8 String Falcate Braced Nylon String Crossover Blog:
May 31th 2018
I was so excited at how well the neck worked I glued it to the neck. Unfortunately out of order with a few major procedures. I was able to work around the radiused fretboard but as you will see I do need to deal with it. I should have thicknessed and tapered the neck, thicknessed the head stock and installed the brass inserts into the neck extension before the gluing the fretboard.
I leave the neck square until after I re-route the truss rod slot through the neck extension. I also checked that I could access the truss rod
With the truss rod slot cut I could glue on the wings. My headstock is just a touch wide at the nut slide so 98% of these wings will just get cut off.
I checked the bolted on neck with the fretboard and everything worked out so well I got excited and glued on the fretboard.
I used my safe-t planer to thickness and taper the neck. To remove the rocking of the radius I taped on a couple of bindings. I also figured out a shim size so that I will properly taper the neck while I thickness it. No really magic on the shim size. I just figured what it would take to make my drawn cut line parallel to the table.
I placed the whole assembly on a trued up (flat) neck blank so my shim would not fall off the edge of the table while planing.
I also used the safe-t planer to thickness the headstock. I thinned it an extra 2 mm and glued on a back strap. (I did a little shaping before I glued on the back strap. )
I thicknessed a bit of wood to 5mm to stand in for the nut. Not shown but I have a 15 degree wedge that I use to allow me to plane the headstock veneer nut edge.
The the veneer and a sheet of white and black fiber veneer glued to the head stock I taped my template in place and used a combination of the bandsaw, plane and a fin rasp to shape the head stock. I relocated the center line and took great care to get the sides of the head stock symmetrical as the Luthiers Tool jig I use is designed for symmetrical headstocks.
It took me a bit to realize with a bit of care my 6 string slotted head stock jig will happily do 8 in two passes. This is the reason I made sure the the sides were straight and symmetrical to the center line. I tested the whole procedure with a pencil first.
First I set it up for the lower 6 tuners and drilled the holes. Next I slid the jig up one set of holes indexing on the first set of holes, readjusted the sides tight and drilled the last two holes.
I followed the same two passes to route the full slot.
Amazingly it worked. A light sanding removed the mark from one route to the other.
June 2nd 2018
I spent yesterday evening getting the neck blank to the correct squared off shape. This involved refining the heel transition, cutting the heal to the correct length and refining the neck width. My thought with this work is if I have the neck properly shaped from the side view carving the neck to its profile will be a natural process using long cutting strokes following the neck line. I know another process is to shape the 1st and 9th fret location and then carve in between but I have the hardest time removing the transitions between the shaped areas I made and the areas I am shaping in between. If I can treat the entire neck the same using long with the neck cutting strokes I do not have to work out the horizontal transitions I made.
When I started my neck I switched my bandsaw blade from a 1/4" to a 1/2" 3 tpi blade. What a difference it has made while building the neck. All of my cut lines are clean, the blade does not tend to wonder allowing close cuts. When I started to refine the profile on the neck I dreaded cleaning up heel transition. With the neck at the right thickness, it is hard to blend the transition without creating a slight dip at the transition point. The less work to do the easier it is for me to make the transition. SO even though I had many hours on this neck I took it to the bandsaw. and cut it very close. Because the neck is tapered I position a shim closer to the nut to where the heel hit the blade square
I normally use my belt sander to size the end of the heel but luckily for me my belt sander blew it bearings and I used the bandsaw. I got I nice flat cut. I needed to square it off a bit but starting flat that made it easy to finish with a plane.
I did a little more bandsaw work on the neck and further refined the heel transition by cutting out to the pencil line.
I cut out and shaped a bit of Koa for the heel cap and glued it on and called it a day.
I drew out some facet lines for a fairly flat neck, my classical profile, and use a spokeshave for the areas that I could and then used a nice rasp for the areas close to the transitions. You can see that since everything is profiled from the side view I am able to make long cutting strokes even through the heel to the neck.
I use cans, bottles and jars to find a desirable size arc in a lot of places. Here I am reestablishing the pencil line so that I can refine a mostly shaped transition.
I sort of got into the zone and did not take a bunch of pictures as I switched between the spokeshave, rasp and sanding paper straps.
June 11th 2018
I am slowly knocking off the checklist of items required to complete the guitar. I finished finish prep on the body, I tried something a little different by putting a light wash coat of shellac on the back and sides. I then used 240 P grit sandpaper to sand off the shellac. That process marked a bunch of spots that I needed to drop fill. Some in the figured areas of the back and a few still on the bindings. With that accomplished I started to pore fill with system 3 silver tip epoxy.
With the epoxy curing I went back to the neck and added some side dots, cut and installed my logo and rasped in the slot ramps.
I used a thin white Side Dot Material. It is 1/16" easy to see when playing easy to install.
I documented making my logo a few times. It is an ebony hawk on a branch in a MOP moon. It took me two tries to cut out the moon; the first time I snapped out the beak neck transition with just a couple of millimeters to go. The first time I came in up the back and over the top of the head and top of the peak first and came back. From now on I will go the other way where there is more pearl intact when I cut the neck transition.
Fit right in no need for any filing! I think I am learning to keep the sides constantly square.
Took some time to square the table for an even cut. Logo dropped right in!
Just Flooded the logo and recess with thin CA and scraped level with a cabinet scraper.
June 23th 2018
I have continued to prep the body for final finish. Before finishing I decided to make the bridge and locate it. I plan to make a mask that is very close to the size of the bridge.
The bridge is made up of laminated brazilian rosewood and carbon fiber fabric. THE CF is 3K 5.7 oz plain weave. I re-sawed the a bridge blank to make a 4 mm, 3mm and 2mm plate. The CF are is on both sides of the middle 3 mm layer. I used West system 105/206 epoxy/slow hardener. to laminate the layers.
While the epoxy was curing I finished up the prep work on the neck
I also hammered in the EVO gold frets and dressed the ends of the frets. I am able to level the fretboard, fret and level the frets off of the guitar with the fretboard extension used in the bolt on\ bolt off neck. The supported fretboard extension assures that the fretboard is not bent down or up when the guitar is bolted to the body.
No pictures hammering the frets but note I taped up the frets when using the stewmac fret beveling tool. On nearly every guitar I slipped off the frets, marking then.
Once beveled I used a small safe edge file from stewmac to round the edge of the bevel removing the sharp edge. They should be smooth enough to drag a womans nylon stocking along without snagging.
On to the bridge! I drew out an 8 string bridge that is just stretched two strings from my 6 string bridge based on Trevor Gore's design. I taped a copy to the top of my bridge blank and trimed the blank to size assuring that it is square as well.
I have my handy 6 pin hole jig that places the string holes at the correct height and spacing. I used my mini mill to make the jig so that it is pretty accurate.
Using the back of a drill bit as an index I moved the bridge 1hole to the right and then back to the left plus one to the left and drilled the 1st and 8th holes
I use my mini mill to do a bunch of the shaping of the bridge: a 1/16th radiused bull nose bit to separate the tie and saddle block, the rabbit for the tie block bone and finally the slot for the saddle. As long as I remember to turn the right knobs I can be within .002" or so accuracy.
I use my little Luthier's friend drum sander for the wings
Back to the mill for the saddle slot.
The rest on the shaping is with a chisel.
July 4th 2018
To make my life a bit easier when I clear the finish for the bridge I made a mask that is in about 1/8" from the edge of the bridge. When I am ready to clear I will pull the tape, place the bridge in the correct location (I have two 1/16" holes) and score the finish with a scalpel.
One last look and a few measurements before spraying.
I sprayed post catalyzed Royal Lac for my final finish. The internet it is great for $12 I ordered a set of glass measuring beakers. One was perfect to mix up the 7 to 1 post cat mix.
I sprayed 4-5 coats a day an hour between coats. Each morning a 85% leveled the previous days build with 600p paper with mineral spirits as a lubricant. I also checked for any gaps to drop fill. The surfaces were pretty well leveled and the finish went on nicly right off of the gun. It had the tiniest sheen of orange peel.
It just took a couple of hours to level and buff the final finish. By hand with water and a drop of soap as a lubricant I sanded 600p -> 800p. On the top and back I used a random orbital sander using Abranet P1000 -> 2000 Abralon discs. Then I just buffed out on my buffer. On the sides I continued to sand by hand with 1200p followed by the random orbital sander using the 2000 abralon disk. I was afraid to use the p1000 abranet disk on sides as it removes finish quickly.
All and all I am happy with the finish.