thing down and in place! Cool!

now, wait

...and now, for the treacherous 48 hour wait! Don't touch the assembly, Ken! Oh, hurry, hurry, hurry!



Edited by arumako 2016-07-18 11:31 AM
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BanjoJ
Posted 2016-07-18 8:53 PM (#526725 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
September 2012
Posts: 772

Location: Canberra, Australia
Wow! I'm looking forward to seeing the weights come off.
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DetlefMichel
Posted 2016-07-19 4:11 AM (#526735 - in reply to #526725)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
May 2011
Posts: 405

Location: Muenster/Germany
The special neck joint, the dark guitar top and the idea of inlaid epis are phantastic! Will finally look much better than any original Ovation. I wish my Elite had inlaid epis. too.( I made similar hand-made routings before, it´s really rough going. I decided to value it as worthwhile experience, but spend my time on other things in the future;-) )
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arumako
Posted 2016-07-28 8:37 AM (#526926 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 652

Location: Yokohama, Japan

My goodness, it has been hard to get some time-in "edgewise" to make progress on my 1868! Alas, the weights have come off, and was able to get some preliminary sanding and scraping to prepare for another three to four coats of sanding sealer. No need to worry about the scratches around the epi's, they'll disappear with more sealer coats. Just got everything set-up and ready to go. Needed to make sure the paint wasn't going to get all over the bowl and binding/purfling channels...

prepped for sealer

I used the leveler to make sure I was spraying onto a completely flat surface. Needed to make sure the thin coats of sanding sealer wouldn't pile up in corners. It's been a while since I put my airbrush to work. This is for small plastic models and is really not suited for this big of a job, but didn't feel like forkin' out the bucks to get a new one; and this little unit forces me to manage my spraying better, it also uses a "can" compressor!

materials

After "goin' to school" on Dan's 1617 Rebuild, I decided to use a nitrocellulose lacquer sanding sealer. Was a bit worried about using Japanese products, but it turns out the stuff is really really good (finishes evenly, fills gaps, and finishes very clear). It also dried to the touch in about 5 minutes. Whoa! I wasn't expecting that! Probably because of the thin coats? The neck extension was also cleaned up to prepare for reassembly.

neck

After three light coats the sealer looked to be in pretty good shape. Gotta stop at this point for today, but the top needs another three coats or so; however, the binding and purfling will need to be installed first, followed by opening up the multiple epi sound holes, then three additional thin coats of sealer, and finally on to the final finish. Planning on staying with a lacquer clear coat. Apparently, the company that makes this sealer makes a killer "clear coat" as well. One interesting note is that the ebonized top looks black under certain lighting and brown under others! Wow, that was also an unexpected result.

lighting change

Isn't that just too cool? I'm hoping the final lacquer coat can maintain this feature. Getting closer and closer...don't mess-up, Ken! Please don't mess-up!



Edited by arumako 2016-07-28 8:50 AM
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BanjoJ
Posted 2016-07-29 4:21 PM (#526949 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
September 2012
Posts: 772

Location: Canberra, Australia
This is coming along nicely Ken.

I'm enjoying this rebuild and I'm looking forward to hearing and seeing the final result.
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arumako
Posted 2016-07-29 5:12 PM (#526951 - in reply to #526949)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 652

Location: Yokohama, Japan

BanjoJ - 2016-07-29 6:21 AM

This is coming along nicely Ken.

I'm enjoying this rebuild and I'm looking forward to hearing and seeing the final result.


Grateful for your encouraging comments BanjoJ! Applying binding and purfling is a new endeavor for me, so I need to take the next few steps thoughtfully and carefully!

DetlefMichel - 2016-07-18 6:11 PM

The special neck joint, the dark guitar top and the idea of inlaid epis are phantastic! Will finally look much better than any original Ovation. I wish my Elite had inlaid epis. too.( I made similar hand-made routings before, it´s really rough going. I decided to value it as worthwhile experience, but spend my time on other things in the future;-) )


Thanks DetlefMichel! Just to clarify, the special neck joint is for my CC54i Project that I'm currently working on in a parallel thread. For my 1868, the original neck just needs to be cleaned and reinstalled. A dry install tells me the neck angle is perfect as is! As far as the final look goes, I think it's gonna look really good; but as it turns out, I'm pretty much copying the 1984 Collector's Edition. The following pic is none other than Damon67's '84 Collector's (hope you don't mind my borrowing your pic from your website Damon67).

1984 Collector's

She's magnificent isn't she? There's no way, mines gonna look this nice! But, if I can get mine half as nice, I'll be satisfied. Since, my 1868 originated from the Mother Ship, it's going to sound magnificent, as long as I don't mess up on the re-assembly. The look of the inlaid epis is quite nice. However, for an amateur tinkerer like me, it takes an enormous amount of concentration and time. Your conclusion - "worthwhile experience, but time better spent on other things" - hits the nail on the head!

The other factor is the final bling. Messing up on binding and purfling selection could make my 1868 look outright fugly. Can't seem to settle on just the right bling. Wanted to go with something different from the white/orange/white scheme. Currently thinking Maple (wood)/Gold (brass)/Black (pvc)/Gold/Maple. I can order direct from Stemac now, and their shipping costs to Japan are pretty reasonable, so some bling is on the way. Just never really exceled at design and color combinations and stuff, so I'll be consulting my son and daughter for that kind of advice!

Again, thanks for the encouragement comments and the suggestions along the way!



Edited by arumako 2016-07-29 5:19 PM
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Jonmark Stone
Posted 2016-07-30 11:13 AM (#526966 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project


Joined:
May 2008
Posts: 1219

Location: Gnashville
Great job, Ken.
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arumako
Posted 2016-07-31 10:07 PM (#526995 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 652

Location: Yokohama, Japan
Thanks Jonmarkstone! Not going to rush it, but I should be done in a week or two! BFLG encouragement is definitely providing the momentum!
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davegardner0
Posted 2016-10-28 11:13 AM (#529546 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project


Joined:
October 2016
Posts: 13

Hi arumako, I think I can help with your question about the wood laminate on the underside of the top at the upper bout. While researching Ovation's elite models I came across some info from their 1987 catalog that says this about the elites:
"With its Adamas-derived, Quintad II brace pattern, the top is 0.100" thick overall and constructed from our best grade spruce reinforced with birch veneer in the upper bout for outstanding highs"

Check out the 5th image down at this link.

Hope this helps!

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arumako
Posted 2016-10-29 11:28 AM (#529563 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 652

Location: Yokohama, Japan
Hi davegardnerp0. Thanks for the link. That's it isn't it! A birch veneer! Cool, and all along I thought it was pine. It's really interesting that the birch veneer helps to accentuate the higher frequencies! Who'd a guessed that? I only have the binding and finishing to complete on this 1868. Unfortunately this project, like all my others are on hold right now. Just dyin' to finish up. Even in the condition she's in, the '90 AA Spruce top has excellent tap tone. Thanks again for finding and sharing that info!
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arumako
Posted 2017-05-02 11:35 AM (#534010 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 652

Location: Yokohama, Japan

Well...two and a half years into this project, and still going no where! Was able to squeeze in just enough time to open up the epi's on the sound board; so I thought I'd update this thread...

Really glad to have reverted to the original top, but that means the epi holes in the sound board already exist; however, I need to drill the holes in the epi's themselves. Misalignment could be disastrous. Fortunately, I kept the original epi's for reference, and they served perfectly as a hole alignment jig...

original epi's

It's very interesting to note that the new epi's from the Mother and the original epi's are slightly different in shape. However, the hole alignments are exact. Had I installed a completely new sound board, I could just drill right through the epi and sound board. However, in this process that would pose a high misalignment risk. I had to approach shaping the epi's in a different way.

epi light

Some guide holes were drilled based on the original epi alignment jig. My trusty Dremel with the small routing bit was called into service. Needed to use slow speeds and work real slow. The bit was placed into the guide hole and rotated into bigger and bigger concentric circles. The cut was really challenging because of the different wood types used in the epis. The light inside the bowl helped me to see the edge of the original epi hole cut in the sound board. To allow for some "room for error", I practiced on the bigger epi holes, and after that I focused on the smaller ones. After some successful practice runs, I jumped into the cutaway epi.

little epi

After verifying consistency in method, I jumped right into the bass side epi's.

epi fina;

Needed some serious concentration, but the final results were acceptable. Right now, the epi's look more like one of the Asian Celebrity models as the circles are not perfect and will need to be sanded down; however, the results are satisfactory for now. I also found that my clamping method did not fully secure the epi's into their respective sound board cavities. I'll need to fill the very thin gaps with some king of adhesive to ensure there is no buzzing.

It'll still be a while before I get this completely finished, but it feels good to get back into the fray after a long hiatus, and the sound board seems to be resonanting quite a bit when I tap it. Can't wait to get this baby done!

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DanSavage
Posted 2017-05-02 12:47 PM (#534011 - in reply to #534010)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1610

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Thanks for the update, Ken.

Looking good. It's getting there.
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arumako
Posted 2017-05-02 9:06 PM (#534019 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 652

Location: Yokohama, Japan
Thanks Dan! Nothing like your brother's "Ultimate" Ultra, but I think I'll be able to finish her up in the summer (famous last words!). I decided to simplify and put aside the nice exotic wood bindings (save those for when I'm a bit more experienced with this stuff) and ordered some standard plastic ones - they'll arrive tomorrow. As I was verifying the neck alignment, I noticed the frets really need some attention; so I've been wanting to try some Warwick brass alloy frets that I got awhile back (alternative for EVO Golds??? - worried about that green discoloration). I heard they add some interesting timbre to the guitars voice.

Thanks to you and the OFC, my fret work is done "in-house" now (saves a lot of mulla), and I'm really itching to get this thing done. Not even close to the quality of your work, but I'm kinda feeling like your on-line apprentice by correspondence!
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arumako
Posted 2017-05-03 1:49 AM (#534021 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 652

Location: Yokohama, Japan

...Well, I couldn't stop workin' on this thing (yeah, it's gonna come back at me in spades!) Oh well...took the frets off; and although fret wear was not bad at all, some frets were popping out of the slot, and the Warwick brass frets look pretty neat...

brass frets

One thing that seems kind of odd is how the rosewood grains on the fret board are standing up...like it got too much moisture at one point. It looks almost like some oil was rubbed into the fret board...

Anyway, this fret board is going to be leveled down to a 20" radius before the refret. The Warwicks are not as shiny as the EVO Golds. It's gonna be interesting how these frets affect the tone of this guitar; of course, having never been in playable condition, I have nothing to compare it to...Lol.

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BanjoJ
Posted 2017-05-03 4:38 AM (#535022 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
September 2012
Posts: 772

Location: Canberra, Australia
Nice work Ken. The new epis look great!

The fretboard will come up nicely I'm sure.
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DanSavage
Posted 2017-05-03 8:16 AM (#535024 - in reply to #534019)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1610

Location: Lake Forest, CA
arumako - 2017-05-02 7:06 PM

Thanks Dan! Nothing like your brother's "Ultimate" Ultra, but I think I'll be able to finish her up in the summer (famous last words!). I decided to simplify and put aside the nice exotic wood bindings (save those for when I'm a bit more experienced with this stuff) and ordered some standard plastic ones - they'll arrive tomorrow. As I was verifying the neck alignment, I noticed the frets really need some attention; so I've been wanting to try some Warwick brass alloy frets that I got awhile back (alternative for EVO Golds??? - worried about that green discoloration). I heard they add some interesting timbre to the guitars voice.

Thanks to you and the OFC, my fret work is done "in-house" now (saves a lot of mulla), and I'm really itching to get this thing done. Not even close to the quality of your work, but I'm kinda feeling like your on-line apprentice by correspondence!


Thanks for the kind words, Ken.

I've read some good things about the Warwick bell brass frets. I think the green discoloration is simply tarnishing of the surface which will go away when you dress the frets.

Plus, working on my own guitar gives me a sense of pride to be able to say that I did such and such work myself, and now I'm able to enjoy the fruits of my labors. I got the same enjoyment from designing/building and then flying the models I designed and built.

Thanks again.

Dan
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DanSavage
Posted 2017-05-03 8:23 AM (#535025 - in reply to #534021)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1610

Location: Lake Forest, CA
arumako - 2017-05-02 11:49 PM

...Well, I couldn't stop workin' on this thing (yeah, it's gonna come back at me in spades!) Oh well...took the frets off; and although fret wear was not bad at all, some frets were popping out of the slot, and the Warwick brass frets look pretty neat...



One thing that seems kind of odd is how the rosewood grains on the fret board are standing up...like it got too much moisture at one point. It looks almost like some oil was rubbed into the fret board...

Anyway, this fret board is going to be leveled down to a 20" radius before the refret. The Warwicks are not as shiny as the EVO Golds. It's gonna be interesting how these frets affect the tone of this guitar; of course, having never been in playable condition, I have nothing to compare it to...Lol.



FWIW, I oil my fingerboards every time I change strings.

I'm curious. Why a 20" radius instead of the standard 10" radius?
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arumako
Posted 2017-05-03 10:41 AM (#535030 - in reply to #535025)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 652

Location: Yokohama, Japan

Thanks for the comments OFC!

DanSavage - 2017-05-02 10:23 PM

FWIW, I oil my fingerboards every time I change strings.

I'm curious. Why a 20" radius instead of the standard 10" radius?


Really? I thought I heard of folks oiling their finger board, but I never really gave it much thought. Does it help to protect the wood? WRT the 20" radius, just always liked the flatter fret boards; just feels more "acoustic" to me. Although I feel right at home with the 10" radius, Os have always felt a bit on the electric side of the things. The incredibly fast neck design seemed compatible with a larger radius. It also gives me cleaner attack with the 6th and 1st strings.

So recalling to mind your re-fret of the 1717, I took to sanding the fret board down to the new radius.

radius sanding

I really like these dual purpose radius sanding blocks. It took quite a while starting from 360 grit. After several hours of careful sanding, I simply placed the sanding block directly on the fret board. No unusual gaps throughout the length of the fret board, and I'm done. Followed that with some 600 grit and 1000 grit and voila...

radius done

You can't tell from this pic, but the rosewood just glimmers with a beautiful sheen. In retrospect, the standing grain on the fret board was probably from a lot of sweating by the previous owner. Of course a 20" radius means the middle of the fret board was sanded more vigorously than the sides...

holes

I was afraid this might happen, but gaps in the inlayed fret board markers became apparent. Just need to fill them up with some black inlay filler. Not a big deal.

Well, I was hoping to get the frets on today, but I should probably take my time, and use a fret saw to get the depth right, just in case the re-radiusing affected the fret slot depth significantly. So, time to call it a day...maybe again on Friday...btw, Really really liking the feel of the 20" radius on this neck. Can't wait to take her for a spin!

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DanSavage
Posted 2017-05-03 3:42 PM (#535038 - in reply to #535030)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1610

Location: Lake Forest, CA

arumako - 2017-05-03 8:41 AM

Really? I thought I heard of folks oiling their finger board, but I never really gave it much thought. Does it help to protect the wood?

I couldn't say whether it (Old English Oil) protects the wood, but it sure makes it look a lot better! 

I usually wait to oil the fretboard and bridge until everything else is done. Typically, I do that right before stringing up the guitar.

arumako - 2017-05-03 8:41 AM

So recalling to mind your re-fret of the 1717, I took to sanding the fret board down to the new radius.

I did sand the fretboard, but I used the same 10" radius as is standard for Os.

arumako - 2017-05-03 8:41 AM

I really like these dual purpose radius sanding blocks. It took quite a while starting from 360 grit. After several hours of careful sanding, I simply placed the sanding block directly on the fret board. No unusual gaps throughout the length of the fret board, and I'm done. Followed that with some 600 grit and 1000 grit and voila...

You can't tell from this pic, but the rosewood just glimmers with a beautiful sheen. In retrospect, the standing grain on the fret board was probably from a lot of sweating by the previous owner. Of course a 20" radius means the middle of the fret board was sanded more vigorously than the sides...

I was afraid this might happen, but gaps in the inlayed fret board markers became apparent. Just need to fill them up with some black inlay filler. Not a big deal.

Nice sanding block and nice job on the fretboard.

Yeah, you'll definitely want to clean all the gunk out of the fret slots before you install the new ones.

I use two tools for that job:

Refret Saw
Fret Slot Cleaning Tool



Edited by DanSavage 2017-05-03 3:44 PM
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tpa
Posted 2017-05-03 4:46 PM (#535041 - in reply to #500953)
Subject: Re: 1990 Elite 1868 Project


Joined:
December 2004
Posts: 406

Location: Denmark
Nice to see this guitar again. Has 2½ years passed since You began working on this? How Time surely flies. Warwick frets aren't they big for a guitar?

Edited by tpa 2017-05-03 4:48 PM
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arumako
Posted 2017-05-03 6:42 PM (#535043 - in reply to #535038)
Subject: RE: 1990 Elite 1868 Project



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 652

Location: Yokohama, Japan

DanSavage - 2017-05-03 5:42 AM

arumako - 2017-05-03 8:41 AM

So recalling to mind your re-fret of the 1717, I took to sanding the fret board down to the new radius.

I did sand the fretboard, but I used the same 10" radius as is standard for Os.

Oops, I looked back through the archives and it was your '78 1617 Legend Rebuild from 1.5 years ago. Man, this site is just filled with useful inspiring information for anybody who wants to take a shot at guitar repairs or builds! That was also sanded to the standard 10", I think.. I was thinking about this pic, remember that?

glossy

I see something like this and in my naivity, I think...who needs oil! Look at that thing shine. Right now, after going up to 1000 grit, my fret board looks like this too. But then no fret board on a guitar that's being used ever looks this clean!

Yeah, you'll definitely want to clean all the gunk out of the fret slots before you install the new ones.

I use two tools for that job:

Refret Saw
Fret Slot Cleaning Tool

Cool. thanks for the useful links Dan. Those are really cool tools. Always been using my trusty standard refret saw, but that thing is perfect! I've got a friends Yamaha that needs a fret job, but it has binding, and I was wondering how I'll ever really get the fret slots clean. I don't think I've ever seen this tool in any of your projects...maybe I just missed it! Gotta use the right tools to get optimum results! Gonna get me one of these today...kinda obvious question, but you never know...so, I'm guessing fret tang size determines the tool size?

tpa - 2017-05-03  6:46 AM

Nice to see this guitar again. Has 2½ years passed since You began working on this? How Time surely flies. Warwick frets aren't they big for a guitar?

Thanks tpa...yup, 2.5 years! Giving the word "slow" a new definition! Lol. Warwick frets (they're named "Bell Bronze" but in their store they're described as "brass" - confusing...) are basically the same size as I guess what would be super jumbo frets. Actually, they are the same width as the frets that came with the 1868 (2.9mm x 1.3mm). They're 2.9mm x 1.6mm or so - quite a bit taller than standard guitar frets (probably because they're originally for bass guitars, but they are harder than your standard nickel based frets and I like the tall profile. Can't wait to see what they sound like!



Edited by arumako 2017-05-03 6:48 PM
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