Monday, February 25, 2008

More kerfing and a rosette started


I feel better now.

Okay, I know that I promised that I would post last week after getting back to work last Saturday. Well I didn't get a chance to work on the guitar until Sunday after church. I started by removing all the clips holding the kerfed linings on the top edge and fit the kerfed linings on the back edge. I glued them up and got them clamped in place. I then turned my attention to the top. I needed to lay out the sound hole location based on the 12 fret short scale design the guitar will ulitmately be built to be. It took some work figuring out the actual measurement but I finally got it. Hopefully it is right! I laid out the brace locations on the inside to make sure that the sound hole is actually in the right spot. It is kind of scary trying to lay such an important part of the guitar with no plan to work off of. All I had to use was a plan of a short scale 14 fret guitar and a plan of a long scale 12 fret guitar. After comparisons and some math I was able to figure out the actual center spot for the sound hole.

Once I had that done I dug out all of my rosette blanks to see what wood I wanted to use with the redwood top. I settled on Ziricote. I like the dark brown striped coloring with the redwood top. I have several pieces of Ziricote that I can also use for headstock veneer so I like the idea of matching the two components. I cut the rosette ring with my Dremel and circle cutter, routed the channel in the top and glued it in place. I will sand it flat tomorrow and then I will route around the inside and outside edges to inlay a black/white/black trim around it. I think that will give it a nice classy look. I have done my rosettes this way on my last 4 guitars and I really like it. I do the solid wood part by routing the channel for it. Because of the hardness of Ziricote, the circle cutter does a fair job but it puts imperfections all along the edges of the rosette. I like inlaying it in the top first and then re-routing around the edges, just skimming the actual solid wood piece which gives the edge a nice clean line. It also allows me to do the rosette in 'phases' instead of trying to get the solid piece and 6 strips all glued in at one time. This method just seems to work better for me.

So tomorrow (or next time I get back in the shop!) I will sand it flat, route the inner and outer channels and inlay the strips.

The rims with the second set of linings clamped and glued.

This is the brace layout. Note that there is only one tone bar. Because of the small size, a single tone bar will allow the top to vibrate a bit more freely. It should give a bit more low end tone.

The rims with the clamps removed and the insides sanded clean. I still need to do the side braces. Yep, I forgot them before doing the linings. I wanted to use cloth but now I will use wood.

Here is the first stage of the rosette glued in. It is a nice stripy piece of Ziricote. I like the contrast with the redwood. The B/W/B trim should give it a really nice look.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

FINALLY, back in the shop!

Yep, that's right I found some time to get up in the shop today and do some work on the '0'. I have been extremely busy with work and I started selling books online in January. I was expecting the book sales to be spotty and slow at first and would build up gradually over time as my experience progressed. Wrong! I listed my first 125 books on a Sunday afternoon and by Monday night had 10 orders. Sales have been strong every day since that day. Needless to say I had to hit the ground running, learning all about shipping, packaging, and stock replenishment very quickly under the heat of battle so to speak. Things are going well and I feel now like I have things somewhat under control. Those first few weeks were crazy though. As I have mentioned before in this blog, my ultimate goal with guitar building is to hopefully one day start a business building and selling custom guitars. I have been spending a lot of time and money towards that goal and I feel like I am progressing nicely. The pitfall however is it costs a lot of money to learn the way I have been doing it. I finally decided that if I am to continue towards this goal, I need to find a source of additional income to pay for it. That is where the online book selling comes in. It is a venture that produces income quickly and it is something I can do outside of my normal work hours. Now that I am getting a system down, it is also a venture that can be done and still allow me time in the shop as well as provide money to buy tools and wood as needed. The big advantage I have is that my father is an online bookseller so he has been a huge help getting me up and running. It is nice to have someone who has 'been there-done that' who I can bounce questions off of. All through the middle of the book selling learning time, I decided that would be a great time to get a new computer. Anyone who has changed computers knows what a pain in the neck that can be. Getting everything moved to the new machine and getting it all running smoothly is a chore. I got it done and was able to get everything working again. I still have some websites that I have lost the passwords from and of course the cookies that hold them are buried somewhere on the old computer. Things will smoothen themselves out in short time though.

So for all of you who frequent my blog, and wondered if I dropped off the face of the earth I apologize for the sudden lack of activity. For all the forum readers who wonder where I disappeared to, now you know. I am still reading and posting, but I just haven't had the time to dwell in the forums as much as I normally do.

Anyways back to guitar stuff. I spent a few hours last week making some reverse kerfed linings and then bending them. I used my fingerboard slotting jig and the fret slotting blade in my table saw to cut the kerfs. I taped all 4 blanks in the jig and cut the slots all at one time. It was a pretty easy and uneventful task although I think it is worth spending the few dollars per piece just to buy them from a supplier. Mine work, and they look okay but they take a lot of time to do and they don't look as professional as a pre-made set does. Today I took them out of the bender, cut the top pieces to length and glued them in. My plan is to get the back ones glued up tomorrow.

I received a package of some back and side sets I ordered from an online auction this last week. I get a set of striped Maple, Pauduk, African Mahogany, and Canarywood. I also got a mahogany neck blank. My wood stash is growing nicely. I have purchased a lot of Lutz top sets from the same auction over the last few months so I now have 10 back and side sets with 4 more sets coming, 20 top sets, and 8 neck blanks with fingerboards. I also have one Lutz billet that can be sawn into 3-4 top sets as well. It is nice to have some wood to choose from when designing a guitar. It is also a lot of fun to tap the different tops and listen to them ring.

Here are the 4 pieces of reverse kerfed linings I made before bending.

The bender all set and ready to go.

All 4 pieces got bent at the same time.

Here is the rim thicknessed down to size and roughly radiused.

The next four pictures are of the new back and side sets I got. This one is the striped maple set. I dampened it with naphtha to help show the stripes.

The African Mahogany set

The Canarywood. This picture doesn't do the set justice. It is very yellow in color.

The Pauduk. Again the color isn't quite right. The real wood is very orange/red in color. I am a bit nervous with this wood. It is very brittle stuff and I have read a lot of horror stories of people trying to bend it. I think I will hold off until I have a lot more bending experience before trying to build anything out of this set.

Here is a picture of my wood stash. There are 10 back/side sets, 20 top sets, 8 neck blanks with fingerboards, and a ton of rosette blanks. The plank sitting on the table to the right is a Lutz top billet.

The Kerfed linings fresh out of the bender still wrapped in kraft paper.

The top linings glued and clamped.