Archive for the 'Repairs, Jigs, Tools and Other' Category

Harmony Sovereign Headstock Repair

May 6, 2019 

My amigo, David, presented me with a decapitated Harmony Sovereign.  I was able to reattach and (from the suggestion of others) reinforce with one of my sMg headplates.  

Photos showing fit (or lack thereof) of sheared headstock.

Note the high quality credit card cutout used as a truss rod cover.

sMg Guitars to Move to New Location

April 17, 2013

Due to changing circumstances, I am relocating my workshop for sMg Guitars to a new location starting May 1st.  I’m excited about the new space, but have to put my building efforts on hold while I make the transition.  The new space will be larger than my current space, and comes with the bonus of an existing spray room, central compressed air, and central dust collection.  I will have the honor of being in the building with other woodworkers, a violin maker, a photographer, and glass artist.  I know several of these gents already, and expect the transition to be quite smooth.  I’m looking forward to working in a shared space, almost like going to the office, but to build guitars with colleagues rather than collating the TRS Report.

Girdis Guitar Finish Work Complete

March 29, 2013

After considerable wait time, the finish work on the Girdis guitar is complete and the box arrived yesterday.  Very nice finish, very nice guitar.





Guitar 1002 – Frets Installed

May 20, 2012

Banged away on the frets this weekend.  After sanding and smoothing the fretboard and cleaning out the fret slots, the frets were cut to length then tapped in place.  I have also been sanding away at the binding and purfling, bringing it flush to the sides.  Still a lot of fairing and squaring to go before I mount the bridge and prepare for the lacquer spraying.


Once this guitar is ready for the spray booth, I will apply the same finish to the Girdis guitar I am finishing.  I’ve rough cut the snakewood bridge in preparation for final shaping.


The Gotoh ebony button tuners arrived.


New Shipment of Headplates

May 11, 2012

Just took possession of a new batch of custom headplates for sMg Guitars.


Row 1 – Curly Sycamore and Koa

Row 2 – Pau Ferro and Cocobolo

Row 3 – Rosewood and Ebony

Girdis Guitar Finishing Project

March 10, 2012

Through a Google search, I was contacted by a gent from Guemes Island who was in possession of an unfinished Rob Girdis parlor guitar.  After discussing my background and having studied with Rob, we agreed that I would take on the job of finishing the guitar.  It’s a koa parlor with snakewood binding.


I’m looking forward to this project, as I can still learn from Rob by examining and analyzing the construction of this guitar while I proceed with the finish.  It needs the shaping and installing of a snakewood bridge, bone nut and saddle, tuning machines, and end pin.  The guitar needs to be prepped for finish, then the application of a lacquer finish.  Finally, strings and setup.


I’ll carefully document the dimensions and materials, and take a few iPhone photos of inside the box.  It’s koa all around with an interesting trilaminate neck of mahogany and ??



The headstock treatment uses a backing laminate of the same wood in the neck, which may be boxwood.



One thing Rob was proud of was his binding and purfling work which really shows on this guitar.  I remember showing him progress on one of my earlier guitars where he commented, “Nice work, but, you still have a way to go on improving your binding.”  I do possess now, the example to work toward.





I have access to an extensive photo library of Rob’s guitars.  I should be able to replicate tuners and bridge design to ensure the finishing of this guitar matches his design.

Jigs and Workboards

June 20, 2011

Working on jigs and workboards today.  I’ve decided to create a neck shaping jig, simply a platform to clamp the neck to so I can stick it in the vise and have clearance to shape the backside of the neck and heel.


I’ve continued to fine tune the Hybrid workboard.  First step was to hollow out the surface to a 28′ radius to compensate for the bridge area bulge.  I marked a few elevation lines as guides.


I used a router with a rounded bit set to 4mm depth for the center, then dropping 1mm for each of the next elevation lines until the final shelf was routed to a depth of 1mm.

I used the table saw to complete the slots from the edges in toward the center where the dowel clamps go.


Finally, a tripod stand was mounted to the back for resting on the workbench or clamping into the vise.


Guitar 1002 – Bracing Continues

June 12, 2011

I have begun the process of finger planing/shaping the back braces.  I’m also 75% complete on gluing/clamping all the top braces.  I’m heavily preshaping the top braces as my past experience has been that this is a more efficient method than planing/shaping after the braces have been installed.

The owner of 1001 dropped by to request a tweak.  His open A string had the dreaded wolf-tone which was really a small gap underneath the nut on the fretboard side.  A simple filing of the nut slot to release the gap fixed the problem.

I’m also continuing to apply lacquer filler to the headstock for the 12 string Ovation repair.  I’ve reattached the sheared headstock, repaired are relacquered the truss rod cover, and after the lacquer filler cures I’ll spray several coats of touch up lacquer then sand and buff.  It should be ready later next week.  I would like to get this back to the customer before we head out to Alaska for our RV adventure.

Ovation Repair – Head Reattached

May 28, 2011

The neck clamp has been removed and the glue squeeze out sanded away.  The finish is wonky on the face of the headstock and will require extensive filling.


The crack is visible on the backside due to stress of the finish pulling away from the surface.


If the customer wants, I can stop here and restring.  To complete refinishing and buffing and polishing will take another two weeks due to curing time.

The Curious Case of the Severed Head

May 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom!

A colleague has requested a repair of his 12-string Ovation which has the sad malady of a severed head.

Fortunately, the break was clean, along grain, and in a location which will be easy to clamp.

A bit of cleanup on the center lamination, then a dry fit clamping to test crack closure before gluing up and clamping to set overnight.

The time consuming portion of this repair will be in cleaning up the finish and filling the gaps.  Still it should come in well under the estimate.





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