Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Acoustic Construction Lab - Week 6 & 7

 With only two weeks of class left, it is time to finish up this build. I used a routing jig and a plunge router to slot my headstock. After routing, I used files and sandpaper to carve string ramps in the slots to allow the strings to travel from the nut to the tuning machines. The slotted headstock is a traditional look that I wanted to include as part of my build, and I did this process by studying measurements from an old Martin blueprint.

 With the headstock shaped and slotted, it was time to glue the neck onto the body. I used hot hide glue on the neck and body joint due to its reversibility ease, required for performing neck resets. I used three clamps to apply pressure and allowed it to set overnight. 

 After attaching the neck, I fretted the fingerboard and glued it into position. I drilled small holes through the 1st and 13th fret slots into the neck stock. I stuck pins into the holes to keep the fingerboard in the correct position and prevent it from slipping while applying clamps to spread pressure. I used hot hide glue for this process, and allowed it to set for close to four hours. 

 The final week of Acoustic Construction Lab was spent meticulously shaping the neck and sanding the guitar. I used a rasp and sanding sticks to carve a soft V shape into the back of my mahogany neck, It was a slow and steady process. Once I was happy with the feel of the neck, I started the finish sanding process. I started by sanding the whole guitar out with 150 grit sandpaper, checking closely for scratches with a lamp. The process was repeated working through sandpaper grits until the guitar was completely sanded out to 240. By the last day of class my guitar was close to ready for finish lacquer, but will be placed in its new case where it will stay for the next seven weeks while I move on to my Electric Construction Lab and Finishing classes. 

 After apply the finish to the guitar, the bridge will be glue in position and drilled for strings. The tuning machines will be installed, nut and saddle constructed and the pickguard attached. I couldn't help but place the pickguard and bridge in position to get a feel for what the finished instrument will look like, as for now this build is completed.

- Justin Ness