Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Repairing Josh's Guitar, Part 2

For Part 1, read this:

I'll start from where I left off last time.  Basically I had glued the guitar's neck back together, and had sanded the rough cracks even.  I had added stain and the first coat of wipe on polyurethane. 

My next steps where just adding wipe on poly once a day for a number of days.  Once I had done that I decided to buff out the neck on my buffing machine.  Here's the pictures from that.

I have to say that I am pretty happy with that.  I wasn't sure how it was going to come out.  Honestly, I have to say this was my best work on a cracked neck.  But truthfully, no two cracked guitar necks are the same.  But I was able to get this repaired, and the truss rod still works fine.  That's a giant relief.

So next was making the bone nut.  Since Josh  had lost the original plastic nut, I had to build him a new one.  I won't go over step by step on how I made it.  Only know that I put a good amount of time into it.  I hadn't made a bone nut in years, and there is a real art to it.  You can put a lot of time and effort into making one, and despite your best efforts it can come out like crap.  Like I said, there is a real art to it. 

But I'm glad to say it came out great.  Here are the pictures of me making it.

If you wonder what the black marks are, those are graphite from a pencil.  It helps slicken the grooves so the strings slide easier. 

Next up was double checking how the poly on the back of the neck had dried. 

I gotta say, I am really pleased with how the guitar came out.  I set it up, and it plays really nice. Now let's hope that Josh won't do something else dangerous to this guitar. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Repairing Josh's Guitar, Part 1.

I have a friend named Josh.  He's a great guy, but sometimes doesn't make the best decisions.  Case in point, he was doing something not so smart and broke the neck on his Dean acoustic guitar.  Well, that means it's time for to work my magic.  I mean, I fret dressed and set up that guitar to actually make it playable in the first place.  So my goal is to make it at least 95% of what it was. 

Luckily, I took pictures.  Here's what the guitar looked like with giant cracks in it.

So yeah, that's not pretty.  But that's not the only thing.  When the guitar hit the concrete it also scratched up the back.  Here's some pictures of it.

All those white marks are scratches.  It looks like I have my work cut out for me.

First up, I loosened the truss rod, and saw that the wood wanted to lay flat together.  I then loaded as much Titebond 2 wood glue as I could into the various cracks.  Next, I used my old timey clamps to clamp it together.

Here's the pictures of the clamping.

I have the one clamp angled like that to hold one of the splintered ends in, so it could glue up. 

I then let the glue have 48 hours to dry.  I always give Titebond 2 48 hours to dry.  So this is what it looked like after I took off the clamps.

Despite being somewhat jagged, the wood glued together pretty good.  Luckily there is a neat trick I know about working on overseas Dean guitars.  They are actually sprayed with a polyester spray, not polyurethane.  That means you can lay into them on a buffing wheel.  So I took the neck of the guitar and put it on the buffing wheel to knock down the edges.

Next I started sanding out the high edges.  Here's the pics.

As you can see, I taped off the parts I didn't want to get scratched.  I then took a block sander and smoothed down any high spots.  I then took it back to the buffer.

However, I not only buffed the neck, but the body as well.  Remember those scratches on the back of the guitar?  Well, I took them to the buffer as well.

First up, here's the neck after the 2nd buffing.

And here are the pictures of the body.

Not only was I able to get those scratches out, I was able to get a few other ones out as well.  I also smoothed up a few places that couldn't be seen on camera, but could be seen by the naked eye. 

Next it was time to start making the neck look nice.  First up was adding stain to it.  This is what it looked like after the stain.

And then I started adding a Wipe On Poly.  This is only the first coat, but look at the outcome!

I've been working on guitars for a while, but this is the best I have ever done on a repaired neck.  I guess practice makes perfect.  But I've gotta say, this one presented me with a good challenge.  It's not over.  I still need to build up layers of poly, make a bone nut, and set her up again.  Wait until Part 2.  It may look like a whole new guitar. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

A Southern Man Needs A Place to Put His Drink

I am continuing my work on my girlfriend Lili's house.  I was extremely happy with the work I did on the porch/ porchsteps.  But there was one problem with the 2X4 rail I installed.  You couldn't put a drink on it. 

The outside chair sits right next to the rail.  And there's no where to put your drink.  I mean, you can put a drink on the rail, but there's a real chance it's going to fall off.  Check out this picture.

So I measured the length, cut up some treated yellawood, and clamped it into place.

I've found that it's like having a few extra sets of hands.  And strong hands to boot.  I'm now all about using clamps to hold things in place while I drill them.  So this is the outcome.

Let's see just how much room that glass has.

Beautiful!  Now I won't have to worry about not having a place to put my drink.  And soon, all that lumber that I have built/installed will be getting a primer and paint job.  Stay tuned for that. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Adrian: Amateur Handyman, Part 2

To understand this a little better check out this blog first:

Adrian: Amateur Handyman

I have continued to improve the front steps of my girlfriend Lili's (not her real name) front steps.  She wanted a hand rail on the left side of the steps, so I put built one for her.  This was not too bad of a job.  The strenuous part of the job was digging a two foot hole with the post hole digger.  Once I got the 4X4 post in the ground, the hard part of the job was over. 

Next, I added a 2X4 post to complete the rail.  That was all I needed to do.  It was holding great, and it blended right in.  Here's the pictures of it.

Next I completed laying down the patio stones that I started a month ago.  I added another 60 stones, and once completed, it looked great. 

Next up, I did something that just needed done.  I painted the mailbox, and put numbers on it.  I really wish I had a "before" picture of it because it looked awful.  It really did.  But with a little paint on it, it looks great.  Here's the "after" picture.

I'm sure the mail lady will thank me. 

More work will be coming.  I still have to paint the front and back steps.  So more work, and thus more blogs to come!

Free Is For Me

My girlfriend Lili (not her real name) had just moved a few months ago.  She's still getting the new place together.  I have been working on the outside of the house taking care of a few things.  But there were still a few things that she needed on the inside of the house.  That's where I come in.  I like to take a peek at Craigslist to see what is for sale, and what is being given away for free. 

Something kind of wild happened.  A couple who lived about three miles from me were moving to Baltimore, and decided to give away the things they didn't need.  So I managed to snag a few things.

First up, a book cabinet.

I had to use some glue and screws to get it to hold together properly, but it's as good as new right now. 

Next up is something all of us in Florida can use.  A box fan.  Seriously, they are worth their weight in gold.  Also in this picture you can see the extension cord I also got for free.

It's one of the old timey metal ones that you can't kill.  Not like the new all plastic ones.

I also scored a bathroom rug.  It was new and unused. 

And speaking of rugs, here's another free rug story.  Lili's place could really use a rug.  Since she likes purple I started searching for a purple rug.  But then it occurred to me, I was certain I had seen a purple rug somewhere before.  Then it hit me.  When I had a small business back in 2001, I had a purple rug for my shop so my feet wouldn't hurt when I stood there working on things.

But then I had to think.  Where did I put that rug.  I mean, rugs just don't disappear.  Then it hit me... again.  It was underneath my work bench with all sorts of things sitting on top of it.  I found it, pulled it out from underneath all my junk, and gave it a good cleaning.  I took it up to Lili's place, and it fit in the main living room perfectly.  I didn't have to cut or alter it at all.

This is a picture of only the corner of the rug.  I don't think she would like it if I took a picture of the inside of her house.

The one thing I forgot to take a picture of might have been my greatest (free) score.  I asked the lady who was giving away free stuff if she had any old paint.  She said yes.  In fact, she had quite a bit.  I grabbed 12 one gallon cans and 2 five gallon buckets of paint.  After I checked out which paint was good, and which was bad, I had about 5 gallons of white paint, 4 gallons of red paint, and one gallon of blue paint. 

Since Lili has been making over the house in red and white, I was ecstatic to get that much red and white paint.  Soon we will be painting the front and back steps, so all we need to get right now is the primer. 

So that was a great haul for one day.  Even though the people who were moving were giving away a lot of stuff, I only took what I needed.  Or should I say, what Lili needed. 

I will keep a look out for good things, and hopefully get to write a blog about it. 

Adrian: Amateur Gardener: Part 3

To catch up on this ongoing story, read these blogs first.

Adrian: Amateur Gardener
Part 2.  Adrian: Amateur Gardener, Part 2
Adrian: Amateur Handyman

In part one of this ongoing series I laid out the ideas I had for putting in a garden.  In part two, I laid down the timbers, mulch, and bromeliads.  In the Handyman blog, I did a lot, but as far as gardening, I planted some coleus and vinkas. 

So now I want to update how the plants are doing.  This is kind of my first time planting a garden, so I wanted to be very careful.  Namely, I looked very closely at plants that could happily live in mostly shade.  Those happened to be coleus, vinkas, and bromeliads.  So how are they doing?  Lets look!

The coleus is actually blooming!  Once it got planted, and had a little bit of rain fall on it, all of them just started taking off.

All the vinkas started blooming really nicely as well.

The bromeliad's roots have really taken hold, and are doing really well.


And here's a shot of the bed on the left. 

I'm sure there will be another installment of the "Amateur Gardener" series.  I have a feeling I will be building two raised garden beds in the back.  Stay tuned.