Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Twiddling my thumbs.....

DAY 35

No big news here. Basically until it warms up just a bit around here so I can get the shop up to finishing temp's all I have to do is change the fingerboard side markers to black, do some final sanding and masking. I got all of my finishing supplies and the side markers today in the mail from Stewmac, and an e-mail from LMI telling me that my order for the next guitar has been shipped. One thing, I accidentally ordered the wrong plan with the kit. I ordered the plan based on the Martin OOO and I actually wanted the Small Concert guitar. I figured that out today, and unfortunately I didn't get my e-mail to LMI asking for a change before they got it in the mail. I will look at the plans I get and if there is a big enough difference between the OOO and the OM plans I have now, I will just go ahead and build the OOO. If it is too similar, which I think it will be, I will order the correct plans. I have to wait for the wood to acclimate before I do anything with it anyways so no big deal. I don't have my heart set on anything in particular, I just wanted to make something different than what I have already done, and wanted to build a 12 fret above the body slotted peghead instead of a 14 fret solid head. Again, not a huge deal to me since I don't play anyways, I just wanted something different.

Anyways, as soon as I can get out and work, or when the LMI kit arrives I will get some pictures up again.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Sanding and more sanding..........

DAY 34

Well, I am getting down to the final touches before finishing. The first thing I did was to clean out a couple of spots around the binding where there was a tiny gap that filled with Titebond glue. The glue color is too light and really shows so I took an Xacto knife and picked the glue out. Then I sanded the side wood to get some dust, pushed it in the opening and hit it with a drop of superglue. Once that was cured, I sanded the places flat. After that was done, I spent a lot of time getting the bridge located exactly and then masking the area off for finish. Last time I finished the entire guitar and then used stripper to clean the bridge and space under the fingerboard extension. Although the stripper worked well, I had a small drop of it land on the top and I spent many days trying to fix it. I figure that if I can keep stripper away from the finished guitar I will be happy! I hammered in the frets on the fingerboard extension and then spent a lot of time sanding the entire guitar to 320 grit. I wet it with naphtha to look for scratches and sanded again. Then I hit the whole thing with a damp rag to raise the grain and sanded again. I think I am done sanding although I want to take it outside in the sunlight to look for any scratches before I call it ready for finish. The last thing I did was to drill out the tuner holes. This is where I hit a snag. The first hole I drilled out I did like I did the first guitar. I drilled through the veneer with the drill in reverse so it wouldn't tear out the wood. That worked great but when I put it in forward to finish the hole, the bit caught the rosewood and tore two pieces out. The pieces are just big enough that the washer for the tuner won't quite cover it. It is really close, but probably about 1/2mm from covering. I took come rosewood chips and glued them in and then sanded it all flush. It looks pretty good and probably won't be visible but I have to say, my heart stopped for a couple of seconds when it happened! All I could think about was me having to completely re-do the peghead and the inlay. Fortunately that won't have to happen.

So, the guitar is essentially ready for finish. I have to inspect it in the bright sunlight and tack cloth the whole thing but it is ready. I have a bit of masking to do too but that won't take too long. I ordered my finishing supplies from Stewmac this morning so I should have that in just a couple of days. I also added some black side marker material for the fingerboard. I am going to drill out the white markers and replace them with black. It should look better.

While I was online, I went ahead and placed the next kit order with LMI. I am excited but a bit nervous about building a completely unserviced guitar. Well, that is not exactly correct, I went ahead and had them thickness sand the top, back and sides. Since I don't have a thickness sander, and my planing skills are not up to par, I didn't think it would be wise for me to try and thickness them myself. At some point I will either build or buy a thickness sander, but that isn't in the cards as of now. I also ordered a pre-carved bridge but I am going to get a blank and attempt to make one myself. My plan is to use the precarved one as a template, and if my carving doesn't go well I can use it on the guitar. Other than the thickness sanding, I am expecting to get nothing more than a box of wood! This should be fun! I will keep a separate blog for that build as I think I am probably getting close to my limit on storage of pictures. I have over 200 pictures in this blog and I am waiting for the dreaded "you are over your limit" message to come up. I would post a copy of the LMI kit wizard order of my next guitar but I can't figure how to turn a web page into a picture. Speaking of pictures..........

This is one of the gaps that I was talking about. Notice how the glue is lighter than the wood and really stands out. Now it more closely matches the Granadillo color.

A picture of the top with the bridge location and fingerboard extension masked off.

Just a picture showing the last frets installed.

Sorry about the quality of this picture. I must have moved while clicking the button. You can see the bottom right hole where the rosewood chipped out. It doesn't look this bad in real life, the blurry picture makes it look a lot worse than it is. Also, almost all of it will be hidden under the tuner washer.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Thank goodness for power tools......

DAY 33

Today I decided to start working on the guitar nut. I first needed to adjust the space between the peghead veneer and the end of the fingerboard by just a smidge. I clamped a piece of MDF cut at a 15 deg. angle to act as a saw guide and cut the veneer. It only needed less than a half MM removed so it was a little difficult to keep the saw from falling off the edge of the veneer but I was able to get it cut. After a little chisel work to clean up the area the nut blank fits nicely. The nut was about 1/4" too long so I cut that off with my bandsaw. I wanted the ends of the nut to arch from the back of the neck to the width of the fingerboard, as well as the normal curve back. The reason for this is that the back of the neck is narrower than the top of the fingerboard by about 1mm on each side. I could narrow the fingerboard a bit, but I wanted a 1.75" nut instead of the 1.6" nut shown on the plans. The wider nut gives just a little bit more space between the strings for people who have fat fingers like me! lol. After a bit of dremel grinding and sanding I have a nut that looks pretty good and does exactly what I want it to do. After I do the final shaping on the top, and get the string slots cut it, I will spend some time fine sanding and polishing it.

Speaking of sanding, After the nut was done I turned my attention to sanding the guitar to 220 grit. One thing I haven't mentioned before is the Granadillo that LMI provided had a lot of machine marks on it. It looks like they used a planer to thickness it instead of a sander. I have not been looking forward to trying to sand these marks out because the wood is pretty hard. It takes a lot of sanding to remove even a little bit of material. I first started by hand sanding using a block and 150 grit paper but I quickly realized that at the rate I was going, I would probably still be sanding sometime in June! I turned to my random orbit sander with 220 grit paper. Even with this, it took me around 3 hours of constant sanding to get the machine marks out of the wood. It looks a lot better now and the fine 320grit sanding will go pretty quickly. I did a lot of wetting with naphtha and shining a bright light on it to look for scratches. Now that it is sanded pretty close to finish smoothness, I have a few very small spots in the binding that I will need to fill with sanding dust and superglue. No big deal and I will get it done next time out. With the dark wood, there are a few spots where the light colored glue shows between the binding and the sides. I will pick out a little of the glue and fill so it matches. It is purely a cosmetic thing. The glue is lighter than the Granadillo, and darker than the maple so it shows.

I am going to check the weather channel to see what the temps over the beginning of the week will be and if it will be above freezing, I will place my finish order from Stewmac. I am going with the waterbased Colortone lacquer and clear pore filler. I used the same stuff on my Dreadnaught except I used brown pore filler. After I got a feel for how it works, I liked it so I will try it again on this one. The only problem I have is that I will have to come up with a way to apply the finish and keep the shop warm enough. It is still below freezing around here and will stay that way for at least another month. I also spoke with my wife about ordering my next guitar and she was all in favor of me getting it ordered so I have it to work on during the curing time of this one. I am excited and ready to get it ordered! Oh , I decided to go with rosewood on the peghead and bridge on it. I think the bloodwood would be too much red and I really only want the red as an accent color, not a main color.

Enough rambling, here are some pictures:

This is the little guide I used to help cut the end of the rosewood peghead veneer. It is hard to tell, but the edge of the guide is cut at a 15 degree angle to match the end of the fingerboard.

The nut blank sitting in the slot. The cut turned out pretty well. Definately better than my Dreadnaught!

The nut rough shaped. You can see that it is wider at the top than at the bottom. The picture doesn't actually look right. It doesn't bow out in the center like it looks here, it goes in at a constant angle.

Here you can see that the nut is narrower at the base than at the top. The fingerboard is 1.75" wide and the nut is that width also.

Here you can see the machine marks I was talking about. The sides and back are covered from end to end with these diagonal scratches. They were fairly deep too, like it was sanded with 60 grit paper. It took a lot of work to get these marks out.

A couple of poser pictures here. Nothing exciting, just pictures of the assembled guitar.

And the back. I really do like the center pattern the grain made. Even though the neck looks like light maple, it is mahogany. It is just a very light piece of mahogany. I think I am going to keep it this color as it looks good against the dark red Granadillo.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Lots of measuring and sanding........

DAY 32

Today was neck fit day. I spent quite a bit of time getting the bridge location and the neck lined up. I also sanded the end of the neck so it fits flat to the guitar sides. I had a little bit of trouble trying to get everything lined up straight with the center line of the guitar top being off, but I think I was able to get it all lined up so it looks good and compensates with the soundhole being off.

I was reminded by Ted that I may be looking a bit too hard at this build and might be overly critical. He is probably right. I am trying hard to get everything right, and it seems like I am having more trouble with this build than I did with my Dreadnaught. I guess I need to relax a bit and not expect perfection. After all, this is only my second build and perfection is not something I should be expecting at this stage in my learning. I am learning a lot with this one, probably the primary lesson being that certain parts of the build are critical to the proper alignment of other parts of the build. It all ties together. I know that with my next one, there will be a lot more measuring and re-measuring just to make sure things are straight. I will also make sure that things are lined up properly by double checking my work.

All in all I am very pleased with this guitar. It looks great and other than the few minor flaws I seem to be focusing on, the quality of my work is significantly better on this one than the last. The bottom line is that means I am moving forward and improving. Isn't that what it is all about anyways?

Speaking of next build...... I spent a good part of last night on LMI's site playing with the kit wizard. I think I have my next one ready to order. It will be an unserviced kit, Adirondack spruce top, Indian rosewood back and sides, Spanish cedar neck, granadillo fingerboard, bloodwood bindings heal cap backstrip peghead and bridge, and maple perfling. I put a lot of thought into how I want this one to look. The only thing I am going back and forth on are the peghead and bridge. I may go with rosewood as I think that there might be too much bloodwood. I am still on the fence with it. I would go with a little fancier wood but this will be my first try at bending so I figured it would be wise to start with wood that I have read is fairly easy to bend, and is not Mahogany. I really don't want to hear that dreaded "CRACK" while bending! The guitar will be a OOO model. I am really looking forward to having to do all of the hard stuff this time. It will be nice to have something that I can actually say "I made this out of a pile of wood" instead of having to admit that some of parts were done by someone else. I also realized that I can save a lot of money this way too and that is always a good thing! I will most likely pull the trigger on this one once I get to the finish stage of the OM so I will be working on one during the boring 'wait for it to cure fully' time.

First up, undercutting the neck for the fit sanding. When I did this with my Dreadnaught, I took a big (1/2"x1/2") chip out of the side. I was able to glue it back and it is almost invisible, but I was very careful this time not to do the same thing!

Here I have the straight edge down the centerline of the fingerboard to help with the bridge location. Notice that I have the neck at a very slight angle to the left causing the center line to skim to the right of the end wedge center. I did this on purpose as it helps get the strings closer to the center of the soundhole. The neck still looks and feels perfectly straight, but it helps move the strings just a touch to the right. The neck is sitting at less than a 1 degree off perfect left to right angle. Every little bit that I can get those strings to move to the right the better it will look. This is one of those "thinking outside the box" fixes that I mentioned in my last post.

Here is my neck fit after a bunch of fine sanding. See that little gap between the fingerboard and the edge of the binding? Anyone got any ideas of how to fill that so it looks good? It is caused by the binding being rounded over at the edge of the body. I tried not to have this happen, but it did.

The other side. I am thrilled with how nice I was able to get this joint. It is much better than my Dreadnaught.

The tail piece sanded to meet the curve of the body. That was a little trick to get right.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Hmmm, that's a head scratcher.......

DAY 31

Today I decided that I wanted to go ahead and champher the edges of the peghead to give it a thin light colored outline from the maple center inlay. I set up my router table and ran the peghead through. This only got the straight edges so I had to use a file on the two clipped corners, and on the edge close to the nut. I am very happy that I did this. It looks very nice in my opinion. Once this was done, it was time to glue the fingerboard to the neck. I clamped the peghead to the workbench and propped the tail end up to give it a bit of a forward bow. This is to counteract the back bow that is created in the fingerboard by driving the frets in. I glued the fingerboard down and clamped with a big rubber band. After the glue had set I unclamped it and sanded the edges flush as well as scraping off some of the glue squeezout under the rubber band locations. I noticed that the fingerboard did not get clamped tightly enough at the nut location and there was a thin gap about 3/8" long on both sides. I rigged up some clamping cauls and clamped it down so the gap was eliminated. Then I wicked in some thin superglue from the nut end and along both sides and let it cure. Once it was dry, the fit is tight and I finished sanding the neck. I decided to bolt the neck to the body to see how everything lines up.

This is where one of my past errors caught up to me.

You may remember a couple of weeks ago, I noticed in one of my pictures that the soundboard ended up getting glued on just a little bit off center on the bottom end. At the time I thought this wasn't anything to worry about as the center seam is almost impossible to see. I was wrong. The thing I forgot about is that with the soundboard being shifted about 3/8" to the right, the soundhole is now about 3/16" off center too. No big deal you say, let me tell you it is a big deal. You see, when I string it up, the strings are off center and it looks bad. It is not a problem of playabilty or structure, it is a cosmetic problem. After a lot of head scratching, and failed ideas including moving the bridge and shimming the neck at an angle, I decided the best option was to sand the soundhole over to the left as much as possible without it looking off center of the rosette. After a lot of sanding and measuring, I have it a lot closer to center. It is not perfect, but I think it won't be noticeable to anyone unless it is pointed out to them. Huge lesson learned here!

Anyways, here are some pictures.

This is the bit I used to champher the edges of the peghead. Notice how it only peeks above the table about 1/8" Just enough to clip the corner.

The peghead after the edges were clipped. I like the light colored outline effect this gives.

My setup just before gluing the fingerboard on. Notice the slight bow to the neck. I hate doing this. It makes me nervous just waiting to hear that dreaded 'crack'!

The fingerboard all glued up. I love those huge rubber bands that came in the stewmac kit!

Here is the guitar all assembled and the bridge taped in it general location.

Here you can see my issue with the strings not being centered in the soundhole. The whole thing is shifted to the right. Also the two corners of the fingerboard are not perfectly alligned with the rosette.

The neck fit without any work as of yet. It is pretty close. It looks like I won't have much work to do to get a perfect fit.

Here is the string location after adjusting the soundhole. I don't want to do any more sanding on it for fear of making it look obvious.

A straight down the neck shot to show how it lines up with the soundhole.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I am a procrastinator.......

DAY 30

Today I decided I had put it off long enough, I needed to work on the neck angle and adjusting the bolt holes to compensate for the neck block installation problem I had in the beginning. The first thing I did was to start by filing the two bolt holes, and truss rod hole so the entire neck assembly could slide upwards towards the top allowing the fingerboard to line up with the top. I filed a little, and installed the neck, disassembled, filed, reassembled on and on and on again. Finally I had the holes so the neck lined up flush with the top, the truss rod fits in it's hole, and the bolts all line up. Once that was done, I took a long straight piece of MDF and laid it on the neck over the top to simulate the fingerboard. I was very surprised to see that it lined up almost perfectly right off the bat. The only thing interfering with it fitting perfectly flat was the very slight bow of the top caused by the radius I put in the top. I marked where the fingerboard was and sanded the top slightly using a board half covered in sandpaper. I used the neck as a guide with the sandpaper on the top, and the bare wood on the neck. It only took me a few minutes to get it so it laid very flat. While I had it all assembled, I decided to see how the fingerboard lines up with the bridge. I marked out the bridge location, set it in place, and then put a straight edge across the frets over the bridge. It is lined up very well. It just skims over the bridge just like it is supposed to do. My dreadnaught was not that easy. I had to do quite a bit of shaping on the neck to get it all to line up.

One thing I have been overlooking is gluing on the piece of maple on the neck tail. I realized that the tail sits almost flush with the back, and the maple is 1/8" thick. The tail therefore needed to be trimmed so the maple will end up flush with the back. I threw together a makeshift jig on my chop saw so I could cut the tail straight and made the cut. I traced out the outline on the maple and cut out a piece. Once it was all glued and clamped I decided to call it a day and head inside. I didn't get the fingerboard glued down but will get it done tomorrow. This thing is really starting to look like a guitar!

First things first..... See that top number? That's right, we got above freezing today! First time in what seems like a month or more.

Here are the bolt holes elongated. I had to do a little more for the truss rod end still.

This is how the neck angle fit before any sanding. You can see the slight bow in the top causing the board to not touch the neck right next to the guitar. Pretty darned close if you ask me!

This is my little sanding stick. I sanded only in the spot where the fingerboard is over the top. I really didn't have much sanding to do.

Here you can see the spot that I leveled out. Now it all fits flat.

This is how much the tail piece would have been past the back of the body if I didn't cut the tail.

My quick little cutting jig. Nothing more than the neck tenon fit inside my lockdown rail to hold it secure, a block under the spot being cut to help prevent tearout, and a shim to hold it straight. I used my square to make sure that it sat perfectly square to the table and saw blade.

The tail all glued up and clamped.

Monday, February 19, 2007

I'm baaaaaaackkkkkkk............

DAY 29

The bug is finally gone and I am back at it! It sure is nice to feel back to my old self again. First thing I did, after of course hooking up the new propane tank for some heat, was to do a little shop cleaning. It is amazing the amount of junk I end up with on my work tables. Once that was done, I turned my attention to the fretboard. I laid out the side dot markers, drilled and installed them. Then I sanded the edges flush and decided it was time to do some frets. I cut the first fret and realized I needed to do something different than my last guitar. Because I put binding on the fingerboard, I needed to cut the 'tangs' off of the ends of the frets so they stopped short of the binding, but allowed the fret to extend over the binding. If I had been thinking ahead, I probably would have purchased a tang nipper from Stewmac, but of course I didn't so I needed to come up with a different method. First I tried to cut using a pair of dykes and my end nippers. This cuts just fine, but it bends the end of the frets making them un-usable. I scratched my head for a while and then it hit me..... my dremel with a grinding wheel! I got it all rigged up, cut a fret and started grinding the end. Wow that gets hot fast! I decided a jig to hold the fret was in order. A simple block of wood with a slot cut in it that the fret could just fit in upside down was the ticket. It took me about 2 hours to cut and grind all 20 frets, but I got them done. I hammered the top 14 frets in and nipped them to the edge of the fingerboard. Tomorrow I will sand them flush with the edge, and glue it up to the neck. I know I keep saying it, but I also need to spend some time with the neck angle measurements to see if I need to make any adjustments to the top. I probably need to do that before I glue the fingerboard so I can use the false fingerboard method that Ted used. So who knows, maybe it won't get glued on tomorrow.

As promised, here is a picture of the peghead after sanding the epoxy off. I wet it with a little naphtha so you can get an idea of how it will look under lacquer. I am pleased with it.

Here is one of the frets with the tang ground off each end. I will invest in the nippers for the next one.

The fingerboard with the first 14 frets installed. If you look at the blown up picture really close, you can see the white marker dots. I would have done black but I didn't have any and I don't want to wait a week to for them to arrive. I might throw it on my next order and drill these out and replace them with black, I am not sure yet. They are pretty visible in person, but not so much in a photo.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Kinda quiet around here......

DAY 29

I have to apologize for the lack of updates as of late. Starting Wed. night a few hours after my last update, I got hit hard with the flu and nothing got done on the guitar. Today was the first day that I thought I felt good enough to do some work on it. I was wrong. I went out and started to sand the epoxy off of my inlay and by the time I had it sanded level, I felt like I had just run a marathon! Needless to say I shut it down and went back inside. I figured that I had better stop right then and there before I made some bad mistake that I would regret later. It is really easy to mess things up when you aren't feeling well. On the up side, the inlay looks pretty nice now that it is sanded level. It is not perfect by any means, but it looks pretty acceptable for my first attempt. I look forward to doing it again.

I forgot to take my camera out with me and didn't have the energy to go back out and take pictures so I will get them the next time I get out there. Hopefully that will be tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

More teeny tiny work........

DAY 28

Well, I am not sure how this is going. I decided to cut out the inlay pattern into the peghead. It went fine. I took my time and went really slowly with several different dremel bits and knives. All in all the cutout looks good. I had one little piece of the rosewood in the center of one of the little 'loops' that broke out, but I filled that with epoxy and rosewood dust so it won't be noticeable. I put all the pieces in and once I had them set exactly how I wanted them, I hit them with a few drops of thin superglue to hold them in place while I epoxied them. Well, somehow I bumped two of the pieces and they kind of rolled a little bit to the side, and out of alignment. They aren't bad, and since they sit just a tad proud of the peghead finish, I think that once I sand it all level, it will look fine. I was just a bit upset when I saw what had happened, and it was too late to fix it. Oh well, it is my first attempt at this so I guess I shouldn't expect perfection.

We are having a mid-winter blizzard around here today. I spent a couple of hours plowing my driveway out only to decide to stay home. The roads are terrible and they have put driving restrictions in place for our county. So far we have about 16" of new snow, and they are predicting another 12"-18" before it ends. I am finished working on the guitar today. Just when I got the inlay all epoxied in place, I ran out of propane for my heater. With the roads as bad as they are, I am not heading out to get more!

The inlay all set just before the superglue. Notice the thin section where the rosewood broke out in the lower loop.

Here it is all epoxied in place. You can see the vertical stick kind of rolled to the side, and the lower curved piece on the right got bumped out of place. Otherwise, it is 'perfect' ! lol :p

Monday, February 12, 2007

Teeny tiny work........

DAY 27

Well, it is time to try my hand at some inlay. I have never done this before so I am excited yet somewhat apprehensive about it. My gold pearl pieces and jewelers saw with blades arrived today so I figured there was no better time than the present to get started. First, I made a little cutting jig and set up a spot light to work with. I made a few copies of my design and cut one out. My first obstacle was figuring out how to mark my design on the pearl. After a few failed attempts to cut out a template from plastic, I decided to use some spray adhesive on the pearl and then stick the paper design on it. Once it dried, I cut out the pieces through the paper. It worked fine, but I have to think that there must be a better way to mark it. None the less, I had 5 pieces that make my design with no breaks! I was pretty surprised that I didn't break anything. Once that was done, I decided I wanted to do at least one practice cut in some scrap wood before I have at my guitar with a dremel. I used some scrap mahogany to cut out the design. It worked pretty well using a dremel with a couple of rasp head cutters. One is 1/8" in diam, and the other is 1/32" in diameter to get into the tight spots. I also used my x-acto knife with a few different blades and cutters to do the cleanup. I am pretty happy with the results. The cutout is not perfect by any means, but it is fairly close. I figure that epoxy with sanding dust will make the inlay look good. All of this took me a few hours to do, so I decided I will actually cut the guitar peghead tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Only a few pictures today. I was pretty focused on what I was doing and forgot to take pictures of some of the steps. This is the final design I settled on. I cut this out and glued it to a piece of pearl.

Here are the pieces all cut out and sitting on my template of the headstock. I am happy with the way this turned out, and it's size compared to the headstock. There are 5 pieces here. The long pointy piece in the middle going left to right is only 1mm wide at the thick end. It is like a big splinter!

Here it is inserted in the mahogany piece I practiced on. Not perfect but definitely acceptable.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Fun with pegheads........

DAY 26

I didn't have a lot of time to work on the guitar today, but I did get to shape the peghead. I decided to use the same design I did on my Dreadnaught as I really liked it. The only thing I changed was the two inside curves are a touch more 'curvy'. Since the stewmac kit had pre-drilled tuner holes, I was limited on how much curve I could do on the side. Since I can drill my own holes on this one, I was able to make a bigger curve. I like it better. I think I might just keep this design as a "signature" for my guitars. Anyways, I cut out a template using masonite, drilled out spots for the tuners, and attached it to the peghead blank. Then I rough cut it using my drill press and micro plane drum to get it close to the template. Once that was done, I took it to my router table and flush cut it to the template. I cut the two notches with my bandsaw, and rough sanded/filed it to final shape.

Before I did any cutting on the peghead, I did a little experiment. I ran the peghead through my router with a 45 deg. champher bit to knock the edges down so the maple would show as a line around it. I just wanted to see how it would look. I have to say, I kind of like the look. I am still undecided on whether I will do it or not, but there is a pretty good chance I will. The only difficult spot will be the two notches which I will have to file by hand.

None the less, I am not going to do anything else with the neck and fingerboard until I get the inlay done in the peghead. With this being my first attempt at inlay work, I would hate to mess up and have to replace everything including the fingerboard. I figure if I mess it up beyond repair, I can get a new neck and peghead veneer and still have my truss rod and fingerboard to use.

I don't know how much I will get done this weekend. I have another frozen pipe to deal with, and this one split so it needs to be repaired. I would like to get the heal graft glued on and start working with the neck angles while I wait for the inlay materials to arrive.

This is the template I made for the peghead. The picture makes it look a little off center, but it is very symmetric and all of the holes are lined up correctly.

Here is the peghead blank with the edges champhered. I kind of like the look and I might just do it on the finished guitar. I am still thinking about it.

The template centered and screwed to the peghead.

The peghead rough cut to within about 1/8" of the template.

The final shape after a bit of rough sanding.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Sanding.... sanding.....sanding.....

DAY 25

I spent most of my time today working on the fingerboard. I took all the tape off and started sanding........and sanding.....and sanding. Because of the very thin black edge on the maple bindings, I had to sand the glue off of the fingerboard very slowly and carefully. I wanted to make sure that I didn't sand through the black fiber edge and into the white fiber below it. It took a few hours of slow and careful sanding but I finally got it all cleaned up with the edges flush with the ebony. It turned out really nice. It was a lot of work, but I think it was worth the effort. My only concern is when I finally round the edges of the binding over, I know I will hit the white fiber. I did sand through to it in one small spot, and was able to stain over it with un-diluted tobacco brown stain concentrate. It stained just fine and the white disappeared so I think that I will end up doing that when it comes time to final sand the edges of the fingerboard. I really don't care for the white line in the binding, but that is the only thing that Stewmac had so I went with it. I will try making my own stacked bindings next time around so I don't have to deal with this again.

Once that was done, I took some time to design my peghead inlay. I wanted to make my own letter "D" for my initial out of pearl so I came up with a design I think I can do, and is different from what I have seen in the past. I made a quick visit to and ordered some gold pearl inlay material and a saw & blades.

The fretboard all bound up and sanded. I know it looks crooked at the end, but that is just a shadow.

The edge of the fretboard. If you look really closely, you can see the white line between the maple and the black top.

It is starting to look like a guitar!

Here is the inlay I am going to try and make.

Another full shot of the guitar. You can see the maple bindings pretty clearly here.

Here is the end of the fingerboard. Those little miters were a pain in the neck to hold straight until I got it all clamped up!