November 23, 2008

My next guitars, 805 and 901 will be a new set of adventures in building.  That will include thickness planing, joining, and side bending.  I was going to attempt the thickness planing with the Wagner Safe T Planer, but was given the opportunity to visit a work colleague and use his Grizzly drum sander.  After spending a wee bit of time replacing the sandpaper, we easily planed down the zebrawood sides for my resonator guitar.  The trouble began when we started planing/sanding the walnut for 805.  The zebrawood was already at 4mm and we got it down to just under 3mm with no problem.  But the walnut was over 6mm thick to begin with, and to get it to 3mm required multiple multiple passes.  The walnut, like maple tended to burn, and we killed the sander several times, trying to take off too much in one pass.  We abondoned the planing/sanding, and I’ll have to rethink using the Safe T Planer.

But, with the zebrawood sides ready to bend, and the bender ready to use, I embarked on my first bending machine session.  Prepping for the attachment of the springs between the presses and the bending form was quite distressing.  I was lucky to keep all my body parts and not poke out my eye.  Eventually, through the use of a home made hook on a T handle, and standing over the bender on a stool, I perfected the motion to pull the springed block up from the back side, position on top of the bending form at the center press, then pull down the front side spring with the T handled hook.  The bender is clamped to the bench, but the feet screwed to the bender used screws of too shallow depth, so when pulling the springed blocks across the form, I dislodged the bender from their feet.  Almost another loss of eye.  But, through slow persistence, finished the draw of the blocks across the sides and down into the final position.  It is now sitting overnight in the mold, with the blanket turned off, overnight.


Here’s the bender before starting.  Note the clamped feet.



One of the questions I had posed to myself was:  What order to make the sandwich?  The approach for my first bend was to try (from inside to outside):  stainless strip/silicone blanket/side wrapped in foil/stainless strip.