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Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...

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DanSavage
Posted 2018-04-18 3:14 PM (#543301 - in reply to #543300)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1806

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Thanks, Mark.

It does make an awfully nice workbench.
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DanSavage
Posted 2018-04-20 11:11 AM (#543333 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: RE: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1806

Location: Lake Forest, CA

I wanted the new top to look as much like the original as possible. Ovation used Western Red Cedar for these guitars.

Most of the torrefied Sitka and Adi spruce tops have, either figuring or dark-ish racing stripes. I didn't want this guitar to have either one. I also wanted the grain pattern to be fairly open so it would look like the cedar when it's done.

Thankfully, RC Tonewoods carries a variety of torrefied spruce. I found a set of torrefied Engelmann spruce on their site that looked like it might fit the bill, so I ordered it.

As it turns out, it's an almost perfect match for the cedar on the old top. Sonically, Engelmann is somewhere between Sitka and Adirondack, so it should work pretty well on this guitar.



Back to the head stock repairs. I'm not sure what species of mahogany Ovation used on their necks, but it's hard to match through conventional sources. When I repaired the broken ear on my 1111, I was unable to find wood that matched the coloring of the original, so I resorted to dyeing the patch.

I remembered that I bought a corporate sales trophy made from an Ovation head stock. I pulled it out to see if I might be able to perform an ear transplant.

When I compared the grain pattern of the two, it was an almost perfect match. Certainly close enough under all but the closest scrutiny.

The two are different in color. I wasn't sure if this was due to the finish is yellowed, discoloring the underlying wood. The only way to find out was to sand off the finish and get down to bare wood.



Once the finish was gone, I wet out the donor wood and it's a perfect match to the original. Woo Hoo!

So, I cut off the donor ear.



And, prepared the recipient by sanding it smooth. Next job is to start shaping the donor ear to fit.

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Jonmark Stone
Posted 2018-04-20 11:38 AM (#543335 - in reply to #543301)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...


Joined:
May 2008
Posts: 1318

Location: Gnashville
Amazing how closely matched the top and ear are. Little old fashioned karma coming down.
Carry on
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Mark in Boise
Posted 2018-04-20 12:21 PM (#543336 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...


Joined:
March 2005
Posts: 12631

Location: Boise, Idaho
Dan,
Why didn't you use Western Red Cedar for the top?
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DanSavage
Posted 2018-04-20 12:53 PM (#543337 - in reply to #543336)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1806

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Mark,

Because the torrefied spruce will sound better, sooner.

More importantly, it's also less susceptible to changes in humidity which are a bigger problem in NY, where this guitar will ultimately end up.
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Mark in Boise
Posted 2018-04-20 2:43 PM (#543338 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...


Joined:
March 2005
Posts: 12631

Location: Boise, Idaho
When I first joined this forum I noticed that cedar was often used on nylon string guitars and I asked why. All I remember of the response was that it sounds better. I guess I'm still looking for objective answers to subjective questions.
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DanSavage
Posted 2018-04-20 3:10 PM (#543340 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: RE: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1806

Location: Lake Forest, CA

Historically, spruce has been used on classical/flamenco guitars for centuries. Using cedar for guitar tops is fairly recent, becoming popular in the 1960s.

Generally speaking, cedar will have a 'warmer' tone, but at the cost of projection (volume) and clarity. (separation of notes)

Spruce will have more projection and clarity, but with a slightly brighter tone. (crispness)

What I've found is that cedar has a lower overhead when it comes to projection. If your attack on the strings is too aggressive, the tone becomes muddy.

More grist for the mill...

Cedar vs Spruce Tops: tonewoods for classical guitar

The Advantages of Spruce Over Cedar

Spruce vs. Cedar top classical guitar comparison - Viktor Fogas lattice concert guitars

Spruce v Cedar vintage Jose Ramirez classical guitars

Compare Brazilian Rosewood Spruce and Cedar Top

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moody, p.i.
Posted 2018-04-20 5:27 PM (#543341 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...


Joined:
March 2002
Posts: 15227

Location: SoCal
Trigger has a spruce top. Sounds just fine to me....
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arumako
Posted 2018-04-20 10:36 PM (#543344 - in reply to #543333)
Subject: RE: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 792

Location: Yokohama, Japan

DanSavage - 2018-04-20 1:11 AM

I remembered that I bought a corporate sales trophy made from an Ovation head stock. I pulled it out to see if I might be able to perform an ear transplant.

Hi Dan,
Your skillful ability to source and collect parts for your project is darn near...magical, mystical, prophetic, providential... That corporate trophy is a head stock from a Nakao Elite like this one from my friends NNS778-9;

Nakao HS

Your Spruce sound board is practically a twin! The aging of the cedar has made it identical to spruce - just incredible.

Also, thanks for the links to the spruce/cedar discussions. They seem to support what I've experienced. Recently, repaired a cedar top cutaway nylon that is very warm sounding, but extremely loud. The table is only 2mm thick, but quite strong. The acoustic volume is probably the loudest of all the nylon strings I own. But iin the past, I've found cedar w/nylon strings to get a bit "scraggly" (for lack of a better term) when played hard. As if the clarity of the note gets compromised.

Once again, you're "raising the bar" of the BFLG! Thanks again for sharing your journey with us. This is a real treat for those of us who were influenced by Harry's music and character.

You know, with all the experience you have moulding FRP and the discontinuation of the Adamas line... Hmmm, how does a torrefied Birch fiberglass sandwiched sound board, resonance ringed, wood bowl backed project sound? Sorry, just a strange thought that crossed my mind, LOL!



Edited by arumako 2018-04-20 10:37 PM
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DanSavage
Posted 2018-04-21 10:29 AM (#543348 - in reply to #543341)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1806

Location: Lake Forest, CA

moody, p.i. - 2018-04-20 3:27 PM

Trigger has a spruce top. Sounds just fine to me....


Speaking of Trigger. I'm not sure how many follow Dan Erlewine's How-To videos, but he has a couple with his cousin, Mark Erlewine of Erlewine Guitars in Austin, Texas performing annual maintenance on Trigger.

Repairing Trigger Part I

Repairing Trigger Part II

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Love O Fair
Posted 2018-04-21 1:47 PM (#543350 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 930

Location: What week?
How about fabric types of various thickness and weave, poured over with a thin viscosity clear that sets stiff and rigid? Then braced accordingly (whatever that may be). It would take some experimenting to zero in.. but definitely possible. Ever heard of that for a guitar top? I can't say as I recall ever seeing that.. but if I could have one made from the back of my late brother's favorite tropical shirt, the ultimate sound would be secondary to the sentiment of the piece. Whatever.. when my wife gets home I'm sure she'll have me moving furniture or such.. but for now the fabric guitar is my Saturday morning coffee ponder. Happy weekend to all.

Edited by Love O Fair 2018-04-21 1:51 PM
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Love O Fair
Posted 2018-04-21 3:50 PM (#543351 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 930

Location: What week?
Well, not only furniture moving, but she also got her ashes hauled (the fireplace kind). Anyway, while hauling, I thought more and decided that rolling the clear onto flat and tight fabric in layers would be better than pouring. More control over thickness and texture desire, and perhaps extra or less coats on the back than the front to make adjustments for overall thickness. Okay, back to Saturday.
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Jonmark Stone
Posted 2018-05-21 9:34 AM (#543726 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...


Joined:
May 2008
Posts: 1318

Location: Gnashville
I'm having withdrawals....
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moody, p.i.
Posted 2018-05-21 12:31 PM (#543727 - in reply to #543726)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...


Joined:
March 2002
Posts: 15227

Location: SoCal
Jonmark Stone - 2018-05-21 7:34 AM

I'm having withdrawals....

Yup. It's painful....
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DanSavage
Posted 2018-05-21 12:44 PM (#543728 - in reply to #543727)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1806

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Basically, the headstock I used wasn't thick enough to fix the broken ear.

As a result I've had to hunt down some mahogany that is somewhat close to the color and grain of the original.

Thankfully, I've been able to buy some that will be close. Now that I've got the wood I can get back to work on it.
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arumako
Posted 2018-05-22 9:02 AM (#543733 - in reply to #543728)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 792

Location: Yokohama, Japan

DanSavage - 2018-05-21 2:44 AM

Now that I've got the wood I can get back to work on it.

Meanwhile, here's a video you've all probably seen already, but it features his 1613-4 quite prominently. Hope you don't mind my sharing this on your thread while we all wait with bated breath, Dan...

Link: https://youtu.be/_1TUgWGuKM8



Edited by arumako 2018-05-22 9:08 AM
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DanSavage
Posted 2018-05-22 12:38 PM (#543734 - in reply to #543733)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1806

Location: Lake Forest, CA
arumako - 2018-05-22 7:02 AM

DanSavage - 2018-05-21 2:44 AM

Now that I've got the wood I can get back to work on it.

Meanwhile, here's a video you've all probably seen already, but it features his 1613-4 quite prominently. Hope you don't mind my sharing this on your thread while we all wait with bated breath, Dan...



Don't mind at all.
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moody, p.i.
Posted 2018-06-25 3:30 PM (#544217 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...


Joined:
March 2002
Posts: 15227

Location: SoCal
Anything new?
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DanSavage
Posted 2018-06-26 10:56 AM (#544224 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: RE: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1806

Location: Lake Forest, CA

Yeah. Finally.

Believe it or not, I've spent the last month doing nothing but trying to patch the broken ear on the head stock.

It's not the shaping of the wood. That's easy. No, it's the matching of the grain and color of the wood. That's the hard part.

Here's the final patches. The treble bout also had a ding that needed to be patched.



Back side. The bass side patch.



As I say, I haven't been sitting on my duff this whole time. Each one of these represents an iteration of the bass-side patch and a different attempt to match the color and grain of the head stock, with varying degrees of success.

Some were glued to the head stock and shaped down to match the surrounding wood. I like to use hide glue for these types of patches so that if anything goes wrong, I can simply steam off the patch with no damage at all.

I tried several different methods of coloring the wood to match the head stock. From left to right these are as follows:

1) Original patch - plain shellac. Failed. Wood patch too small.
2) Custom mix wood stain. Failed. Stain obscured end grain.
3) Torrefied. Failed. Wood grain wrong. Torrefaction browned wood.
4) Torrefied. Failed. Wrong species of wood.
5) Torrefiled. Failed. Too dark, too brown.
6 & 7) Failed. Wrong species of wood.

These are the different stains & dyes. The stain works well on the side and back of the patch. The coloration and grain on these parts of the patch have always been easy to match. The front, which everyone sees, has been the difficult part.



Because the stain has pigment in suspension, the open grain of the mahogany sucks the pigment up like a straw ending up being really ugly, like what can be seen below. This is #2 above after I shaped it and stained it. Needless to say, there was no way I could let this guitar go out looking like this. So, it got steamed off and I started experimenting.



Below are the different tests. On the left is the torrefied wood. Upper right is the stained pieces. Middle right and bottom right are the dyed pieces.



As you can see, the stain works great on the side grain of mahogany. Second shot shows the wood wetted out with naptha.

Here's the stained pieces showing end-grain and wetted out with naptha. As you can see, the end-grain is completely obscured and all we see are the pores of the wood. Ugh!



Next are the #3 above. This is next to the piece of wood it came from that has not been torrefied. The torrefaction process does darken the wood and in a fairly controlled fashion. Basically, I heated up the convection oven to 300 degrees and put the wood in for about an hour or so. Second photo shows both wetted out.

This piece was actually pretty close, but the wood grain was wrong and slightly too brown.

Here's #4 with the block of wood it came from. As you can see, the torrefied is darker and the grain has been enhanced. But, it's the wrong species of mahogany and didn't match.

Next are the experiments in dying. Unlike stain which has the pigment in suspension, dyes have the color in solution. This means that the color soaks equally into open pored wood like mahogany.

The piece on the left received two different colors -- brown mahogany and red mahogany. The two upper pieces received just red mahogany. The pieces on the bottom right received a custom mix of brown and red mahogany.



Here's the pics of the various pieces wetted out with naptha.

Next up, time to get started on the top. Finally!





Edited by DanSavage 2018-06-26 10:58 AM
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Jonmark Stone
Posted 2018-06-26 11:04 AM (#544225 - in reply to #544224)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...


Joined:
May 2008
Posts: 1318

Location: Gnashville
Wow. Harry would be proud.
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moody, p.i.
Posted 2018-06-26 1:07 PM (#544227 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...


Joined:
March 2002
Posts: 15227

Location: SoCal
Love watching this stuff! Not as much as when it was my guitar, but love it none the less.....
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Love O Fair
Posted 2018-06-26 2:09 PM (#544228 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 930

Location: What week?
Why is the term "mad scientist" going through my mind? Like a room off in the corner, with family members huddled outside the locked door, "What could he be doing in there?"... hearing strange sounds inside, sliding meals under the door hoping he will eat... relieved when finding an occasional empty plate has been slid back out.
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DanSavage
Posted 2018-06-26 4:08 PM (#544229 - in reply to #544228)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1806

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Trust me, Al. Doing the 'mad scientist' thing isn't my idea of fun.

In fact, it's going to be a real long time, if ever, before I do another broken ear repair.

If the broken piece is available, that's one thing because it can be simply glued back into place.

But, making it from scratch? Nuh-uh... Nope. Not gonna do it. Wouldn't be prudent.
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moody, p.i.
Posted 2018-06-26 4:11 PM (#544230 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...


Joined:
March 2002
Posts: 15227

Location: SoCal
When you stop and think about it, fixing the headstock is the really difficult part of this project. Retopping it is something Dan has done a number of times on various Ovations (twice for me).;..
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d'ovation
Posted 2018-06-26 4:52 PM (#544231 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...


Joined:
December 2003
Posts: 725

Location: Canada
Very interesting. So your approach is a minimum patch, possibly with objective to maintain as much of the original as possible. An alternative could also be to take some more of the treble side off to create a pleasing looking more symmetrical and unique outcome if the "blending" does not work well. Sometimes, if hiding a repair does not work well, emphasizing it may be a better approach.
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