Black Korina Nomad Build

crosstie

New member
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10
Started my Nomad build (dubbed the "War Moth" by my brothers  :laughing7: ) this past week.

Black Korina Nomad body, satin black burst finish w/ cream binding. Roasted maple neck & board, modern tiltback construction, reverse warhead headstock.

It's been... a bit of a rough start.

First, a few days after it arrived, the body got knocked off of a tabletop (not by me)  :sad: Luckily it was still in the foam bag, and only suffered one small ding, next to the binding on the lower bout. So I spent the first week with wood filler, satin black spray paint, and micromesh pads, trying to get it to match. It's close enough that you'd have to look to see it, but it's still there. Funny, despite using really small gradations of micromesh it would still go from "too dull" to "too shiny" every time I tried to spray and polish (and then of course I'd polish through to the wood filler and have to start over with the paint)...

Finally decided it was as good as it was going to get, and moved on. Next were the holes for the pots. Even though they're nominally 3/8", they were too tight, due to the finish being sprayed in. I tried a trick I found online and used 3/8" drill bit, running in reverse, to grind down the finish a bit to lessen the chance of chipping. Then I taped a 3/8" washer over the hole as a guide, and used a fine rat-tail file to open the holes up until the pots fit smoothly. I had to do something similar with the hole for the jack; since it's bigger I just used a dremel with a barrel-sanding attachment.

Next I discovered that the shafts on my pots were too short for the holes -- not enough thread protruded to get a nut onto, let alone a nut and a washer. I guess this is because of the finish as well? The pots are a standard size, and it's not a carved-top guitar or anything -- I stuck a long-shaft pot in there just to see, and it was ridiculously oversized for the cavity, so I don't think it's a case of me using the wrong pots. Anyway, out came the dremel again, with a flat-bottomed grinding attachment to remove the finish from the inside of the cavity. I can now get the nut and washer onto the shaft of the pots, but there's not even enough extra to put the lock-washer on the underside.

Ok, so far so good. Next up are the bushing for the tune-o-matic bridge and stoptail. I opted for a fancy one from Faber, and... wait for it... the bushings are too big. To be fair, I knew that would likely be the case, so I made sure I had the drill bits I needed on hand. I used a bit that just fit the holes to line everything up, and then used incrementally larger bits to very carefully open up the holes. Ended up going from 13/32" to 15/32", in 1/32" increments.

Here's where my second round of heartbreak comes in. Drilling out the holes went great. The sizing seemed ideal -- the smooth section of the bushing slid right in, but the knurled section did not. (I tried going up another 1/64" on a test hole, and the whole bushing dropped right in with no pressure.) So, I went to install the first bushing...

Now, maybe this is a rookie mistake, but every video I've watched on how to install bushings, people tap them into the hole with a mallet. I did the same. It was pretty tight, but it went. And then... well, see for yourself. A big ring of finish lifted off the body around the hole :sad:

I did *not* touch the top of the body with the mallet! I used a bolt threaded into the bushing as a striking surface. The body was clamped down while I hammered, so it shouldn't have been moving around a lot. I am a bit baffled (and disappointed) to be honest, have other folks seen this happen? Is it common knowledge that you don't use a mallet to put bushings into a satin-finish guitar?

Anyway, I used a c-clamp to push the other tail bushing in, that seemed to work ok so I'll try the same for the bridge bushings. Then pickup rings, strap pins, wiring, and on to the neck. Phew!
 

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stratamania

Senior member
Messages
9,204
That type of finish pop folks also get sometimes putting in pickguard screws. What happens is that even when you have a big enough pilot hole or with bushings the wood compresses and the finish does not compress and you potentially get that type of thing as you have with your bushing.

It is a good idea to use a countersink to clean up the area around the top of the hole of finish to allow for the compression and that should prevent these types of finish pops.

I have put in a set of bushings by tapping them in a number of years ago with success but my preference would is to press them in but either way the wood compresses as described above. For what Warmoth charge for fitting bushings it is worth asking them to do so if at all possible when ordering a body.

Another way to clean finish in holes for pots if you don't have a reamer is to use some sandpaper wrapped around something round like a piece of dowel or a pencil.

Good luck with the rest of your build.
 

TBurst Std

Senior member
Messages
2,591
Keep in mind pot length (short vs long) is determined not by if it’s a carve top, but rather than if mounting to a pick guard (short) or through the body itself (long).
 

crosstie

New member
Messages
10
Thanks for the replies and advice.
That type of finish pop folks also get sometimes putting in pickguard screws. What happens is that even when you have a big enough pilot hole or with bushings the wood compresses and the finish does not compress and you potentially get that type of thing as you have with your bushing.
Makes sense. I guess it didn't occur to me that this could happen with such a large (and already counter-sunk) hole. I will figure out a way to remove a bit of the finish from the hole before I press the bridge bushings into place.
For what Warmoth charge for fitting bushings it is worth asking them to do so if at all possible when ordering a body.
Yup... if the bridge I wanted to use had been an option, I would definitely have done that.
Keep in mind pot length (short vs long) is determined not by if it’s a carve top, but rather than if mounting to a pick guard (short) or through the body itself (long).
Hmmm... that's different than the posts I read, which recommended short-shaft for a 1/4" guitar top. That's assuming a 3/8" shaft, apparently there are also even shorter 1/4" shaft pots that are sometimes used for pickguard mounting. As I mentioned, long-shaft pots in my case would result in the base of the pot being almost at the top of the cavity and possible touching the control cover!
 

crosstie

New member
Messages
10
Slow but steady progress this weekend. Drilled holes in the body... so many holes. Pickup mounting ring holes, jack plate holes, strap button holes...

I did manage to get the bridge bushings in without any additional finish mishaps. I used the trick of running a drill bit in reverse to cut away some of the binding at the top of the post hole without grabbing/lifting it, and then countersank the holes a bit for good measure. I pressed the bushings in with a c-clamp, and even remembered to attach the ground wire before sinking the bushing!  :toothy12:

For the pickup rings, I put down some blue tape and marked my center lines, and then mounted the pickups in the rings and dropped them in. Fortunately Warmoth's pickup cavities are very precise, so there's very little movement -- I just lined the rings up on my centerlines, squared them with a straightedge on either side, and marked all the holes. Then did the reverse drill trick, which worked a treat, drilled them out on the drill press, and did the reverse drill again at a slightly larger size to give myself a big of extra slack.

The jack plate and rear strap button I did by hand, but I used a small block of wood I drilled on the press as a guide so I could keep my holes reasonably straight. Same reverse drill / drill / countersink routine.

Warmoth recommends attaching the front strap button to the neck plate via one of the mounting screws... but of course the straplocks I bought have an integrated screw that is both too big around and too short. So I ended up drilling a hole through the back of the mounting plate and into the heel. Which I'm slightly nervous about, but I think it will be ok.

Slowly but surely the War Moth is coming together! I think I'm done with body prep, I just need to drill holes in the headstock for the tuning machine mounting pins, and the truss rod cover. Oh, and wire the whole thing, lol.
 

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stratamania

Senior member
Messages
9,204
Good progress, I was thinking about you yesterday when I was drilling some holes myself. Glad you did not get any further finish pops.
 

crosstie

New member
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10
stratamania said:
Good progress, I was thinking about you yesterday when I was drilling some holes myself. Glad you did not get any further finish pops.
Haha, cheers, I appreciate the solidarity!

I'm definitely trying to take my time and be careful and precise... which is not exactly in my nature  :icon_biggrin:
 

stratamania

Senior member
Messages
9,204
crosstie said:
stratamania said:
Good progress, I was thinking about you yesterday when I was drilling some holes myself. Glad you did not get any further finish pops.
Haha, cheers, I appreciate the solidarity!

I'm definitely trying to take my time and be careful and precise... which is not exactly in my nature  :icon_biggrin:

A ha - careful and precise - is the way to go with this sort of stuff.  :icon_thumright:
 

crosstie

New member
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10
Fortnightly progress report incoming...

Last weekend I got started on the tuning machine mounts. I ended up with some GraphTech tuners, which seem pretty nice but rather than locking in with a screw they use two tiny pins on the underside of the gearbox to keep it from rotating, which requires drilling to very small, very precise holes. Oh boy. The package actually includes adapter plates, so I just could have used those and put a screw in, but of course I wanted to do it "right"... and of course, I paid the price.  :-\ I used the adapter plates as a jig, marked my holes using a drill bit running in reverse, and then drilled them to just under size. I tried the first pair on the drill press, but it proved too hard to line the bit up precisely for something that small, and one of the holes ended up wandering a tiny bit -- just enough that the pins won't quite fit. I did the rest by hand, which worked better but I managed to rotate the adapter plate a touch on one of them, resulting in a slightly skewed tuning peg. Not enough to cause any functional issues, but enough to annoy me.

So, since I had to redo one set of holes already, I ended up drilling out both pairs to 1/8", plugging them with a dowel, and then sanding it flush. Worked pretty well, though I'll obviously have some finish work to do on the headstock (which is ok, I'm planning to do a waterslide decal on the front anyway). Some photos below of the headstock in various states of repair, though I neglected to take a photo of it after I actually re-drilled the holes, which are now lined up pretty nicely. Good to go, EXCEPT... it turns out the pins are just under 2.5mm. [cue Abe Simpson voice] Damn you, metric system! My original holes, drilled with a 3/32" drill, were fractionally too small, while my next size up -- 7/64" -- is fractionally too big. It's entirely possible that I would be fine with 2.78mm holes for a 2.5mm pin, but I'd prefer to be exact, so now I'm waiting on a set of metric drill bits before I can finish off the neck.

In the meantime, I wired everything up. This went very smoothly -- so smoothly, in fact, that I'm just waiting to see how I managed to secretly foul it up.  :eek: I marked the pot & switch positions on a bit of chip board, mounted everything, and very carefully followed the wiring diagrams. Once I got as much done as I could there, I mounted them into the actual cavity and did the last bits. Three-way toggle switch, two volume pots, one tone with a .22 orange drop capacitor. I'm installing active pickups, a first for me -- Fishman Fluence "Will Adler" signatures, which means a batter pack and a pretty nifty usb charging adaptor that mounts to the cavity cover, so I can charge the battery without removing it! The Fishman's also have multiple voicing/splitting options, I ended up wiring two push-pull pots -- one toggles both pups between two voicing, while the other does a coil split on the neck only. If you do both at the same time, I think they connect to a rogue satellite and drain your entire bank account, or something...

Anyway, it was a lot of wiring, but as near as I can tell with the multi-meter all the pathways are functioning as they should. With any luck, we'll find out next weekend!
 

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stratamania

Senior member
Messages
9,204
The Graphtec Ratios with the adapter plates seem to be more designed for aftermarket upgrades.

I've not used them so am not really sure for a new installation what the best approach would be. Possibly the Fender style 2 pin hole adapter you used may be the way to go for a 6 inline headstock but ideally a good jig is needed.

I have two of these so I can align one with the other against a straightedge. But one works fine.

https://www.stewmac.com/luthier-tools-and-supplies/tools-by-job/tools-for-tuner-installation/tuner-pin-drill-jig

I hope the wiring works as expected and the rest of the build goes well.
 
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