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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Hardtail strat build underway - converting from vibrato

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
*****

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Apr 19th, 2019 04:02 AM   Edit   Profile  

I'm beginning the first stages of my next strat build.
It's a mahogany body routed for a vibrato, but I'm building it as a hardtail. (I've never owned a hardtail strat before)

It's dang near impossible to find an unfinished HT body here without costing the earth, so I'm channelling my inner MacGyver.

I shaped pieces of Tasmanian Oak to fill the routes. I'll glue them in and mill them down, then fill the gaps with builders bog. (Bondo)

It's going to be a solid colour so you'll never know there were ever holes in there once I'm done.

I have a little more machining to do on the "top" of the vibrato block and then I'll begin the filling & sanding.

I'm going to make an effort to keep a photo diary of the process and post the updates here.

So here's installment #1

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Apr 19th, 2019 07:23 AM   Edit   Profile  

Wow, Mick, that looks like some nice work!

My only suggestion is to use two-part epoxy to stick the wood blocks in. I mention this for two reasons:

- It is an exceptional gap filler

- It negates the need for Bondo

Assemble it with the epoxy and leave the squeeze-out along the seams. When cured, it gets pared down with a sharp chisel.

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Apr 19th, 2019 11:30 AM   Edit   Profile  

Just one word of caution: Gluing pieces of wood together with grain running in perpendicular directions is a woodworking no-no in most cases. This applies particularly to the piece that plugs the space for the trem block. Since these are not structural joints or really important from an appearance standpoint, it may not matter. But I can guarantee that some of those glued seams will separate and crack the finish and become visible within a few years.

M Tracy
Contributing Member
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Lafayette IN

Apr 19th, 2019 03:05 PM   Edit   Profile  

I did a trem to hard tail conversion on a strat once. Nothing as fancy as the wood block thing though. I filled the cavity with an LED driver and a small board bump up a 9 volt battery to the 12 volts the driver wants. It’s a clear acrylic strat filled with blinking lights now.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
*****

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Apr 19th, 2019 04:27 PM   Edit   Profile  

Good suggestion re: the epoxy Peegoo.
I half thought of that before, but now I may reconsider it.

Te, I'm aware of the cross-grain gluing issue but neither of these two pieces are actually glued to each other and the trem block is fairly tight so it's almost more of a "plug".
I'm very confident there won't be any separation problem with my method.


Achase4u
Contributing Member
********

U.S. - Virginia

Apr 19th, 2019 11:18 PM   Edit   Profile  

Speaking of 2 part epoxy, when Bill Callaham filled my old trem screw holes to resize my Mexi strat for vintage spacing, we used Acraglas. I can't tell you what Bill said it would cure as hard as on this forum.

It is very strong, for accurizing gun stocks.



Achase4u
Contributing Member
********

U.S. - Virginia

Apr 19th, 2019 11:18 PM   Edit   Profile  

Plus, hardtails are awesome.

Heck, I need one.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
*****

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
May 16th, 2019 04:06 AM   Edit   Profile  

I finished this part of the project early last week and thought I already posted the pics... d'oh!!!

So I'm posting them now :^)

I used epoxy to fix the Tassie Oak blocks to the body. I decided to chamfer the outer edge of the blocks so I could fill the seams more adequately.

I've grain filled and shellaced it since the photos were taken and hopefully will get it primed this weekend.

Phase 2

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
May 16th, 2019 07:36 AM   Edit   Profile  

Wow. Nice work, Mick. That repair will be invisible once you get a few coats of shellac or other sealer on there and sanded smooth.

frogman
Contributing Member
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Pueblo, Co

I qualify!
May 16th, 2019 09:24 AM   Edit   Profile  

Very nice, Mick,

Tinkerer
Contributing Member
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San Diego, CA USA

May 16th, 2019 11:26 AM   Edit   Profile  

That looks great- can't wait to see the next phase pics!!

Gaukdawg

Ohio

Say what one more time!
May 16th, 2019 01:15 PM   Edit   Profile  

You could tell people that the "symbol" on the back is a copy of something you found on a cave wall in the outback! :-)

Somebody might believe you.....

It looks great!

Achase4u
Contributing Member
********

U.S. - Virginia

May 16th, 2019 02:43 PM   Edit   Profile  

Dangit. Time to make a hardtail strat.

(This message was last edited by Achase4u at 04:57 PM, May 16th, 2019)

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
*****

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
May 16th, 2019 03:59 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks all. This has been a bit of an experiment and definitely a learning experience.

It actually required a little more thinking and finesse than just "whacking a couple chunks o'wood" in there ;^)

If I ever do another conversion like this, it should be easier and I will have streamlined the process.

I have my colour scheme worked out and all my hardware now, so it's just a matter of finishing, assembly and set up. However, there is cutting a nut and fretwork in all that too.

If it turns out like I see it in my head, it'll be pretty cool!


Mick Reid
Contributing Member
*****

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
May 22nd, 2019 05:02 AM   Edit   Profile  

Well got the body primed on the weekend and shot the base & clear coats today.

My first job with the new compressor and spray gun. Base coat came out okay, but got some pretty good (bad) orange peel on the clear.

I think I've worked out where I went wrong, so will level it and re-shoot it in a couple of days. (hopefully with a better result!)

Sorry, I ain't postin' no pics of my horrible work! Only the good'un!


FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Hardtail strat build underway - converting from vibrato




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