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Thread: Veneer headstocks

  1. #1
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    Veneer headstocks

    Hey gang,

    I have secured a lovely bit of maple veneer from Brendan (thanks again, mate!) which I am going to put on the headstock face of Gloria to help disguise the redrilling of the machine head holes.

    I have never worked with veneer before, so I am looking for advice on application, and any pitfalls for rookie players to be wary of. I am reliably informed Wokka is the go-to guy in this regard... 😀

    Cheers,

    El

  2. #2
    Overlord of Music keloooe's Avatar
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    I would trim the headstock down so when the veneer is applied the tuners can still fit nicely and id use a spindle sander to do the final sanding of the headstock shape

  3. #3
    GAStronomist wokkaboy's Avatar
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    Hey BG, yeah I've done tons of headstock veneers and it gives the axe a nice personal touch.
    First I trace the shape of the headstock paddle onto the veneer and make sure the veneer will cover the whole paddle. Trim the veneer down with a sharp knife leaving a bit of excess so it can move around a bit while gluing and still cover the whole paddle. Clean the surface of the headstock with a water damp cloth. Once its dried smear titebond onto the headstock face, and try smooth out any blobs of glue as these will cause lumps in the veneer. I place the veneer onto the headstock. Prior have a flat piece of scrap wood that will cover the area and you will need at least 8-10 clamps, more the better. I start with a clamp at the top end so the scrap wood is butt up to where the curve starts. Then I squeeze in a piece of dowel to keep the curved section of the veneer held down.
    Then leave to dry for at least 3 or 4 hours. Make sure the veneer covers ALL of the headstock and it is flush or past where the fingerboard starts, important while the glue is wet.
    Then carefully remove the clamps. Draw your headstock shape and cut it.
    Then sand as usual.
    Drill out the tuner holes. This I do starting with a small drill say 2.5mm from below to the top of the veneer to locate the holes, try for the centre. Then from above I use say 5mm drill and drill slowly in reverse, as the veneer tears out very easily. Then step up the drill sizes to slowly drill out to the tuner hole size.
    Same with the truss rod hole, you have to take a guess where it is so take a photo before the veneer goes on. I use a small drill and then once its located use one of those small art blades to cut out the shape.
    This is delicate work as the veneer is probably less than 1mm thick.
    I also face the veneer onto the bench, once dried and you can trim excess off with a sharp blade.
    Good luck !
    If you aren't certain of the process I can help you out on a weekend or weeknight. Its worth having enough clamps to have no spaces between the clamps so you may need a dozen or so on a bass headstock. You will have to leave it at my workshop while it dries or take it home and return clamps, or bring whatever clamps you have.
    I've stuffed up quite a few veneers in the learning process and had to sand it back and start again. Have you got enough veneer for 2 veneers in case?
    Last edited by wokkaboy; 13-05-2015 at 02:21 PM.
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  4. #4
    Overlord of Music WeirdBits's Avatar
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    Here's how I applied a headstock veneer on a build, if it's of any use. I roughed up the headstock face with 120 grit before glueing on the veneer to ensure a good bond and that left me with a nice clean edge join once it was all sanded back to shape.

    (and no Wokka, that build isn't finished yet)
    Scott.

  5. #5
    GAStronomist wokkaboy's Avatar
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    nice one Scott I remember that, this is a much more detailed method BG with photos and probably some better methods.
    Current Builds and status
    scratch end grain pine tele - first clear coat on !
    JBA-4 - assembled - final tweaks
    Telemonster double scale tele - finish tobacco burst on body and sand neck

    Completed builds
    scratch oak.rose gum Jazzmaster - assembled needs setup
    MK-2 Mosrite - assembled - play in
    Ash tele with Baritone neck - neck pup wiring tweaks and play in

  6. #6
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    Awesome, guys! Thanks very much for this, I wil peruse these thoroughly!

    I have also decided on the headstock shape (see the Gloria thread in the My Build Diary section) and based on what Brendan gavesp me this should be small enough to give me two stabs at the veneering if I goof it badly. 😆
    Last edited by Bass Guy; 13-05-2015 at 03:51 PM.

  7. #7
    Moderator dingobass's Avatar
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    I use a foam roller to spread the glue out evenly and without bubbles.
    Cost me $2.

    There is always a workaround for glitches, mistakes and other Guitar building gremlins.....

  8. #8
    GAStronomist wokkaboy's Avatar
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    hey DB where did you get the $2 foam roller from ? Might have to get one, good tip
    From the green shed ? hahaha
    Current Builds and status
    scratch end grain pine tele - first clear coat on !
    JBA-4 - assembled - final tweaks
    Telemonster double scale tele - finish tobacco burst on body and sand neck

    Completed builds
    scratch oak.rose gum Jazzmaster - assembled needs setup
    MK-2 Mosrite - assembled - play in
    Ash tele with Baritone neck - neck pup wiring tweaks and play in

  9. #9
    Overlord of Music keloooe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wokkaboy View Post
    hey DB where did you get the $2 foam roller from ? Might have to get one, good tip
    From the green shed ? hahaha
    Haha yeah I think I saw him walking into the big green shed on my CCTV cameras...

  10. #10
    GAStronomist wokkaboy's Avatar
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    hey Pest can you please upload the CCTV footage to youtube and post the link. Start a new thread name and shame hahaha
    Current Builds and status
    scratch end grain pine tele - first clear coat on !
    JBA-4 - assembled - final tweaks
    Telemonster double scale tele - finish tobacco burst on body and sand neck

    Completed builds
    scratch oak.rose gum Jazzmaster - assembled needs setup
    MK-2 Mosrite - assembled - play in
    Ash tele with Baritone neck - neck pup wiring tweaks and play in

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