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Drilling String Holes in a Classical Guitar Bridge

It would be possible for an expert joiner to purchase the steel blades and make his own wooden planes; but I feel that it is due to what may be termed "Craft Masonry"-the recognition and respect for skilled workmanship-that makes him reluctant to do so and, instead, to purchase the tools that an unknown fellow-worker has prepared for him with such infinite care.

Walter Rose, The Village Carpenter, 1937

I'm making a bridge for the spruce/walnut guitar out of paduak, it's nice and light and stiff, I read somewhere that luthiers Jeff Redgate and Greg Smallman use padauk for the bridges on their guitars. I would have posted more photos of actually drilling the holes, but it is 12 degrees outside with wind gusts up to 34mph making the wind chill down to minus 10 degrees. My hands were getting chilblained from touching the metal of the drill press, I need to find my gloves!

I made a little block that I attach the bridge to with double sided tape that keeps the bridge at the proper angle for the string holes. It works. I don't own a drill press vise, this is my best solution.

Now I need to go out and set up my table saw to make the longitudinal cuts for the saddle and the tie block. If I could only find my gloves! It's cold out there! My other shop isn't insulated!

For your enjoyment here's a YouTube of Chris Parkening, his playing still inspires me to go and practice for an hour.

In response to Tico's comment here's a link to Dampits, the original string instrument humidifier. If any other guitar players want to suggest other humidifiers please let me know!


  1. That is a great piece. Wanna trade a two-way drill press vise for the stones? Hope you find your gloves, Tk

  2. What do you do about maintaining proper humidity for your instuments during the infernal winter dry season indoors?

  3. Hi,Tico!

    I use Dampits, the original humidifier for string instruments. Check out their website at I've used one for my old classical for over 30 years now, it keeps it in great shape. All the instruments that have cases have a Dampit, I wish that I could control the humidity in my studio, maybe in the future.


  4. Sorry, TK, I want the money! Thanks for the offer, I like my system and I want to keep it as low tech as I can. I did find my gloves, it was still too cold for working though I did manage to fire up the table saw without losing fingers!


  5. I like the quote from Walter Rose. Have you read his other book, Good Neighbours?

  6. Hi, Rob!

    I didn't know about Rose's other book, I will look for it. Rose's book and Sturt's The Wheelwright Shop are favorites of mine. I checked out your blogs, they are great and you live in a wonderful place!



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