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198? 1528-9 Ultra...

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DanSavage
Posted 2016-12-29 10:31 AM (#531529)
Subject: 198? 1528-9 Ultra...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1544

Location: Lake Forest, CA

I acquired this guitar from my pastor at church and put it into the someday pile. That day has arrived.

My brother, Daren, plays in the worship band at his church and while talking to him one day, I mentioned this guitar. He told me that he would love to have a 'Dan Savage' guitar and that the super-shallow bowl appealed to him for a stage guitar.

He's visitiing for the holidays, so as a fun project, we decided to pull the tops off this guitar and the 1612-4, which is also my next project, which will be re-topped in tandem with this one.

Here's what the guitar looked like when I got it. To put it bluntly, it was worn out. The top was sunken, the bridge had been shaved, as had even the saddle. So, the plan was to pull the neck, then pull the top.

This guitar will be getting a torrefied Adi spruce top and braces. Since most of this work is stuff you've alread seen before, I'm only going to post highlights of stuff I'm doing that I haven't done before.

I'm going to try a couple of new things on this guitar. I'm going to try to add abalone purfling to the body a la the Custom Legend. It'll be getting a walnut carved CL bridge.

I'm also going to try making my own real abalone CL rosette. When it's done it'll be more like a Custom Ultra. Here's a couple of pics that shows how these are built.

Neck is off.

As is the top.

The neck uses a dovetail joint. Rather than convert this to a bolt-on neck, we'll be leaving this as a glue-on neck. I'll clean up the neck and body block, shim it out to where it needs to be, then glue it back on once the guitar top is finished.



Edited by DanSavage 2016-12-29 10:34 AM
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Jonmark Stone
Posted 2016-12-29 11:22 AM (#531537 - in reply to #531529)
Subject: Re: 198? 1528-9 Ultra...


Joined:
May 2008
Posts: 1205

Location: Gnashville
This will be interesting....
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tpa
Posted 2016-12-29 2:13 PM (#531545 - in reply to #531529)
Subject: Re: 198? 1528-9 Ultra...


Joined:
December 2004
Posts: 404

Location: Denmark
Seems to have the output jack in the same location as my 3862. This is imo not a super nice location as using a straight jack will propably lead to conflicts with your right hip or some other part of your body. Jack location is better on more recent SSBs.
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arumako
Posted 2016-12-30 6:28 AM (#531560 - in reply to #531529)
Subject: RE: 198? 1528-9 Ultra...



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 633

Location: Yokohama, Japan
DanSavage - 2016-12-29 12:31 AM

...My brother, Daren, plays in the worship band at his church and while talking to him one day, I mentioned this guitar. He told me that he would love to have a 'Dan Savage' guitar and that the super-shallow bowl appealed to him for a stage guitar.

He's visitiing for the holidays, so as a fun project, we decided to pull the tops off this guitar and the 1612-4, which is also my next project, which will be re-topped in tandem with this one.


Very cool to welcome your brother to the OFC! Read his introductory post; and in true Savage form, he's headed straight for the BFLG! Welcome Daren!

It's gonna be neat following these projects, especially since, your gonna concentrate on stuff you've not touched on before, Dan. By the way, you mention "Neck is off" in passing... how'd you get that thing off so easily...all that glue had to make that a bear of a job? Inquiring minds want to know!

By the way, I'd love to have a Dan Savage O myself, and I"m saving-up for that fateful day!
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seesquare
Posted 2016-12-30 9:25 AM (#531561 - in reply to #531560)
Subject: Re: 198? 1528-9 Ultra...


Joined:
November 2002
Posts: 3122

Location: Pacific Northwest Inland Empire
Yes, that would be essential for the archives: "The Dan Savage Neck Removal Protocol".
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DanSavage
Posted 2016-12-30 9:54 AM (#531564 - in reply to #531545)
Subject: Re: 198? 1528-9 Ultra...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1544

Location: Lake Forest, CA
tpa - 2016-12-29 12:13 PM

Seems to have the output jack in the same location as my 3862. This is imo not a super nice location as using a straight jack will propably lead to conflicts with your right hip or some other part of your body. Jack location is better on more recent SSBs.


Yeah, I always use a 90-degree jack on my Os and for the very same reason you mention.
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DanSavage
Posted 2016-12-30 9:59 AM (#531565 - in reply to #531560)
Subject: RE: 198? 1528-9 Ultra...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1544

Location: Lake Forest, CA
arumako - 2016-12-30 4:28 AM

Very cool to welcome your brother to the OFC! Read his introductory post; and in true Savage form, he's headed straight for the BFLG! Welcome Daren!

It's gonna be neat following these projects, especially since, your gonna concentrate on stuff you've not touched on before, Dan. By the way, you mention "Neck is off" in passing... how'd you get that thing off so easily...all that glue had to make that a bear of a job? Inquiring minds want to know!

By the way, I'd love to have a Dan Savage O myself, and I"m saving-up for that fateful day!


Actually, Daren has already been luthiering. He's the one who's done all the work so far on this guitar. He watched me de-glue the fretboard extension on the 1612, then I turned him loose on this guitar.

He de-glued the fretboard extension, then we used your hot-water baggie method to get the neck off.

Once we got the neck up to 160 degrees, he started wiggling and after a while, it popped free. Luckily, there wasn't much glue contact.

Thanks for the kind words.
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DanSavage
Posted 2016-12-30 10:03 AM (#531566 - in reply to #531561)
Subject: Re: 198? 1528-9 Ultra...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1544

Location: Lake Forest, CA
seesquare - 2016-12-30 7:25 AM

Yes, that would be essential for the archives: "The Dan Savage Neck Removal Protocol".


I just used the same method Ken outlined in one of his BFLG threads. We poured boiling-hot water into a gallon-size baggie, then draped it over the neck heel and body. We had two bags that we'd switch so there as always as hot of water as we could get.

We were using an IR thermometer to monitor the neck temp and once it got to 160 degrees or so, he started wiggling the joint to break the glue bonds.

After a few cycles, the neck popped free. Luckily, there wasn't much glue contact, otherwise it would have taken a bit longer.
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DanSavage
Posted 2016-12-30 10:16 AM (#531567 - in reply to #531529)
Subject: RE: 198? 1528-9 Ultra...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1544

Location: Lake Forest, CA

So, I got an unfinished rosette from the MS to use for my own Custom Legend-style rosette.

I ordered some shell feathers from the Duke of Pearl. These are shavings of shell that are ~.005" thick. Each feather is about 1-1/4" x 5". I ordered several different varieties because I didn't know which would look best.

The top row is green abalone and the bottom row is red abalone.

Here's some mother of pearl feathers.

And a red abalone laminated sheet.

Here's a close-up of the green abalone showing the rippling in the figuring. These are really pretty, but the red abalone will look best.

Here's a close-up showing figuring of the red abalone.

And, how it'll look when behind the rosette.



Edited by DanSavage 2016-12-30 10:17 AM
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Love O Fair
Posted 2016-12-30 10:53 PM (#531586 - in reply to #531529)
Subject: Re: 198? 1528-9 Ultra...



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 419

Location: Spin axis of a California map
Very cool. Does the abalone cut smoothly without chipping? How do you cut it?
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DanSavage
Posted 2016-12-31 12:04 PM (#531596 - in reply to #531586)
Subject: Re: 198? 1528-9 Ultra...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1544

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Love O Fair - 2016-12-30 8:53 PM

Very cool. Does the abalone cut smoothly without chipping? How do you cut it?


Not really. It's really thin, almost as thin as a sheet of paper. And, it's pretty brittle. Cutting it with scissors is unpredictable. Sometimes it'll chip, sometimes it cuts cleanly.

Daren tried scoring it with a sharp Xacto, then breaking it along the score like thin glass. He had success with that method, but it was tedious and time-consuming.

We read back on the Duke of Pearl website for information about how to cut it and one of the hints they had was to put shipping tape on the back. We tried this and it cuts cleanly and predictably with sharp scissors. So, this is the method he's going to be using.
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DanSavage
Posted 2016-12-31 12:22 PM (#531597 - in reply to #531529)
Subject: RE: 198? 1528-9 Ultra...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1544

Location: Lake Forest, CA

Since Daren is only going to be here for a few more days I thought I'd let him pick out and cut the red abalone pieces for his rosette. Once they're cut and numbered I'll glue them into the rosette later on.

I used the above pics from TJR to create a template in CAD for the sections of abalone used in the rosette. This printed version on the right was used to verify the finished size.

The pieces on the left are various attempts to cut the shell feathers. The shell is very thin, about .004", so it's very delicate. Cutting with scissors is unpredictable. Cutting with an Xacto blade is also unpredictable because of how hard and brittle the shell is. The closest thing to success was to score the outline with a sharp Xacto, then breaking it along the score like thin glass. This worked, but was tedious and time-consuming. Even then, the shell was delicate and breaks easy.

Here's the template printed onto a transparency. The tracing template will be placed over the shell to find the exact orientation of the shell as it's placed around the rosette.

Here's the tracing template.

Here's the solution for cutting out the sections of shell. We stuck clear shipping tape to the back of the shell before tracing and cutting. Now the pieces can be cut with scissors and don't split or crack. We'll just leave the tape on the back of the shell permanently.

Here's how they'll look in place.

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Love O Fair
Posted 2016-12-31 6:39 PM (#531607 - in reply to #531529)
Subject: Re: 198? 1528-9 Ultra...



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 419

Location: Spin axis of a California map
Good call on the shipper's tape. I've never really looked that closely at my abalone rosettes before (and too lazy to go do it right now) so I'm curious as to whether the factory used the same segmenting sizes and shapes you and Daren are crafting, or if they perhaps used a larger, more linear application that they could die cut to fit using less sections.. or maybe even stamped out whole, with the leftover pieces sent off to the fingerboard inlay department since I'm thinking a whole cut from a laminated sheet wouldn't really much show the butting of the strips once placed behind the painted design on the plastic. I'm also wondering what is the largest continuous-shell, non-laminated "sheet" you've seen available. Sorry so long winded with questions, but, after all, it's that traditional rosette that I think most seasoned Ovation enthusiasts' eyes first gravitate to as a unique identifier.

Edited by Love O Fair 2016-12-31 6:58 PM
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DanSavage
Posted 2017-01-02 8:38 AM (#531642 - in reply to #531607)
Subject: Re: 198? 1528-9 Ultra...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1544

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Love O Fair - 2016-12-31 4:39 PM

Good call on the shipper's tape. I've never really looked that closely at my abalone rosettes before (and too lazy to go do it right now) so I'm curious as to whether the factory used the same segmenting sizes and shapes you and Daren are crafting, or if they perhaps used a larger, more linear application that they could die cut to fit using less sections.. or maybe even stamped out whole, with the leftover pieces sent off to the fingerboard inlay department since I'm thinking a whole cut from a laminated sheet wouldn't really much show the butting of the strips once placed behind the painted design on the plastic. I'm also wondering what is the largest continuous-shell, non-laminated "sheet" you've seen available. Sorry so long winded with questions, but, after all, it's that traditional rosette that I think most seasoned Ovation enthusiasts' eyes first gravitate to as a unique identifier.


The factory used segments of real abalone first on the Custom Legend rosettes. Then, other guitars, such as the Collector Series got them.

These feathers are too thin to be used as inlays. I haven't bought too much shell, so my experience on the largest single piece of shell is limited. But, these pieces are pretty large.

The laminated sheets are about 2-3 times thicker than the feathers. It looks like they built the laminated sheets with the feathers. Because of the seamed nature of the laminated sheets, it would take careful planning to use these to hide the seams.

It was the pics above from TJR showing how sections of shell are used in the CL rosettes that made me lean toward using the feathers.

Yes, the sections could be bigger, but there would probably be a lot of waste.

It's funny you mention that because it wasn't until I saw a CL rosette made with real abalone that inspired me to start making my own. -- they that much nicer looking in person.

Edited by DanSavage 2017-01-02 8:40 AM
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Cavalier
Posted 2017-01-03 12:41 PM (#531665 - in reply to #531529)
Subject: Re: 198? 1528-9 Ultra...


Joined:
March 2013
Posts: 334

Location: undisclosed
Abalone dust should be treated with caution. Dust masks and gloves should be used.
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DanSavage
Posted 2017-01-03 5:47 PM (#531671 - in reply to #531529)
Subject: Re: 198? 1528-9 Ultra...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1544

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Thanks for the head's up. We're cutting this abalone with scissors.
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Cavalier
Posted 2017-01-03 8:00 PM (#531675 - in reply to #531529)
Subject: Re: 198? 1528-9 Ultra...


Joined:
March 2013
Posts: 334

Location: undisclosed
Yep, I've seen pictures of old school inlay artists with the facial scarring and tissue damage that can result over the years of unprotected exposure.
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DarenSavage
Posted 2017-01-04 11:51 AM (#531697 - in reply to #531529)
Subject: RE: 198? 1528-9 Ultra...


Joined:
December 2016
Posts: 68

Yay, I can post here, now! Thanks Damon!

As Dan wrote, before I left for home, we worked on the rosette pieces based on what I thought would look good. It didn't. It ended up looking more like mother of pearl than abalone. We decided the the green abalone will look better than the red abalone.

In honor of the randomness of the universe and MS, Dan's going to cut the new pieces for the rosette based on space considerations rather than artistic interpretation.

Daren



Edited by DarenSavage 2017-01-04 11:55 AM
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DanSavage
Posted 2017-01-05 11:14 AM (#531722 - in reply to #531529)
Subject: RE: 198? 1528-9 Ultra...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1544

Location: Lake Forest, CA

Here's the pics of the rosette pieces. Below is the patterns from the template for the rosette sections traced onto the red ab.



And the first few pieces. Unfortunately, we chose to trace the pattern onto the front side of the shell using a Sharpee permanent marker. This caused two problems. First, it caused a build-up of ink on the underside of the template that caused the template to stick to the shell. It also bled under the template something fierce. It was also a pain to clean off the shell and on most parts it left a shadow of the ink. Cleaning off the ink made the task of cutting out the pieces long and laborious.



Here's what the final red ab pieces look like when in place. This is actually a mirror-image of what the finished rosette would look like.

Because of how thin the shell feathers are, these pieces are pretty translucent and pick up whatever color is behind them. The back of the rosette will get sprayed with flat black spray paint once the shell pieces are glued into place. This will darken them a little bit more than what the above photo shows.

We thought that the plain red ab looked too much like mother of pearl, so we decided to try the figured parts of the green ab, instead.

Here's the finished pieces of green ab sitting on the rosette. This is a mirror-image of how it will look. Again, once it's sprayed with black it will darken a little bit. It definitely doesn't look like MOP.

Instead of using a marker to trace the template, I used a mechanical pencil and that worked a lot better. It stayed on when being handled and the marks can be erased with the pencile eraser leaving no marks. But, the line is so thin that most of the time it gets cut away leaving no trace behind. This made the task of cutting out the pieces a lot easier and faster.

When we cut out the red ab pieces, we did so in a two-step process. The first step was to rough-cut all the pieces at once, then do a final fitting to the rosette. For the green ab pices I cut them to fit the rosette in one piece at a time instead of cutting out all the pieces. The accuracy of the thin pencil line vs. the thick, bleeding marker line is what made this possible.

 

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jay
Posted 2017-01-05 11:35 AM (#531723 - in reply to #531722)
Subject: RE: 198? 1528-9 Ultra...



Joined:
January 2009
Posts: 1085

Location: Texas

"The factory used segments of real abalone first on the Custom Legend rosettes. Then, other guitars, such as the Collector Series got them. "

 

When Ovation was putting out thousands of guitars...was the process of cutting abalone done by a machine? What a tedious and meticulous process this would be. I can now see the argument for decals.

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DanSavage
Posted 2017-01-05 12:44 PM (#531726 - in reply to #531723)
Subject: RE: 198? 1528-9 Ultra...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1544

Location: Lake Forest, CA

jay - 2017-01-05 9:35 AM

"The factory used segments of real abalone first on the Custom Legend rosettes. Then, other guitars, such as the Collector Series got them. "

 

When Ovation was putting out thousands of guitars...was the process of cutting abalone done by a machine? What a tedious and meticulous process this would be. I can now see the argument for decals.



From these photos, it looks like the shell segments could have been die-cut or cut using a pantograph.



If they're sized correctly, and supplied to the factory in bulk, it wouldn't be that much trouble to assemble these rosettes in a production environment. Having to cut them by hand is the time-consuming part. Still, abalonoid is cheaper and easier than segments of abalone. Less breakage and waste, too.

I don't think they ever did the rosette with real MOP. I bought some when I ordered the abalone because I thought it would be interesting to see a real MOP rosette.



Edited by DanSavage 2017-01-05 12:46 PM
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DarenSavage
Posted 2017-01-05 1:22 PM (#531729 - in reply to #531722)
Subject: RE: 198? 1528-9 Ultra...


Joined:
December 2016
Posts: 68

DanSavage - 2017-01-05 11:14 AM

When we cut out the red ab pieces, we did so in a two-step process. The first step was to rough-cut all the pieces at once, then do a final fitting to the rosette. For the green ab pices I cut them to fit the rosette in one piece at a time instead of cutting out all the pieces. The accuracy of the thin pencil line vs. the thick, bleeding marker line is what made this possible.
The new rosette looks great! I'm glad to hear the new process went a lot quicker and easier.

Daren

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2wheeldrummer
Posted 2017-01-05 6:00 PM (#531735 - in reply to #531529)
Subject: Re: 198? 1528-9 Ultra...



Joined:
February 2014
Posts: 332

Location: moline,illinois
Awesome job on the rosette,I love how you maintained the continuity of the figuring of the shell where possible,what about a clear rosette that allowed all the nuances of the shell to show through,that could be cool.

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DanSavage
Posted 2017-01-05 6:21 PM (#531736 - in reply to #531729)
Subject: RE: 198? 1528-9 Ultra...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1544

Location: Lake Forest, CA
DarenSavage - 2017-01-05 11:22 AM

The new rosette looks great! I'm glad to hear the new process went a lot quicker and easier.

Daren



Yeah, me, too.

At this point I'm going to set the rosette aside until the new top is on and finished and the neck is glued into place. I can't really fit the rosette to the neck until the neck is attached to the bowl.

Next is to concentrate on making the tops.
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DanSavage
Posted 2017-01-05 6:25 PM (#531737 - in reply to #531735)
Subject: Re: 198? 1528-9 Ultra...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1544

Location: Lake Forest, CA
2wheeldrummer - 2017-01-05 4:00 PM

Awesome job on the rosette,I love how you maintained the continuity of the figuring of the shell where possible,what about a clear rosette that allowed all the nuances of the shell to show through,that could be cool.



Thanks, Kevin.
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