Monday, March 26, 2012

Congratulations to Luke & Louise

Well, no work done this weekend! Our son Luke got married on Saturday to Louise. What a great day we had! Here are the happy couple.

Back to the workshop tomorrow with a spring in my step!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pattern maker’s vice

I’m aware that I’m getting more and more blog followers, so many thanks to all of you who are interested in what goes on here. Someone made a comment about the vice that I use. Well, it’s from Rutland Tools and they call it a cabinet maker’s vice, although I think the correct term is a pattern maker’s vice. StewMac do one similar.

Since I’ve had it, it has transformed the way that I work. The jaws rotate independently so that you can grip an object, that doesn’t have parallel edges, firmly- so when you look through this blog, you’ll see instruments being gripped by their necks.

This is also helped by the fact the jaws are higher than the bench's work surface. The whole vice can also be rotated through 360. I wouldn’t be without it!


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Dovetail Neck Joint

This week, the neck has gone on to John’s guitar and I thought that you might be interested in the process. Much has been written about the various merits of different neck joints; all I’m going to say is that the dovetail joint works for me!

The first step is to route the female part of the dovetail into the body of the guitar. A well thought-out jig and a dovetail router bit gives you this.....

Now, my rule is that this part doesn’t get touched, all the fitting and fettling is done on the neck.

The male part of the dovetail is carefully marked out and the waste sawn off.

Then comes the fitting; this is achieved by chiselling and filing.

Unfortunately, you are virtually working blind and the only way to find out where wood needs to be removed is by using feeler gauges. I know that one method is to cut the dovetail undersize and then use shims to pack the gaps out and adjust the angle of the neck- no comment!

A well fitted tapered dovetail is a thing of beauty- when the neck goes into the body it feels loose until the last 1mm or so when all of a sudden the taper bites and bingo the neck is griped by the body. A smear of glue, light pressure and the job’s a good en! What I’ve neglected to mention is that the neck has to be aligned perfectly in two planes and there should not be a gap between the neck and the body!

With the neck in place, I continue the slots for the carbon-fibre into the neck block. The carbon-fibre is glued in with epoxy and a fillet of wood goes over the top, so that there is a wood surface for the fingerboard to be glued to. The fillet must be undersize to allow the excess epoxy to squeeze out.

Then the adjustable truss-rod goes in- I wrap it in PTFE tape to ensure that any glue that may get onto it (whilst gluing the fingerboard on) doesn’t effect its operation.

All that detail is then of course hidden forever under the fingerboard! I wonder how much time is spent on constructional details that are never seen??

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Thursday, March 08, 2012

More pretty stuff!

I’ve just finished working on the bindings and purflings for John’s guitar. I’ve used rosewood for the bindings as I really like the way it complements the koa.
I’ve used rope purfling around the front, to tie in with the rosette and simple black and white lines around the back.

Whilst the glue was drying on John’s bindings, I tackled a little challenge that Alan had set me. For his new mandolin, Alan asked for a cocobolo rosette. Now, that sounds a simple enough request, but cutting an elliptical recess into the soundboard and then an elliptical piece of wood to fit perfectly into it, took quite a bit of thought and even the making of a prototype. You can see the result below; its simplicity belies the work involved- it’s probably the kind of thing that only fellow woodworkers would appreciate.

OK boys lets have a group hug!

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