Monday, March 25, 2013

Sanding and Pore Filling

Sorry no photos of the exciting task of sanding, but pretty standard, 80 grit with a orbital sander, 80 grit by hand then 150 grit by hand then 220 grit by hand..

After sanding it is on to pore filling, there are as many methods of pore filling as there are luthiers, I'll be using two methods for this guitar. For the back and sides I'll be using Zpoxy brand epoxy. I've used it before and it works well under a French polish. For the neck I'll just be wet sanding with shellac.

The Zpoxy needs to dry overnight then get sanded (more sanding) then probably a second coat and more sanding to insure all the little pores are filled.

Nice thing about Zpoxy is you start to get and idea of what the finished guitar will look like

Back & Sides  First pore filling

Looks good

High tech applicator....

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Neck

So at this point he neck is still a big block of wood. The fingerboard can now be glued on and the neck can be carved.. I've carved the neck both on and off the guitar and frankly kind of like doing it more when it is on the guitar, there is n more to hold on to when it is a complete guitar..

Once the fingerboard is glued on the carving can begin.. Preferred tools are a spoke-shave , chisels and rasps of various types.. it actually goes pretty quick.. This neck probably took me 4 hours total work time spread over 2 days..

Before, nice tapered fingerboard on a square neck
Partly done removing the "non-neck" bits


Side view

Finishing the Fingerboard

So a few posts ago I cut the slots in the fingerboard. Now it needs to be tapered to the correct shape bound and the marker dots and frets installed.

It is rough tapered on the band saw and fine tuned with a apron plane or a block plane whichever is handy.

Then the fingerboard is bound, I am not a big fan of the look of unbound fingerboards, I don't like seeing the fret tangs, I know it is common in classical guitars but not something I like. Usually I use a contrasting wood for binding but this time since I am keeping the decoration simple I just used some 1mm strips of ebony I had ripped off the fingerboard before slotting.

The dots are installed and finally the frets.. With a bound fingerboard the tangs of the frets must be removed from the end of the fret where it overhangs the binding as there is no sot in the binding to receive the tang. There are special made nippers to do this or various contraptions to hold the fret while you file off the tang (nippers don't work on stainless frets) But I just took some cheaper common nippers and ground a slot in them so the fret sits flat

A half done fret and nippers,
you can just see the slot ground into the bad of the nippers

Close up of fret

Completed fingerboard with gold mother of pearl marker dots

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Making a floating Bridge with My New Toy

The Celtic Tenor guitar I'm working on will have a floating bridge and tailpiece so tonight I thought I would make the floating bridge.. I just happen to have to have recently got a Bishop-Cochran preciscion base for my Dremel tool and this was a good opportunity ti try it out..

I used this to cut a 3/32" wide and 5/32" deep slot for the bone saddle that will be inseted into the bridge, which is ebony.

The precision base worked great and I thing the bridge turned out good. It is patterned after the period Regal bridge that would have been on this style of guitar in the 1920's.

The base (nice red colour) and a simple set up in a vise to cut the slot

The completed bridge

Monday, March 11, 2013

Attaching the Neck

So Now it really looks like a guitar, all be it a tiny one..

The neck is attached with a dovetail joint, my first try at that type of attachment. It took quite a bit of trial and error as I slowly crept up on the correct fit of the joint. The end result was good, sorry no photos of the process, too busy thinking about where to file off small adjustments..

I prefer doing a bolt on mortise and tenon joint but when the guitar is too small for you to fit your hand in the sound hole that is not an option.....

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Cutting Fret Slots

I have done this several ways, when i first made instruments I measured and hand cut each slot, it was a tedious process and easy to make errors when you are dealing with fractions of a millimeter. I think moved to a manual system from LMI that used templates for various scale lengths. This was a much more accurate system but still a bit slow.. So today I started using a special blade in my table saw and a little home made jig and the templates form the LMI manual system.. Works great and is very quick and accurate, takes about 1 minute to slot a fretboard.

The fret board is attached to the template with double sided tape and just held against the jig which has an indexing pin.

Table saw, jig and template

Indexing pin

In position to cut slots

One minute later

Nice and accurate

Blade with stiffeners

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Working on the Neck & Routing the Peghead

The neck now has the stack heal done and the peghead veneer glued on. Next step is to route out the peghead shape. I Don't use a router for this step but instead use the method Robbie O'Brien shows in his classical guitar course. It uses a piece of tool steel sharpened at a 45 degree angle and run in a drill press at high speed.

The advantage is it is safe and there is little chance of tear out. I like the idea of not getting my fingers close to high speed cutters..

It is a bit slow as you have to take very shallow passes but it works well.

After that the nut end of the peghead is trimmed as well and that's about all to be done until it's time to carve the neck.
Stacked heel & veneer added

Template attached

Drill press router

Simple jig for squaring off the nut end of the veneer


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Cutting Shell and Inlaying

I've done one simple inlay before, since this is what I call a Celtic tenor guitar should have a Celtic inlay.. So gave that a try.. The inlay will go on the peghead.. I tried a couple of methods to cut the shell but in the end went with the tried and true jeweler's saw and needle files..

I considered trying to leave some wood in the voids between the arms of the design when I routed out the opening but decided they were so small it would be impossible. So I routed out the entire shape and glued in the shell with 5 minute epoxy coloured liberally with lamp black.. Left everything a little high then sanded smooth..

All in all I think it worked out good!

V block & Jeweler's saw with the cut out design
Just sitting on top of the neck

the pocket for the shell routed

glued in and filled with epoxy and lamp black

sanded smooth

Friday, March 1, 2013

Starting Work on the Neck

The neck of this guitar will follow the same design idea of being a simple design on a small guitar.. in this case a sandwich or Cedro/Ebony/Cedro.. I have to admit I like working with Cedro (Spanish Cedar) it has a great odour..

The neck sandwich was first glued up then the scarf joint is cut, smoothed with a hand plane and glued up..
I've seen lots of ways to glue the odd angles of a scarf joint and keep things from slipping but the easiest I've seen is just to use binding tape to hold things from slipping while clamping pressure is applied so that is what I use

The neck sandwich

Scarf joint cut and glued up