Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

By Mr. Joe Sustaire of Talihina, OK
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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Eben » Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:41 am

If I know D.K., I'd say this: If it still sounds good, then cleat and glue 'em or fill 'em and don't feel bad for a minute: A vibe's a vibe and this one rocks!

JM2CW...

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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Dennis Leahy » Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:03 am

USPS has your wood - should arrive Moonday or Twosday at the latest.

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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Joe Sustaire » Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:20 pm

Thanks E, I appreciate it!

Dennis, looks like you're right. We've had two days of rain here and the cracks have pretty much closed up, so that tells me it must have been braced under very humid conditions, my bad. The temptation is to glue them up while they're closed but I bet it would just open up new cracks when it got into drier conditions.

Boy this learning can be a bitch! :lol:

I'll await your package Dennis, thanks,
Joe
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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Haans » Mon Apr 26, 2010 12:19 pm

Why won't you climate control your shop Joe? It's good money spent considering the alternatives...
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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Joe Sustaire » Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:53 pm

Well Haans, remember I'm back in the woods off the grid. When I use a power tool I have to crank up a generator. So what options does that leave me? Far as I've seen humidifiers and dehumidifiers run on ac and have to run all the time. Not an option.

So, best I can figure out is to monitor humidity and glue bracing and close the box under appropriate conditions as best I can. Obviously I didn't do that on this one. :dohh:

How did the old time builders handle it? Larson brothers etc.

Joe
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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by DaveWhite » Mon Apr 26, 2010 2:09 pm

Joe,

Eben makes a very good point. I think you should describe them as "Sustaire dry weather soundports" that open up and optimise the sound when the humidity drops, and while you are at it patent the idea (well Kevin Ryan patented soundports that are covered by the playing arm so why not :mrgreen: )

As for the old time builders, they used to crank up the wood stove in the workshop and braced in their Y-fronts - that's a luthier's technical term by the way 8-)
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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Dean Kumbalek » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:35 pm

Joe-

Cleat and glue 'em. That will be good for me. Wood is wood is wood and wood does crack sometimes when the moisture drops during the heating season. I know because I was talking to a friend on the phone in my "urban" setting shop one month ago and heard a crack sound and looked down and sure as shit saw a crack in your boycote back. Almost the same spot as the crack you picture in your build. I plan to cleat it as well and all will be fine. I'll take a pic soon. I bet both cracks happened at the same moment in time! We are linked dude.

Nice to see your progress- and good call E-man!

Dean

* also I will set up a humidifier in the area. Maybe you need more plants Joe or a "pond".

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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Haans » Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:15 pm

Oops, I forgot...
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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by DaveWhite » Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:36 pm

Freegift wrote: I bet both cracks happened at the same moment in time! We are linked dude.
Wow - The Cracks of Doom :shock: Just make sure you don't drop any magic rings down them :mrgreen:

One of my very favourite quotes is by Charles Hoffman : “It has been exhaustively demonstrated that under rigorously controlled conditions carefully selected pieces of wood will do pretty much what they damn well please.”
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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Joe Sustaire » Mon Apr 26, 2010 7:11 pm

Wow, what a thread!
Dave you've got me falling out of my chair here with "Sustaire dry weather soundports", and Charles Hoffman's quote! My new favorite and truest quote.

Okay Dean, I think that is probably the best call. Amazing that it happened to both guitars! Hey, guitars with "mojo" and character is what we build, dammit! :clap:

Well from now on I will be bracing and closing boxes stripped down and with the woodstove blazing. So no pics! :lol:

Dennis the new back wood arrived today. I'll just take a picture of it and keep it with the guitar, so Dean will be able to see what it might have looked like without cracks. :lol:

Thanks everyone,
Joe
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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Joe Sustaire » Tue Apr 27, 2010 5:56 pm

Back again.

Upon reflecting upon the advice of a very helpful, anonymous friend, I have agreed that it's better to bite the bullet and re-back this build. It just has too many cracks to be considered a guitar with a couple of repaired cracks. I believe it would just cause more trouble down the line, so...

...used my binding rig to rout the binding off. Then used an iron and a re-shaped putty knife to work the back loose.

Image
And there we have it, cracks be gone! :dance

Image
And looking at the inside of this one, I'm glad it's going to have a new back!


Wait a minute, I may have made a mistake!
I just looked at this new back Dennis sent me under the good light of my studio, and Holy Shit!
This back has some awful nice curl in it! I couldn't see that when I opened the package at the house.

Maybe I can just patch this old back up and reassemble it after all! :shifty:

Ah hell! Dean probably just read this, I guess I'll have to use it on his guitar. :mrgreen:

Joe
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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Dean Kumbalek » Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:46 pm

HA ha !! Nice work Joe-

I'll post a pic of your back and ask that anonymous friend and all others for recommendations as well. In retrospect, I like your solution better.

Dean

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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Joe Sustaire » Mon Jun 28, 2010 1:06 am

Well I've got the new back joined and braced, ready to close the box again. :D
And this time all pieces spend some time in the hot box before bracing and gluing plates to rims. I'm learning.

Image
Braces are carved and back sealed with a coat of shellac. This walnut doesn't have a strong ringing tap tone, with the un-carved braces it sounded close to cardboard. Then I was pleasantly surprised as I carved them down, that the plate developed a decent tap tone.

Looking closely at the top I see a bit of separation starting at the glue seam, luckily no splitting like the back did, but obviously the top was also glued to the rims in less than ideal conditions. Okay, I get it, I've learned now to closely monitor and control the humidity when bracing and closing boxes! Some of us have to learn the hard way! :lol:

Image
So I've cleated these sections with cross-grain spruce and HHG using magnets to clamp in place.

Image
And yes there is some nice curl in this back, thanks again Dennis!

Image
I've sealed the inside with a coat of shellac to help slow down the box's response to humidity swings, and it's ready for closing after spending a little time in the phone booth.

Image
I'm using fish glue to close the box thanks to it's long open time.

All for now,
Joe
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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by DaveWhite » Mon Jun 28, 2010 12:44 pm

Joe,

That's looking good - onwards and upwards 8-)
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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Mark Schrier » Thu Jul 01, 2010 2:42 pm

Hey Joe,

Just a thanks for your detailed documentation on this one. A couple of bumps along the way, but a hell of a journey!

I'm planning on building a pair of parlors with the Scott Andes AGP-01 plans. Following your lead in an x-bracing and ladder brace comparison build.

The sunburst looks great and I'll definitely be stealing that. Keep up the good work so I can rip off some more ideas!

Regards,

Mark

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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Joe Sustaire » Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:44 am

Thanks Dave and Mark!
Yeah, this one has taught me a thing or two, nothing like doing your laundry in public! :D

I hope you share your parlor builds with us Mark, love to see what you find out with your ladder versus x bracing builds.

Thanks again guys,
Joe
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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Joe Sustaire » Mon Aug 02, 2010 2:23 pm

Well last we saw I was gluing on the new back with fish glue. After sitting a few days I came back to it and had some pretty major separation, so I got to do it all over again. After posting my problem on OLF, JJ Donahue offered his experience that fish glue requires being stirred well before use. He had done some test joints and had some failures before he started stirring it really well. So live and learn, it's on solid now.

I tried the egg white pore fill method and still had major pores after two tries and found the egg white really tough to sand back to wood, might be my free ranging country eggs. :lol: So then I did the shellac and pumice which did the trick but had lots of problems with scratching from the pumice showing in the shellac, so level sand to get out the scratches. I'm going back to the tinted spackle which I've used several times before. I learned this from Robbie O'Brians Luthier Tips du Jour series on youtube. Rub it in with a piece of burlap, fills fast, and sands back quick and easy.

So I used Permalyn gunstock finish, an oil/varnish, rubbed on with a small piece of paper towel, many coats, and it turned out nice.

Image

Image

Image

Image
Got the fretboard made and fretted. This is one of Ed's 2nd grade rosewood boards with some nice color and grain patterns.

Image
And I cut the bridge out of another one of those fretboards.

So I've got to fill and finish the neck and then wrap it up, getting closer.

Joe
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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Dean Kumbalek » Wed Aug 04, 2010 3:35 pm

Looks very nice Joe. I will get back to building and working on yours soon.

My house has sold and I closed on it 2 weeks ago. The moving and packing and total selling process seemed like a prolonged prison sentence to me. It went on, and on...but now it is over and new routines and energy are possible.

I have a laptop at home now too, so I may be more of a regular poster once the build resumes.

I find you work encouraging, as always. Thanks.

Dean

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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by stevens » Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:06 am

Hi Joe,

Glad to see you pulled this one out of the fire.

Very glad.

I like the amber shade you have put on the top. Makes it look aged.

The humidity thing is a very real issue that I have struggled with too.

My approach has been to limit my top/back bracing to humidity levels below 50%.

That works for here but you need to establish your own set of limits.

I know Dean will enjoy this guitar.

Steve
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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Bert Foster » Wed Aug 25, 2010 3:35 pm

Hi Joe,

I just started looking at this thread and I like what you're doing. The bracing pattern especially. The nice tight rosette and bindings. Excellent workmanship.

I loved your line about "airing dirty laundry in public". I'm sure most beginners watch builds and think, "These pros never make mistakes or have material failures." Of course any of us with a few builds under our belts all do and it's a good thing to show them so they won't give up and quit the first time a problem arises.

I wish I could see some out-takes of Norm Abrams (New Yankee Workshop) cursing and or throwing an object across the room because of a mistake he made.

I look forward to the finished product.

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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Joe Sustaire » Fri Aug 27, 2010 11:49 pm

Thanks for checking it out Bert and Steve! And yeah, this one had me jumping thru a few hoops trying to stay on top of it. :D

Sounds like you've kinda been thru the wringer yourself Dean what with all the changes going on. Glad things are settling down for you a bit so you can get back to some of the things you love doing!

Well I've had this one strung up about a week or so and slowly working out the kinks in the set-up. Letting it get used to being a guitar and by golly I think it just might be one. Sounding pretty nice. I really don't know how to "talk" sound, so I'm not even going to try but I'm enjoying playing it, very alive feeling in your hands. This is the first time I've ever played one with a sound-port and I have to admit that's pretty cool, really does help to immerse you in the sound. I'm such a fan of old vintage guitars that visually it's a bit disturbing to me, but the surround sound might just win me over on occasion. :D

So here are some pics...

Image

Image

Image
I've carved a very vintage soft V neck here Dean which I like the looks of, but it is a bit of a handful if you're used to playing skinny necks. This can be carved down if it's a problem for you.

Image

Image

Image

And there you have it. Or at least someday will. I'll keep breaking it in for you till we can make the swap! :lol:

Joe
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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by stevens » Sat Aug 28, 2010 12:03 am

Hey Joe

Now that you have been playing this one for a bit -

How did the brace pattern work out ? -

Will you do this same one again ?

What is your current feeling about the internal braces ?

Is the sound dark ? Light ? Open ? Tight ?

I have been using a stiffened rim [normal lining with veneer glued to inside - close off all the open kerfs]
I think a lot like you have done here.
I can't really figure out if it helps or not.

I do not feel it is hurting anything [ as I did feel my double X builds were hurt] but can't tell if it helps.

The rim does hold the intended shape quite well though.

What do you think ?

Steve
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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Dean Kumbalek » Sat Aug 28, 2010 6:42 pm

It is beautiful Joe. Man, I love it. You pulled if off!

I will get my ass in gear....

Totally inspired,

Dean

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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Matthew Jenkins » Sat Aug 28, 2010 7:02 pm

Congratulations Joe, she's a real stunner and has a very appealing 'lived in' look.

I love the golden hue of the top. Very, very nice :clap: :clap:

Mat

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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Pat Foster » Sat Aug 28, 2010 8:05 pm

Nice one, Joe! I like the old-timey vibe you gave it.
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