my lap steel build

A discussion of techniques, and equipment for guitar. Fretted, bottleneck or slide, acoustic or electric, this is the place.

Re: my lap steel build

Postby ricbleu » Fri Sep 24, 2010 6:02 am

I forgot to mention that you'll now begin the search for the perfect slide, which will take waaay longer that in did to make the guitar. See if you can find Breeze's excellent description of his descent into tone-bar addiction. But as Rico said, they're relatively cheap and they don't take up so much space. Dat Rico's done up and gone again. Where he be? :D
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Re: my lap steel build

Postby zhyla » Sun Sep 26, 2010 11:54 pm

Added some dots and a simple inlay to the fretboard. First attempt at inlay work for me. I think once the fretboard is oiled it will look ok. You can see I did a pretty rough job at routing out the design, which is the wavy dark edges around the inlay. I think I almost have the hang of it, next one will come out better no doubt.

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Re: my lap steel build

Postby leftyguitarman » Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:08 am

It's lookin good!
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Re: my lap steel build

Postby ricbleu » Mon Sep 27, 2010 6:54 am

She's coming together clean, Zhyla. I wouldn't have had the courage to start a rout into a brittle hardwood like you've done. Great work!! What did you use to cut it with ? I'm with you on the meaning of it too. :D . Proper spring weather getting here today. Wonderful mild day and pastel sunset. Slide guitar on the porch weather.
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Re: my lap steel build

Postby zhyla » Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:34 pm

ricbleu wrote:What did you use to cut it with ?


A Dremel with a cheap plastic router base attachment and a small tapered carving bit. The bit isn't quite right but I couldn't find a straight bit that was small enough.

I didn't have any issues with the wood, it routed nicely. Mainly I'm just kind of clumsy. Visibility with the router base was somewhat poor as well. Stew-Mac makes a much nicer one, I may have to spring for that next time.
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Re: my lap steel build

Postby ricbleu » Wed Sep 29, 2010 12:22 am

Well not so much clumsy, Zee, perhaps unpractised - but who wouldn't be, first time out? I have a species of dremel, but it's one of those tools where spending twice the money would have given more than three times the value. It has about the same torque as an electric toothbrush and that coupled with my inexperience with it, means that it doesn't get a lot of use. There are so many factors with those things, visibility at the cutting edge not being the least of them, that I think buying the most tried and tested one is the way to go. You're almost there, friend - I'm really looking forward to seeing what staining & finishing options that you are going to choose. :D Peace
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Re: my lap steel build

Postby zhyla » Fri Oct 01, 2010 3:58 pm

Finally got around to tearing this thing apart and started sanding. There are a couple rough patches that will take a lot of time to smooth out, but it will be good to have this finished. I already have another lap steel project planned for my uncle that will be crazy.
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Re: my lap steel build

Postby Hogs Grunt » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:54 am

Nice build man.
Got some good ideas from the pics, thanks.

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Re: my lap steel build

Postby ricbleu » Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:40 pm

Are you anticipating putting in a few hours this weekend, zhyla? I hope so - it's rather quiet on the forum lately and your lappy is close to a done deal. When I submitted my build topic, I did so after I'd finished the guitar and during the build I didn't take a pic of every completed stage - just the ones which I considered significant for my own future reference, so it was all a bit hit and miss and not a real lap steel build topic.

Incidently, I changed the strings yesterday from the D'Addario half rounds (can't remember the gauge, but big) to D'Addario round wound Prosteels 13s and I much prefer the extra bite of the new ones. The extra grit on the round wound bass strings really emerges when playing LH bar tremolo very fast and short, like an arrow quivering in the target. The half rounds softened that and lessened the raspy effect. Fast, short tremolo doesn't do anything for my LH tennis elbow though.

Looking forward to the weekend's progress. :D Peace.
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Re: my lap steel build

Postby zhyla » Sat Oct 09, 2010 3:20 pm

Got it sanded down to 400 grit last night. Contemplating a pass w/ 600 grit or not. I need to sand some burn marks out of the fretboard sides and then break out the tung oil. Should have at least one coat on it this weekend. Need to rig up a way to support the guitar and still be able to apply finish on all sides.

The usual way to apply (pure) tung oil is to cut it with mineral spirits on the first pass or two. This is fine, but I'm worried about doing that on the fretboard as it may attack the CA glue around the inlays. Anyone done this before?

Sorry no pictures or anything, it looks like it has since the early photos, just smoother. Maple sanded to 400 grit is an amazing feeling.
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Re: my lap steel build

Postby bottleneck » Sat Oct 09, 2010 4:33 pm

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Re: my lap steel build

Postby zhyla » Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:03 pm

Ok, this thing is done. I think it turned out well for a first guitar but there are lots of obvious flaws. The next one will be better, hopefully :).

It has 5 or 6 coats of tung oil (I lost count). Wish I could get a decent photo of the machiche grain but it's one of those things that doesn't photograph easily. It really shimmers in person.

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Re: my lap steel build

Postby ricbleu » Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:50 pm

That is reeeely cool, Zhyla. The oil finish has brough up the tonal contrast of the gtimbers really beautifully. Oh man, that's a result to be proud of. And are you happy with the sound? Well done, buddy and may this be the first of many. :D Peace
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Re: my lap steel build

Postby jeffl » Tue Nov 09, 2010 7:49 pm

Very, very nice job Z! I hope that axe gives you lotsa inspiration.
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Re: my lap steel build

Postby killer » Thu Dec 09, 2010 7:02 am

That's just nuts. Congratulations, Zhyla!

I just came on board so I got to see the entire build from start to finish and it's just awesome how a few blocks of wood end up a gorgeous instrument. Looks like she was made with a lot of love; and I'd say that even if I hadn't seen the build--she just looks that way.

Can't wait to hear how she sounds.

:)
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