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Showing posts from May, 2014

Grooving Planes, Saw Sharpening and Splitting Black Walnut

Torres invariably used rosewood for his bridges, even for those of his cheaper guitars...

Jose L. Romanillos, Antonio Torres, Guitar Maker- His LIfe and Work, 1987



I use a table saw to cut the saddle slot for the bridges I make for my guitars, I have a DeWalt construction table saw, it's accurate enough especially when I use blade stabilizers on the saw blade. However, even with a good sharp blade I don't like the quality of the kerf that it cuts.

I decided to make some grooving plans and have the 1/8 inch irons on order from Lie Nielsen. Click here for the irons and to see the plans for these planes. The more guitars I make the more I want to get away from using power tools, grooving plans seems like a better solution for cutting the bridge slot. I have cut it with a saw and a chisel but the results always left something to be desired.

Today, I dimensioned some black walnut and bubinga for the grooving planes. All work was done by hand using the following tools:
No. 3 smooth…

Shop Made Router/Scratch Gauge to Make Guitar Binding Ledges

On the ribs, instead of using a cutting gauge, I favour a scratching gauge so that the cutter scratches away the wood, making a channel.

Jose Romanillos, The Classical Guitar, 1979


Today, I finished the scratching gauge.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I dislike using a router to cut the binding ledges. I am trying to get away from using power tools when I make a guitar.


I had a piece of madrone (California laurel, Oregon myrtle) left over from after making the copy of Antonio Torres FE 19 guitar, click here for more on that guitar.

Madrone is a dream wood to work with, it planes easily and has a wonderful smell of pepper, it is also known as pepper wood.

This is a simple gauge to make, all you need is a saw, a plane, a 3/4 drill with brace, a chisel or two, a knife to mark out for the brass inlay, maybe a small file.



The idea is to score the sides with a gramil (cutting gauge) to mark the binding ledges and then use the scratch gauge to set the depth of the ledge. Then I would us…

New Projects: Hand Held Router for Guitar Bindings and Low Angle Jointer Plane

Many players do not know much about their guitar except that it is a nice wood box on which to make sounds.

Lee F. Ryan, The Natural Classical Guitar, 1984


I swore I wouldn't start any new projects.

I need to complete the French polish on three guitars and to make and install a bridge on a copy of a 1839 guitar by Rene Lacote.

So why did I start these projects?


A walnut gauge, a California laurel router/scratch gauge, and a walnut low angle jointer plane.

I have had it with using an amped up, revved up electric router to rout out the channels for bindings. The process is loud, messy, nerve wracking, I am sure that it has an affect on the potential voice of the guitar.

For me, power tools work best when I am doing carpentry, like building a house, or fixing my porch, but I have decided to use as few power tools as possible when it comes to making a guitar.

I know that the great masters-Antonio Torres, Manuel Ramirez, Santos Hernandez-didn't have, or use, Bosch or DeWalt brand ro…