Tuesday, February 27, 2007


I strongly dislike my job and today was one of those days. Left late, drove home in the dark and then, even though I knew better, I took to my guitar with "passion"

The end result is that I have shaped my head stock. I messured and made out the shape on the headstock - The I hand planed the edges, down to within a few mills of the lines that I had drawn. I then cut off the excess at the top with a hack saw. I will "true" up these edges with a sander tomorrow - when it is a decent hour and the neighbours won't get angry.

So the end result is... not perfect and somewhat out of wack. I think that it has more to do with the centre line being out more than anything. A tiny amount make a big difference...

It's going to be very original

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The days are so busy at the moment, I have not been able to get down to the shed to put some hours in. My fellow builder, David, has braved freezing cold weather to overtake me... not that it is a race. It is just that you want to turn that box of wood and bits into something beautiful as quick as you can.

Maybe after dinner tonight, I will force myself to shape the head - once and for all. I've been putting it off for weeks now, thinking that I don't have the right tools...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Fretboard's done

Maybe I should stop and actually blog a little. I forget that you all are not there when whilst I complete theses steps.

I've added the frets to the fret board, I've glued said fret board to the neck and then filed/blended the fret board and neck together. In all steps I used same methods as I did with the the Stew mac kit.

Starting to look like a guitar, isn't it?

There is some drop damage to the soundboard, right between the rosette and the sound hole. To cover it I am going to run the finger board right up to the sound hole - The plan being that the end of the fret board with have the curve in it - we'll see.

I'll post a picture later but I am on the hunt for a pau ferro bridge - the Rosewood is just too dark. Or perhaps it will blend more with the finish on. I don't intend to stain this one at all.

Not having a band saw, I have been too scared to cut the template for my head just yet. I can feel the credit card warming up...

Monday, February 19, 2007

Can you spot it?

I think I've finished patching up my great big blue. After pressing the pieces back together, I ran superglue in to the joins and then used saw dust in clear epoxy to fill up some minor flaws that I caused with a razor blade.

Here is the results. I wiped the area with a wet rag, just to highlight what it'll look like once the finish is on. Firstly, here is area... can you spot the cracks?

Couldn't see them? Try this one. I have laid the rulers down on the outsides of the section that was previously raised.

From the side, you would never know.

I am happy with the results. I still wish it never happened but at least I know I (and you) can do it now.

In other news, the fret board went on tonight - frets included.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Back to it

I've been busy over the last couple of weeks but I managed to get down to the shed tonight and address this problem with the cracked back. I made it worse before I made it better but I think I am getting back on track.

I just couldn't get around the problem of getting the raised piece back into place. I made sure that there were no splinters of other objects stuck in the groove. When I found there wasn't, I tried to trim the edges with a razor blade. That is were I made it worse. Although I tried to be delicate, I made the gap bigger.

I resolved the issue with brute force - a clamp - I force that bit back down and once it was down I fed super glue into the grooves.

It should sand up (or is that down) fairly well. I don't think an unadvised eye will find it.

Having said that, the drop and bounce has trashed the guitar. My shed floor is very rough and the sound board is peppered with marks that appear too deep to simply sand out.

Also tonight I continued with the fret board. I have used Robert O'brien method of placing finishing nails to hold it all in alignment however I am going to use the elastic band as a clamp, as with the Stewmac method. I am going to fret the board before I glue it on.

I have already put the truss rod in place and covered the channel with painters tape.

Here is a picture if the dents in the sound board - Arrrrgh !

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Great Service

Even in bad times - I really wanted to let you about the great service that I have received from Andy DePaule from DePaule Supply. I thought it better to give this subject its own post.

On my last guitar, I put in a letter W inlay into the head. Last week I ordered three more from Andy. When my order arrived, the letter W looked different. I got it home, took some photos and emailed Andy with my concerns - expecting that for the $7.50 worth of business, he'd fob me off, telling me that his supply had changed etc etc.

Here is the photo

and here is an edited version of Andy's reply.

Dear Ted,
Looks like I made a mistake on your order, Sorry.
Not sure what the heck I was thinking.
I will send out the right items today to replace those.
Please do not spend your money returning those other letters.
Perhaps you will meet a luthier who can use an "M".
Best wishes,
No hassles. Excellent service. Last week I would have highly recommend Andy for his product. Now I know he backs it up with service. If you consider his overheads along with the cost of sending two packages to another continent. Andy's made a loss on this sale - without blinking an eyelid.
It never occured to me that they were M's - not W's

Slowly slowly does it

Tonight I have made no progress. I have settled on the fact that this can be fixed, but it is important to take my time and make sure I don't make things worse. I have been unable to get the raise piece of the back, "the splinter" to push down into place. The edges of the splinter are bracing it, holiding it above the back. I can't push it to the side and get it to slide back.

I came up with a plan. I thought about this most of the day and saw the process on Fret.com. Tonight I made a turn buckle with the plan of pushing the sides apart, ever so slightly, thereby increasing the gap and letting "the splinter" fall back into place.

As soon as I applied pressue I heard a new cracking noise. Ther pressure came off the turn buckle straight away.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Emotional Overload

For some reason I am calm. For some reason I have not dropped to the ground and started bawling. For some reason I didn't even swear. I can not understand nor explain my emotions. I think it is an overload - most likely shock.

"What the ?!?" I can hear you all ask.

Very simply, I had scraped the binding and had started sanding the box. I had the guitar on my Black and Decker workmate, a stable enough surface. I turned to the work bench to change the sand paper and then as I turned back, I simply knocked the work mate and the guitar with my hip, in one small movement.

The guitar toppled and then "bounced" on the floor.

As you can see, the fall has cracked the binding along with the back. The back has cracked about 80 mm long and 30 mm across at it's widest. The cracked part of the back has lifted and in now resting, with a fair bit of force, on the main piece.

I don't know. Perhaps the tears will flow soon.

I've started to hit the web to find the best way to get this back into place and then disguise the muck up.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

More binding and bright ideas

Well those bindings did not work out that bad and therefore I have gone ahead and stuck on the top bindings. I didn't get my router nerve back, so I didn't put in any purfling. The back looks okay, the binding is quite subtle.

Below is the only place that the binding did not glue on as it was meant to. There is an ever so small gap. I should be able to either re glue (unlikely) or patch it up with some saw dust/epoxy in the near future.

I have also made an invention that might help others. It is very technical and worked well for me. I have two rolls of blue masking tape, one is a couple of centimeters wide, the other is about 5 centimetres wide. In the past I have used the 2 cm wide tape for my bindings. I implemented using the wider of the tape this time around when securing the binding, it made things a lot quicker and cleaner.

I cut a 10 cm length of the tape and then made two cuts up the tape, almost all the way to the top. Effectively I end up with three pieces of tape which which are joined together. When It comes to the rush of getting the binding on, it seemed easier and quicker to use this tape. I could still apply pressure where and as I needed.

David and I have started this little to and fro over who has the best (or worse) weather. I am amazed by my icicles hanging off the roof, he may find it hard to believe that I am desperately trying not to drip sweat on my soundboard. Over 40 C/104 F degrees here again today. Too hot to work in the shed.