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Old 08-19-2012, 06:12 AM
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Kitchen Guitars Kitchen Guitars is offline
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Default So the Black Knight begins...... McKnight Build thread

Sorry this post took a few weeks to get at it. I started a new job just as the McKnights started my new guitar. I have been working long hours getting up to speed and haven't had much down time.
To make a short story long;
I had a truly wonderful McKnight OMD I bought at the first McJam gathering a few years ago.

A year later I hurt my shoulder, the small deep body aggravated the wound.I easily found a new owner that could appreciate her amazing sound and playability and I used the funds as a deposit on a new build. No favors for their favorite photographer friend, the wait was 3 years. From what I understand its now a closed list for now.
I always loved the look of Striped Oak. I have it on my Grandmothers sewing chair that I play guitar on a lot. Striped Oak is all over our 150 year old house. I saw the wood used on a Martin Arts and Crafts II and that started me thinkin'.
Tim started the search immediately and after a few months he found the perfect set of Tiger Striped White Oak. The wood has been resting in the McValt for a few years.
I also really like the look of gloss piano black faced guitars. I read of a famous musician going to Collings for a custom Black finished guitar. The guy picking the wood said "GREAT! we can go by sound, not by appearance! I shared the story with Tim while visiting. He got on his boy grin and scurried off. He came back with a Carpathian top he had for years that was just waiting for its time. The top has 2 unsightly lines, the tap tone was amazing. Vibrating undertones that go on forever. Then the wait........................
I got the call from Mary. "John, its time". So, last month I drove the 3.5 hour trip to the McKnight's. Tim pulled out every thing from a Mini to a Jumbo. Short Scale, fan frets, cutaways and not. We spent a couple hours "fitting me". I do like the feel and sound of a good ol' Dred. Over the years my shoulder has healed (No more antique Military rifle shoot competitions for me!). But, I am hitting 50 so I am sure as time goes on I will be revisited by all my old wounds! So, we kept the aging body in mind.
The term "Black Knight" came from a few places. Monty Python and the Holy Grail, old Bally Pinball Machine art I rescued from a demolition a friend was doing on building - The pinball glass has been an art "Stained Glass" window in my office for years, to just a fun word play on the first Black McKnight guitar.
We ended up with Tim's SDG model - "Soli Deo Gloria" - Latin for Glory to God alone. Its roughly a Grand Auditorium size, 24.9 short scale. A Manzer wedge (Tim when you give Linda her "commission" please mention this one is for the guy that taught her a Guitar Photography class at A.S.I.A!).
Black Ebony Fretboard, black bridge, coffee stained bone pins and nut and a subtle Sunburst on the back, sides and neck. If you haven't seen one of Tims Sunbursts, prepare to fall in love. Here is a build for some other lucky person;

If I have missed anything, Tim, Mary.... feel free to chime in!
Here are some progress photo's Mary has been sending me. I will try to post them for all to see as I get them;

cleaning up the back

the back coming together

One serious Go Bar deck!

Tim moving at lightning speed


Tim "laminates" the sides for strength.

The colorful placement of Kerfing

The secret to the McKnight sound. A 4" tall person at a computer cranks out the notes as you play them.

Last edited by Kitchen Guitars; 08-19-2012 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 08-19-2012, 06:19 AM
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Default part 2 of post


The Rosette is kinda a castle theme.


I requested a bound soundport. Tim shared he dislikes binding the ports, but wants to keep the customer happy

I saw this photo and involuntarily made the OOOh Ahhh noise one makes while watching fireworks! lol


CNC has revolutionized custom builds! Tim I will Need proper CITES paperwork stating that is not a real sword.

my top getting a sound check by vibration

The Black Knight is due for completion around Dec/Jan I will keep you all posted.
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Old 08-19-2012, 06:36 AM
Dru Edwards Dru Edwards is offline
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Some amazing pics. I like the "Black Knight" name of the guitar. I'm going to ask what is probably something so obvious but I've never heard the term "coffee stained bone pins and nut". Is it simply soaking the bone pins/nut in a cup of coffee?
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Old 08-19-2012, 07:04 AM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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That looks really nice, John. Do you have a closeup of the installed rosette? I can't wait to see how that headstock inlay turns out too.
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Old 08-19-2012, 07:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dru Edwards View Post
Some amazing pics. I like the "Black Knight" name of the guitar. I'm going to ask what is probably something so obvious but I've never heard the term "coffee stained bone pins and nut". Is it simply soaking the bone pins/nut in a cup of coffee?
Hey Dru,
We have used both coffee and tea to stain bone and I actually prefer to use tea. The process is quite simple; boil a cup of water, add two el-cheapo [black] tea bags of your choice (sorry no exotic "monkey picked oolong green tea will be used here) and add the bone pins, nut and saddle to the cup and allow them to steep until the mixture is cool. The bone will absorb the tannins from the tea and will come out a wonderful golden hue. The bone will swell a bit so we have to allow them to dry for a few days to return to their normal size.
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Old 08-19-2012, 07:36 AM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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What no ginseng or chamomile? They add mojo doncha know?
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Old 08-19-2012, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Tim McKnight View Post
Hey Dru,
We have used both coffee and tea to stain bone and I actually prefer to use tea. The process is quite simple; boil a cup of water, add two el-cheapo [black] tea bags of your choice (sorry no exotic "monkey picked oolong green tea will be used here) and add the bone pins, nut and saddle to the cup and allow them to steep until the mixture is cool. The bone will absorb the tannins from the tea and will come out a wonderful golden hue. The bone will swell a bit so we have to allow them to dry for a few days to return to their normal size.
Lol I was gonna say "More likely tea" for the caffeinated bovine stilts
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Old 08-19-2012, 07:53 AM
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Congrats! I love the look of Oak guitars. The McKnights are wonderful folks building wonderful guitars. I look forward to watching your thread!

Kindly,
Danny
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Old 08-19-2012, 08:04 AM
Dru Edwards Dru Edwards is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim McKnight View Post
Hey Dru,
We have used both coffee and tea to stain bone and I actually prefer to use tea. The process is quite simple; boil a cup of water, add two el-cheapo [black] tea bags of your choice (sorry no exotic "monkey picked oolong green tea will be used here) and add the bone pins, nut and saddle to the cup and allow them to steep until the mixture is cool. The bone will absorb the tannins from the tea and will come out a wonderful golden hue. The bone will swell a bit so we have to allow them to dry for a few days to return to their normal size.
Thanks Tim - makes a lot of sense. If you're building a soft sounding guitar do you use decaf? All jokes aside, I can't wait to see more build pics and the completed Guitar!
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Old 08-19-2012, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Kitchen Guitars View Post

The secret to the McKnight sound. A 4" tall person at a computer cranks out the notes as you play them.
Now if Mary were only 4 inches tall she'd have been able to crawl out that car window from the ditch a lot easier!!

Very cool idea/guitar/pictures.....etc,etc.....
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Old 08-19-2012, 08:42 AM
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Hey, I recognize that 4" tall lady behind that guitar form! She needs to lose a few ounces.

Building this guitar with John will be fun. I wanted a sword involved. The one I designed was in a different location and was a bit more bold, but this subtle look is going to be great. The sword will command attention as it will look as though it is in the sleeve of the fretboard.

Good eye, John.
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Old 08-19-2012, 11:01 AM
mb propsom mb propsom is offline
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Tim, what adhesive are you using to fab your double sides? I'm currently using West Systems, but would'nt mind an alternative.
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Old 08-19-2012, 12:02 PM
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Wow sludge in the rosette, magic dust, on the sound board and swords..... Its hard to go wrong with White Oak, I'm almost finished with my first in twenty five years a White Oak "O"
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Old 08-19-2012, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by mb propsom View Post
Tim, what adhesive are you using to fab your double sides? I'm currently using West Systems, but would'nt mind an alternative.
Hey Michael,
For the last ~8 years I have used TAP Super Hard epoxy resin which has worked really well except for one draw back. In tends to permeate both outer and inner sides during the clamping step. This caused a lot of extra work for me because I would have to sand the excess epoxy off of the inner and outer surfaces of the side sets. About the last 3 dozen guitars I have sealed the outer sides, with lacquer sanding sealer or shellac prior to clamp up and this prevented most but not all permeation. I still had to sand the sealer off the exterior surfaces though.

Therefore, I have been on the hunt for a new adhesive that would eliminate the post clamp up sanding step. Tom Doerr turned me on to a new adhesive that does just that. Its called Unibond 800 which is a 2 part urea formaldehyde resin. I also add their "Blocker" additive to prevent excessive permeation. I had done some sample testing with good results but John's guitar is the first guitar that I have official used it on. I have not tested the hardness of the adhesive but it dries VERY hard. Its similar to some exterior resorcinol adhesives that i have used.
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Old 08-19-2012, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clinchriver View Post
Wow sludge in the rosette, magic dust, on the sound board and swords..... Its hard to go wrong with White Oak, I'm almost finished with my first in twenty five years a White Oak "O"
Almost sounds like a guitar being made for Merlin or Gandalf! I have no doubt the finished instrument will be magical.
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