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 →
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Made a few quick tools while working on my shop setup. Kind of thinking I may start to build a guitar soon, so I made some things I might or might not need. Hand held riving froe from mild steel … Continue reading →
This weeks bounty… part 2, the rest of the haul. This is the rest of the Martin Guitar wood, plus whatever else was there. Lots of rosewood. May be some guitar size, but a lot of it is smaller. There … Continue reading →
Well, here is my guitar wood bounty… Part 1. Old Martin Guitar wood from a local shop clean out. This is most of the guitar size wood I picked up. 34 Adirondack spruce tops. A fair amount of mahogany, some … Continue reading →
All of a sudden I seem to have a wood storage issue. My new shop area is just being set up.
Last week I regretted not buying some old Martin Guitar wood that I stumbled upon at a workshop clean out. A couple emails over the week and today I got everything except a couple neatly stacked bundles of rosewood which went to a Ukelele maker. I’ll find out who got that shortly.
I just semi split it up. If its all decent, and I think most is, there is enough adirondack spruce for 15-17 full guitar tops. Probably enough mahogany for 5 to 10 backs, maybe some sides. Plenty of rosewood, maybe some guitar size. I’d be set if I wanted to try to make ukeleles or mandolins. Plus a ton of small pieces of rosewood, a bunch of cherry, a bit of curly koa and some random oak.
I think this was a score. I paid a few bucks each for the spruce and mahogany and rounded up to take everything else. Probably helped that the shelf was a complete mess and it was hard to tell what was there. Total cost for all of it would equal about 4 to 5 mid grade book matched spruce tops at current retail prices.
How do things like this fall in my lap? Sometimes I just think about something and it happens. Like the anvil I was given after I thought about trying out blacksmithing for a few months.
All the wood is sitting in the shop acclimating, I was going sticker and weight the guitar size stuff in a built in cabinet. No Idea where I’m going to put the rest, but I have some thoughts. Some of it is warped from poor storage, but I think may be able to be flattened. Any suggestions welcome.
Reproduced a couple rosewood pickup spacers for a friend who is restoring an old Harmony guitar. He stripped and refinished the guitar, complete with sunburst finish, and did a bang up job. Wish I had that kind of patience for … Continue reading →