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Thread: djb's flying V build diary

  1. #1

    djb's flying V build diary

    Greetings all.

    Entry one: Getting started!

    My first real guitar was a harmony flying V. A couple summers later, I had traded it to big chief's pawnshop for some other guitar that I thought looked cooler. Since then, really, I have had this nagging desire to have a V again. I even tried a couple of times to buy a harmony just like I had, but I finally decided to build one. I always thought that Albert King's flying V with the LP headstock looked pretty sweet too, so I would start there. Obviously not the same woods, but just the unique look. Aside from King, I cant think of any such Vs. Click image for larger version. 

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    So, after much deliberating I decided to do this custom kit here with pitbull. It is not much different than the FV 1 G kit. The differences are, mahogany body and neck, dots no blocks, set neck, LP headstock, and finally ferrules rather than V plate. I didn't want the veneer, but somehow I failed to specify this specifically and got it anyway. Sadly, it is blistering already perhaps due to the tropics. Has anyone ever successfully removed the veneer? If so, I would love to know how it was done. Otherwise I am over the moon. See me go!
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    Last edited by doltex; 30-11-2019 at 04:33 AM.

  2. #2
    Entry two: Dry build and setting neck

    The dry build is important so you understand how things are going to be. You need a couple tuners, the bridge, the two E strings. I put teflon tape around the bridge posts to fill out the drilled hole space. That way I could get them centered and approximate the string height. I didn't want to put the ferrules in yet, nor did I want to gouge the delicate veneer with string pressure. So, I used some electricians tape and cotton to provide some plush protection.
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    The glue-in neck is an absolute perfect tight fit. While I have built and rebuilt guitars in the past, this is my first rodeo with a set neck. Now, I experience deep relief when I see how snug and perfect the neck pocket and neck match up. Still, I am hyper paranoid about checking things a thousand times now that I am standing on the verge of gluing it on, brother gluing it on.
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    The dry build also reveals that the guitar will likely have great action and the nut will not need to be refiled. The fretwork looks to be pretty great. All the frets are set properly and there are no sharp edges along the sides of the fingerboard. Surely at least a little filing and polishing will be in order, but not today. No, not today.
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    Scale length looks spot on, so (gasp) let's glue!! I use the only glue clamp I have, some quarter inch wooden pads and pieces of rubber to cushion the wood and frets. I am using Titebond that a Titefriend brought me from the USA.
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    P.S. The guitar has been left with the clamp on for twenty hours now. Overnight the veneer started bubbling in a place along the binding. I will make a new entry later showing this once I take the clamp off. Maybe someone here on the forum has an idea about what to do!?
    Last edited by doltex; 30-11-2019 at 04:39 AM.

  3. #3
    Entry three: Neck success and dry build two.

    The clamp comes off and the neck stays put just as I planned. It looks I got minimal glue seepage. I tried to wipe everything up the best I could with the towel I had. In the photo, the guitar is hanging by the neck which, to me, is a good sign that it is actually glued in there.
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    In this photo, you can see the veneer blistering up along the edge where the binding is. Sure, the pick guard will mostly cover this area, but I am concerned that in the tropics I might have more of this in the future on different parts of the guitar. I probably don't have the necessary innards for actually removing the veneer, so I will just have to hope for the best.
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    I felt it necessary to do a dry build again now that the neck is set in place. Everything seems to check out just fine. The strings are aligned, the scale is dead-on perfect, and the action is promising.

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  4. #4
    Member ILRGuitars's Avatar
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    Nov 2016
    Looking good mate. My only thought about the veneer is that, as most of us have found out by mistake, you could just sand through it. The veneer is only 0.6mm. It will also allow you to get the body nice and flat too.

  5. #5
    Thanks for your input ILR!

    I might just keep the veneer on for the moment. I put the wood clamp and on that specific place and it seemed to stick it down a bit better. Adam wrote me and gave me another idea, if that doesn't work. For the moment, I think I will plan to finish the guitar as-is with the veneer.

  6. #6
    Member ILRGuitars's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    They do look much better with the veneer. Love the tribute to Albert too! He doesn't usually get the mention that he should.

  7. #7
    So, yeah. I think I may as well give the veneer a shot. I've never had one before. I am concerned about Oaxaca's humidity. I don't have any humidity issues with non veneer guitars except for strings that you can watch rust as you play (especially with sunset beach gigs).
    Anyway, yesterday I carefully drilled all 29 screw holes that this flying V needed and I mounted everything up to make sure it was all fine n dandy. I know some people prefer to do all this after sanding and finishing. I figured if I screwed something up badly, I would prefer to do that before I sanded etc. Thankfully, I didn't screw anything up. Just on! Here are a few picks of that.
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    Now it is time to take all of these things off and prepare the guitar for finishing. I can do some light sanding and masking, but I am waiting on my pal to drive down from NYC with the Wudtone Columbian Gold I am going to put on this. Supposedly the maple cap isn't wholly suitable for the columbian gold (which is another reason I didn't really want the veneer) so we will just have to see how it works out. The balance with a strap is just perfect. If this guitar turns into the monster shredder it promises to be, then pretty much everything will be upgraded. I am pining for a bareknuckles PG set and all the guards made from local tropical wood species. DAMN! NYC friend is bringing down hotrodded wiring harness and some pretty lil' knobs too.
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  8. #8
    DAMN i wish my friend would hurry. just waiting on the wudtone and the wiring harness and pretty knobs and. . . . .

    He is in the state I know it! Maybe today!!!

  9. #9

  10. #10
    Finally my friend showed up with the wudtone. My family from the USA also showed up for the holidaze and, while I managed to work on the guitar between trips to the beach and shuffling them around otherwise, I was unable to update the build diary. So, with that in mind, here are some pictures. This guitar just had to be brown. I had had success with wudtones black magic woman on an ash superstrat in the past, so I decided on their Colombian Gold for this flying V.

    In these photos, we have about 5 coats of the product, three with the dye and two with the gold mixed in about 50/50. Honestly, I cant really see where the gold made much difference. I taped off the binding after having sanded it with fine steel wool. . .

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    And here is a photo with the tape off exposing the contrast of the binding and the finish. This now has one coat of the wudtone satin top coat and it looks like there will be enough product for at least three total coats.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by doltex; 30-12-2019 at 12:56 AM.

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