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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Carving a wee neck

The mahogany neck blanks from the last post were measured and marked, then one of them went under the knife. The glove / mitten is kevlar re-inforced, I’m sure you remember my various mishaps with the carving knives. 

I started out by roughly carving the profile at the nut and up against the heel. 

If your knife is sharp mahogany will carve beautifully. The heel was easy. Now I had an entry and an exit point for the spokeshave and put the neck in the carving jig. 

But the work with the spokeshave was fast so no pic from then. Instead a couple of glamour shots of the almost finished neck. 

Keeping a ridge for the v-shape reveals any flats or bumps. As you can see here the transition from the heel towards the middle of the neck isn’t good enough yet, so I kept at it until it was. 

I’ll try to concentrate on building this weekend. If band practice doesn’t happen. 

Monday, March 5, 2018

Real necks

No. It was a shit idea and I shouldn’t have bothered. Those cedar neck blanks with the cocobolo layer looked corny and I messed up the geometry (hey - I’m only an architect).

Luckily I was able to buy some mahogany today, for example this piece of 52 x 52 mm. It’ll be so much better. 

There is a blemish in the wood but I was able to lay out two neck blanks ahead of that. One piece nested necks. No real wiggle room between the headstocks so I put on a new blade on the bandsaw. Anything to get it to cut straight. 

I went really slow and it worked great. To give you an idea of how small this saw is I placed a 150 mm rule on the table. To save the saw and the blade from any more work tonight I decided to continue with hand saws. 

This is the short rip saw I renovated last summer. It cuts well enough but I need to use it more to get it to really shine. A bit of oil on the blade helped it today. 

And here we are, an hour later I have two crisp neck blanks. I will admit I arranged the tools for the pic, but I did use all of them. And the mock lute got its neck attached too, I forgot to take a pic of that. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Onwards, and an apology

Let’s get the apology out of the way. I fear my blog posts are the worst - the pics are messy to the point of being impossible to interpret, the chronology is jumbled and I’m not a very good example of a disciplined luthier. 

That said, brace yourselves. 

Today’s first pic is me sawing the neck block of the mock lute to height and, hopefully, angle. I’ve settled at last upon the way in which I’ll build the back. 

Then I turned to the mahogany piccolo I hope to get ready for MUMF in May. I chose to use a popsicle brace above the soundhole. I’ve done that before and it felt right. Beside lie the bodies for the cavaquinho and the mini guitar. 

Then I glued the back on the reso, and made the half uni-brace on the mock lute. That will aid me in building the back. 

I didn’t find the mahogany neck blank I thought was kicking around, but I did find a couple of Spanish cedar neck blanks in piccolo size. Cedar is way too soft to be a fingerboard, so as an experiment I’ve glued cocobolo scraps from that reso to the upper surface on them both. The cocobolo is thinner than a normal fretboard but could work as a harder surface. I’ll try one and see if it looks corny or cool.