Finished Guitars

Gallery

This gallery contains 14 photos.

I guess I neglect to update every so often. My first three steel string guitars, and my 3rd, 4th and 5th total, are finished.  Took quite a while.  I used micro mesh to polish out the lacquer after it cured. … Continue reading

Building bridges

I finally finished the lacquering on three guitars.  Now they need to cure before I can wet sand them.  I’ve been doing some odds and ends while I’m waiting.  Just a little guitar stuff, like the bridges.

I roughed out the bridge blanks a couple weeks ago.  To slot for the saddle I decided to make a fixture that held them at an angle.  The router sits in the fixture with very little play.  The length of cut is set by the stops on the end.  To hold the bridge in place I made a couple wedges.  Yes thats right folks… dual wedge action!

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Then I measured the nut and 19th fret on each guitar and laid them out on paper (they were pretty close) to make sure my string spacing was ok.  Since I had three, I made a drilling template.  Of course I used plexiglass, which seems to be my favorite.  For precision, I like to scribe things, and plexi scribes really well.  I laid out a center line and scribed distance from the rear of the bridge to the pin centers.  I used a drafting divider to scribe pin centers.  I used these from both outside strings to make sure they matched.  Then I lightly punched the centers and drilled with a brad point bit.

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To align the template, putting the scribe lines down, I matched the template and bridge center lines (this is why I like see through plexi) and made the rear flush, then clamped each end and drilled.

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To shape the wings, I contemplated using a small 1” belt sander I have, but I figured by the time I rigged something up to keep the bridges square, I could be finished.  So I just did them with a rasp and scraper.  It was quiet, no dust flying, and enjoyable.  Also got one of those gunstock vises.  It was really helpful for these.

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I was actually surprised how close I got three of them doing it essentially by eye, but I did gang them together to scrape and sand them even closer.

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I don’t have a countersink for wood, but I sharpened up my metal countersink with a file, then countersunk all the bridge pin holes.

I fit the saddles in place and the ends were marked with a drafting french curve so the saddle looked decent transitioning into the curvature of the bridge wings.

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Then I shaped the ends on a small sanding drum chucked in my drill press.

I sanded the bridges down to 1500 grit.  No finish on the rosewood.  The rest of the saddle shaping and polishing will come later during set up.

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I love the white (and semi dusty) window sill for pictures.  Too bad I can’t photograph anything much bigger than the bridges in there.

Now I wait for the finish to cure for a few more days.  This coming weekend should be two weeks, so I think I should be able to start wet sanding.

 

Progressing… slowly.

After a few days of no real work in the shop, I was able to get a few things done over the past few days.

Fit up my third dovetail neck.  Paid close attention and used some quick gauges to make sure the angles were consistent.  Best of the three.  These will be final fit once the heels are carved.

neck dovetail 3

Routed the slots for the truss rods.  Made use of my binding fixture with a temporary fence.

improvised router table

Glued up some headstock veneer from scraps that came off the back material.

Veneer book matching

Trued up three rosewood fingerboards from the Martin wood stash.  Made a new 24.75” scale template for my home made fret slotting fixture.  Then proceeded to slot the boards.

home made slotting fixture

 

fretboards

Next step is tapering, sanding to radius and binding on the fretboards.  Then on to thicknessing the headstocks and laminating on front and back veneers.

This is the end… graft.

End graft

Its a bit different than most, but I wanted to connect the rosewood purfling lines on the front and back.   I used a strip in the center of the end graft to make the connection, rather than continuing the binding all the way around, as in a traditional binding scheme.  Used a razor saw, chisel and router plane to excavate the the end channel.  I’d have to imagine I was done before I could have devised a fixture to route it.  One of the reasons I love hand tools… the binding ledges are a different story.

The first OO is all bound.  Scraped down the bindings and purfling.  Still need to sand everything.  The scheme I had in mind was to mirror the rosette color scheme.  Pretty happy with how it came out.  Overall there were very few gaps.  The gaps on my first guitar(s) were bigger and virtually disappeared after a bit of work on the finish, to the point where I can barely see them (believe me, I know exactly there they are).

Binding and rosette

Binding and rosette

Back view

Back view

Front view

Front view

 

Working on the second flamed maple guitar.  I’ll probably do the same thing?  Sometimes I change things in process.  Not sure what I’ll do on the third yet, but I have some ideas.