Sunday, September 24, 2006


Wedgies and Chisels and Gramils

Lesson #1 about cutting the binding channel on your guitar:
Do not cut out the tail wedge until after you've cut the binding and purfling channels... Now that I've cut a wedge, I don't have the sides in place to act as a guide for cutting the binding. I'm still figuring out the best way to scribe a line, and chisel right up to it while keeping the edge of the channel sharp. So the wedge is quite a bit wider than originally intended. But I'm not afraid to post mistakes here, I'm still learning all this stuff.

On to the binding.

I'm using a tool called a gramil to scribe a line around the perimeter of the guitar to mark where I'll be cutting out for the binding and purfling around the edge. It has a little sharp blade and I can set it for the width of my binding. Most people do this with a router and a guide bearing, so this is sort of the antiquated way of doing it, but it's a skill I want to learn.

Here's a gramil, purchased from LMI.

And here I am scribing to mark the edge of the binding channel. I use a pulling motion as that seems to allow much better control than trying to push it through the wood. I start with a light cut and then go over it a few more times to deepen and define the mark.

And here's part of the upper bout. Up near the top where the neck will go on, I didn't make a deep enough mark, and I wasn't working with enough light, so I accidentally got a little tearout. Luckily, since this is my first attempt, I only cut the channel sized for the binding itself. The channel will actually be a little deeper along the side, and there will be a smaller stepped channel for the purfling on top, so it's okay if I don't get it perfect this go around.

Friday, September 22, 2006



Hey blogosphere, remember me?

I've got a new job now that should allow for a normal amount of free time, so I hope to be posting more often.

Here's a jig I threw together this evening. It's ugly but I think it's going to do the trick. It's a vise that I clamp onto the edge of my workbench, and it clamps a guitar body in place.

The edges that grip the guitar body are curved so that when the clamps are gently tightened, it only grips at the outer edge of the guitar body. I do need to add some insulation or something to cover the exposed steel pipe. I also need to rig up some sort of safety net so the guitar won't fall through and hit the floor if the clamps are accidentally loosened. I think a bungee cord strung between the two pipes will take care of that.

As you can see, it features the finest 2x4 construction and premium pipe clamps from Harbor Freight. I may decide to make a nicer one someday, but for now I just wanted to get it together so I can get to work.

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