Sunday, May 25, 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 smoothing plane
No. 5 jack plane
No. 192 rabbet plane
Back saw
Knife
Rulers
1/2 chisel

I'll post more about these little planes after I get the irons and get them made.



My Disston rip saw was a little dull for ripping so I decided to touch it up a little before ripping commenced.

All of my saw files are dull!

Well, guess I had better order some more.




I recently got to see what happens to a guitar bridge when the wood it is made from fails. I've had bridges on my own earlier guitars pop off completely right after I installed new strings, but this was complete wood failure! A few bits and pieces are left of this bridge, so the owner and I decided to make a new bridge out of black walnut. I know that the late John Gilbert used walnut for his guitar bridges, it is a strong wood and fairly light. At least, this gives me a quick side job with a little bit of money.

To make sure that I have a strong piece of wood, I split some 12/4 walnut I had on hand. I should've gone out to the workshop to grab my froe, but a big registered mortising chisel also does the trick.

Oh, how I miss processing lumber from a tree that I cut down myself. That way I knew exactly what I was getting.

I also realized today that it is time to let my Pentax K100 DSLR go to a better place, it is time to buy a new camera to take photos of my work.



Here is a video that the Granada guitar maker, John Ray, has posted on his website trying to drum up business for a book on the school of Granada guitar makers. I think I am going to ask Strings by Mail if they would order this book for me.




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