A Blog Style Update from Rocketfire Guitars - Inside the Shop - The OFFICIAL BUILD THREAD!!!

Discussion in 'Builder's & Retailer's Forum' started by Nick Sorenson, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. Nick Sorenson

    Nick Sorenson Rocketfire Guitars

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    I have been so busy trying to get caught up with all of the tooling that I've let some things go (pickups, extra work, hobbies, a life... etc;)). Another thing I've dropped the ball on and have felt bad about is posting what's happening. In my ideal world, I'd be building at a normal pace, machines would never break, checks would mysteriously appear in the mail, I'd be the next Joe Satriani, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Larry Carlton without ever practicing, my grass would cut itself... you get the point:D

    Anyways, back to the real world. I've been thinking about posting picture style updates for a while. This way if you have an order, there's a good chance you'll see your instrument in the works. Of course I'm not going to be able to capture every second of every single guitars making but I'm going to try to snap a few here and there just to keep things up to date. Might as well make it a blog style format to make it a little easier to read and real world. This will not be professional pictures edited and ready for a magazine, they'll be life as it happens.

    Well enough typing. Here we go!

    Here's February at RFG:





    A few bodies moving from Blank to finished product:

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    Here's one from my stash of nice one piece ultra light swamp Ash blanks. Hope you enjoy Andrzej, Sam, Rob and the band!


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    Same one moving through the process. Should have the last clear coat sprayed tomorrow (Doing Saturday duty!):

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    This Olympic White M1926 will be shipping next week! Sooooo close to being ready!


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    Another great piece of Swamp Ash ready for final sanding and inspection. I'm a HUGE Alder fan but I've been building a lot of Swamp Ash guitars this month. Everything comes in waves. Just sprayed the color coat today (sorry no pics of that yet:(). You're getting a hand picked piece Don! These boards measured around 17" wide! That's a HUGE tree since the center sapwood is cut out and wasted.

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    A nice LPB M-1926 fresh to Josh at Distinctive Guitar!


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    Some Sonic goodness also on to Josh at Distinctive:

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    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
  2. lunchbox

    lunchbox Member

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    I see something familiar... Can't wait to see it on my doorstep!
     
  3. kirkham13

    kirkham13 Member

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    Nice pics, nice kids, I like the blue ones~
     
  4. getkismet

    getkismet Member

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    Thanks for the updates! Great idea with the blog, even if there aren't any pics of my beauty up there yet! :)
     
  5. Joe Perry

    Joe Perry Member

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    Great Looking pics Nick!

    What is typically the neck thickness at the first fret on the chunky '59 style like the LPB one that Josh/Brockburst has for sale?

    Thanks,

    Joe
     
  6. codyj84

    codyj84 Member

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    The flame on that neck is RIDICULOUS!!!!! Wowza!! And sheesh, those kids are growin up FAST!
     
  7. brockburst

    brockburst Member

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    Location:
    In a Pink Lined Lifton...
    Some Pics of the Flamiest Neck I have ever seen....

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    And some gorgeous Sonic Blue and Flame too! This one has a really cool figured piece of Brazilian...

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  8. Nick Sorenson

    Nick Sorenson Rocketfire Guitars

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    Started off today having to install a new blade on the small bandsaw I cut blanks out with (broke the old one last night). This is always a great time to tune things up. Spent a half hour with this old beast today and it's cutting beautifully as needed to cut up a batch of maple for storage (I store the neck maple indoors for months at a time to let the wood get used to indoor humidity).

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    Ok we have a bandsaw again! Time to cut blanks. Template in place and ready to mark out the best in each board:
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    I really liked this board. Lots of randomness to the grain.
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    This one is just about finished with it's curing cycle it's been wet sanded and ready to buff. I like to give the Nitrocellulose enough time to cure before buffing or I end up having to do it twice. Time consuming but worth it.
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    A batch of pickup bobbins freshly assembled and ready to wind. No these don't come this way. Every magnet is individually pressed into the upper and lower flatwork. Tedious and time consuming work but worth the results:
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    And a few that are wound and ready for leads:
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    Last edited: Sep 6, 2014
  9. floatingjimi

    floatingjimi Member

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    Austin, Tx - Redington Shores, FL - Ross on Wye, U
    Great Pics Nick - looking forward to getting over soon
     
  10. Nick Sorenson

    Nick Sorenson Rocketfire Guitars

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    Some rough slow kiln dried (on site) Maple that I brought into the shop over the weekend. This will be planed, divided up, and stored for several months before cutting it into neck blanks. This is what it looks like when I get it from the mill:
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    Several months later as the stock rotates, here's what it looks like planed and ready to be bandsawed into blanks (These came into the shop rough like the above picture around September or so of last year) and here's what they look like now after being blanked out:
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    The rest of the batch freshly truss rod slotted and bandsawed to rough shape. These will get Rosewood fingerboards shortly.
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    That's all for tonight!
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  11. psyandy

    psyandy Member

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    Such a great set of pics!!! It's like Santa's workshop for guitarists!!! Are you the only elf?

    Great work Nick. Can't wait to see my build in the not too distant future :)

    Andy
     
  12. getkismet

    getkismet Member

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    Wow! Cool seeing the curtain pulled back a little. Thanks for inside look and please keep em' coming if you can! :)
     
  13. Nick Sorenson

    Nick Sorenson Rocketfire Guitars

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    Thanks! I agree. If I owned a guitar store it'd be called "the blue guitar";) Blue's a great guitar color. Sonic Blue, Daphne, LPB, IBM... mmmmm! Olympic white actually has a hint of blue in it so I guess we can add that to the list too.

    Hey Joe, Thanks for the compliments! As far as the thicknesses, Josh's guitars are .845" at the 3rd and .870" at the 12th. I usually measure at the 3rd because at that point the back of headstock to neck back profile transition has mellowed out.

    Thanks Cody! That thing was really something! As I was wet sanding that neck I was thinking the same thing you said, too bad I can't clone this thing.

    I've had one to two employees for years. I decided this year, I'm going to slow down and really focus on just a few guitars at a time and without having to manage employees. I think it was a good move so far. I enjoyed the company of employees but it was just too hard to be the manager and be the production too if that makes sense. I'd rather build a few great guitars that I know are my best than work on quantity or becoming the next 'big 2 or big 3' guitar company. I'm most comfortable building for a small select crowd; building with heart and soul.

    You should be seeing something that will peak your interest in a few days!

    Here are a few more pictures of the necks, now with fingerboards and starting to take shape. Every guitar I build goes through all of these steps. There's no gumball machine in my shop that I can put a quarter in and turn the crank and out comes a neck. It's about a 30 step process and very meticulous to get it done right. But the results are SO as in SOOOOOOOOO worth it! The tone is in the neck!

    Fingerboards glued up and ready:
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    Right after being cut by my CNC:
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    WHOOPS!!
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    Frustrating when things don't go perfectly, but sometimes with wood there are surprises. 1 neck out of 8 died... bummer but that's not terribly bad. I'll keep running this one through the process but it won't be used as a production guitar unfortunately.


    This headstock has grain that really appeals to me. Had to take a picture of it;)
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    That's all for tonight! I'll be in the spray booth most of tomorrow. Lots of finishing work to do.

     
  14. good soil digital

    good soil digital Member

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    can't wait to see a black strat w/ a brazilian board pop up in one of these pics soon!

    =)
     
  15. Nick Sorenson

    Nick Sorenson Rocketfire Guitars

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    It's in the works right now Mr. Chad! Should have a spray booth shot update in a bit. After that comes the customer dreaded 3-4 weeks of curing (i.e. sitting untouched for several weeks before I can buff). I wish I had a way to miraculously cure lacquer without waiting time... But it's worth it or I wouldn't use the stuff and I have a great lacquer formula! I've been thrilled with it since I found it. It's nice and hard for a slick never sticky neck back. Great stuff!

    Anyways time for the continuation of the neck batch and some shots of buffed and ready to assemble guitars (more of those to come shortly).

    Some of the necks from that last batch of 8 with the frets slotted. These have already been fretted by now. But had this handy.

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    This one should look very familiar to you Spencer! Sorry it's taken a while. I'm working long days and catching up. Been a great feeling to have the CNC programming done. Such a good feeling. It's such a good feeling... "It's such a good feeling to know you're alive. It's such a happy feeling: You're growing inside. And when you wake up ready to say, I think I'll make a snappy...."

    Ok sorry! Back to pictures. I'm easily side tracked:
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    And a nice flamed neck:
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    I had a picture of a body that I buffed through on. I was going to post that... this is a blog post, it's supposed to be real life as it happens. But hey... couldn't bring myself to post all the things that go wrong. Sorry! The idea is to make it look easy right!

     
  16. getkismet

    getkismet Member

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    More great pics Nick! Wish this blog would have been around 6 months ago. It makes the waiting much easier!! :) Out of curiosity, I'm getting a madagascar rosewood neck, and I see references to brazilian rosewood necks. Do you have both in the pics above or it mainly regular rosewood? Just curious to see the difference. Thanks!
     
  17. kirkham13

    kirkham13 Member

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    Cool shop. Way to go... nice to see the mistakes... the rosewood boards look sweet.
     
  18. serviviente7

    serviviente7 Supporting Member

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    quality and excellent craftsmanship anywhere you look....very impressive...congrats!
     
  19. Nick Sorenson

    Nick Sorenson Rocketfire Guitars

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    A few more pics:

    This one was a great idea someone here had in combining SRV's classic color scheme in a single cut format. I love it! 7 great sounds in this one. The middle pickup still sounds nice and straty and great quack in 2 and 4. Push/Pull pot for the volume to bring in the neck when on the bridge pickup and vise versa. Pretty cool rig Spencer.

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    Just wrapped this one up tonight:
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    and a nice black M1926 in the booth just about ready for to go into the curing room. Hope you like Mr. Chadadiah!
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    This isn't everything in the works right now but just what I happened to snap today as I walked through. Thanks for stopping by!

    Nick

    Hoping to have this one assembled shortly! (buffed through and had to backtrack a ways) but making steady progress! This is one of the pretty 'Distinctive Guitars' Flame necks.
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  20. good soil digital

    good soil digital Member

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    Looks great Nick! Love the updates :)
     

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