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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Progress on the double necker

I know - it’s cracked up to be a ukulele building blog. I apologize, making this twin neck monstrosity has just been too much fun. 

Let’s see some pics. During the most exciting phases where a pic really would’ve been worth something, I naturally didn’t whip the camera (phone) out. Sorry ’bout that but what can a poor boy do. 

First pic shows the successful drilling and routing job, I fit the pickups in a cavity each and then used a really long drill bit to connect the holes. It means I don’t need a pick guard to hide channels for cables. 

Then I bit the bullet and power sanded the body for an hour. I’d made the arm rest bevel and the belly cut with planes and draw knifes but really needed the help from my Festo ROS. 

The necks will be attached to the body with machine screws going into these steel inserts. The inserts are fiddly to get in straight but makes for a rock solid joint. 

I don’t have any idea of what colour Lars wants, so I just dropped a wash coat of shellac as a sealer for starters. It looks a bit like an old Peavey guitar now!

And then the black magic. Wiring the pots and making guesses about what goes where. 

Tuners are at the post office and strings are upstairs. Not a long way to go before playing it. And then perhaps a complete disassembly to paint it. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

The bandsaw of woe

Out at the cottage and the larger workshop I fired up the bandsaw to resaw some cherry for a piccolo and another uke. I was happy since I fixed the drive belt a while ago, and when I tested that the saw worked fine. 

I jerry rigged a fence since I don’t have a real one. First cuts went well, I sliced off sides for several ukes. Then I started on wider boards, for some one piece backs and tops. 

Here’s from when things turned south. The blade started wandering, ruining a good chunk of fine wood. I saw the reason - the blade guide had snapped. It was made of cast shite metal and I hate it. I super hate it. I did get one top and one back but the rest I’ll resaw by hand. I hate my bandsaw. 

But home again at the new bench I pushed on with the double necker. Time to make the neck pockets and let them decide the places for the hardware. Most people use a router to make neck pockets, and so do I of course - I’m a modern bloke. I use my Record 70 1/2. It is immensly satisfying digging in. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Neck work

Good news - the workbench works great. It’s a true joy working at it. Maybe it’ll make me build more and faster again, thus revitalising this here blog as well. 

This week I’ve snuck down to work on the tenor neck of Lars’ double necker. I can’t continue with the body for it without preparing the neck pockets to see where everything ends up. 

The truss rod is installed and the fretboard made. I had a bit of a hard time with the frets, not being used to radiused boards, but it turned out ok in the end. 

Glueing the fretboard on in the vise, with some clamps and wedges for good measure. 

The board was straight along its edges and the neck was still wider so I put tape around first to stop it from slipping too far out of alignment, but didn’t bother with brads like I do on ukes when the neck is already attached to the body. I’ll plane the neck to match the fretboard and deal with alignment when I do the neck pocket. 

At the nut end, I trimmed the fretboard end and blended it together with the headstock with a Japanese gouge. 

Then I spent some time levelling and crowning the frets, but didn’t reach for the camera (phone) since my hands got so dirty. 

This weekend I’ll resaw some wood in my larger workshop at the summer house. November or not, I’m going out. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Rebirth of a workshop

It was long overdue - a complete overhaul of the dungeön. I have designed and planned anew workbench for ages, in truth I have designed several but never gotten around to building one. So a couple of months ago I sent the drawings to my favourite carpenter, Lövsättra Snickerier, and they weren’t slow line me. The bench has been ready for a while and the delivery was on Friday, at last. The first pic shows the state of the workshop at eight o’clock Friday morning. I should have cleared it out but things kept happening every evening of the week so I had two hours to handle this Ragnarök of a mess. 

I worked like I was on fire and when Gustaf showed up at ten I had cleared out enough junk to start putting the parts of the new workbench in place. Below you can see cupboard that will house shelves and trolleys on wheels. 

Next to the cupboard is the centre part with drawers and shelves and a space for my Record vice. And after that comes a wee shelf that’s there because I needed an open end to receive my tail vice. 

The worktop is 48 mm birch plywood, laminated together with an overlap in the corner to get a massive and heavy unit locking the diferent oarts together. You can also see the speakers, it’s not only a workbench. It’s also a sound system. 

Argapa the angry ape and Lego Motörhead approve of their new domain. 

And after 20 hours of sorting and cleaning and re-organizing, I even got the time to install some frets for one of the necks in the insane double neck fantasy guitar. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Resawing a fretboard

The new workbench hasn’t appeared yet, so I did some cleaning of the old one. Since my last post I have sort of accepted two orders and made plans for another build on top of those. I still think the new bench will solve most of my problems but we’ll seewhen it gets here. 

Today I had an hour to spare so I dug out the bubinga I used for the fretboard on my mate’s tenor guitar last year. He’ll need one on the double neck I’m building. 

I scored a line around the blank but didn’t bother with sawing a kerf. I could’ve done it with the Proxxon table saw or a kerfing plane but wanted to try the wee rip saw I salvaged this summer. 

So I just got going. I flipped the board frequently to keep myself on track. 

The gunk is from the blade, I get less of that every time. The old Swedish proverb is ”a used blade shines” and it’s hard to argue. 

The bubinga has a problematic grain so I whipped out my toothed plane that I got from my mate Chris. He built it himself and it’s just what’s needed in cases like this. 

Here’s an attempt at showing you the blade. The grooves that are left in the surface are easy to get rid of by alternating direction, or with a cabinet scraper. I did both. 

Here’s my Veritas cabinet scraper taking care of the tooth grooves. 

Then it was time for slotting. I prefer not to use double sided tape directly on the wood, tear out and possible glue residue are enemies of Argapa. So I put masking tape on the fretboard blank and the slotting template and put a row of super glue drops on one of the layers. The aim is to get the strips of tape to bond, they’ll hold the board securely but will be easy enough to remove. 

It turned out my super glue has aged. Or something. It didn’t hold but luckily gave after the first slot of the two needed for the nut groove. So out came the double stick tape, but..! I let the masking tape be where it was. 

And that worked. Both masking and double stick tape were easy to remove, and the fretboard is ready for profiling and contouring. And fretting of course. And inlaying. Haven’t given that much thought, but surely I should put something on there?