Saturday, May 10, 2014

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 use a chisel to remove the waste. Sure, it's going to take longer to use hand tools, but I don't want to wear a respirator and ear plugs when I work a fine classical guitar.

I still need to adjust the face of the fence so it is more or less at a right angle to the marking bar. I'll show why this is necessary in another posting that will cover routing out the ledges on the copy of a 1968 Hernandez y Aguado guitar. Click here for that guitar.




The cutter was made by cutting a piece off an old scraper that I keep just for that purpose. You can see the shavings that the cutter makes.




My quiver of gauges.

Left to right: a cutting gauge, a marking gauge, the new scratch gauge, a mortise gauge and a new gauge that has no purpose, yet.

I got the idea to make these gauges from the February 1996 issue of Woodwork magazine. The article was by Doc Crawford and he made his gauges out of madrone, also. Mine aren't as fancy as his, all I want is a simple tool that works, but read the article if you can find it!



2 comments:

  1. Hi Wilson,

    Very nice work. Any chance of sharing your plans for the gauge? I'm going to be cutting some binding channels soon and I'd love to be able to do as much as possible with hand tools.

    I love the blog, by the way. I came across it recently when searching for homemade cam clamps, and wound up reading every post!

    Jay

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  2. Hi, Jay!

    I try to stay away from being a "how to" site, there are plenty of plans on the Internet on how to make marking gauges, Adam Cherubini has plans for marking gauges which can be adapted to a "scratch gauge". That is the beauty of tool making, you get to make what it is that you need! Experiment with your gauge and have fun!

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