Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bolting on the Neck (plus odds and ends)

I put some pencil lead on the end of the bolts and stuck them through the heel block – to put some marks on the neck tenon.

Squared everything up and started drilling.

All the holes drilled and the bolts used to attache the neck. Decided to go with these type of bolts/nuts.
Think they are stronger than pins and I don't like the idea of putting inserts in the end-grain.

Testing the bolts, they seem to fit really well but the nuts are a little proud of the tenon – just slightly too long.

Sanding the nuts down.
Much better fit.
This is the mortise in the healblock that the tenon will insert into. You can see the bolt holes and the truss rod hole if you look close.
Bolted up. I haven't yet made sure that the neck is straight to the body. This will take some patience and I don't have any extra today. I will straighten it up another day.

Making the Nut. Marking and cutting the blank down to size. I then sanded it to a thinner thickness so it would fit inside the slot.As I was doing that I realized that the nut slot wasn't perfectly straight. Out comes the file.

Fits perfect!

Now to mark the height of where the strings need to sit. Took a pencil and chiseled it in half.
Sharpened it to a very fine point as low as I could get the pencil lead down.

Ran the pencil lead across the frets to mark where the fret height is. The strings will need to be slightly higher than that.
Rounded off the back of the nut.

Making the heel cap. finding the angle of the back of the guitar

Transfer that angle to the neck and sanded the angle to match.

Thinning a piece of spice wood as an accent.

Cut the spice wood down to the heel shape and glued to a matching birds-eye maple piece.

I can not wait to play this guitar!

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Back Plate Finished

Back plate glued on, flush trim routed, filed and sanded down. I like the lines especially the point at the base.

Better angle of the base.Did some planning for the placement of the tuning machines.

Then I realized that I needed to drop the placement down to not interfere with the inlay. I do like the offset look of the tuners. Also like the lines of the strings. Not too sharp of an angle and spaced pretty well.

I might just drill some holes tomorrow, but this scares me so I will probably make a dummy to test before I risk ruining the real deal.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Back headstock plate and Nut test #2

So I decided to add a back plate vaneer to the headstock. The is a line toward the transition of the headstock that I think will be unsightly. So I want to fix it.

Here is the chunk of birdseye maple to match the tail spline. It's a little bit thick though.

Took it outside and since I don't have a planer I used a belt sander to thickness it.

Then clamped it on tight to shape it to the back. This didn't work even after two weeks of clamping. So I sanded it down some more and dropped it into a pot of boiling water then re-clamped it. This time it worked.

Haven't glued it up yet maybe tonight if I can get the thickness of the entire headstock slightly thinner (to accommodate the tuning machines). That said I decided to run another test – making a nut for a new-to-me guitar (an old H53/1 Rocket) that I just purchased. My last nut was less than perfect and I thought this would be good practice. I also put some new tuning machines on this guitar. Again, more practice.

Filing the bone nut down to the shape of the old plastic nut.

I also don't have $125+ dollars to drop on a set of nut files. But I read online that some guy used this tool – a welders tip cleaner. I purchased this tool for about $8. You know what? It worked great! (Edit: take back it worked great once – then it dulled) It did take some time, but I would rather take my time and do it right than quick and bad. (I think I will have to invest in some nut files someday.)

The only issue with this tool was the thinnest slot .10. The wire file was pretty weak and it took some time to make that work. (but it did work) I'm guessing I will purchase the smallest nut file and use this tool for the rest of the slots on my next nut.

Also replaced all the tuners on that Rocket H53/1. This is a cool old (40 years) guitar, that just got way cooler with the new nut and tuners.

And here's the nut on that guitar. All in all I have a lot more confidence in making bone nuts now. and can't wait to do it for my acoustic build guitar.

Straight on shot of the new bone nut.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Binding Issue Fix

Thanks to whoever posted the encouragement on the last post. I've been thinking about this project a lot in the past few weeks. I need to get moving and finish this already! It makes me so excited to see the guitar so close just sitting there waiting to be finished (and played!)

This is about where I'm at. I still need to bolt the neck on, put a heel cap on the back, make the nut, make the saddle, finish sanding, do binding on the headstock, drill and put the tuners in place and french polish this bad boy, glue on the bridge, drill the string holes in the bridge, do the set-up and string it! Long list but nothing is too labor intensive except for the french polish. Oh and I have to fill the grain as well.

Arrrggghhhh! I made a mistake sanding the binding... I took it too far and didn't notice until it was totally messed up! (the photo above was taken after the fix)
The fix. I just need to put some more wood down. And start over with the sanding.

CA gluing in the replacement piece.

Ahhhh, much, much better!

I also ordered some gold colored, Planet Wave, locking, string-cutting 18:1 tuners. These are the same tuners that I placed on my electric guitar and I love them. I can re-string so fast with these.

If I don't post again within a week, hunt me down and slap me up-side the head.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Scraping the Binding Flush

Spent some time scraping the binding flush with the back and front of the guitar body. I have spent quite a bit of time to get them flush and my hand was hurting so I decided to take a break.

Looks like I'm going to have to scrap the back again to get some marks out.

I still need to scrap the binding flush with the sides.

It was nice and sunny so I did a lot of this out on my front porch. So nice that winter is ending. Hope to be strumming this guitar on the front porch in a couple more months.

Thursday, March 31, 2011


The first step in setting the binding is routing a channel. I used the Dremel with the router base and attachment (shown earlier in this blog to do this. I took it real slow to make sure I didn't chip out any pieces. As you can see that tool is smooth.
Same thing with the back.
Remember what I said about chip out... well I goofed. I was simply moving too fast and took a small chunk out.

Glueing the piece back in with crazy glue. I saw this trick on youtube. Once I put the french polish on you wont even see this small crack. Plus most of the wood was nibbled away by the router after the glue dried.
I also routed a channel for the purfling, but I didn't get any good photos of that. However, if you click and zoom in on the photo showing the purfling (down about 4 photos) you can see that channel as well.
Steaming the curly maple binding. I just boiled some water...

... and poured it on. Notice my floor is a mess. My ShopVac broke and I had to go get another one.

I tied the maple to the guitar to pre-bend them.

I chose black on white purfling for to go between the binding and guitar for contrast (white maple, black purfling, white perfling dark back).
On the front I chose to go (WBWBW) with purfling that is B/W/B. Since the top is light colored. This is the same stuff I used for the rosette. Below, I'm starting to tape it in place.
One quarter done.

Below is the final side complete. The bottom of this photo has the tape removed. Once the rest of the glue dries I will need to scrap all this binding flush with the top and sides.
This process took way more time than I had anticipated.