There’s good news, and there’s bad news….

Well, it’s been a while since the last update, and lots has happened in the intervening period. First thing (and the reason for the good news/bad news tagline) was the body binding:

The good news: I finally got the hang of bending wooden binding around a tight radius:

The bad news: I only got the hang after breaking all but 3 of my binding strips, for a guitar which needs 4 binding strips….*sigh*

Anyhow, this required a change of plan, since I had no more pau ferro for binding, so after experimenting with different combinations I settled on wenge binding with a curly maple and pau ferro veneer purfling. I laminated the binding out of .7mm veneer, which made the tight curve at the tip of each horn easier, but meant I had to ditch the flame maple side purfling on the body. It also meant re-binding the neck in wenge to match, but it was worth it to get a consistant theme throughout the guitar, and actually works better than the original plan, since it contrasts better by on the darker areas of mahogany endgrain.

That little saga took quite a while, but was eventually scraped flush and sanded smooth. After completing the binding, I had to build a router base for my dremel tool to do the inlays on the neck:

It got it’s first outing when I used it to inlay a pau ferro/curly maple/wenge accent strip in the back of the guitar, and across the tremolo spring cover:

After all that fussy detail work, it was time to grainfill and sand the body in preparation for spraying, which was delayed for a couple of days by the death of our air compressor. Fortunately, I had access to Dad’s impressive diagnostic abilties, which (coupled with a comprehensive dismantling and a brief trawl of the web) revealed the problem was a blown capacitor - £3.49 and 15 minutes of tinkering had it running again - thanks Dad! The forced interruption gave me a good chance to de-dustify the garge and thoroughly clean my little spraygun, which resulted in a nice smooth application of the lacquer (marred only by some wierd blistering in places which needed cutting back and respraying).

With the finish curing I worked on my inlay design, a variation on the Martin split diamonds and snowflakes pattern. I cut it out of paper to see how it looked, and so I could run it by John for approval. Then, with the OK from John, I cut the pieces from Mother Of Pearl (MOP). I cheated a bit and used a cut off wheel rather than a jewlers handsaw since the pieces were fairly geometric in shape. Mouting the cutoff wheel in the benchtop milling machine made it easy to keep the sizes and shapes consistent and accurate.

With all the pieces cut, I tacked them to the neck with small spots of superglue, and scribed around them. I routed the cavities with the dremel and a variety of small dental bits, then glued in the inlays with epoxy mixed with rosewood dust - pics tomorrow when it’s levelled and polished up.

9 Responses to “There’s good news, and there’s bad news….”

  1. Tim Says:

    So much for the wood prep, are you gonna paint it surf or seafoam green?

  2. Ant Says:

    I plan to give it several coats of lilac emulsion paint, applied with a roller. Or leave it as is…. still undecided :)

    How did the painting go on the hagstrom?

  3. Tim Says:

    Pretty good actually. I finally found somewhere to get surf green nitro. I only gave it one nitro clear coat, partly because I ran out of the stuff and partly because I was bored of all that wet sanding. The guitar is finished except for the mint pickguard, which I’ve just ordered, and I’m not too keen on the bridge pickup at the moment- might go for a Jag single coil if it bothers me.

  4. Matt Says:

    Wow, I just found your site and I’m pretty amazed with your work. I was always interested in wood working in high school, and now I have a strong passion for guitar. Maybe one day I will be able to combine the two and build a custom guitar of my own.

    I will be adding this site to my regular reading schedule. You do some great work.

  5. Jamie Says:

    That’s some impressive inlays. All I want it mother of pearl dots…

    And on that note, we must meet and talk business. Still, this post only encourages me to invest in an Ant Setchell guitar. What a clever business ploy.

  6. Pete Says:

    Yeah, Ant certainly is a shrewd businessman. It’s taken almost four months of hard work to build this commission, and you really don’t want to know what he’s charging for it.

    If he paid himself minimum wage, he’d be bankrupt.

  7. Ant Says:

    Or to trot out a very old joke:

    Q. How do you make a million building guitars?

    A. Start with 2 million.

  8. Pete Says:

    It’s not funny because it’s true :(

    At least the guitar will be a thing of beauty. When do you reckon it’ll be finished now?

  9. Marie Says:

    Very interesting. Love the Dremel router base. Did you thread that top piece so that the Dremel screws into it? Or is it just a smooth hole?

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