A little bridgework

I finished the bridge today. Actually, I finished the second bridge today. You ever have one of those moments when you’re trying to get something perfect; paying attention to every little detail; carefully laying out everything and thinking about every step. Then you get to a point and realize that you were so focussed on the details, that you didn’t notice a critical mistake.

What’s wrong with this picture:

oops

Everything laid out carefully, just off center! I was so focussed on the pin spacing, that I never noticed that my initial layout lines weren’t in the right place.

So, on to bridge #2. After milling the cocobolo blank to size, I put it in a jig to rout out the slanted slot for the saddle.

jig

routing

saddleup

Next, after triple checking my layout lines, I marked and drilled the holes for the string pins. Luckily (hah!), I still had everything set up from the first try: dividers, drillpress fence, etc. If you don’t have a birdcage awl and ever plan on marking holes for drilling, I would highly recommend getting (or making) one. They are the best tool for starting a hole.

pinholes

With the holes drilled, I marked the shape from my template and headed to the scrollsaw, being careful to remember which direction the blade wants to drift. (Man, I wish I could figure out a way to avoid the drift. Maybe  something other than a cheap scrollsaw would be better. Ya think?) Then, to the sander to slope the ends. Notice the resin buildup on the sandpaper. If you ever want to ruin some sandpaper quickly, just do a lot of cocobolo sanding.

halfslope

Then its a lot of hand work, with a block plane, carving knife and sandpaper to round edges and smooth lines.

smoothbridge

Finally, I inlaid the MOP dots and did an initial polish. (I’ll probably go back and do some more sanding, to 12000 grit).

smile

The color will deepen, as it’s exposed to air (it dulls and purples when it’s milled). Next up, the binding.

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2 Responses to “A little bridgework”

  1. Is the green just a protective sheet to help with tear-out, or is it self-adhesive backing. If not self adhesive, what do you use to attache the bridge?

    • acornhouseworkshop Says:

      No, that’s just some green painter’s tape so I can see my pattern at the scrollsaw. (Pencil on dark cocobolo is a little hard on the eyes!) The bridge will be glued on after all of the finish is on. On a steel string, the bridge is left unfinished, just polished. On a classical guitar, they would glue the bridge first, and put finish on everything, typically a French polish (shellac).

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