Fixing Boo Boos.
The next entry in the guitar build is here! What's that you say? Why am I so slow?? I just am, so get used to it!
In the last entry I drilled the majority of the holes in the body that are needed. This time, I'm going to go over a couple of fixes for some tear out from the router.
One of the things that has always bothered me about some woodworking articles is how everything always goes so swimmingly - never are there any errors. My father taught me early that everyone makes mistakes - it's how you deal with them that will teach you more about it in the end and by giving those mistakes short thrift or by avoiding them entirely, those authors are short-changing their readers to some extent.
I promised myself when I started this blog that I wouldn't gloss over or hide glaring errors I've made. What this really means is that I will most certainly have a lot to write about. This is one such entry... There will be more.
Early in the process you may remember if you've been following along, I made this little boo-boo:
The tear out was pretty deep, but I spent some time re-working the curves at the bottom of the body and got the depth to a more manageable size, I melted some shellac stick into the remaining gap, using a color as close as I could to the darker parts of the walnut:
When it was finally dry, I filed the filler flush with the body. It took a couple of passes to build up the shellac, but here's what I ended up with:
This will never pass muster on a transparent finish, but I'm planning a burst finish that will have an opaque color at the outer edges - so I think this should hold up. One thing to be aware of with shellac filler is that lacquer thinner will soften it - if your patch is too deep, you could get some cratering - so this is about as deep as I would ever go with it, it's probably somewhere close to 1/16" deep, maybe just a hair more.
Now, I had some shallow chattering happen to me on the bottom of the Strat, and was using my Freud pattern following bit to remove about a 1/16" or so to clean it up when I heard a little louder "RIP" then what I was expecting. Stopping to check, I was greeted with this lovely little thing:
Crap. Crap crap crap. I hate routers. What happened? A look at the router bit answers that. On this particular bit, which is a top bearing bit, there's a small collet that holds the ball bearing in place, tightened with a small allen screw. That screw came loose, allowing the bearing to ride up the shaft above the level of the base.
The bit then dug in to the full depth of the cutters. Ugh. Did I mention I hate routers?
This wasn't going to be something I could fill with putty. Fortunately, this guitar is getting a solid color, so I don't have to worry about matching the grain or seeing glue lines... but how to fix? It's a gash on a curved surface. One that was going to be shaped with even more curves...
My solution, God save me, was to use the router with that same bit. Using some scraps of wood, I cut and clamped some wood to the body that had a "shelf" that was just wider than the offending error, then used a third piece of wood to make sure the two were flush with each other.
Once I was satisfied they were all flush, I tightened the clamps on the body and removed the third piece of wood, leaving me with a "table" I could use to rout a nice, flat hollow using the afore-mentioned bit:
After routing, here's what I had:
I then took a piece of the scrap from when I cut the body, and cut a short piece to fit tightly into the newly routed channel. It's end grain, so I used an end grain cutoff to match. This means it will be very brittle - no rasps, only sandpaper is to touch this patch.
First, I sized both the channel and the patch with thinned hide glue - because it's end grain, it would otherwise suck all the glue up and not glue properly. I like hot hide glue for these kinds of patched because you can do a rub joint - where you can just rub the patch into place then hold it for a few seconds, no clamps needed.
After the glue dried overnight, I cut off the majority of the waste with the band saw:
Then used the belt sander to sand the patch flush with the rest of the body.
Again, because it's end grain, it's especially fragile to work, so use care. It needs to be end grain, though - it has to match the surrounding wood as it must move with it. While a long grain patch might work and never fall out, the edges of it would eventually show through as a line or crack in the finish. This way, the wood in both the patch and the body will move in unison, lessening the likelihood of that happening.
Once it's to shape, the worries are over, but if you use a rasp on it you risk breaking out a small chunk. Other than that, it's just shaping as you normally would.
Was I successful? Well, with a bit of time travel, here's a pic of the patch as of this morning:
The only thing you can see are reflections - the patch was completely successful.
Next up, I will finally get to the shaping of the bodies that I promised like, forever ago...