Friday, January 28, 2011

Cool video of the day

I rarely post links to videos on the web because I am sure most people have no trouble finding plenty on their own. Today I make an exception for something posted on the OLF by Chas Freeborn. I think it is well worth the seven and a half minutes it takes to watch. Enjoy!

Restored by CinePost Edited by Ross Lenenski of Denison University. Filmed in 1959 by Forrest White. Music by Russell "Daemonzed" Eldridge. Russell's Stratocaster guitar is from the American Deluxe Series made at the Corona Plant (Fender), USA in the Year 2000. Leo Fender is in the second shot. No CNC machines back then, everything was done by hand. It is amazing to realize that every guitar made that year is now worth a small fortune. Archival High Resolution film transfer by CinePost at If you know the names of the employees, please let us know and we will annotate them. For more info please call 678-238-0800.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A little more neck work

Classes are finally over! After long last, I have a little time to work on #4. The weather was perfect, too. It is hard to beat a sunny, 70F in central Texas in the middle of December (it almost makes up for all those summer days with temps near 100F). It felt good to go out into the shop today.

The first thing I did was finish shaping the peghead. I decided I like the shape of the last guitar (the spruce/walnut OM), so I used the same template again.

Shaped peghead and templateI used the pins to locate the template, then added some tape to make sure nothing moved around while shaping. A few minutes on the router and the peghead is pretty much done. All that is left is to finish the part where it blends into the nut and neck.

Neck and FB ready for glue-up

The next step was to glue on the fingerboard. First, I put a few drops of silicone adhesive in the truss rod slot to avoid the possibility of any weird vibrations.

Next, I add a little shim on top of the truss rod about in the middle of the rod. Some builders cover the entire rod with a shim, but that seems like overkill to me. Finally I cover the entire truss rod slot with some cellophane tape. I use that to keep the glue from getting down into the slot and getting into the threads on the truss rod. If you look closely you can see the guide pins I use to keep the fingerboard from skating around when I glue it on. FB glue-upI use epoxy to glue the FB.

And here it is all clamped up. The weather is supposed to turn cold tonight, so I will bring it in the house after the epoxy sets.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Complete neck joint

I had some time this Labor Day weekend to work on the latest guitar. I had cut half of the joint last time I posted and let things sit while I finished my classes for the summer semester. I also had to change the way I fixed the jig to the guitar body.

IMGP2498Here is a shot  of the jig in action. I am cutting the mortise in the top – part of the double mortise and tenon joint.




Here is a shot of how I connected the jig to the body. I used the bolt holes and bolted the jig in place. The guitar body is held securely in place with the jig I built for cutting the binding ledges.


The last shot is of the unfinished neck bolted in place. I leave a little space on each side of the top tenon so I have room to adjust the neck when centering it. The top of the tenon is flush with the top of the guitar.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Working on the neck joint

I spent a few hours this weekend working on the neck joint for #4.may2010 001 First I routed the tenon. I use a jig  based on a design by Woolson (I wrote about it here a while ago).

The next step was routing the mortise in the body.  One thing to note, I drilled the bolt holes before I started routing because its easier to mark the location and see what I’m doing on the flat side of the guitar rather than inside a trench.

may2010 004


I use the mortise and tenon router templates from Stew-Mac with a pattern cutting bit with the bearing at the bottom. The tenon template is a tiny bit smaller than the mortise, meaning the fit will be sloppy. In order to make fit better, I glue some shims to the tenon.

On a related note, somebody posted the results of a strength test where they stressed a mortise and tenon bolt-on joint to see where it would fail. If I recall correctly (can’t seem to find the post) it would break in the area of the barrel-nut holes. They also showed that laminating the sides of the tenon gave it a lot more strength.

So, here is what I came up with. Laminated with veneer for both strength and a tight fit.

may2010 008

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

EIR Binding on a Walnut Body

may2010 008

may2010 006

I finished putting the bindings on #4. I used EI rosewood because I like the way it looks with the black walnut back and sides. Here is a shot of the top as well. I used one of the green fiber strips I got from Shane at High Mountain Tonewood. I am a little surprised in how visible it is – I thought it might be too thin to really be noticeable.

You might also notice some dents in the cedar top. I swear you can dent this stuff with a stern look. I will try to steam them out before the finish goes on.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Got a new tool…

apr2010 073

I haven’t been in the shop in a while. The end of the semester is always busy with projects, papers and presentations. I also ran into a roadblock when it came to the binding on this guitar.

For the previous guitars I used a Dremel tool with a small fixture to cut the channels for the binding on the body. It has been the hardest part to do well, and the fixture was a big part of the problem. A couple of weeks ago, I talked myself into buying a better tool for the job. apr2010 079

I got it from the Luthier Tool Company. It attaches to my Bosch laminate trimmer. Very nicely made – it looks like it will last a lifetime.

I made a simple jig out of a piece of 1/2 inch MDF to hold the body while I cut the channel. The tool registers to the sides of the body, so the jig doesn’t need to be made to keep the sides perpendicular to the bench top like some other binding jigs I considered.

The tool manufacturer recommends a 1/4 inch downcut spiral bit, but I used a straight bit and it worked really well. Other people have written that the tool takes some time to get use to, but I got perfect results on the first try.

apr2010 078

Sunday, March 21, 2010

#4 Finger board binding

mar 2010 013

#4 will get a fingerboard bound in the same wood as the back and sides (black walnut). I used some cut-offs from the boards I used for the back, thinned to 1/8 inch on the thickness sander.

I glued one side on Friday then waited until today to glue the other side. We got a cold front through central Texas yesterday that dropped the temperature in the shop from near 70F to the high 30s.