Wednesday, December 20, 2006

righty, here we go again!!! the mando is finished. truss rod cover made & attached and it's now waiting for the customer to paypal me the dosh. Rediculously cheap as there is a flaw on one of the bends. I just want my costs back out of it. I'm happy, he's happy, we're all happy!!!

I got a LOAD done on the bouzouki this week. neck carved, a HEAP of sanding then a tryout of my new spray gun. Using a hook that's meant to hold a paint can onto a ladder, I hang the instrument by a tuner hole. then spray using water based varnish. to avoid drips I'm doing half coats. this is 4 coats on and after a night drying I'll sand it smooth tomorrow then get a few more coats on & let it cure ovr the christmas break.

I've started another acoustic for a pal. back & sides are Granadillo, a mexican hardwood. Looks like a grainy mahogany and smells WONDERFUL as it's sanded!!! top is cedar and for a first I'm gonna do a segmented rosette. I cut the donut with the fly cutter as usual then marked it at 30 degrees and cut it up into bitesize pieces (being careful to keep them in order!!!)

then glued them in with a maple purfling strip to separate the segments and round the whole thing inside & outside. I the put a sheet of polythene over the top and piled a stack of wood to hold it tight to let the glue dry.

More pix when I get the chance.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

so here's the bouzouki with the mahogany bindings. I'm really looking forward to this one!!!
OK, so what have I been up to?

well, I'm still waiting for the bits & pieces to arrive from Stewmac (it is the busy time for the postal folks so I suppose I can't get too grumpy!!

the doubleneck languishes without the 6 string neck strung. I need the tuners!!!!

I carried on a bit with the cutaway mando, and it is pretty much done. Danish oil again, and all that is needed is the truss rod cover.

I've rigged a hot pipe bender to use on the new wood I got yesterday. Just a lump of Aluminium pipe with a bung in one end and a heat gun.

and here's the wood it's gonna be used on. left is granadillo, a mexican wood that looks quite like teak, and right is leopardwood whick looks just amazing!!!

the granadillo is earmarked for a minijumbo for a friend who wants a guitar for his wife. The Leopard wood has no plans so far.........

The Les Paul Build is stalled until I get the Stewmac bits and I bent the sides for a mandonaught in maple after trying the wallpaper stripper method of bending the sides for a guitar and wrecking them completely (hence the hot pipe!!) there's also a Guitar shaped bouzouki in walnut/cedar awaiting the stewmac parcel!!!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Ok, here we go with the doubleneck.

today I put on 2/3 of the strings!!

the tuners (gotohs) went on without any drama and I strung up the 12 string neck.

Intonation is fine and action needs to slip down a whisker, but as I have to pull it all apart to get the pick-up in there, this isn't an issue.

One concern we had from the start was
small soundhole means small volume, right? nope, its DEAFENING!!!! One of my collegues who is a semi pro musician came into my workshop as I was playing around with it and commented on how loud it was.

I'm leaving it to ensure that the top doesn't pull off, but I'm guardedly hopeful that it wont!!

Once it's settled I'll dismantle everything and glue the neck as ther is a little movement at the heel.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Ok, so whats on offer at the minute.........

the doubleneck has been sanded down again to remove the stain that went disasterously wrong on the top. here's a pic after 4 coats of Danish Oil and it's looking pretty good.

To be honest the stain escapade has soured me agaonst this, which is a shame as it has the potential to be a great instrument. Hopefully I'll get the chance to get at it this week and get the frets polished and the strings on, but it'll need a few more coats of oil first.

I've started a Les Paul build for an 18th Birthday pressie. all black & chrome is the remit, so the choice of body wood isn't as vital as it would be itf we were going to see it. Walnut back & Mahogany top. After profiling the top I decided that it was too heavy so I've taken nearly a cm off the thickness and I'm halfway through reprofiling.

The neck is a 3 piece mahogany sandwich with just a thin stripe of Sycamore up the middle...

And for myself this time, a guitar shaped bouzouki. Walnut back & sides, one piece mahogany neck (though it will need extensions for the headstock) and WR Cedar top. Neck will be bolt on like cumpiano's revised design. I have a maple fingerboard in the post, but I may save that for something else as I think that Rosewood may fit better. I'll close up the box and see when it arrives.........

Monday, November 20, 2006

And here we are with strings on.

A wee reminder of whats what.
Bearclaw Sitka Spruce top, Oak back & sides, Mahogany neck, Maple fingerboard, walnut bindings, bridge, tail wedge & linings.
I'm really pleased with it, already sounding nice with the ultralight strings (it is for a 7 year old remember......)

work still in progress?

Well, the doubleneck is in the danish ioling stage, there's the cutaway mando which needs the bindings scraped then it'll be ready for oiling and I've started planning the next two, a Les Paul for a friends son's 18th and a Cedar topped Bouzouki for me.

Monday, November 13, 2006

OK, fretting.......arch the frets a little. LMI supply the fretwire on a roll so it's prebent. I bend mine by putting the end in a hole in a block of wood and bending it!! press it home. Some like to hammer, I like using the drill press with a flat headed bolt in there. snip the edges as near flush with the side of the fingerboard as you can get.bung 'em in, snip 'em off later...hammering them in leaves a load of dents on the tops of the frets. they need filed anyway, but I get fewer problems this way.

OK, confession time.

The neck that you've been watching come to life is now in the bin.

I shaved the back of the neck a little and broke through into the truss rod cavity.

Oak isn't pleasant to carve, so it's back to mahogany.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

make a neck (pt 2)

After marking out the rough neck profile, cut it with the band saw.

Then assemble the bits so far. trussrod in the slot, fingerboard on top, LINED UP WITH THE ORIGINAL NUT MEASUREMENT!!!! this is important!!

and clamp with as many clamps as you can fit onto the thing. All this was done during my lunch break, so this ISN'T the time consuming bit.

let the glue dry. (THIS is the time consuming bit!!)

you'll be left with some wedges, and other various offcuts. Your mum will appreciate a nice door wedge, or oak is great if you cut it into 1/2" blocks and smoke fish over them........... Once cut up an ex-Bushmills whiskey barrel for smoking fish over. %0 years with Sherry maturing in it then another 50 with the best whiskey in the world all over fine Limousan oak. can you even start to IMAGINE how good that smoked fish was?

OK, clamps off and we have something which starts to look like it might some day be a neck.......

Some more abuse with the band saw and...........


OK, my camera ran out of batteries at this point so I don't have a pic of the ectra block of wood clamped onto the bottom of the heel to give the extra depth needed.

other build news.........

the doubleneck is into the finishing stage. a coat of Danish oil on the back & sides shows up glue splodges that still need sanded out. the Bridges are roughed out but not slotted or drilled yet.

the cutaway mando has the neck on, but no frets yet.

okey dokey, someone asked me to detail the making of a neck to see if it was a job that he'd be able to take on......

there are 11 pics in this first section, so I'll prolly do it in two entries today and then post the rest when there's more to show.

this neck is for a kids guitar. It'll be shorter scale and narrower than a standard neck.

OK, start with a lump of wood.

this is oak to match the back & sides. I've cut 3 frets off the nut end to shorten the scale. then I do a load of measuring and calculating to get the length needed to place the nut the right length from the bridgeplate in the guitar body (seen above the neck block in this pic.

add a little for the tenon into the neck block, and then cut the slot for the truss rod. You COULD do this with a plough plane. A router with a fence is the way MOST folk do it, but as I have access to a vertical mill I shoot it thorugh that & it's done in 3 minutes.

then I cut the tenon which will meet with the mortice cut into the neck block in the guitar. this can be dovetailed, fitted with a dowel nut or just glued in. Les Pauls are glued. That generally does for me too.....

Next the face angle cut to give a sloping headstock.
and the neck profile can be drawn on to bandsaw this.

Monday, October 23, 2006

all righty.....

the oak mini Jumbo is on hold til the postman brings the rest of the bits from Stewmac.

the doubleneck's frets are polished and I've cut two nuts. there is a LOAD of sanding to do now before putting on the bridges and finishing.

the latest version of the mandonaught is closed and has the binding step cut.

as you can see from the end shot there is more arch on this one than previous attempts. and there is indeed a cutaway as threatened!!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Progress on the doubleneck.

the necks are on, though still need a little sanding, the fret markers are done & the frets are on but need tidied. holes for tuners drilled. Hopefully tomorrow I can spend time sanding & sorting.

while I was waiting for glue to dry I started a mando.

you just cant help yourself can you?

same as last mandonaught, but I'll maybe try a cutaway this time.......

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Well whattaya Know?

Oak bends too!!

No Idea on the tonal implications of this, but I have some oak and well, you use what you got, right? As usual, I have no facility to bandsaw into broad boards so I'm on my usual width maximum of 4", which means a 4 piece back. Never a problem before, so hopefully not one now either!! I'm also trying epoxy for the back joins rather than the usual white PVA on the advice of an online chum...... we'll see, but the downside is it sticks to the paper.....

I have a collegue in work who would like a guitar for her son. he's only six or seven, so I'm looking at a small jumbo shape with a cutaway and a short scale. I'm going to cut off a fingerboard at the 3rd fret and make it slightly narrower than standard. Light strings will let me tune it to E normally. Because the oak is so pale, I'm thinking either pale oak bindings or going the other way altogether and going for rosewood to have a contrasting dark stripe. Dunno yet, I'll wait till I have the soundbox closed to decide that one!!

One thing I'm fairly sure of at this stage is a maple fingerboard. I don't want to get into black plastic marker dots, so I may have to invest in a plug cutter and cut out dots from rosewood or ebony or similar.

Bridge? well, I haven't decised, but maybe oak to keep with the "blonde" look.

the back isn't glued here, it's just here for looks

and the top is a Stewmac AA top which will be braced like this.......

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Married with 4 kids, Christian, worship leader, luthier