Archive for November, 2008

Guitar 804 – Neck trimmed, headstock applied

November 15, 2008

Spent some time doing neck prep.  The plans for the Parlor have a bit wider neck than the OM, and subesequently, the bridge is “non standard”, and will require me to build my first bridge from scratch rather than using a pre-fab.  I worked on the neck in conjunction with working on the neck for 805.  I crafted a jig for the band saw which cuts the headstock piece off the neck blank at a 12 degree angle for reversing and gluing to create the long grain headstock attachment.  Just like 804, this jig gave me a not so square cut.  I believed at first it was the band saw drift, but it may be the jig is out of square.  I need to resolve.  Regardless, I sanded in attempt to square, but it’s not perfect.

I made a template of the fretboard using posterboard and laid it on the neck, traced, then cut out the excess using the band saw.  Sanded it back, then attached the headstock laminate (glue/clamp), drilled out the tuning machine holes and trimmed back the headstock to the final shaping.


Guitar 805 – Wood arrived

November 12, 2008

The wood for the 12-string dreadnought arrived today.  Very nice stuff.  The top is cedar.


This will be my first try at thickness planing and joining.  I’m wavering between visiting a colleague with a drum sander or trying the Safe-T-Planer on the drill press.

The back and sides are walnut, with very interesting pattern.  There’s some heartwood on the sides that I may try to incorporate.  I’ll have to avoid the knot, but there’s enough length to include or exclude the heartwood.



The back wood is quite thick and a little warped.  I’m still not sure how to proceed with the thickness planing.  Do I try and relieve the warp first?  Or plane through the warp?  Hmm.



Bender, zebras and blemishes

November 10, 2008

I’ve put more into the bender as I mentioned earlier.  Here are a few images.



Also, I ordered zebrawood and sitka spruce with the 12 string kit.  The walnut and cedar for the 12 string is coming from another source.  But, by ordering a full complement of components through the LMI kit wizard, I get a substantial discount on each piece.  I’ll use the zebra for my next guitar, whatever it may be.



Finally, the spruce came with issues.  I wrote LMI and they are thinking about resolution which includes perhaps sending me a new spruce top.


Guitar 805 – Doing some design

November 9, 2008

Geez, the bold button won’t turn off.  I’m not shouting, I promise.

OK, there it goes.  I’m applying water based lacquer to guitar 803 after the greening endeavor.  In between lacquer coats I have completed the construction of the side bending machine.  I’ve received the stainless sheets and silicon heating blanket, and the final step will be to build the guitar specific molds, in this case, a dreadnought.

I have also embarked on designing the binding, purfling, rosette, and headstock.  I took measures on my Taylor 12 string to see the differences between the dreadnought pattern and the 12-string guitar actuals.  As expected, the neck is wider, and the headstock is much larger.  Much larger so that I was worried I wouldn’t have enough neck stock.  The width at the tip of the headstock was of concern, and at 3.25″, my mahogany neck blank is just that, so I’ll have enough width, and length if I carefully build the neck stack to be “just right”.  In other words, I won’t have much room for oversizing.

Also, my sMg headplates aren’t large enough for a 12-string headstock.  I’ve got some Ideas about a chevron type design for the headplate, but will have to experiment to assure it doesn’t look too much like a clown suit. 

I’ve gone out on a limb to create a multi line purfling which won’t be too busy, but will be striking (I hope).  For the top binding it will be curly maple/brown white black purfling (see gallery).  The back strip is complementary to the purfling for the top (see gallery).  The back binding will be curly maple/ black white/ walnut back.  The sides will be curly/bw.  I’ll use a curly maple end graft and heel graft.  The rosette will be (starting from the outer ring)  BWB cedar BWB abalone BWB cedar BWB.

Still awaiting the delivery of the wood.  I have all the components for the rest of the guitar, and am ready to start upon receipt of the back/sides/top.

Guitar 803 – Greenbacks

November 3, 2008

Larry dropped by and we made greenbacks!  Oh yes, it’s green.



Guitar 803 – Gold!

November 2, 2008

I’m scrambling to be ready for Larry when he comes over tomorrow as I promised I would be ready to stain.  I really need to get the surface baby bottom smooth, and make sure I get any surface glue sanded away to ensure an even stain absorbtion.  I’m working with 100 grit paper to get all the rough spots levelled down and all the glue from the binding shaved off the maple surface.  In between sandings, I’m wetting the wood to expose where there are still glue patches.  The wetting also pulls grain up out of the interior of the wood to the surface, allowing further sanding and assuring of a completely smooth surface.


I found an old post where I documented the stain we will be using.  I say 75% green, 25% tobacco brown in a 65% solution (whatever THAT means!).  I think it’s this….if you use 10 drops in 2 oz. of water, then 7.5 drops green and 2.5 drops tobacco brown at 100% for 2 oz. water.  65% fewer drops = .65 x 7.5 green = 5.5 drops.  And .65 x 2.5 tobacco = 1.6 drops.  Make 10 oz. of solution with 28 drops green and 8 drops of tobacco brown.

I finished fretting the neck as well as post stain will be a sanding sealer (50% solution of KTM9) over the entire guitar body and neck (including frets).  Then I start the spraying of 100% KTM9 in 3 coats an hour apart, dry overnight, then repeat the 3 coats up to 12 coats, then let cure for one week before installing neck and bridge.  Oooh, it’s getting close!


Larry picked gold frets to go with his gold tuners.  They look pretty good!


Here’s the guitar with the fretted neck dry fit.  I realized I have the inner ring of the soundhole rosette fully exposed, so had to insert a little BWB sliver in the top gap.  It looks OK!  Only I will notice that it’s not one continuous piece.


Banjo Refret – complete

November 2, 2008

Well, after much procrastination, I have finished Tom’s banjo refret.  It was much more than a refret, and I had to do a bit of adapting to get it strung and playable.

1.  Sanded down old fretboard veneer, installed a new rosewood veneer top, slotted for frets, banged ’em in, and added abalone dots and star fret markers.  Before banging in frets, I sealed the rosewood with Z-poxy pore filler, then buffed back to get off the sheen and finished with lemon oil.

2.  Added replacement head clamps where missing.  These were a bit too long and had to grind down ends so as not to have pokey bolts gashing open the abdomen of the player.  The remaining original head clamps were tightened as each was loose and dangling.

3.  Drilled out headstock to accept new tuners.  Ground and sanded back the rear side of the headstock to make it parallel to the top, applied tobacco brown stain and 9 coats of nitrocellulose lacquer.  Did NOT buff out to a glossy sheen as it would compete inappropriately with the rest of the neck finish.  Installed new tuning machines.


4.  Added string button to 5th string near 5th fret.  This is like a mini-nut.  The banjo neck was a bit rotten and drilling for the button was precarious and some of the rosewood veneer flaked off in that location.  I’ll leave it as is given there is no good alternative except to try and glue in some rosewood veneer flakes.  I’ll get Tom to make the call as to whether he wants that done.


5.  Trimmed and polished bone nut material and installed with super glue.  Slotted to accept strings.  Filled hole in end of neck where it screws to the head (toothpicks and AR glue).  Drilled out a hole dead center then mounted neck to head.  Installed string tailpiece.


6.  Even with the shortest bridge, the action was unacceptable.  The neck mount with the existing holes left the neck with no oblique angle, so strings rose dramatically from nut to bridge.  Removed end bolt and drilled new hole in tone ring to create a better neck angle for better action/string clearance.  I also inserted a rosewood shim between the end of the neck and the metal rim of the head to accent the angle further.  Even with all this (and it’s the best neck angle possible with this configuration), the action is a wee bit high.  Lastly I deepened the slots in the nut to get the strings even closer to the frets.


With the bridge positioned properly, it plays nicely and even sounds in tune (an achievement).  There’s some detail work to be done, but I’m hoping it’s something Tom wants to tackle.

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