Sunday, March 21, 2010


Snow Day - Part 2

These pictures are pretty self-explanatory. I'm basically just working the neck shaft down to size with a little finger plane, occasionally going over it with a sanding block to make sure I'm maintaining a straight line. As I get closer, I start blending in the heel and nut areas with a rasp.

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Snow day - Part 1

So after getting the splice glued onto the side, I realigned the fingerboard and clamped it up again, this time much more slowly and methodically so the clamps didn't pull the fingerboard sideways.

And here it is out of the clamps a few hours later. This time I used 2 small finishing nails as alignment pins, drilled through fret slots.

And again to the band saw to trim down the splice close to the fingerboard with this little fence I made for the band saw.

And here it is, ready for carving.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010


Mistake #872

I slept well last night, pleased with the progress I'd made in getting the fingerboard prepped and attached to the neck. I went up to the shop this morning to admire my handiwork, only to discover that the fingerboard had shifted slightly and was now slightly overhanging one side.This is a problem, because if I try to sand the fingerboard down to the neck, the maple fingerboard binding will look really uneven.

So I grabbed an old iron that I keep around for such occasions, and used it to heat up the fingerboard and loosen up the epoxy and separated the fingerboard from the neck. Here's the mess the epoxy leaves behind.

During the neck removal the edge of the neck got beat up a little bit, and so there were little chipped out areas underneath where the fingerboard will go. I could try filling that space with superglue and sawdust, but it would look real sloppy and it's in a real visible spot.

I had two options:
A.) Make a new, narrower fingerboard. This one already has a 1-7/8" nut width, which is pretty wide. I could make a new one with 1-3/4" width and that would give me enough clearance that the chipped area would get removed.
B.) Sand the side down flat and splice in a piece of mahogany. Luckily, I kept the neck cutoffs so I had the exact piece to match that side of the neck.

I chose option B. The thing is, if this fails, I can go back and do option A.

So, I planed down the side flat until the chipped out areas were gone.

And here it is with the splice clamped on. Hopefully this will make a nearly invisible glue joint.

Lessons learned in all this:
1. Don't trim the neck so close to final shape, leave a little extra for situations like this.
2. Apply clamp pressure more gradually and evenly across all the clamps, and check often to make sure everything's still aligned.
3. Find better alignment pins.
4. Don't get hasty when you're separating glue seams because you can damage the wood and make more repairs for yourself.

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Friday, March 19, 2010


Dot dot dot

Here's my little jig for drilling holes for the side dot fret markers on the fingerboard. This makes it so the dots will be lined up correctly.

These pearl dots are 3/32" in diameter, and are superglued into place. If I could go back and do it over I would use black plastic dots so it would contrast better against the light maple binding. I'm pretty sure it'll look better under a finish.

After the dots were dry, I epoxied the fingerboard to the neck. Then I'll be able to finish shaping the neck.

I've become the world's laziest blogger now that I've figured out that I can upload from Picasa to Blogger, but I haven't quite figured out the whole formatting thing to get the text and photos arranged in a pleasing way. Which is fine, since I use one of the Blogspot templates from 1989.
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I shaved my back.

Long term followers of my blog may remember the Granadillo guitar I was working on, this one actually made it the closest to being finished. I had it nearly to completion but a mistake on the neck stopped me in my tracks.

I set it aside and the following winter it got pretty dry in my house, which makes wood shrink. The center seam started to split and then a part in the upper bout started to crack. I learned an expensive lesson that I can't put the box together when the humidity is really high (say, in the hottest week of August, which is when I did this one). Anyway, I could try to humidify the guitar and glue the cracks, but the truth is it would always have humidity problems. So I routed off the bindings and removed the top and back from the sides. The top is toast, but I can salvage the back. But I have to take the old braces off and redo it at a lower humidity so it can handle the drier times of a year a bit better.

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Saturday, March 13, 2010


This thing I'm building is shaped like a guitar.

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Friday, February 26, 2010


Special K - part 3

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Special K - part 2

Last night I glued in the K inlay with a mix of ebony dust and epoxy. Sanded it flat to 220-grit this afternoon, and got out the headstock slot routing jig from luthiertool to route the slots and drill the holes in the side for tuners.

I'm pretty happy with how the inlay turned out. There is definite room for improvement (smoother edges on the pearl, better routing technique so less filler is required, placement of K would look better a little to the left and angled back a bit), but I didn't just completely botch it and it will be usable so I feel like it's a success.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Special K - part 1

Here's a bit of what I've been working on this week. This will be my first attempt at inlay. My buddy is a graphic designer and was teaching a class at the local university and had a student design a logo for me as part of a project. I'm not sure if I really want to use it as a logo, but figured it gives me something to work with for my first inlay attempt. The logo was my whole last name, I dropped it into Autocad and just traced the K. I had to alter some aspects of it to make it easier to cut without breaking. I'll post more pics later of my set-up for cutting the shell.

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