Sunday, December 31, 2006



I got my new Stewmac Fret Scale Rules in the mail yesterday so I cut the slots on a couple fretboards with my new fret slotting jig. I just tape the scale to the back of the fret board, and then I align it with the reference line on the jig. I use magnifying reading glasses so I can get everything lined up accurately. The second photo is the view from above when I'm aligning everything before I make the cut.

The lighter colored one is East Indian Rosewood, and it'll go on the rosewood parlor guitar (the "build off" guitar). The darker one is ebony and it will go on the cocobolo parlor.

Friday, December 29, 2006


Getting Jiggy With It

I apologize for the title. I've been making jigs tonight.

This first one is the fret slotting jig for my table saw. It has a UHMW track on the bottom of it that rides in the miter slot on the table saw to keep everything aligned properly with the blade. I've got Fret Scale Rules on the way from Stewart-McDonald so I'll know where to locate the slots. I tested on a piece of plywood. I'll post a more detailed description of it when I do an actual fretboard.

This other one is for routing out the tail of the guitar for the end graft, or tail wedge. The guitar shown in the pic already has the end graft installed, but I'll be removing it and redoing it because I wasn't very satisfied with the job I did on it. I'll use a router or laminate trimmer with a pattern guide to rout out the channel for the wedge. I haven't actually put this one to use yet, I'll post a more detailed description of the process later on. Right now I'm just using odds-and-ends wingnuts and so forth as the hardware store was out of the knobs I wanted to use.

Friday, December 01, 2006


Buildoff - In a bind

On to the koa binding. I've already prebent it to shape in my side bender. There will also be a piece of black/white/black purfling along the side below the binding.

Here it is taped in place dry. There's no glue yet, I'm just making sure everything fits.

I leave the binding too long so I can trim the ends exactly where I need them to be.

With it taped in place, I use a small Exacto saw and a file to get the end of the binding to line up with the centerline of the back.

So here it is with the binding and purfling all sized up.

Now it's time to get ready for glue. I remove the tape from the neck end to just past the waist.

So I have the binding glued in from the waist to the neck end. I use an old bicycle innertube to apply pressure at the waist, as that's the most likely place for a gap between the purfling and binding. Then I remove the tape from the waist to the tail end so I can get that end glued in place.

And here it is all glued up and taped in place. Next time I'll install the binding on the other side.


Buildoff Channel Surfing

So I temporarily gave up on cutting the binding channels by hand, so I bought a jig from Luthiertool. It's a handheld jig that uses a laminate trimmer/router. I can't fully recommend it yet, I'm still getting used to it. It uses two bearings to register against the side to keep the tool right side up. If it accidentally tips inward, it cuts the channel too deep and can make a divot. I had to add more purfling trim and cut a deeper channel because this happened a few times.

So here's the tool and the channel around the edge that I just cut.

And here's another view after I'm done.

You can see it's sort of a "stair step" channel, the black & white purfling trim will go on the upper inside step, and the koa binding will go on the bottom outer step.

I haven't been very good about taking pics lately. I had a number of screwups trying to install the purfling around the back edge of the guitar. Twice I glued the purfling in and then routed it off to redo it.

So here it is with purfling installed on that inside step of the channel.


Buildoff Tail Wedge

So I finally finished up the tail wedge. It ended up quite a bit wider than I originally intended, because I kept screwing up the edge. I may build a router jig to do this in the future, but using a chisel is pretty fun.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?