Friday, 30 August 2013


While the guitars have been lacquered I used the time to make some bridges. Above is the prototype of a string through for one of the upcoming steelstrings. The lacquered used for these will be a DD-lacquer for the bodies and oil for the necks. DD is a Polyurethane-based two-compount lacquer and is very stable und durable although it is quite thin. And it takes a nice semi gloss. Poping out the grain structure of the wild figured Bubinga.

Next on the agenda: gluing on bridges. Therefore you make a cut through the lacquer and remove it on the area where the bridge will go. I was scraping it off with a chisel which took quite a while. The two holes helped the fix the bridge to its location because once glue is applied and you try to put your clamps it will glide in all direction instead of stay at the place you want it to. So this step is important and helps a lot. The clamps I use are self made and they work fine.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Neck Shaping, Sanding, Fretting.

Things are taking shape. Above you can see the gluing on of a fingerboard. The guitar is loaded with clamps to get a lot of pressure. 
After the glue is dried, I leave it like that over night, it is time to do the necks. And this really is one of my personal favorite jobs so I was looking forward to that. 

 First I take off the excess wood. This normally isn't much of an effort and takes two minutes if you're using spanish cedar or mahogany for the neck. But not if you use padouk. Which I did for one of my guitars. Too easily there is large tear out because of the complex grain structure.

So I slightly worked my way forward instead of jamming big chunks off, always taking care of grain directions. Once I was done with that I trimed the neck close to it's final thickness which is about 21mm at the first fret to 23mm at the 10th fret. Next was the fun part. The actual shaping of the neck, the heel and the transition from the neck to the headstock. As you can see on the fotos I left the neck thicker where the straight part transitions into the headstock to do a faked german neckjoint. Appart its nice appearance it has a very practical reason to it. You can rest your hand in a "locked in position" when playing cords. 

After the necks were finished I did the fretting....done the first problem...


While preparing for the second I realised that I didn't have enough pre bend fret wire. I had some straight pieces. But I don't have a fret bender....ever tried to get straight frets into a curved fingerboard?!? It's not working.

It gave me a serious headache. Time was running against me and I had to come up with a solution to get the frets into the fingerboard that day.
But things can be so simple. I made a fret bender. Took about 15 minutes. Some rounded what-ever-pieces-of-junk I had liing around fixed to some plywood leftover. You can't even set it, I just drilled holes for the wheels...But it has done the job. Not too bad.

The last step after the fret job is done is to sand everything up till 320 grid and they are ready to be laquered. 


Monday, 5 August 2013

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Back to Business

 It all started with a phonecall. Our landlord wanted to meet us (my wife and me) to talk about something he did not want to talk about on the phone. Hm. He later explained, sitting on our sofa sipping a cup of tea, that he would divorce his wife and she wanted to get our flat. So we'd have to move.
We had a really nice flat. We liked our flat. It had a 25 square meter roof terrace and all the wood construction on display like a small loft. It was OUR flat!

This led to some weeks of research and looking at flats to find something new. Which we did, in a miraculously short time. And we've found something cosy and charming and we are happy again. 

Moving flats is such a time consuming business and it led to some weeks without internet in which I couldn't write new posts. I happily returned to the workshop. And to the internet.

So let's get back to guitar making. I'm currently preparing to exhibit at the 3. Internationales Freepsumer Gitarrefestival.
This means by September the guitars will have to be finished. Last week I worked on bridge prototypes and fingerboards. For the bridges I decided for a string through bridge for one of the two guitars I am currently building; which got the name "The Buyinga" after I wanted to write Bubinga somewhere and made a mistake. But I guess that's the way names develop sometimes. Through mistakes.


Above you can see the inside of the Buyinga right before closing the box. As you can see I glued a lot of strips on the sides which helps to keep the sides staight and I think, but this is only an personal assumption, it has tonal advantages in keeping the sides more rigid. 

As you can see in the next picures I've done the bindings which are executed quite simply with decorative purflings only on the tops. I like the simplicity and the contrast of the reddish bubinga sides and backs and the light maple bindings. Routing the chanels for the bindings was quite a bit challenging because Bubinga has a strong tendency to warp when you're bending it. As I don't use a bending mashine for bending the sides I need do be very cautious and take good care to do a good job bending the sides correctly.

 Headstock and neck shaping.

Here's a look at the instrument with a fingerboard and a bridge prototype just layed on to check the looks.