12 Fret Slope Shoulder Dread

By Mr. Joe Sustaire of Talihina, OK
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12 Fret Slope Shoulder Dread

Post by Joe Sustaire » Fri Apr 16, 2010 12:55 am

Well why not start another build? :lol:
This is going to be a swap build for John up in Canada. I met him on the acoustic guitar forum where he had posted a 1924 Gibson round hole archtop he was looking to sell or trade, so we came to an understanding and I'll document the build here so he can follow along.

This will be a 12 fret slope shoulder dread, spruce top, mahogany back and sides with a paddle headstock.
I'm following a drawing that JJ Donohue sent me when he built his 12 string SS here.

First I cut out a plexi 1/2 pattern and then I built a mold from that.
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Then I joined the top and back plates using hot hide glue and the tape method.
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Then I made a pattern for my sides. First time to try this, I used Colin's method of setting the mold in the radius dish and transfering the radius to tape on the mold, you can find the tute here, http://luthiersforum.com/forum/viewtopi ... e+template" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;, on the OLF, works like a champ!

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Sandwiched the two sides and my pattern together with carpet tape and cut them to shape on the router table.
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Sanded the top and back plates, cut them out and here they are with the profiled sides, ready to go.
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All for now,
Joe
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rollingdam
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Re: 12 Fret Slope Shoulder Dread

Post by rollingdam » Fri Apr 16, 2010 1:12 am

Thanks for posting the link-look forward to watching as it progresses.

John up in Canada

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Re: 12 Fret Slope Shoulder Dread

Post by Tommy K » Fri Apr 16, 2010 1:26 am

I do like slope shoulder dreds. :D
I like the proportions of the shape you are using. What is the width at the lower bout?

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Re: 12 Fret Slope Shoulder Dread

Post by Joe Sustaire » Fri Apr 16, 2010 2:04 pm

Glad to have you on the forum John!

Tommy the lower bout measures 15 7/8", yeah that slope shoulder is just so much sweeter looking to me than the standard boxy dread. I guess some of us are just drawn to the curves! :lol:

Joe
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Re: 12 Fret Slope Shoulder Dread

Post by Haans » Sun Apr 18, 2010 2:15 pm

Well, Joe, at least it's 12 fret! :lol:
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Re: 12 Fret Slope Shoulder Dread

Post by JJ Donohue » Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:06 pm

Hey Joe...nice to see you building this. Looking forward to watching your progress. Since completing the 12 string, I built a six string as well and really like it. Good luck and have fun!
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Re: 12 Fret Slope Shoulder Dread

Post by Kim » Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:54 pm

Goodo Joe been look'in at 12 fret slop dredies and this build may even push me over the edge and back into the shop.

Looking forward to it mate.
Cheers

Kim

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Re: 12 Fret Slope Shoulder Dread

Post by Joe Sustaire » Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:41 am

Thanks guys! Yeah, I've been wanting to build one of these since I saw JJ's slope shouldered 12.

Got the sides bent on the hot pipe.
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Heavy aluminum pipe, 1/4" wall, I smooshed it some to give me some different diameters.

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And one of the best tips I ever received was to put a folded, wet paper towel between the pipe and the wood. Adds steam to the wood for bending and most importantly, keeps the wood from charring.

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And here it is clamped into the form. I let it sit overnight, then did a little touch up bending to refine it.

And today I cut the overlap off the sides, made a mahogany end block and neck block.
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And here they are glued and clamped into place.

All for now,
Joe
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Re: 12 Fret Slope Shoulder Dread

Post by Garry Hallam » Tue Apr 20, 2010 4:14 am

Nice job on the bending Joe. Just wish I had seen how you use the Paper towel before I ruined two sides sets and almost another set. Oh well!

Garry
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Re: 12 Fret Slope Shoulder Dread

Post by Joe Sustaire » Tue Apr 20, 2010 1:28 pm

Dam, sorry about that Garry!
That wet paper towel trick takes most of the stress out of pipe bending. You're no longer in a race to get it bent before it scorches bad. Just keep on spraying the towel with water between bends and keep working it until you get what you want. Much better burning up a few towels than sides! :D

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Re: 12 Fret Slope Shoulder Dread

Post by rollingdam » Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:46 pm

I am beginning to feel like an expectant father...

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Re: 12 Fret Slope Shoulder Dread

Post by Joe Sustaire » Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:45 pm

Just keep pacing John, it's going to be a long delivery! :D

After the end blocks are glued in place I sanded the rims in the appropriate dish, 25' radius for the top, 15' radius for the back.
Image
Pre-shaping the sides worked real fine, much less sanding with the dishes.

Well after following a thread started by Hanns on the OLF about side tapes, I've decided to give them a try. Alan Carruth did some testing which show that with cotton/poly tapes bedded in HHG it took roughly twice as much force to break the side compared to unbraced sides. Sounds pretty good to me.

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So the tapes run the full width of the sides and the kerfed part of my capped kerfing is glued on over them with fish glue.


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Kerfing on both sides clamped up.

I pre-bent the cap material for my kerfing.
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Glued them on with fish glue, and left them clamped overnight.

And this is how they turned out.
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This adds a couple of days time to the kerfing process, adding the caps, but I sure like the increased stiffness it gives to the rims.

All for now,
Joe
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Re: 12 Fret Slope Shoulder Dread

Post by Joe Sustaire » Tue Apr 27, 2010 6:03 pm

Just a couple of shots of the completed rimset.

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Kerfing done, faces sanded to the appropriate radius...

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...and a coat of shellac on the ribbons to seal them.

All for now,
Joe
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Re: 12 Fret Slope Shoulder Dread

Post by Garry Hallam » Tue Apr 27, 2010 6:13 pm

Nice Rims Joe, and not a scorch to be seen ;)

I will have to try linings like that, as I don't like how the brace end pockets can sometimes look shoddy when they pass through the kerfs.

Garry
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Re: 12 Fret Slope Shoulder Dread

Post by Joe Sustaire » Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:45 am

Thanks Garry!

On to the rosette...

Image
I give the top a coat of shellac and use a down cut spiral carbide bit to rout the inlay grooves with my poor boy Wells/Karol router base made of plywood. It works. :D

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I make sure and seal the groove with more shellac. Then lay in the perfling and glue it in with thin CA, which can yellow the spruce if not sealed with shellac. I do these rings one at a time and level with a block plane before cutting the next groove. That way I don't wind up with a thin standing ring of spruce which might chip out either in the routing or in pressing in the perf.

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After leveling with the block plane it's on to the drum sander to clean up the top and bring it down to thickness.

Image
And a close-up.

Thanks for watching,
Joe
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Re: 12 Fret Slope Shoulder Dread

Post by Garry Hallam » Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:55 am

Beautiful rosette Joe, and that top has some really tight grain.

Garry
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Re: 12 Fret Slope Shoulder Dread

Post by Joe Sustaire » Sun Jun 06, 2010 1:35 am

Hey John, it seems we've finally gotten through our wet spring here and the humidity is finally down to where I can start on the bracing for the top.

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Got the bracing pattern drawn out and the x braces glued down with HHG, so we're moving again. :D

Joe
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Re: 12 Fret Slope Shoulder Dread

Post by rollingdam » Sun Jun 06, 2010 2:46 pm

I hope this guitar will survive our dry Canadian winter.

I humidify my guitars religiously but some of the ones I used to own were difficult such as the 1990's Gibsons I had.

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Re: 12 Fret Slope Shoulder Dread

Post by Joe Sustaire » Mon Jun 07, 2010 1:30 am

Hey John, that's why I haven't been in any hurry to get on with this part of the build. You do have to apply your cross-bracing and close the box when the woods are drier so that they are better able to handle the humidity swings. For instance the humidity was up a bit today so I put off gluing any more bracing on the top. I will continue to watch the humidity carefully during this part of the build to minimize problems down the line. If you keep it humidified in it's case you should be alright. I'm also using a blow dryer and heat light to warm up the wood and lower the humidity during glue-up.

Joe
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Re: 12 Fret Slope Shoulder Dread

Post by Dennis Leahy » Mon Jun 07, 2010 3:47 am

I really like the look of slope shoulder dreds - the refinement of the shoulders gives them such a different and, in my opinion, more pleasing shape than a squarish-shaped dred. Joe, you have such an artistic spirit, I want to absorb your aesthetic sense. I'm sure you're influencing others as well.

Great stuff!

Dennis
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Re: 12 Fret Slope Shoulder Dread

Post by DaveWhite » Mon Jun 07, 2010 6:49 pm

sustaireblues wrote: I'm also using a blow dryer and heat light to warm up the wood and lower the humidity during glue-up.
Joe,

I told you before - you crank up the wood-burning stove and work in your Y-Fronts :mrgreen:

It's looking good - the guitar I mean 8-)
Dave White
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Re: 12 Fret Slope Shoulder Dread

Post by Joe Sustaire » Mon Jun 07, 2010 7:26 pm

Yeah, I've tried that Dave and it does lower the humidity, but man does it get hot in there, mid 90's outside and woodstove going inside. It works in a pinch but thought I'd give patience a try unless I'm desperate. :lol:

Thanks Dennis, yeah I can't wait to see what I think of this, never played a 12 fret slope shoulder dread before but like the shape. I just don't like boxy guitars, give me curves!

Joe
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Re: 12 Fret Slope Shoulder Dread

Post by Fred Blom » Mon Jun 07, 2010 9:50 pm

Joe,
I'm with you and Dennis on the curves of the slope shoulder dreads. Even though I've never owned one, my eye is always attracted to their shape. I love the elegance in your rosettes. Waiting with anticipation to see this one to the finish line.
Fred Blom
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Re: 12 Fret Slope Shoulder Dread

Post by Joe Sustaire » Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:16 am

Thanks Fred!

I tell ya, waiting for some proper humidity to continue this bracing is driving me batty!
So, ---

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That's right, I built an old time phone booth into my shop! :lol:




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Actually it's my new hot box. Wire rack for braces and hair hygrometer, hooks for hanging plates and boxes to be closed, barely fire the little propane heater and in a couple of hours, parts are stabilized and toasty, perfect for HHG!

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Worked out real nice, and sure beats firing up the wood stove and heating up the whole shop!

Joe
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Re: 12 Fret Slope Shoulder Dread

Post by Fred Blom » Mon Jun 14, 2010 1:23 pm

Clever idea, that "phone booth". Being a Doctor Who fan, I thought you had built a Tardis (Sorry for the reference for those who aren't familiar with Doctor Who). Makes me think I might be able to use my far-infrared sauna for the same purpose. It has a thermostat and timer, and does not use water or steam.
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