Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Current Collection

Well here is the current assembled collection so far! In total there are 28 shells most of which are assembled. Over Thanksgiving weekend Brent and I cut 7 shells worth of staves, it was so much fun!!!!

Well, the drum that sitting on top with the ring clamps and tape on it was from my last post. It still needs glue (this weekend).

Dry Fitting A Stave Shell

Wow it's been many months since I've posted to this blog. My warning about the pictures ... forgive any cat toys or green container lids. We are in the middle of Christmas decorating and well the cat toys ... they are just everywhere with the new kitten.

This post is for the wonderful people over at Ghostnote.net. Apparently the website is down and I can't post there so I decided to put everything here. So, for my frustrated friend trying to build his first stave shell ... sit back, grab a beer and relax. These thing will have you swearing like a $3 hooker, but no worries. They are worth the work and effort. Sure we make it look easy and explain things like they are easy, but this method took me a few tries before I got it right and efficient.

Lets start with the cut wood pieces. This is a 16 stave, 7" high x 14" diameter Cherry stave shell. I dry fit with masking tape (cheap crap you can get a 3 pack for $2 type stuff), and my stainless steel pipe clamps (I use 3 of them together to make 1 clamp ring, you can buy these at any Lowes type store for about $2 each), and last a screw driver.

Next I lay out the staves with the inside of the shell facing down to the floor. Then I place 2 rows of tape on them (tape goes on the outside of the shell).

Then I flip the entire assembly over. This is a challenge because you'll find that the tape doesn't want to hold well due to the twisting of the wood pieces against the tape. Go ahead try to flip it with your hands, you'll see what I'm talking about. Typically I do this on a work bench. I have a board that is about 4 feet long (the same length or longer as the taped staves) and I slide the taped staves so about 2 inches over hangs the work bench (or forms a lip to grab onto). I then put the board under that over hung portion and flip it. In this case I just used the rug as the supporting member and flipped it over.

Next I grab one end and start to roll the staves into a shell. I roll it because it starts to be self supportive and you can then turn it on it's side very easily.

Here is my dry fit, not perfect. Hard to see in the pictures but there are gaps and on the right side of the picture where there is no tape the staves are wanting to open up. The carpet is the only thing really stopping them from opening fully.
Next I put my 2 rings of clamps on. One on top one on the bottom, just snug them up at first. These really hold the shell in it's shape. Again it's not perfect, by my thumb there is a gap. This happens in various places, no worries. Go ahead and tighten the clamps you'll see everything snug right together. This is how I glue the shells too. I add the glue in the joints before I roll it. And yes ... it's very messy. But who cares you take off all that glue in the rounding process anyway.

Here it is fully tightened.

Hope that helped. Any other questions just ask!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Jeff Guitar is Finished!

It's been a long time in the finishing stages. But she's all finished. Well, Jeff still needs to machine or purchase some locking nuts. Or perhaps he'll find the originals in the basement somewhere. Side note for Jeff, in case I forget to tell you: The guitar is currently tuned flat. This is so you can put on the locking nuts and fine tune through the bridge. Remember you don't want the guitar "in tune" when you put the locking nuts on. :)
A word on Floyd Rose Tremolo Bridges. Wow are these suckers tough to set up! Never set one up before and let me tell you it was fun and frustrating all at the same time. I see why people think their guitars are 'broken' when they go to set up this type of bridge. If you don't know what to expect you would definitely think you were either doing something wrong or the guitar was broken somehow. A big thank you to the www.imuso.co.uk website. You provided an most valuable "How To" guide on Floyd Rose Tremolo bridges.

Anyway, as usual there were obstacles to overcome but I learned something and it was all worth it in the end. Although, I think I'm going to take a long break from guitars. I still have dreams of replacing the pick-ups and refinishing my current bass, and building a bass. But that's a project for much later.

Here is Jeff's new/old Ibanez.
Stay tuned for the Stave Drum Project that Brent and I will be working on. Currently I'm trying to build a jig/rig to build the drums. Of course it's going to be an experience and a lot of trial and error. But that's why I take on these projects ... to take my brain somewhere it hasn't been before. Now if I could just make some money on these types of projects *starts to day dream*
Okay... Upcoming events in the Rob project files.
New batch of Mead (wine made with honey). I bottled my last batch and it's starting to taste really good, but it has about 5-6 more months of aging.
I will also be submitting all 3 flavors of the mead to the wine competition at the State Fair this upcoming year also. Flavors are Blueberry, Blackberry, and Strawberry.
I've sparked Kevin's interest in mead so we are going to both make a batch soon. He wants to try to create Chocolate Raspberry. As for me I have no idea what flavor to try. Some ideas are pomegranate, orange, kiwi, pineapple, and been toying with a recipe for a french toast flavor.
The stave drum project will be starting up very soon. At this point I think I'm finished with preliminary ideas. It's time to just start putting things together and find out what's wrong or could be done a different way. The key to the jig/rig set up is keep it as simple and inexpensive as possible.
I've been getting new ideas on finishes for the drums so the experimental stave drums will give me a few mock-ups and/or "oops" drums to practice some of these finishes on. One I've been dying to try (not new by any means) is a burst. 2 bursts I really want to try is a honey into a green and a triple burst of honey into a red into a tobacco. The triple burst is old school Fender & Gibson. I've seen a lot of guys on message boards not use spray guns for the bursts they just use steel wool and sanding to get the blending. Can't wait to try it. Also want to try to make an inlay in a drum.
Alright, that's enough dreaming for today. Thanks for reading and we'll talk at you all later.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday Sunday Sunday

Well, this morning I played video games until around 9:30 then headed outside to wet sand the guitar ... once again.

Yesterdays clear coat went on really well and I'm getting really good at the brush on application technique. Wet sanding was going very well until I was sanding the side portions of the guitar. I wiped the guitar to see where I was and noticed some blue on the rag. DOH! Nothing major I just had a small sand though, you can't even tell where it is. So, I decided to finish the front and back of the body with 800 grit wet then re-clear just the sides.

I should be done with body work next weekend, woo-hoo!

While I was waiting for the clear to dry I decided to work on the neck. Took apart everything and cleaned every nook and cranny in that sucker and gave the face a good buff. It looks brand new again. Even cleaned the fret board with some naphtha and a tooth brush (dirty sucker ... yuck). Then I straightened the neck and leveled and rounded the frets. After all of that I cleaned her up and put on a fresh coat of fret board finishing oil. The guitar will need some new frets in the future, but I'm confident that Jeff will get a few more years out of the existing ones ... so that's good news.

I also took apart the Floyd Rose bridge and gave everything a naphtha & 3-1 oil bath. Everything received a tooth brush cleaning and then it was all reassembled. I did this, because my original once over of the bridge made me think that I may need to replace some screws and/or parts. After the bath and the scrub down everything is in working order. A few of the set screws are corroding, but they don't need to be replaced just yet. Gives the guitar some character.

So far I only need to replace a handful of screws due to the heads are stripped. Almost couldn't get them off. The next challenge I have is that a screw head has broken off and the screw portion is still in the body. Hey now ... it was like that when I got it. I'm sure I have an article in one of my magazines on how to repair that (or at least get it out). Worst case I'll have to drill it out and fill the hole with some putty and it'll be good as new again. The hole is covered with a plate so I'm not worried about drilling it out if it comes to that.

If I remember to take in the model number of the guitar to work I'll give Ibanez a call this week to order a new back plate cover. I'm actually getting a excited to get this guitar finished so I can hear what it sounds like on Jeff's amp.

Well that's all. Nothing too exciting this weekend.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ah ... A New Post

Yes ... I'm still alive for those of you who do check the blog still. The IT Nazi at work has made it so I cannot access my blog, I can't even post a comment on a blog. We can no longer have streaming audio or streaming video either, which is a shame becaue I highly enjoyed the AOL Sessions music. So, all we can do at work is ... well ... work. Boring!!!!

So, after working 9 hours a day on a computer. The last thing I want to do when I come home is get on a computer. But, I'll try more often to update you guys on my life's adventures.

Anyway, I have been working on Jeff's guitar the past few weeks and of course I've hit a few problems. Just once I'd like a normal project. In wet sanding some "patterns" have come through and they look like wood grain. Weird thing is that they aren't wood grain and they are smooth. Think of looking at an oak door ... but the "grain" portion is shiny and everything else is hazy from the wet sanding. Like I said ... weird. I decided to see if they would go away after a final buffing ... nope. If you turn the body and look at the reflection you can see them clearly. What are they? I wish I knew. Of course they don't show up in a picture, so I can't post them for you guys to see. I decided to keep on wet sanding to see if they would go away ... nope. Almost had a sand through, but lucky for me I caught it in time. So, off to the auto store this morning to purchase some activator and I put on another coat of clear. Hopefully this will take care of the problem and I can continue working on it tomorrow. This coat of clear went on very smooth, so I'm hoping that hardly any level wet sanding needs to take place and I can do my final buffing tomorrow afternoon.

Brent and I have been talking again about the stave shell building. But I made a deal with myself a long time ago to only have one project going at a time. The stave shell will have to wait until the guitar is finished. Shouldn't be too much longer Jeff.

Plus, I have to build the rig to make these shells anyway. I'm still in the development and research phase of that part. It could be a bit before I'm ready.

All I know about the stave shells is that Brent is dying to do a drop test on one of them to see how well the glue really holds.

Alright ... that's enough for now. The PlayStation is calling my name, the game of choice the past few months has been Final Fantasy 12. Although I wish it was just a tad warmer, I feel like riding the motorcycle today. Just a bit nippy today for that ... oh well.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Jeff's Guitar

After completing my guitar Mr. Jeff Kamp asked if I could get an old project guitar of his up and running. This is the first project that started the instrument building endeavors. Thanks Jeff for planting that seed. I really wish I had the know-how at that time to paint it myself, but alas I didn't. I did try and Craig and Brent helped me out, but my skills were just too feeble at that time to finish it. Brent has reminded me that a Ed M. painted it for me. If I remember correctly the design was in Jeff's head and I help bring it out of there. I think it turned out well, a bit reminiscent of early/mid 90's design, but HEY, that's when we did this. So sue me ... I still like it though.

Here we are today. Gotta admit the guitar is in some bad shape. But, I'm not worried, it's been a project for what? ... 8 years? Longer? I honestly don't remember. I've got to purchase some missing parts, and replaces some damaged parts. First things first though, take her apart and put on a new coat of clear at Jeff's request.

Sorry Jeff, this may look a bit scary due to I brush on the clear, but it'll level out in the end. It'll be shiny once again (was it ever really shiny?).
I put the clear on at the same time I was clear coating the contest drum so I didn't have to go out of my way for this step. Hunting down some of the parts may be interesting, but honestly I haven't really looked, I've been busy with the drum. Once I get the body where I like it I'll start the parts hunt ... get the dogs ready! I'll be on the hunt soon.

Drum Is Finished!

Well the drum is finished. This drum was for a contest on Ghostnote.net, a drum building forum. Great bunch of people there. Out of 20 contestants I believe there are 16 of us still in the competition. But, to be completely truthful, everyone's drum is awesome. If I make the top 5 I'll be sending the drum up to Michigan to the DrumFoundy to be judged via a panel of 5 judges. Honestly, this is only my second build. So it being in the top 5 amongst more experienced builders isn't looking good. But, I've receive some positive comments about my work and that's really all I need. I have a few more ideas for some painted drums, then Brent and I will be exploring the world of Stave Drum building. Yes, that's actually making our own shells from scratch (well wood actually), not purchasing pre-made shells and finishing and assembling them. Through conversations with Brent he is just a giddy about this adventure as I am. I'm positive there will be many mistakes made and tons of learning experiences. I don't expect the first few to go smoothly at all, so be on the lookout in the next few months for stories of wood building gone wrong. Well, a positive side to this is I'll have some firewood this winter, eh? I'm sure some of you have no idea what a stave drum is, and that's some of what I'll be posting. A kind of tutorial of how these type of drums are made. Wish me luck!

A big thank you to Craig (aka, Cracker) for your help with wood construction, wood working tools, wood companies, and a place to store my wood (insert jokes now). You've been a big help so far, more than you know, and you'll be a huge help once Brent and I get started.

A big Thank You to Ed for the help with jig design ideas, even though we found a slide table in the end that was basically what you designed (Son Of A ...). But, why build something that is already built for you, and cheaper, and works better. Anyway, now I know what I need and what to look for at the trade show. Without your guidance I'd still be trying to re-invent the wheel. You'll be approached more in the near future for ideas and problem solving issues.

Last note for this post:
I do except cash donations for the purchasing of wood for the expansion of the Lastinger Custom Drum Company. That is all ... shameless plug I know, but since when do I care about being shameless, eh?