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Thread: First Build - ST-1

  1. #1

    First Build - ST-1

    Hi All,

    Getting started on my first build, an ST-1 with rosewood fingerboard. I plan on finishing the body with a solid colour (ideally shell pink, although finding a suitable product seems it may prove difficult) and the neck with tru-oil.

    Received the kit today and will confirm all bits are present tonight doing a mock fit.

    Definitely intended as a learning process, I am aiming to try:
    - Fret level, crown, dressing and polish
    - Shape headstock
    - Finish neck with tru-oil (Never tried before, only ever owned gloss poly necks which I definitely don't like. If I don't like the tru-oil I will go satin poly, unless that means a new neck in which case I will just deal with it)
    - Set action (low low) and intonation (I upgraded to bone nut, wasn't expecting it to come fitted, concerned I will damage it trying to remove it to fix the action)
    - Solid colour finish on body (I don't have a compressor, so will likely use aerosols. For this reason I am hesitant to go a nitro finish on a first attempt. Sounds like it could be an expensive endeavour. Acrylic seems to be the go, but not sure if a colour match service like that offered by SCA will acheive the colour I want?)
    - Once it is all put together, I will play it for a month or two before changing the bridge pick-up for a humbucker. Need to look in to this more for a suitable type. Would like to experiment here a bit e.g. coil splitting, push-pull pots

  2. #2
    Overlord of Music McCreed's Avatar
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    Hi dobes, and welcome.

    Finish neck with tru-oil (Never tried before, only ever owned gloss poly necks which I definitely don't like. If I don't like the tru-oil I will go satin poly, unless that means a new neck in which case I will just deal with it)
    If you find that you don't like the feel of the Tru Oil, you can safely go over it with polyurethane. Happy to advise if it comes to that, but I'd be surprised if you don't get on with it. Definitely feels better than factory poly IMO.

    Solid colour finish on body (I don't have a compressor, so will likely use aerosols. For this reason I am hesitant to go a nitro finish on a first attempt. Sounds like it could be an expensive endeavour. Acrylic seems to be the go, but not sure if a colour match service like that offered by SCA will acheive the colour I want?)
    Nitro is available in aerosols, but only from some guitar parts suppliers not SCA or The Big Green Shed, and it's not cheap either.
    Don't know how you'd go at SCA with getting Shell Pink mixed, but they can load aerosol cans with acrylic lacquer of whatever colour they can mix and do stock. Lots of people (myself included) have got good results with the stock range of Duplicolor rattle cans, so that's an option too.

    Look forward to seeing your project. It will indeed be an adventure the first time!
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  3. #3
    So, a quick update.

    Kit was missing the bone nut upgrade and copper sheilding tape, but everything else was there and in good order. Kit may have been returned as there was a pen mark (dot) at the scale length, so I don't know if some work had already been done to clean things up.

    Decided to fully drill the bridge now, rather than after finishing, considering also doing the pickguard. My reasoning is that I can be more assured of plugging the holes during wet sanding than I can be of not slipping with a drill on my nice finished body! Neck pocket was snug, requiring a gentle tap to seat it, and strings lined up well, although I wound them the wrong way.

    Shaped the headstock, just drew up the design using a compass, similar to a Suhr style. Had a few frets sitting proud which I knocked down with a plastic hammer. Then I taped the fretboard (which turned out to be a bad idea), used a 12in radius sanding block, a sharpie and some 400 grit to level the frets. Went over them with the crowning file, some more 400 and some 0000 steel wool. When I pulled the tape of the frets, a bunch of fibres came with it and I will now need to smooth out the surface very carefully.

    Went to SCA and the big green shed, didn't find a colour I liked for the body, considered changing to white or buttercream/beige but at this stage I might just cough up the money for nitro from sydneyguitarsetups.

    Next step: Sand and begin tru-oil application on the neck while I procrastinate over the body finish.



  4. #4
    Overlord of Music McCreed's Avatar
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    When I pulled the tape of the frets, a bunch of fibres came with it and I will now need to smooth out the surface very carefully.
    Is that painter's tape or bog standard masking tape?
    That board appears to be real rosewood (not engineered composite) so I'm a little surprised it lifted fibres even if regular masking tape.
    However I would recommend using low-tack painter's tape in future anyway.

    I like the headstock shape. I tend to be a prisoner of tradition, but that looks good.
    I think sometimes people try too hard to be different and it just comes off looking odd.

    The only other advice I'll offer is ditch the steel wool. Especially once you start finishing. Those wee tiny steel fibres get bloody everywhere. In your finish, stuck to pickup magnets, and if they get into the control cavities, they can make their way into the pots.

    I don't even allow steel wool in my shed!
    I use synthetic sanding pads (3M Scotchbrite or Beartex). They're available in a range of grades.
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  5. #5
    I knew it was the wrong product, I even took care not to adhere it too firmly. I also knew I had low tack painters tape somewhere but couldn't find it at the time (got it now, but hopefully I have done the job correctly).

    I know what you mean about the filings! What a mess... I was kind of loosley following the fret levelling post on this forum, which uses the steel wool.

    Board cleaned up super easy with very few passes of a fine grit, and the neck now has its first coat of tru-oil applied. One small run on the headstock, at the corner nearest the low E peg, collected on the face side and soaked in leaving a dark patch I couldn't move. Will see how it goes in a few coats. (I thought the tru-oil would smell a bit better, hopefully most of that is the solvent and it will clear up as it cures?)

  6. #6
    So I think I am happy with the neck. I rubbed it with 0000 equiv. Scotchbrite this morning and was tempted to leave it at that! I have since applied another 3 coats and feel like I dont need any more.

    The headstock on the other hand, needs a few more coats as I was using a non-lint/fibre free swab to apply and both front and back side were covered in fibres. Have taken back to bare wood and coated 3 times.


  7. #7
    Overlord of Music McCreed's Avatar
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    I was kind of loosley following the fret levelling post on this forum, which uses the steel wool.
    Yeah, I wish they'd take that out. I think it's really bad advice, but that's just me.

    Looking good though!
    IMO, 3 coats isn't nearly enough but there are no hard and fast rules on this, only suggestions really.
    Ultimately it's what feels/looks good to you.
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  8. #8
    Member phrozin's Avatar
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    Acrylic lacquer is a far superior paint than nitrocellulose why its expensive is because it's not made anymore by large paint manufacturers or suppliers and should tell you something, a time will come when Acrylic will no longer be made it's being phased out now as 2k is the preferred coating these days people get caught up on nitro thinking its the holy grail and it's not it's actually a rubbish coating. I use quite a bit of Acrylic lacquer but prefer to use 2k clear over base it's a better coating in every way but requires a higher skill level than Acrylic
    Last edited by phrozin; 03-03-2021 at 03:02 AM.

  9. #9
    Don't get me wrong, the choice of paint system was purely for the colour! I costed it, including contingency cans for primer and clear when I stuff up, and cannot justify it for this first build! So, I am going to try the duplicolor, Alpine White, instead.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by McCreed View Post
    IMO, 3 coats isn't nearly enough but there are no hard and fast rules on this, only suggestions really.
    Ultimately it's what feels/looks good to you.

    Sorry, I may not have been clear. The length of the neck has about 12-14 coats (3 days of 4-5 coats per day). The headstock at 3 coats, but I will hit it with the same amount now that it is clean(er).

    Undecided on the fretboard, which hasn't had any yet... Definitely dont want any gloss on it, but on the other hand the oil darkens it up which I like (can see alongth the edges of the neck).

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