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Monday, January 15, 2018

Bridge blank

I’ve made more piccolos than I’ve made any other size ukulele, and most bridges for those have come out of three bridge blanks. One of the blanks might still be kicking around somewhere but searching for it would take me longer than making a new one.

In the first pic you can see the length of cherry I chose, as well as the newly fretted piccolo. I forgot to take pics of pressing the frets in but there are posts on here covering that. I know there are a couple covering making bridge blanks, so please consider me a man of consistency rather than a predictable wind bag. 

To get an idea of the height needed for the bridge I measure thusly; a 3.5 mm drill bit at the 12th fret and the secondary ruler roughly at the string length. Which is the scale length (280 mm) plus compensation (~2 mm). I will make the bridge blank around 9 or 10 mm high and take each bridge down from there.

I score a line with a marking knife and run a chisel lengthwise on one side to get a starting groove for a rabbet plane. It takes very little to steer the plane if it’s set right.

Are my planes set right then? Not all of the time, no. But 95% of the time, yeah! This wonderful old Swedish plane called out to me at a fleamarket. Cheap and in good nick it was a bargain. Aggressive but very precise it rough shapes the blank in no time. It was a task I wanted to last longer, the sound of the plane biting into the wood was special.

As the bridge blank got lower it was harder to keep clamped in the vise, so I took a moment to make two shallow rabbets in the wooden jaws. This will help me loads when I’m working on other small parts.

I did this yesterday. Today I spent in Copenhagen, showing the plans for the new Swedish embassy to the ambassador and the staff. It was fun and all but I really wanted to come back home to continue working on this. Now it’s too late at night so I had to settle for making this entry. 
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