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 Post subject: Re: The Robin's Nest
PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2016 9:29 am 
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No cross grain dowel. That is going to be the fix when I can get to it. They were the brass inserts that are fairy ubiquitous in hardware stores designed to be driven in with a special slot end tool. The neck was hard maple.


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 Post subject: Re: The Robin's Nest
PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2016 10:52 pm 
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Bryan Bear wrote:
One of these days I will make a test rig to prove that it is okay with the forces we deal with. I think the test you are talking about was with force pulling straight out (I could have that wrong). The force on a neck joint is pulling with a levering action at the heel. It is not necessarily super strong, but pulling on the side of the wooden hole could be an Important difference. I don't have any taps that can cut into a blind hole and never get around to getting one. Now that I think about it, even a really poorly made tap will be up to the task of cutting hardwood. I should just grab a Harbor Freight tap set and get on with it.


Yes, the test was axial loading. As far as the neck joint, the bottom scew will be carrying most of the tension, and will be essentially axially loaded. There's very little tension anywhere in this joint, string load is essentially axial compression, with a small amount of tension due to ecentricity of the loading. I calculated it for one of the neck geometries I've used, and I think it was a little less than 20 lbs.

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 Post subject: Re: The Robin's Nest
PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 9:45 am 
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I agree that the actual stress on this joint is low but until you test int he actual situation, there will always be a small amount of doubt.

Dennis, sorry. I didn't mean to hijack your thread.

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 Post subject: Re: The Robin's Nest
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 1:04 am 
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Bryan Bear wrote:
I agree that the actual stress on this joint is low but until you test int he actual situation, there will always be a small amount of doubt.

Dennis, sorry. I didn't mean to hijack your thread.

No worries about the hijack, it was an interesting discussion :) And seeing as how I still haven't gotten to making the neck yet, there is still time to change my mind again. I'm a bit tempted to try the tapped wood bolt-on... I've been thinking maybe I shouldn't go overboard on the lightweight building for this one, since it's so small. I'm going to make the sides thicker than usual to add some mass, in hopes of boosting the bass a bit. And if I'm not setting a new record anyway, then what's a few more grams in the heel as well...

Still a couple months to go before building season really begins, but I'm finally getting back to work on the stuff that can be done in high humidity (and it has been high! My scraper got all rusty again...). First stage of the neck is the fingerboard. Forgot to take pictures of the slot sawing process, but it's the same as I always do. Taper the board, mark lines where the high and low E strings will be, use an x-acto knife and my trusty 36" iGaging straightedge with 1/64" graduations to mark the fret positions for the high and low scales along those string paths, and then clamp a squared up wood block at each pair of marks and gently hold the saw against it as a guide while cutting the slot.

Then plane the edges some more to make way for binding, and glue some walnut strips on. I use masking tape to clamp, and squeeze by hand as well while the glue cools and grips. Then clean the glue out of the fret slots before it dries.
Attachment:
FretSlotGlueCleaning.jpg

For this I use an x-acto knife that I've ground to a chisel point. The blade thickness just happens to be a perfect fit for fret slots. It's also a handy tool if I ever need to carve very small grooves in things.
Attachment:
ChiselPoint.jpg

And here's the fingerboard after cleanup and final tapering (the bindings taper from a little over 1/16" at the nut to a little over 1/8" at the end of the board, which I think gives a more balanced look than constant thickness bindings).
Attachment:
FingerboardDone.jpg

I haven't decided what kind of side markers to use. Perhaps green abalone dots. Or I could try making some from the same clam shell as the logo inlay, but I've never had good luck making small dots. At least not in any reasonable amount of time.

I probably won't do any front markers. This fingerboard looks quite lovely just as it is.


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 Post subject: Re: The Robin's Nest
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:49 pm 
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That chisel point XActo is an incredibly handy tool, I've got several different blades for different purposes. It did start with cleaning out fret slots on a bound fingerboard with a regular blade, which didn't work that well. Grind it to a chisel point, and it works like $15.50 from StewMac.

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 Post subject: Re: The Robin's Nest
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 6:56 pm 
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+1 on the ground Xacto blade for cleaning frets.

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 Post subject: Re: The Robin's Nest
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 9:51 pm 
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Minor change of design! I can't believe I almost missed this opportunity... birdseye maple :mrgreen: Because bird. I'm going to use it for the body binding and the headplate. Fingerboard will keep its walnut since that looks great and will work well for the headstock binding too. I'd been thinking walnut might be a little too dull for the body, but I didn't notice the potential for clever wording until it was staring me in the face while out shopping for a cherry heel block :)

I did find some good cherry as well, so I can finally get cutting on the neck. I could almost squeeze a bolt-on neck with heel from the 24" blank, but it was about half an inch short. But this way I can either have the integral neck run all the way to the upper transverse brace like I normally do, or use A-frame braces like the plan and use the offcut from the neck blank for the tail block.


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 Post subject: Re: The Robin's Nest
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 1:15 am 
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For bound fingerboards, I learned from Alan Carruth to fill the slots with strips of plastic cut from can lids. Nut can lids work quite well and are usually just the right thickness. If it's a little too thick, you can scrape the plastic down so it fits. I cut them in strips using a souped up balsa wood strip cutter, which I also learned about from Alan. Do it before you taper the board so that the strips are flush with the edge. Then when you glue the binding on, you don't get glue in the slot. It also helps keep dust out if you sand the radius on the board. Use an Exacto knife to dig them out once you are ready to fret. Works like a charm.

Matt



These users thanked the author Matt Bouchie for the post: Alex Kleon (Mon Sep 19, 2016 6:58 am)
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 Post subject: Re: The Robin's Nest
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:15 am 
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Finally making some good progress on the neck!

First step, the heel block. Cut a couple pieces from the chunk of cherry I bought last week. One piece rectangular, the other profiled more like a Spanish foot. Go at the rectangular one with a gouge, and then glue the two together to get a shape with a deeper hollow than I can do from one piece.
Attachment:
HeelBlock.jpg

Then saw the scarf joint.
Attachment:
ScarfSawing.jpg

Not very pretty, but that's ok since the neck blank was an inch or two longer than I needed.
Attachment:
ScarfRough.jpg

Then do a whole bunch of planing to smooth those surfaces and thin the neck blank. Then clamp the fingerboard on and drill position pin holes. This is why I make the fingerboard first, so I can mark around it with a pencil to be sure that the neck taper and headstock nut line will match it perfectly.
Attachment:
PositionPins.jpg

It's clamped some distance back from the headstock transition because when planing the neck to thickness, I forgot to account for the fact that the fingerboard on this one is a bit thinner than usual. Since the neck is tapered and the scarf joint not glued yet, I can regain some thickness by planing the headstock end back instead of sawing to length at the other end.

Then do the truss rod slot using my trusty Veritas plow plane. The slot is slightly curved on the bottom to prevent truss rod rattle (when tensioned, the rod is pulled against the upper side of the cavity so it won't vibrate like a string). The depth tapers from about 5/16" at the nut to 9/16" at the other end.
Attachment:
PlowPlane.jpg

Then I scrape the bottom of the slot with a sharpened piece of 3/16" steel rod. A flat bottom slot would be fine, but I like the idea of a rounded cavity, plus it's better to have it a bit deeper than the plow plane can reach.

And here's my method to tilt the headstock for fan frets. The scarf joint is glued square like a normal neck. The headstock is currently 1" thick, so plenty of extra to work with. Using the line I drew around the fingerboard, I mark another line about 3/16" up from it to be the headstock transition line.
Attachment:
NutLine.jpg

Then go at it with a block plane, removing material from the treble side only at first.
Attachment:
NutLine2.jpg

And set the plane to finer and finer shavings as I approach the line, ultimately switching to a scraper to do the final smoothing.
Attachment:
NutLine3.jpg


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 Post subject: Re: The Robin's Nest
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:34 am 
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Thanks for showing how you get the tilt in the headstock for fan frets. Cool.


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 Post subject: Re: The Robin's Nest
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 7:06 am 
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Nice work Dennis. I'm curious about the angle on the headstock where the fretboard plane meets the head plate plane. That is typically where I would put the bottom or "0" fret. The angle on the bottom of your fretboard don't appear to match. Are you planning something else or am I missing something?

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 Post subject: Re: The Robin's Nest
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:15 am 
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I am jealous of your plough plane!

Neck is looking good, keep the pics coming.

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 Post subject: Re: The Robin's Nest
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 8:01 pm 
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SteveSmith wrote:
Nice work Dennis. I'm curious about the angle on the headstock where the fretboard plane meets the head plate plane. That is typically where I would put the bottom or "0" fret. The angle on the bottom of your fretboard don't appear to match. Are you planning something else or am I missing something?

You mean in the position pin picture? The fingerboard is positioned relative to the far end of the neck, which will be butted and glued to the upper transverse brace. I planed a bunch of wood off the headstock end before gluing the scarf joint, as said in the text below the picture.


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 Post subject: Re: The Robin's Nest
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2016 7:39 am 
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Continuing along, it's time to make a cavity for the truss rod wrench. Start by stabbing downward with a chisel...
Attachment:
TrussRodCavity1.jpg

...then peel out some chips, and repeat the process until it's a little deeper than the truss rod slot.
Attachment:
TrussRodCavity2.jpg

Then use gouges to round it out. Note that the vertical surface should be perpendicular to the truss rod, which is in a sloped slot, so it's not quite square to the top surface. And it's perpendicular to the centerline of the neck rather than matching the nut angle.
Attachment:
TrussRodCavity3.jpg

Then glue the heel on, and saw the neck taper. Not much to it. This saw can't reach deep enough to get the sides of the heel completely cut, but that's ok. I'll get it with the chisel later.
Attachment:
NeckTaper.jpg

Then glue on the headplate, which is roughly cut to the final headstock shape already. Unfortunately the caul stuck to it. I probably could have gotten it off with a bit of violence, but since the birdseye maple board I cut it from is 1/4" thick, I decided to saw it in half instead.
Attachment:
HeadplateSliced.jpg

Not quite perfect enough to get a second headplate out of the deal. But the one on the neck is thick enough, and the one on the caul could be used as a veneer in a layered headplate. After planing and scraping smooth, it's flexible enough to peel off of the caul by sliding a scraper along under it.
Attachment:
HeadplatePeel.jpg

Then get to work shaping the headstock. I used to try and cut this with a jeweler's saw, but it's easier to just carve it by chisel and gouge. One convenient thing about having the headstock nice and thick is that I can carve down the endgrain and not worry about chipping out on the back of the headstock :)
Attachment:
HeadstockCrest.jpg

After the carving, use a needle file and scraper to refine it, and give it a coat of shellac to keep clean. Then chisel the sides of the headstock to shape as well.
Attachment:
HeadstockSides.jpg

And again scrape and shellac. I've hit the picture limit for this post, but the headstock outline is finished now. Still need to fully smooth the headplate, add some walnut binding, install the inlays, drill the tuner holes, thickness from the back side, and carve the transition into the neck. But I decided to carve the heel before doing all that, so that will be up next.


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 Post subject: Re: The Robin's Nest
PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2016 11:59 am 
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Before carving the heel, I need to get the neck taper finalized. I pin the fingerboard on and chisel right to the edge.
Attachment:
NeckTaper2.jpg

Then take the fingerboard off and chisel/plane the sides of the heel block area until they're square with the top surface.

Before carving, I need to saw the slot in the bass side of the heel. Treble side doesn't get a slot due to the cutaway, although it will get a ledge later.

This first cut is done freehand, with the saw angled a bit to give a more rounded shape to the upper end of the soundbox.
Attachment:
HeelSlot.jpg

Then stick a scraper in the slot and saw again to widen it.
Attachment:
HeelSlot2.jpg

Normally I stop there, but I'm going to be using extra thick sides on this guitar so I stuffed in a second scraper and did it again, widening out to around 3/32".

Then it's on to carving. Start with a few saw cuts, and then some aggressive chiseling.
Attachment:
HeelCarving1.jpg

And progressively refine the shape. I use a 1/2" chisel, 3/4" violin knife, and a large gouge. Use cam clamps and a hunk of wood to hold the neck in various positions to get a good angle on it.
Attachment:
HeelCarving2.jpg

Just about done here. This is the curvy cutaway transition that I can only do on integral necks. So much nicer than having a corner sticking out. Not necessarily better than a rectangular type heel, but certainly more interesting.
Attachment:
HeelCarving3.jpg

Time to switch to a flexible card scraper and smooth it out, and shellac to keep clean. Here's a shot showing the flip matched grain. I love this vertical lamination style for heels. Got a couple little knots, but that's ok. Just adds character.
Attachment:
HeelEnd.jpg

And here's where the integral neck saves weight. The inside portion can be very small since the outside heel is part of it. And just look at that lovely low profile shape, which won't block your thumb from staying on the back of the neck up to the 11th fret bliss
Attachment:
HeelSide.jpg


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These users thanked the author DennisK for the post (total 2): Alex Kleon (Sun Oct 02, 2016 7:27 pm) • Bryan Bear (Sun Oct 02, 2016 5:48 pm)
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 Post subject: Re: The Robin's Nest
PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2016 7:05 am 
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I also like the vertical laminations on the neck. Makes a great pattern on the heel if there is any observable grain. I enjoy seeing the way you work using hand tools a lot. I seem to enjoy using hand tools more and more as time goes on, just something satisfying in that kind of work.

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 Post subject: Re: The Robin's Nest
PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2016 9:37 am 
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SteveSmith wrote:
I also like the vertical laminations on the neck. Makes a great pattern on the heel if there is any observable grain. I enjoy seeing the way you work using hand tools a lot. I seem to enjoy using hand tools more and more as time goes on, just something satisfying in that kind of work.


This post could easily have been written by me; it says everything I was thinking.

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 Post subject: Re: The Robin's Nest
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 1:10 am 
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Back to work on the headstock.

First, binding. Score with gramil:
Attachment:
HeadstockBindingScore.jpg

Followed by a bit of freehand knife work for the places the gramil can't reach. Then chisel off a thin layer of wood.
Attachment:
HeadstockBindingChisel.jpg

Score again, chisel again, and so on until done.
Attachment:
HeadstockBindingChannel.jpg

The side strips and peak are bent, but the curvy bits have to be cut like inlays. I took a piece of paper and rubbed it over the edge to make a pattern, cut them out, and then fiddled to fit with needle files. Then glue it all together and mummify with tape.
Attachment:
HeadstockBindingTape.jpg

Chisel/scrape/file level, round them over, slop some shellac on and it's all nice and pretty.
Attachment:
HeadstockBindingDone.jpg

Carve through to the truss rod cavity, make a cover, and stick some tape bits to mark its location so I can position the bird to perch on the peak of it.
Attachment:
HeadstockInlayPositioning.jpg

Then scribe around and route the pocket. I tried to grind the bird perfectly flat and get the pocket depth just right so it would be flush without having to level this super-hard blue stone, but the pieces kept popping apart, and the red rock broke along its fault lines, and I kept having to route some areas deeper than others because it wasn't as flat as I thought. Hopeless. But I got it all glued back together, glued it in, and leveled it using 80 and 120 grit garnet paper (can't scratch the blue stone), diamond stone, and 180 to 1500 grit wet/dry sandpaper (can scratch the blue stone). Should have done it that way from the beginning.
Attachment:
HeadstockInlayDone.jpg

Remaining work to do on the neck: Drill the tuner holes, thin the headstock, carve the neck, install the truss rod, cut the ledge for the soundboard, and add side dots on the fingerboard. Still another month or so until the humidity should be low enough for bracing.


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 Post subject: Re: The Robin's Nest
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 6:35 am 
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Dennis, very nice work on the binding. Love the bird!

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 Post subject: Re: The Robin's Nest
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:03 am 
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Nicely done!

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 Post subject: Re: The Robin's Nest
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:53 am 
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Your results are as unique as your techniques. Very impressive!

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 Post subject: Re: The Robin's Nest
PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2016 4:14 pm 
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Thanks for showing and describing how you did the binding on the headstock. I like the robin inlay a lot. Definitely worth the hassle to do it. Where are the tuner holes going to be located?


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 Post subject: Re: The Robin's Nest
PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2016 3:00 pm 
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Tuner holes are laid out like this. It's a good thing I'm using open gear tuners which have small bushings, because large washers would cover a bit of the bird.
Attachment:
HeadstockDone.jpg

And here's the back of the headstock after thinning it down. Uncovered some splotchy coloring in the wood, but that's just part of black cherry's character. I had to countersink the tuner holes just a bit because the tuners I'm using have a little ridge at the base of the posts that was preventing them seating entirely flush.
Attachment:
HeadstockBack.jpg

Here's a shot of the disorder while carving the neck. Block plane, scraper, square, chisel, file, spokeshave, violin knife, and a hunk of wood that I was using as a stop when planing the cutaway area square to the fingerboard surface. I keep the fingerboard pinned on during carving so I can feel the shape better, and so I can blend the curved neck shape into the fingerboard edge.
Attachment:
NeckCarving.jpg

And here's the neck. I also did some more carving and scraping and sanding on the heel, so it's all nice and smooth now.
Attachment:
NeckDone.jpg

I'm not sure what to do next after the last few things are done on the neck. Not much left I can do until the humidity drops. Thin the sides, make dentellones, make tail block and cutaway corner block, prepare brace blanks, make the bridge, and possibly rough bend the sides.


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 Post subject: Re: The Robin's Nest
PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2016 3:13 pm 
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Winter is getting a late start this year, so still not much progress on this one. Got the truss rod installed.
Attachment:
TrussRod.jpg

Drill a hole down the heel, install rod, apply glue to the sides of the filler strip, and insert it, being careful not to let any glue get on the rod. Stick a couple cam clamps on it with light pressure, and plane/chisel/scrape level after it's dry.
Attachment:
TrussRodInstalled.jpg

Made the dentellones, including some supersize ones for the bevel area. I used redwood for those, mostly because it's what I had handy in appropriate size.
Attachment:
Dentellones.jpg

Also got the sides thinned.

But mostly I've been working on the Galaxy guitar, which is at long last complete :D I haven't kept that thread up to date at all, but I'll get to it finishing it out sometime soon.


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 Post subject: Re: The Robin's Nest
PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2016 5:52 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:36 am
Posts: 5151
Location: Southeast US
City: Lenoir City
State: TN
Zip/Postal Code: 37772
Country: US
Focus: Repair
Dennis, the headstock came out great. Looking forward to seeing this one come together.

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"Music is what feelings sound like"


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