Huge problem encountered!!!!

So I glued in the neck and test fitted everything, and was planning a big update – but then a disaster. All due to bad manufacturing…. I’m a bit pissed off right now.

Here is my fitting setup:

Taking great care with all the measurements - but all for not...

Taking great care with all the measurements – but all for not…

Now look at the gap between the rear pickup and the correct bridge position: Way too big! It seems like they just make one body for the 24 frets version, and use that with the 22 frets version. The position of the bridge pickup is VERY important – the sound changes a lot down there. So this one will sound dull and muddy….

Here is a diagram:

22vs24Body

 

I emailed the seller describing the problem to him, and his answer was:

hello my friend. please do not worry about that, and about the bridge hole ,it is drilled yourself?

So I described it even more and told him that: Yes I should worry about that, and the bridge holes are in the right position – this is determined by the scale length of the neck… I don’t know if his ignorance is deliberate…. He has not answered the last question – but he better!

Also, the neck angle is virtually non existing… On a guitar like this it should be around 3 degrees.

All of this I would have noticed if the neck fitted the body properly (check my second post First problem encountered…)

So at the moment I’m struggling to get the bridge posts out of the body for my 66 euro bridge. Hard work, and making a right mess of the bridge post inserts….

Since the neck is already glued in, I’ll need a complete new kit from the manufacturer, with the rear pickup cavity in the right place. I’ll probably do the neck angle myself, since it would be a nightmare trying to explain this….

So can you really make a good PRS with china parts? No seems to be the answer….

Finnish finished! …almost

Looking good!

Looking good!

So after lots of layers the oiling is done – and it’s looking really great. An almost mirror like finnish (picture don’t do it justice).

The trick is to apply the last coat with fine sandpaper, I used 1200 grit. That turns the oil into a thick “slurry” which is then polished on, leaving the surface nice and glossy.

I still need to buff it up, but the oil has to fully harden before I can do that. To be safe, I’ll wait about a week before buffing.

I have also ordered a custom decal from guitar decals for the headstock. That should arrive in a couple of days. After it’s applied I need to “bury” it with tru oil, so there is still a little finishing to do.

Next step: Gluing the neck to the body!

Oil Finnish

Last time I blogged that the next step was to scrape the binding, but thanks to sudden stroke of insomnia, I did it last night at 03:00 AM. It was quite easy, using my index finger and a little piece of 320 grit sandpaper held at approx 45 degrees. There was some seepage which I removed with a razor blade. I did not take any pictures – sorry.

For the finnish I have chosen Tru Oil. I’ve read a lot of good things about it: it’s cheap, it’s easy and it looks great. It’s a bit difficult (read: expensive) to get hold of in my part of the world, and can’t be airmailed, but luckily I found a UK dealer on eBay (sellers name: thehammerfalls) that would ship to Denmark.

Great stuff!

Great stuff!

You simply apply with a rag (old t-shirt again). Here is the process:

1.First coat: Apply a VERY generous amount of TruOil and keep working it untill it goes “sticky”. Leave it for a couple of minutes and wipe off excess oil with a clean cloth. Let it dry for 24 hours.

2. Still first coat: Add a little bit of TruOil to soak up the dry spots. The wood will soak up a lot of the oil – especially on end grain and open pored wood like mahogany. Let it dry for 24 hrs.

Sanded surface

First coat

Then the surface actually looks really nice, but the grain is very obvious. One layer of TruOil probably doesn’t offer much protection either. So on to step two:

1. “Sand” the surface with grey scotch pad, or fine steel wool. Then the surface will look matt and cloudy:

Scuffed matt surface

Scuffed matt surface

2. Clean surface with a tack cloth.

3. Apply a thin layer of TruOil and wait 2-4 hours (depending on humidity and temperature)

4. Repeat step 3.

5. Apply a thin layer of TruOil and wait 24 hours.

Then repeat from the top depending on how shiny and/or protected you want the guitar to be – but it should be at least 3 times.

This it what it looks after one layer:

Shiny and sealed - but still very obvious pores in the wood

Shiny and sealed – but still very obvious pores in the wood

I’m doing the body as well in the same process.

Next step: “Wet sanding the finnish” (there is a great trick here – so stay tuned)

Staining part 3

So it was time to stain the top of the guitar. I wanted to make a warm tobacco burst type thing.

So the first thing was to “bring out the grain”, so I stained the entire top with a very dark mahogany brown.

IMG_0644

 

After drying I sanded down almost to bare wood:

IMG_0655

 

This left the grain with a brown color – but OMG it was tough to sand that down…. And it actually does not do much for the type of finnish I’m trying to make. Next time I’ll skip this step – lesson learned.

So I mixed 3 water based stains, tested on a scrap piece of wood and adjusted until I had these colors: burned yellow, warm orange and a slightly warmer/lighter brown.

First i stained the center burned yellow

First i stained the center burned yellow

Then added orange

Then added orange

 

And finally brown.

And finally brown.

THE COLORS ARE WAY OFF IN THESE PICTURES!!! I’ll take a new one tomorrow in some daylight.

I kept working the colors to get them to blend, switching “brush” all the time – and it was actually not that hard. The result is actually really good – being my first ever stain burst.

I might add some more brown to the outer edge tomorrow, and even it out a bit.

Next step: Scrape the natural binding!

 

Staining part 2

So after staining yesterday the wood grain had raised quite a bit, so I lightly sanded it back with 320grit paper to get the surface smooth again:

Great faded look here!

Great faded look here!

This actually looks really cool!! I’ll probably do a guitar with this look one day :-)

Then I stained again, and this time the grain is not rising so much… Still a little on the sides of the body where there is end grain, but I’ll have to take that out with the oil finish later.

So now it looks like this:

Looking really nice!

Looking really nice!

It’s actually looking fantastic!  The colors are pretty close on this picture because there was daylight outside. The neck looks a little darker because its still wet.

So the next step is to stain the top of the body!! Can’t wait!

… and I remembered the gloves this time :-)

Good boy!

Good boy!

 

Staining part one

After sanding I cleaned the body and neck with a tack cloth to get rid of all the sawdust. I also changed the towel on my work surface, so I would’t pick up any dust.

I then masked the body and neck:

natural binding masked

natural binding masked

Masked where the glue goes

Masked where the glue goes

Neck masked

Neck masked

More natural binding

More natural binding

Masked for the dark back of guitar

Masked for the dark back of guitar

For the masking I used pinstriping tape, which is very easy to work with! For the larger areas I used standard masking tape.

I then mixed up some regular water based wood dye (mahogany) until I had the color I wanted (starting very diluted until I had the color I wanted).

I used an old tshirt and a rubberband as a brush:

IMG_0634 IMG_0635

Its important to use an old tshirt where all the lint is washed away!!

Then i started staining:

Keep working the brush to get an even finnish!

Keep working the brush to get an even finnish!

Colors don't look right on this picture. It's a much warmer color in real life.

Colors don’t look right in this picture. It’s a much warmer color in real life. Note that being a real viking, I keep my woodstain in pickled herring jars :-)

Now as it is drying right now, I noticed that the wood grain is raising quite a bit, so tomorrow I’m gonna sand it back with 320grit and stain it again.

 

Sanding begun

So I’ve started sanding the guitar and neck. Starting with 220 and ending with 320. I’m not gonna sand it finer than that – since I’m gonna stain the guitar. I’m not gonna take pictures of it – since it’s pretty boring….

Those burn marks are tough to get rid off – since my coarsest sandpaper is 220… I’m gonna swing by the hardware store and get some coarser paper tomorrow – or I’ll be sanding till christmas….

First problem encountered…

Well here we go… I test fitted the neck, and realized that it doesn’t quite fit:

When setting the neck flush, ti actually does not fit...

When setting the neck flush, it actually does not fit…

So I will have to glue in the neck with a little bit of a gap to the body, roughly like this:

 

Gap between neck and body.

Gap between neck and body.

This should still be strong enough, but I’ll probably insert a shim for my own peace of mind. But it also means that I can’t measure for the bridge just yet. I’ll have to wait until the neck is glued in, since even the slightest difference from the test fit to the final fit will cause havoc on the intonation.

So the next step will be sanding….