Too long without an update

Has it really been almost three months? Yes. What have I done in that time? Cut the rosette channel. Photo may follow later; right now there’s an injured owl in the backyard and I can’t get to the workshop.


Okay, I think it’s gone.

Rosette Channel

Cut with an inexpensive circle cutter (meant for paper, does a fair job on spruce) and a small chisel.


Head block

Here’s how you sand the interior curve onto the headlock.

The paper is just there to keep the background less cluttered.

Sanding the headblock to shape

It’s pretty easy since the block is mahogany, which sands easily.

Then you glue it and clamp it.

Clamped up

Clamped up

Hon, where are the BIG nipple clamps?
More clamps

Adjustment becomes repair

This wasn’t supposed to happen. This one was done.

Well, crud.

Threaded insert and the neck it used to be in.

See that machine screw and the brass insert? That’s what holds the neck on. There was a bit of a gap between the neck and the body, so I thought I’d just tighten it up a bit. Which was fine, until I put another washer on the bolt to keep it from bottoming out (which it was) and tightened it a bit too much.

Pulled the insert right out. Sure, it’s only end-grain mahogany, but I’d epoxied it in. So now I have to fix it. I think I’ll just epoxy it back, but also glue the neck in place. Just in case.

I don’t do threaded inserts anymore.

Side bending! or maybe breaking.

Here’s the bending setup. There’s one side and a strip for binding in there. Is it still in one piece? I don’t know.


I’ve got to get a more convenient clamping arrangement. I’d have some of the staff hold it down with their hands — they can’t feel anything, what with being technically dead and all — but the smell of sizzling rotten flesh just isn’t worth it.

Edited to add – Turned out okay. A couple of scorch marks, but that’s to be expected. Here’s the side clamped into a mold. (The mold just holds it in position.) The binding strip broke in two places, where the blue tape is, but since I may not even put binding on this one, not a big deal.


Be Bold

“Be bold, be bold, but not too bold

Lest your heart’s blood grow cold.”

But not when it comes to the Wagner Safety Planer. Just set it close to your final dimension and run everything through. Don’t do like me and take off a teensy amount, sand and scrape, then decide it’s still too thick and has to go through again. Being too cautious again. You can’t take over the world without breaking a few heads.


Back and sides after planing down to about .055″, give or take.


Back, showing thickness of .055″ near the center. Before sanding to remove planer marks.


Overdue update on stuff

No photos at the moment. Maybe later.

The fretboard is basically done until it gets glued to the neck. Some hammer pounding, judicious application of the big metal file, and other acts of moderate destruction were needed. But it looks pretty good. Not perfect, but pretty good.

The back plate was cut to a rough outline and I spent several days with plane, sandpaper, and scraper before I looked over my old notes and realized that the Wagner Safe-T-Planer was called for. That was a lot easier, even after I used it on both sides of the plate when only one was needed. Oh well. I got it mostly cleaned up with sandpaper, but it still needs some more elbow grease to remove the plane marks and a bit of tearout.

Padauk makes your snot orange. Wear a respirator.

Fretboard getting closer…

Some progress. Next time I’ll use a fret slotting blade in the table saw (which means I’ll have to buy one, and build a jig for it, and all that). But that’s better than recutting each slot six times with four different saws.

I think I have an old razor someplace. Where's that cat?

Frets installed but not trimmed or cleaned up yet.

Still need to clean up the fret ends, and dress them, and probably do a bit of sanding and polishing on the board itself. Clamp it to a flat surface to help remove the backbow. (It doesn’t help much, but it’ll probably sit for two weeks anyhow.) Oh, and find a way to get rid of all that cat hair.

Fretboard Progress

The photo is lousy, but the fretboard isn’t looking too bad.fretboard in progress

The body end was cut with the scroll saw and cleaned up a bit with file and sandpaper. Then we paid a little visit to Mr. Belt Sander.

fretboard nut end

Still to do: clean up the contour a bit, deepen the fret slots at the edges of the board, and lots of sanding.