A couple of slices off the top

Posted in Acorn House on October 24, 2010 by acornhouseworkshop

Made another addition to the wood stash today. You never know what you’ll find in the classified, but an ad for slabs always catches my attention. Especially when it talks about curly … well … anything! In this case, the pics showed a gorgeous 7 foot slab of 3 inch thick curly ash, and a 4-5 foot slab of curly maple. After finally making contact with the seller, I made the hour drive to the middle of nowhere. In a side room of the garage were stickered stacks of ash, maple, walnut and oak slabs (and this isn’t really his business.)
I had my eye on the maple slabs, with a new coffee table in mind.
These maple slabs had come from a tree that had been struck by lightning, so were a bit irregular, which is just fine by me. I selected two of the best ( to my eye), and we muscled them into the back of the car. The first one will be the new coffee table, with a base inspired by an unsigned Arts & Craft table in the Grove Park Inn, although it will be a modern transformation of the original. (I had been working on a couple of ideas when I happened upon this picture only yesterday, like it was fate.)

The second slab I thought I might save for another coffee table when the need arose, or possibly cut it in two to make matching end tables; but upon realizing that it was almost 4 inches thick, another plan has started to hatch. After seeing Chris Schwarz’s cherry slab Roubo bench at the WIA conference, and after rereading the article about it’s build, where he talks about having a bench that is suitable to be a piece of furniture for the house, I thought about trying to build something similar that I could use inside MY house. Something not too big that would let me get some hand work done during the cold winter months when the shop gets uninhabitable. This second slab fits the bill to a tee!

It even has a narrower projection on one end that is perfect for luthiery, allowing clamping on both sides of an instrument at the same time. I don’t know if I will go full on Roubo, but hopefully I can get something together before winter hits. Of course, I will need to find some suitable beams for the legs (or glue up a thick sandwich) and do the joinery; but that will have to wait until I finish a couple of other projects first. (I’m almost finished with the first project, another jewelry box.)

Now if only I can score a winch to help me move these slabs around!

I can handle it

Posted in Acorn House on October 11, 2010 by acornhouseworkshop

One of the other great things about the Woodworking in America conference, was being able to see many different types of workbenches. And, not just seeing them, but using them, getting a feel for how they function, their weight, their height, etc. All of the editors and writers from Pop. WW had their own benches there, in addition to some commercial models that had been loaned from a store that should remain nameless. Comparing the two types, the store bought benches (well, store borrowed) couldn’t come close to the quality of the handmade ones. They were so light and unsolid that doing any handwork on them would cause them to start rocking like The Who Live at Leeds in 1970. All of the benches that have been featured in the magazine recently were there: Chris Schwarz’ massive cherry slab Roubo bench, Megan’s smaller version with an amazingly smooth rack and pinioned leg vise from Benchcrafted, the LVL bench with an added vise, and so on. Looking at the various types of construction for the bases and trying to decide which one I want to use on MY next bench. (I’m leaning towards a Roubo style tenon/sliding dovetail, of a more timber frame type like Bob Lang‘s design.)

Maybe I’ll build two, one for the shop, and a smaller one to use in the house in the colder weather. (Great; MORE projects for the list!)

Amongst the various vendors in the Marketplace, were the small tool makers that have popped up in the last few years, like Blue Spruce, Bridge City, Knew Concepts, and others. One of the newer makers of marking knives, chisels, and so forth is Czeck Edge Hand Tools. One thing that sets them apart is that, in addition to very finely handled tools and well honed O1 steel, they sell the components in a kit form, so you can turn your own handles form your favorite wood. I used this economical path with a new card scraper burnisher and small marking knive. The old burnisher wasn’t cutting it. (Just ask Chris Schwarz what he thinks about Crown burnishers. Just make sure there are no kids around!) I used African Blackwood for the burnisher handle, and a mystery exotic that I found in a box of Cocobolo cutoffs for the marking knife. (I think, its some Rosewood, but it could be any one of a number of chocolatey brown/green exotics.) The burnisher handle was no problem, but the knife handle proved to be a challenge because of its thinness. Trying to bring it down to a point at the end makes for some tricky workholding on the lathe. Luckily, the mystery wood was strong enough that it held by just a tiny bit, so I could do most of the sanding and finishing on the lathe. Some epoxy, and I have two new tools, custom fit to my hands.

The new burnisher has already proved to be a boon. I honed and turned a fine burr on a new curved end card scraper lickety split, and produced the nicest shavings I’ve ever gotten with a scraper. (I’m sure Marc Adams session on card scrapers helped, too.)

Now there’s no surface I can’t handle!


Posted in Acorn House on October 4, 2010 by acornhouseworkshop

Well, I’m back from Woodworking in America, 2010. Kudos to the gang at Popular Woodworking and their support staff for a bang up job organizing and running the whole shebang. A lot of information, a lot of laughs, and a few revelations.

The keynotes speakers were Roy Underhill and Frank Klausz, the Batman and Robin of the WW field (although I won’t say which is which). Not only did they give that presentation together, but their classes were in the same room, and they stuck around to offer commentary from the sidelines, drawing from a long history. (They met when Roy was giving a demonstration and Frank, unbeknownst to Roy, decided his chisel wasn’t sharp enough and surreptitiously gave it a quick once over!) One of the facts that came out during the speech was Roy’s reason for starting the Wheelwright’s Shop in the first place. He was (and still is) concerned about the depleting resources of the planet, and views traditional woodworking techniques as the future, not the past. The one session of Frank’s that I did make sure to see, was his presentation about chopping mortises by hand. He borrowed a trick from Roy and used a piece of plate glass as one side of the mortise so you can see the mortise being chopped, sort of like an ant farm. I managed to get some video of that. I think my favorite moment comes in part 2, where Frank’s chisel goes past his layout line, and Roy quickly zooms in to show the slip.

One of the more entertaining (and educational) speakers was Chris Schwarz. I saw four of his sessions on grinding tools, the router plane (one-toothed sex monster), planing impossible woods and scraper planes. He has a sarcastic side that jibes with my sense of humor well. After making disparaging remarks about the knarly piece of walnut I brought as a planing challenge (we were able to handle it even with my Millers Falls #10 after a couple of adjustments, although the infill plane he had was so much nicer to use), he used in the next sessions as his demo wood for scraping planes.

One big revelation came in Marc Adams‘s session on Sharpening and Using Chisels and Card Scrapers. His way of using a card scraper is like nothing I have ever seen (apparently its more common in Europe). Instead of flexing it and pushing, you pull it flat at an extreme skew, just barely off of parallel. This produces a different kind of shaving, but does an incredible job without leaving the typical scoop.

The only minus I would say (and others were talking about it, as well), was the back to back scheduling of many of the sessions. While they had originally stated that there would be some hands-on time after each session to work with the instructor and ask questions; many of the sessions had to clear out of the room to make way for another session scheduled right after. I think making the conference a full 3 days, and spreading out the sessions might have helped. That also would have left more time for the Marketplace, without feeling so rushed.

But…I did manage to make time to spend a bit down in the marketplace. Aside from the usual suspects offering new tools, there were a few dealers of vintage tools offering some amazing wares. (Just to see that many infill planes for sale is a treat, even if I wasn’t ready to spend That much!) I picked a few vintage tools to add to my arsenal.

Above you can see (clockwise from top) a Spears & Jackson tenon saw, Stanley 720 1/4″ paring chisel, English brass and ebony mortise gauge, and an unknown maker scraper plane, with an original I. H. Sorby toothed blade. (That’s going to come in very handy surfacing acoustic guitar tops!) I did buy some new stuff as well, but that’s not as fun as the vintage tools.

Next time, I may have to swing an infill plane. Somehow.

So many tools, so little (time) money.

Gathering of the Tribe

Posted in Acorn House on September 28, 2010 by acornhouseworkshop

If you’re going       to Cin-cin-nati
Be sure to wear     some sawdust in your hair
If you’re going      to Cin-cin-nati
You’re gonna meet      some grainy people there…

That’s right, its almost time for the Woodworking in America conference to begin. I’ve been sharpening up the tools I’ll need for some of the sessions (and making sure I have some dull ones for the sharpening sessions.) It’s been a challenge, trying to balance the desire to go to as many of the sessions as possible, while still leaving times open to do the hands-on part afterwards, and have time to cruise the Marketplace. (I guess lunch will have to wait until I get back!)

I have found one session that I missed when I was signing up that I definitely want to go to — Frank Klausz’ session on Cutting Mortises Quickly. Now that I have a full compliment of mortise chisels, I should learn how to best use them!  I think I can miss the resawing veneer session to go to it, as long as I make the other Band saw Set-up session.

So, the sessions that I plan on attending are:

  • How to Grind Your Tools
  • Contemporary Design
  • Cutting Mortises Quickly
  • The Essential Router Plane
  • Set Up a Band Saw for Ultimate Precision
  • Sharpening & Using Chisels & Card Scrapers
  • Amazing Router Jigs for Inlay, Ellipses and “Faux” Dovetails
  • Advanced Cuts with a Japanese Saw
  • Planing Impossible Woods
  • Scraping Planes

A nice balance between hand and power tool techniques, with a little design thrown in for good measure.

If you’re there, say hi. I should have some Acorn House gear on. I look forward to meeting everyone. If you see me buying thousands of dollars of tools in the Marketplace, throw some cold water on me, I’ve gone out of control!


Posted in Acorn House on September 11, 2010 by acornhouseworkshop

The start of a new school year, and the start of a new semester, brings a grinding halt to any shoptime. Aside from my normal teaching duties, as Director of the University Jazz Ensemble I need to write all of the arrangements for the semester, and write them soonest, so the Ensemble will have them to rehearse and practice (PLEASE, practice!). But, that is now done, so I can get back to the plane cabinet.

The doors went together fairly quickly, poplar for the frames, and some 1/4″ sycamore that I had on hand for the panels. Instead of glueing up the sycamore to get the required width, I decided to shiplap them loose, adding a champfer to highlight, rather than hide, the seam. Mortise and tenon joinery, testfitting, and glue up and — voila! — doors. Then I mortised in the hinges (basic hardware store stuff, nothing fancy) and drilled for the handles. One of the doors was hanging a bit too crooked, even for shop furniture, so I dowelled the screw holes and redrilled them. (I didn’t have my self centering drill bits on hand, so the first holes on that one hinge were a tiny bit off.) After rehanging it, I realized that putting the handles on before final fitting was a mistake. Always wait until the doors are hung before marking and drilling for the door handles. It’s a good thing this is only shop furniture. The doors could use some edge planing at the top and bottom, but with the handles already off, I’m not going to worry about it.

Now that the cabinet was finished, I had to move the old plywood cabinet (where I had been housing some of the planes with chisels, etc.). With both cabinets emptied out, I rehung them and starting fitting them with the planes, and making new fitting for the chisels, etc.

Hopefully the new cabinet won’t make the old, plywood, slapped together one feel too bad about itself. Now the planes have a home, complete with slots for scrapers, and room for more miscellany.

The old cabinet can now accommodate all of my assorted chisels, from fine Japanese chisels to utility chisels used to scrape glue. I carefully measured, marked and drilled holders for all of them, trying to maximize the space. I still have a little bit of room for additional assorted hand tools, but its a good start. I’m sure when I get back from the Woodworking in America conference, I’ll have new stuff to find room for.

As I was cleaning and clearing space to hang the cabinets, I found a not too subtle reminder of just how hot it has been this summer. I use parrafin wax to lube screws and plane bottoms. This block, the standard rectangle of paraffin wax for canning, had been on top of a box of screws.

The Meltyman strikes again!

Atlas shrugged

Posted in Acorn House on August 24, 2010 by acornhouseworkshop

As I mentioned in the previous post, I am making a new cabinet to house my planes, along with a rust inhibitor. I decided, since this was just for the shop, to use poplar for most of the stock. (I can’t really justify using more expensive wood for shop storage. Mebbe if I was one of them thar teleovision woodworker’s and needed everythin to look purty…) This was also another chance to get some dovetail practise, since I hadn’t done any in about a year.

After measuring ALL of my planes, I figured out a layout that would give every plane its own compartment, while taking up the least amount of overall space. The inner walls/dividers were 1/2″ resawn poplar, dadoed in. I am having the planes lean back towards the back, with a simple stop in the front; no need for any other elaborate fastening systems. This will also allow me to transport them lying flat, if the need ever arises. One of the main determinants of the case’s width, was the big #608 jointer plane, which I wanted on the bottom, so I didn’t have to lift that monster over and over.

After milling, jointing, dadoing, assembling, glueing and clamping, I test loaded the planes in to check the fit. All of the stops were positioned according to the angle each plane needed to clear the front. Then, I had to put that aside to work on the earring box build. While working on that I noticed that all was not right in the plane cabinet. While I had made the carcase nice and strong, I hadn’t allowed for the weight of all the planes on the shelf/divider material. OOPS! The lowest shelf above the jointer plane had developed a serious sag, opening up most of the dado joints.


There was no way to change the design now, if I wanted to keep the #608 IN the case, protected from the damp. So, after testing how I could slide the plane in and out, I made up a couple of braces, one in back on the left, and one in front on the right that the jointer would slip behind. This provided ample support for the upper shelves and closed up (mostly) the gaps. It also gives me another compartment for something.

Ah, the weight of the world can be a heavy burden sometimes.


Posted in Acorn House on August 23, 2010 by acornhouseworkshop

Since finishing the guitar build (I have decided that that model will be the Deuce, so that particular guitar is a Butternut Deuce), I started on building a cabinet to house my planes, so I could get a rust inhibiter in amongst them. (The humidity this year has been brutal!) I will talk more about that in the next post.

I had to interrupt that build to work on a birthday present for my sister. This was an important one, so I knew it had to be something nice. She had been wanting a box for her earrings, and I dithered over the design. I didn’t want to do something boring, I wanted it to be different, and I wanted to do something I hadn’t done before. I finally decided to use an 8/4 spalted maple board that had varying widths for a curved lid. I would do a cove cut on the table saw, something I’ve never done. Picking out a suitable section, I cut it longer than I needed and made some rough angled cuts on the table saw to prepare the top of it for a curve. Then I did some straight rips on the underside to remove as much material as I could while still letting it lie flat to the table saw. I didn’t want to tax my 1 1/2 hp contractor’s saw too much trying to take big bites from the hard maple. (Really must upgrade to a cabinet saw one of these years.) After figuring out the right approach angle, I clamped a long piece of plywood down to the saw and started making 1/8″ passes. To ensure that I was getting a symmetrical cove, I did two passes at every blade height, using both edges against the straight edge. In no time it was done. I cleaned it up with a curved sole plane and sandpaper, and then planed and sanded the top to match the curve on the bottom, leaving it a little thicker towards the back where the hinge pins will go.

The rest of the box is made out of a cherry scrap board, resawn to 3/8″ for the sides, and 1/8″ for the dividers. Basic mortise and tenon construction here, leaving the side to extend a bit forward of the front and back, and tall enough to scribe the lid’s curve to them. The dividers are made with stock the exact thickness of the saw kerf, using lap joints, and fitted to the box (for the lower ones) and the tray. The tray was made with rabbit joints. I didn’t want any decorative joinery, and its not going to be under too much stress.

After everything had been glued, sanded and finished (with an oil/varnish), I laid a black felt on the bottom of the box and tray. The dividers were left loose (but tightly fitting), so that I could use just one large pice of felt, rather than trying to stick on 30 small pieces. Finally, I turned a handle from African Blackwood to lift the tray out. The lid overhangs on the front so it doesn’t need a handle. Some 3/16″ brass rod going through the sides into the lid for the hinge.

(More pics on its page.) That isn’t sapwood on the bottom of the side, by the way, its just the way the light is hitting it.

I won’t say how old she is, let’s just say the apogee has been reached. Happy B-Day!

Gibson, watch out!

Posted in Acorn House on August 13, 2010 by acornhouseworkshop

Before hitting the finishing room, I carefully taped off the fingerboard. It had already had a couple of coats of fingerboard oil rubbed in, so it was done. (Fender and Rickenbacker use a heavy coating on their fingerboards, Gibson and most others don’t. I prefer the faster “natural” feel.) I stopped the tape just shy of the transition from neck to fingerboard. I will smooth that out after the fact.

Since I don’t use any spray equipment, I can’t use the traditional modern lacquer finish. But, that’s okay. There’s nothing like a good oil/varnish to bring out the best in the wood, and I can get the feel equally silky. Plus, I like a more satin finish, instead of the ultra-glossy look of lacquer. So, I rubbed in 8 or 9 coats of oil/varnish (after that many, its easy to lose count), using 600 grit sandpaper and/or 0000 steel wool after each coat. The result, a durable, smooth, finish. After the last coat had cured for a couple of days, I broke out the micro-mesh finishing pads and “sanded” to 12,000 grit. (Really, by the time you get to 8,000, “grit” doesn’t even apply!) The final step in the finishing process, was to apply a coat of wax to the top. The back and sides don’t really need it, and the neck would be pointless, since it will get constant wear.

Then, it was time to start getting the hardware attached. I used a reamer to fit the tuners in their holes (the finish had closed them up, a bit, any way. The post bushings for the bridge and tailpiece get carefully hammered in. On the posts closest to the control cavity, I drilled holes to them and passed grounding wires through. While hammering in those posts, the ground wire gets captured by the tight fit.

Before finishing the hardware and wiring the guitar up, the frets need dressing. No matter how carefully you hammer ( or press) frets in, no matter how straight your neck is, there are bound to be slight height differences from fret to fret. And ANY difference will result in a fret buzz. (This is SOP for any builder, big or small.) Using a long, jointed, straightedge with 220 grit attached, the frets are brought down to a common level, following the radius of the fingerboard. Then, using a fine sharpening stone, the sanding marks are  smoothed. Finally, a special tool (called a fretfile, oddly enough!) is used to recrown the frets, always being careful not to take them down below the new, level, height. This tool also helps to round over the fret ends, so that they do not feel sharp while playing. The levelled, recrowned frets get sanded/polished to a nice smooth shine. I used the same micro-mesh sanding pads for this, but 0000 steel wool and polishing compound can do the same job.

The last job before wiring is to shape, fit and slot the nut. I used bone for this guitar. Other materials are plastic, synthetic bone or even corian. I shape the top of the nut blank to match the contour of the fingerboard radius, keeping it high enough so that that the strings, in their slots, will clear the frets without buzzing. After marking out the string positions on the nut according to an online nut slot calculator (the spacing is nut equidistant from slot to slot, but rather between the edge of the strings, so the gap changes according to the thickness of the string.) I used a fine detail saw to start the slots. Then, with the bridge and tailpiece installed on their posts, and the guitar strung up to pitch, I used files to seat the strings to the appropriate depth.

Even before wiring it up, the guitar had a nice clear, strong voice. My choice of butternut for the body and maple for the neck seemed to have resulted in a nicely resonant instrument. I had a friend help with the wiring (OK, do). It turned out to be more challenging than it might since I had opted to include an onboard tuner, which added an additional degree of difficulty. It didn’t help matters that my soldering pen was not cooperating fully (memo to self: GET A BETTER SOLDERING PEN!), but, after a while, it was wired.

Plugging it into an amp, turning it on, and…HEY, only one pickup is sounding! But, after checking the connections, playing with the knobs, it came to life. It must have been a stray bit of solder that worked itself loose; no problems since. A nice sound, although a little soft. But, after adjusting the pickup height, a nice full, rich sound. (I will be posting a video in the near future, so you can hear for yourselves.) All ready for its own page.

Now it just needs a name (I hear Les Paul is already taken.)

I read the news today, oh boy…

Posted in Acorn House on July 28, 2010 by acornhouseworkshop

Crucial for any guitar — electric, acoustic, classical, flamenco, etc… — is the position of the bridge. If it is off, the guitar will never play in tune. The traditional way of determining this is to measure down to the 12th fret from the nut, then measure that same distance from the 12th fret. Add 2mm, and that is considered the optimum position for where the strings should contact the bridge. (The 2mm is to account for string stretching as they are pressed down.) There is a little more flexibility on an electric, since most electric bridges are adjustable, but it still needs to be as close as possible to optimum. Once that position is marked, and the holes for the bridge’s mounting posts are measured and marked, the position for the tailpiece can be measured and marked, usually about 2″ from the bridge. (I am using a two piece bridge/tailpiece tunematic style bridge. Others styles combine the two in a single unit.) The holes for the mounting posts for both bridge and tailpiece have to be exact and should be a little undersized, so the knurls on the posts will hold tight.

The positions for the various volume and tone knobs and pickup selector switch are worked out according to personal preference, and drilled all the way through the body. They will be used as the template for the control cavity.

With the holes drilled, I can then position the two pickups. I am using P90 style pickups, common in the 50s and 60s, for a vintage sound. A routing template is easily made using 4 pieces of plywood to go around the pickup cover. The depth of each pickup’s rout is figured by placing a straight edge along the fingerboard to represent the string height, and, using the height of the pickup, calculating how deep to rout. Each pickup will be different, since the string height will change the closer you are to the bridge. Make sure not to take too much on each pass of the router.

After the pickups are routed, I finished shaping the contour of the top. This is an optional step, but I feel it makes for a more comfortable guitar. Each brand has a typical contour, I ended up with a shape similar to a PRS type guitar, which is odd, since I hadn’t really been modelling them in the beginning. It just seemed like the best option with my materials and shape. I started by outlining the end point of the slope and taking wood away to it with a microplane and rasp. A file cleaned up the roughness, and sand paper handled the final smoothing. I checked the feel in playing position, and made some adjustments.

A control cavity is routed out to house all of the electronics. The hole for the input jack is drilled with a forstner bit in from the side to meet the control cavity. I decided to inset the oval jack plate for a cleaner look. Finally, a recess for the control cavity cover is routed.

One of the last steps before final sanding and finishing is to hammer the frets in. While there are many fret presses on the market, the more fretwork I do, the more I realize that the old method of hammering each fret in with a brass fret hammer is so simple that there is no need to do anything else. I cut the fretwire to length for each slot. Since it came from the supplier coiled, I don’t need to prebend it. (Other suppliers supply straight wire, which will need to be bent to a slighter sharper curve than the fingerboards radius.) Placing it on the slot, I hammer each end in first, then work my way to the center. This helps the fret’s tang get a strong grip in the wood. Since the fret hammer’s brass head is softer than the fretwire, there is no problems with denting the frets. DON’T use a steel hammer! A firm hand and solid backing will get the job done quickly. Flush cutting end trimmers cut the excess wire as close to the fingerboard as possible. The final step (at this stage) is to file the ends of the wire perfectly flush with the edge of the fingerboard, bevelling it back a little. With the frets in, you can see the fingerboard’s radius a little easier. (Also note the holes for the tuning machines drilled into the head.)

Now you know how many holes it takes to fill the, um, guitar.

Gives you wings!

Posted in Acorn House on July 16, 2010 by acornhouseworkshop

With the inlay work done, now is the time to shape the neck. Since it is a through neck design, I want to get the neck shaped as much as possible before I attach the rest of the body. Less bulky this way. I used a router with a roundover bit first to break the edges and hog away some of the material. Then a spokeshave roughed in the basic shape, then a rasp, then a file, finally some sandpaper. I was worried that the curly maple would make it harder to work on than the mahogany necks I made on the parlors, but it turned out to be not that bad. There are some standard shapes in the guitar world — v, u, oval, etc. — but one of the benefits of building a custom guitar is that you can shape to fit your hand, including some asymmetric shaping. After all, the human hand is not symmetrical, so why shouldn’t guitar necks accommodate that. (Although you wouldn’t want to go too crazy making it wildly asymmetric. That’s just asking for some twisting.) So I shaped and smoothed; tried the fit and feel; refined and smoothed; tried it again; slept on it (the feel, not the neck.  …  sickoes.); and did some more refinements the next day. After all, until the finish goes on, there’s no problem making further refinements.

So, after I had the neck to where I was satisfied, I got the body ‘wings’, which I had previously bandsawed and routed to a pattern, jointed and ready for glueing to the neck. I used butternut for the wings, again, for lightness and resonance. Even though it proved a little dodgy for the neck, it should be perfectly fine for the wings. I also routed a channel for the pickup wires in the side of the bottom wing. If you are making a through neck guitar, the number one tip is: MAKE SURE YOU SAVE YOUR CUTOFFS! Unless you are making a rectilinear guitar (the late Bo Diddley’s “cigar box” guitar comes to mind), there are no flat surfaces with which to clamp. Using the body cutoffs as cauls makes a world of difference.

After letting the glue cure overnight, I smoothed and surfaced the top and bottom and tackled the neck’s heel transition, which had to wait until after the wings were attached since they become part of the transition. Again, the goal is hand comfort and playability, so shape, try and finesse until it feels right. Even though my double cutaway design means I will have plenty of room on the top frets, you still need it to flow. So lots of rasping, filing and sanding.

Then comes the top. I am using a bookmatched spalted sycamore top, matching the headstock. Before glueing the two pieces of the top together, I used the table saw to cut the notch for the fingerboard projection. Then, while carefully aligning the notch, join the two halves of the top together. After the glue dries, the drum sander maker quick work of cleaning up any squeeze out and preparing the top to glue to the body. While fitting the top, making any last minute parings to the notch, I traced the body shape onto it and cut as close as I dared at the band saw. This will make routing it flush much easier. Lots of clamps, plenty of glue, 24 hours, a flush trim pattern router bit, a trip to the spindle sander for final smoothing, a roundover bit for the bottom, some hand refining near the neck and, voila!, it’s a guitar!

Well, nearly. After drilling the mounting holes for the bridge and tailpiece and routing out the pickup cavities, I can do some more contouring to the top. Then get the control cavity and output jack drilled and routed; finish, hardware, wire, setup… Not done, but I can see the finish line in the distance.

Glad I got my wings!

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