Hand Tool Headlines
The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator
An aggregate of many different woodworking blog feeds from across the 'net all in one place! These are my favorite blogs that I read everyday...
Sauer and Steiner
There was this amazing area of burl clusters along the edge of the roughed out infill set and I had hoped that it would not disappear during the shaping and refining process. Thankfully it didn’t, and the way they follow the curve of the sidewall is marvelous.
This next plane is one that I have been waiting to make for a long time. Nine years ago, I found a small but stunning piece of Ceylon Satinwood - about 2" square and 18" long. It was covered in the most amazing beeswing pattern on both sides and the top had an almost curly figure to it. I had high hopes for the piece and patiently waited for the right plane.
A K4 turned out to be the perfect place to try the satinwood. It is a very small plane - only 4-1/2" long and there is a delicate balance between having enough surface area of the plane to allow the figure to be sufficiently seen and at the same time, not to make something that is so frantic with figure that it defeats the purpose. Like the Desert Ironwood K4 above, this piece of Satinwood had a natural curve to the grain and with some careful orientation and planning, I was able to take advantage of it to follow the flow of the plane.
If anyone is interested, there are 2 more K4’s left in the piece of satinwood.
This next plane is another K7 - infilled with Rosewood. We were in the midst of some serious snowfall and I did not have a chance to get any photos of it on the balcony ledge. This was for a local customer and he picked it up in person which is always a real treat for me. These photos were taken before the french polishing, but the color and grain is so nice, I decided to include the photos anyway.
This was also another new variation for the K7 - steel sides and sole with a bronze lever cap and screw.
One of the things I really enjoy with sets of planes is figuring out how to appropriately scale them. It is not simply a matter of adding an extra inch at each end. Well... you could do that, but it would be rather obvious and not nearly as pleasant to look at. Here are several images that I took of the pair of planes followed by a few from the customer who included the 18-1/2" plane. I was really excited to see the 3 of them together to make sure they all scaled well together.
The heel and toe of the planes are a simple but good example of scaling. You can see the 2 different toe treatments above and then the 3 of them together in the images at the end.
I am hoping to spend a couple days to finish the guitars. They are not yet completed, but are so very close. One of them only needs a bit more buffing and then I can start installing the hardware. The other needs a full buffing but is ready for that stage right now. I can’t wait to plug them in and blow up an amp:)
Once the body binding was on, it was time to scrape it flush with the top, being careful not to scratch the contoured maple top.This was done with a thick card scraper and was easier than I thought it would be. You can see long wood like shavings hanging off the edge.
The neck is mortised into the body of the guitar and there are some tricks to doing this. Tom identified a location on the body where the height of the fretboard needs to be 16.5mm high when extended with a straight edge resting on the tops of the frets. You can see the set-up above and the next 2 images are close-ups of that same set-up.
I made a 16.5mm block to keep things easy to keep track of. It was a delicate balance of adjusting the maple top so the underside of the fingerboard was flush, while keeping the bottom of the neck seated properly in the mortise. Ideally, they should both mate perfectly with those surfaces. There were a few adjustments to the angled shoulder on the neck so it was flush with the end of the body. It was careful work but felt somewhat familiar to plane making - and I was thankful for the extra wiggle room Mahogany offers when compared to 01 tool steel.
The 2 fit necks - these are finally starting to look like guitars!
The next step was to drill the holes for the tuners, the plug, control and switch cavites. I made a quick jig to hold the guitar body in a parallel position to the back. Pretty simple - walnut blocks with leather to keep things held firmly and somewhat cushioned.
Drilling the switch cavity.
Wasting out some bulk of the control cavity on the drillpress.
Wasting out most of the control cavity was worth the effort - plus I don’t really like routers and this greatly reduced the amount of routing time.
Drilling the holes for the tuners. One of the curious aspects of making these guitars was learning some of the processes luthiers use - and not just Tom’s processes. Once the holes are drilled for the tuners, it was time to taper the headstock to the correct thickness. The headstock is 16mm at the neck end and tapers to 14.5mm at the tip. I had asked several luthiers how they do this and most of them answered with some form of fixture and power sanding. This struck me as a little odd so I did it my own way.
I scribed a line to the correct taper...
... and planed to the line. It was about 4 minutes of work and struck me as a much faster and more accurate way of working not to mention way less messy.
I went to Tom’s place to route the cavities for the pick-ups. I have a set of templates to do this, but he is set-up for it and was generous enough to let me use his tools.
I used a very small 1/6" bit to drill a pilot and location hole for the controls and switch. I had marked the locations on the top as well and used the pilot hole as a cross-check. The above image shows how close they lined up - everything was working out wonderfully - which is good, because things were about to get really tricky. The holes for the controls need to be angled to match the contour of the top. I used a punch in the holes to check the angles.
With the angles established, it was time to use another bit to create the angled recess for the bottom of the pots to rest on. These are angled to be as close to parallel to the contoured top as possible. Each recess is slightly different.
They also needed to be chiseled out to allow for the tabs and wires to not interfere with the fit. The pots need to register solidly on the underside of the control cavity.
The controls and tabs in place. Phew!
As the months wore on, there was one aspect to the guitars that I was avoiding - dreading to be honest. The headstock logo. I did not want to use the Gibson logo. While these are clearly based on a Gibson guitar, they are not made by Gibson. Which left me to come up with something. I know I spent a shocking amount of time thinking about it - over thinking it, stressing about it and general analysis paralysis. In the end, I did not deviate too much from tradition - a stylized signature and a small logo mark. I did however have fun with the fact that these are leftys. Here is where I ended up.
The Adobe Illustrator layout.
The mocked up headstock. This was a big relief to get this resolved and I could finally move to the final sanding stages.
There is rarely a week that goes by where I am not thankful for my Emmert patternmakers vise.
With the bodies and neck sanded, it was time to fit and shape the nut (the piece at the end of the fingerboard that holds the strings to the correct height). Tom showed me a slick way to mark the nut - plane a flat side on a pencil until the tip is at the desired height.
Place the pencil on the frets and mark the height.
Shaping the nut was done in a very small vise mounted to a piece of walnut (an offcut from our dining room table) and mounted in one of my planemaking vises.
Checking the height.
And a few shots of the mostly finished nut. There will be some further fine tuning during set-up.
Time to route the cavity for the headstock inlay. I secured the guitar and used my small router with the same 1/32" bit. It worked really well.
I placed a drop of CA glue to hold the logo in place and then mixed up some 5 minute epoxy and added a drop of black dye (the same black dye that is used to paint the headstock in the finishing stage).
Once it was dry, I scraped it flush using the same carbide scraper that Riley used for the cuttingboards.
There are usually a few pin holes caused by air bubbles, so a second coat squeegeed on is used to fill those. Once that is dry, re-scrape and do a final sanding.
In hindsight - I should have just used a piece of quarter sawn Ebony for the headstock instead of Holly. Holly was the traditional material for original 59’s, but Ebony would have been way easier.
With the headstock logo completed as well as all the final sanding - time for finishing!