Jan Canter's
Custom
Cutaway Resonator Guitar Project
(Short scale plectrum 21 to 22 fret)

11-11 arrival


Initial pics


Custom cutaway body acquired from Sean Moyses
http://seanmoyses.com/

Sean states:
"The bodies are really top quality. They were built in the UK by Patrick Arbothnot of “Chanticleer” reso-guitars "
 


Internal dimensions built to National specs, and will use National Single Cone/Bisquit configuration

very cool ...."Bee in flight" caught in this pic!

Sound hole is more forward even though the bodies are close in total length, depth is approximately  3/16 deeper than this Pear shaped Single cone
 


Custom "Swallow" coverplate
Can I convert these to Magpie's ??? hehehe

This will prove a challenge as well as rewarding, Im hoping!


I will pull my National apart for the purpose of using my neck for a template to go by


It will line up something like this


I will have to design a dowel that fits, National is too tall


Cone fits as it should



NECK
From 1920s Weymann Keystone State
Flamed Maple, with multi color laminates and backstrapping


22-3/4" scaled board, made for this project
I will reduce some of the heel to make the proper profile


This is a good time to show how brittle these vintage fingerboards are,  and how they crumble if no care is taken to save them
The board is played completely out and there is no need for care here.
Weymann is a veneered overlay and thin shell veneer, not thick MOP and a solid board.
 

This is how fret slots would look if I did not tape and protect when pulling the wires on normal restorations.
 


The headstock overlay is thick, so I will reduce it to remove this inlay


Chisel work to knock the bulk off


Sureform to bring it to the top red laminate


Overlay reduced, ready to profile fingerboard
 

Heel reduced, this is close enough to scale it on out with fingerboard placement
 
 


This looks like it will do the trick, and give some glamour, all the while recycling this wonderful example of 20s craftsmanship
Once fingerboard is profiled a bit more I can bind it and install it.
 


Once the back overlay is plugged, I will redrill the holes and dye it all black
The plugs will be hidden by the larger offset tuners I intend for it, I use these on many occasions when I make a Weymann have new tuners.
The heel will be plugged and overlaid


3/4" Forstner,  after plugging the 1/2" hole
 
 


I love how Geometry makes for a great illusion in this pic :)
A little more and I will be to depth, the plug will disappear when I reach it's terminus.
Now for the transition to the body
 


I have made and fitted a Maple plug and will now fit it to the neck


It has to leave room for the board to slide up onto the body and the rectangle helps to support the neck thru the body
National does it one piece, I want to do my own thing which I have been thinking upon


I will mix hide glue and fill the cavity, then glue on the board at the same time


48 hrs in the clamps


The side shims on the neck block are to be trimmed flushed, they were for centering


Board shaved to profile,

I will add white side markers and a new heel cap
 


Board is correct to the body side


The heel will need a trim to match the steel body contour


After I decide all of the neck angle and elevation of fingerboard, Ill make the proper additions to the block and the body shim


I plan all the work to be done all the way to setup, before any "bodywork", so nothing gets beat up in the R and D


White Markers installed


MOP nut


Flamed maple heel cap, brought to a golden brown



Neck attachment - Rod


I have drilled into the block and the heel and ran a piece of 5/16 rod , threaded on both ends
The positioning is determined by the depth of the spider so I measured to where the rod would come thru and have room for blocking on both ends


There will be blocks that go up and under the rod and on the sides of the body
Bracing to the body is critical on resonator guitars so I have some experimentation ahead.
 


Now you can clearly see the amount of heel trimming needed to match the body profile
 


We are perpendicular with full tension on the rod
 
 


The elevated fingerboard will have a "wedge" made for it at the exact angle and that will be glued into place on the body.
There will be 4 screws that will go thru the fingerboard and thru the body, into retaining blocks and they will be recessed and hidden from view by inlay, as with National.
 
 


Im happy with initial fitting


Everything is lining up as I had hoped .


Im using scrap to make a template  for the pads that are used for bracing
These are in the style of National as well, but will not be made from the same wood as the template.
This is just for measuring purposes so I can make the pads.
They have to be tight, but not too tight to the body under tension, and they help in maintaining the action by inhibiting "flex" in the metal body

Crude, but effective ,and tuning them is important.
 


The pads under the rod will have troughs cut in them to saddle the rod


This one is to a height that springs the rod upward and that flex is exactly what Id hoped for.
The advantage over wood doweling may be shown over time.
Wood will not maintain this springiness and over time, will drop pressure on the pads
Also, the pads will shrink over time and drop pressure from the body, so when sound leaves a Reso Guitar, these are usually the culprits
I may try composites on the pads, or acrylic rod and plate to offset this malady.



COLOR SCHEME

 "Tropical Coral"

After searching high and low, I chose a PPG variant

I priced paints from  250 to 900.00
I decided I couldn't have everything I wanted in a paint for a reasonable $ figure so I went with the setup below.


Reducer-Primer
Basecoat-colorcoat-hardener
Clearcoat-Hardener
Multicolored micro glass flake (Small bottle)
Glazing compound (under the paperwork)


This will give the look I want to the Coral, allowing it to shimmer


 


 

 Will do some test shots on spray cards before ever taking off on the metal.


Ready to glaze the body and block sand with 220


1 to 100 ratio glaze to hardener, and you had better be prepped this stuff gets hard in 5 min
Wait until temps are under 80f is best, and do only one surface at a time, I'll show the top.


After sanding all the top metal with 180, and wiping with PrepSol and tack rag
First coat floated on


Block sanded, you can see the dark spots, that is still low


Second glaze, smaller areas


All blocked and ready for primer
I will repeat these steps on sides and back


Ready for Primer 4:1 ratio with slow reducer, this also is VERY FAST to dry, 10 min tops at 80F


2 coats and a scuff off with 400
This will continue until its glassy
Add a coat and scuff, getting it all real nice
Just like painting a Hot Rod


That's 4 coats and ready to scuff again, its getting very smooth already
1 or 2 more will do it

The neck came back from Custom Pearl Inlay, with the patterns I wanted and Dave did me another great job .
I'm getting the frets in now, sealing as I go
 


Oiling up the board as I proceed


Blacking the overlay


I did an initial leveling, I want to get it mounted and pulled to tension before I go any further in that realm.
I'll add a couple more finish coats now before I get back on the body

1 tiny bit of glaze in a "pock mark" and then back to building primer.
Now that I'm level, I will shoot 2 more coats, this time with hardener and then sand to 400 grit as a prep for Base coat


Oh yeah!
 


The hardware arrived from National today, so I mocked it up for a look see.
I can see it coming together now


Final wetsanding at 400 grit, on the primer
 


Basecoat mixed


Second basecoat
Flash makes the color off, the pic before this is closer to correct

Adding the glass Microprisms to give it sparkle
You have to think these out clearly, because when you mix, you shoot 1 coat every 10 min, max of 10 mil thickness and if you mix in too much flake by the  topcoat it's too sparkly.
 
 
 
 


This is with 2, that's right where I want to be, you cannot see the flake as well as the naked eye, in the sun, its great
One more coat, and the 1950's "Sea Coral" finish will be completed and ready to buff.
 

Wetsanding once before last 2 clear coats


MOCK UP
 


I'm awaiting the cone from National, and will mail the tailpiece off for nickel plate, I had forgotten it was unplated metal.
The body can cure 2 days and then I will Compound and buff it and work on the rest of the setup while the tailpiece gets turned around


OK Tailpiece is headed to Ron, so Onward...
 
 
 


I want to get my angle shim made where neck meets body
I have to build a tiny wedge to make up the difference.
 


The heel already had that steep of an angle so to achieve the neck angle I want, I'll have to build up to make that gap disappear.


I'll make it from veneer and 2 slices should do it
Glue them together, shape the wedge, install and do the final finish coats.
Design as you go!


Gluing in the end block


There will be a backup nut with lock and flat washer inside


Tailpiece back from NPS, with new nickel.
Making the Stanchions


They will be marked for positioning
These are for bracing the back and transferring the cone tone.
The ones on the rod are concave in the top  to saddle it


I'll  put in some tuners and string it up with cone but no cover to check neck alignment and angle before taking it apart for final neck finish and to add the 22md fret before I forget again :)


EXAMPLE
What I usually use on Weymann is the Large body Schaller Offset
They have been having issues however, and I will no longer be using them
I plan on a set of Waverly V2s which have gotten much better in the last few years, they will come from StewMac.
Also a large body and in nickel, not chrome.
Its body is big enough to hide the old recessed holes so that mere spacers can be installed and it will be as a normal peghead look.
 


22nd fret added, extension with a swoop on the end, Tasteful.


Quick look before I string it without the cover.
 
 


Im fairly centered over the board,  a little cheating on tailpiece helped


Major SNAFU
 


Scale is off by exactly 1 inch
This is not a fingerboard mistake, this is my miscalculation on how much heel would need removing.
With the bridge being in a fixed position, that won't fly.
Im not sure where I slipped, probably in the first grade when I was taught to read a ruler, I didn't??
This will mean the board will ride lower on the body.
 
 


I will be lucky to end up with this much of a heel
If I am really careful maybe I can remove the overburden successfully
My other problem is that under tension, the neck wants to pull up so there will need to be some reinforcing inside the body , a heel block basically.

The positive side is there was decent tone and the things against me are workable.
That's about all I can ask for, its just time.
 


Making the rough cuts
 
 


Chiseling the overburden


Ready to smooth


A little more work on the edges and then I can touch up the finish

Scale is within parameters now
 

I will get back with the new body bracing for the heel area next


This is the amount of shim wood that will be added to the heel to get the intonation spot on after the cut
That was hairy, but this will be easy to hide.
Now to work on bracing again
 


Since a National dowel rides under the cone bucket and screws to the bucket for extra retention Im going to mimic this as well as get more bite to the body there.
This block of wood starts it off


That bears onto the rod and will be glued into place.
This will inhibit the neck pulling down and raising action.
Nationals and this style design are not having neck blocks so they used the thick dowel, Im using reinforced steel.


The second block will go here and in the end, be screwed to the bucket


Reinforced the front block and tied it to the body
I will add a wedge to the top of it as well, and  it will screw thru the bucket.


Now that we are setup and playing in tune up and down with decent tone to start with, that's pleasing
However I have some other issues now to overcome.
Things you learn on the first stringing up.
 


GENESIS
When the body of the guitar was formed and the rectangle hole was pierced into the back for the neck......
or the cone bucket welded in 1/8 too far that direction..or split the difference at both being off.
 

The hole was too far by 1/8" to the treble side.
You can see that I am perfectly aligned over the fingerboard with the strings and the neck is perpendicular.
You can see all 4 strings are 1/8 too far towards the treble side
 


The cone cannot be moved and the bridge is fixed to the cone so there is no cheating.
If you could then strings would not center on the neck.
When I pill the neck I have to see if I have any margin to reduce one side of the neck brace and slide over, or any room to slice the hole larger
on that side to ease over and then build up the neck brace on the opposite side, and cheat the tailpiece over a tad.
I'm not in despair because it is playing well up and down even off center.



Moving over
 
 

I still believe the hole is either 1/8 too far to the treble side, or the cone bucket is of center, or a little of both
When I stringlined in the beginning for the tailpiece hole I was not thinking that far ahead as to where cone would center when strings were on and under tension
So I will cut to the chase, carve off one side of heel block, add to the other, and go as far as I can for this neck, and this body hole placement.
 


I have imprinting in the paint from tailpiece so if I have to cheat over now, I'll need a backing plate of a thin material
That will allow for a little margin o hide the movement.


After shaving the other side, adding veneer


This is the final amount of offset and the veneer is added to fit the hole very tight
 


You can see with this heel I can go no further
Now for some final profiling and shaping


I have gained quite a bit, Im encouraged
You have to remember when its all fitted, it will have hidden screws that tie the fingerboard to the top.
Also all the bracing inside will make it form to the body and become a rigid mount.


That leaves 1/16 to cover the hole's edge, that's max'ed out as far as pushover.


I have it with bracing in, neck is centered over fingerboard and if I move the cone to touch the bass side of the bucket, I may be real close
I will first get the neck ready for what I hope is its real install.
 
 


Staffordshire Terrier at the watch, he is getting impatient!
Stained the area and going on with final clear coats
 


Next to a Weymann brother that says "Hey man, what the hell happened to you?""


 FINAL ASSEMBLY


I made a plate to go onto the body to foffest any paint cracking than can occur when tailpiece is on and off for any reasons


The final bracing is in place
 


A look at the National way  once again..
 


After the neck offset, tighetening everything and re-stringing on some creative bridge work I did gain on the offset and I still have good centering on the strings
I think I am at the end of my abilities to create more change without major changes.
It plays very well up and down with a good action.
 


Now to get the coverplate fully mounted



Outside shots,  Cloudy day

There is no telling how someone's browser sees color
You can see no flake with no Sun, this I do know
 


 
 


 

Now for a few days of settling while I await a new shipment of screws
The coverplate came with none, and Im out of that size
We will see how it acts and try to get a pic in the Sun, with some sparkle
It's been another interesting project.
I feel it is as powerful as it can be and seems to want to become a player.
I just hope Jan is as forgiving on this, as he is on all of my work!



FINAL INSIDE SHOTS


Screws installed, now for a final cleaning,waxing and oiling the board
 
 


I went to town and got a nice set of flatwounds for it.
I want it to go out in luxury!


Shes warmed back up and final nut/bridge slot tweaking done
A little sparkle showing in this set of pics


Nice angle and elevation on board, that suits me.
Like a Viol family instrument, standing proud over the body

 
 


So off it will go to "Jan the Man"



ARRIVAL
12-14


Since Jan is in the USA for a visit to his son Peter I was able to ship to him so he could carry it on across the pond.
 
 

BACK IN THE NETHERLANDS


I see everything except a Magpie flying about!



CUSTOM CASE by CANTERS
2-14


Jan decided he wanted a HSC for the guitar so he jigged up and made his own.
Let this be a lesson to us all as Jan shows us where we got all this Old World craftsmanship.


Covered and stitch bound by hand, hardware installed


Inside complete, now thats COOL!
HATS OFF

Thanks for watching,
Vinnie