Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ebony bindings

That was hard work! I’ve just finished the ebony bindings on Chris’s Hare. I use 50m of cloth tape to hold on the bindings whilst the glue dries and I glue on one binding at a time; so it takes awhile. Once the guitar is unravelled from its cocoon; it’s clean-up time!

Without doubt, the best tool to use for this sort of task, is a cabinet scraper- if you’re unfamiliar with them, its that rectangular piece of hardened steel, in the photo below.

The other tool is a burnisher, which is used to sharpen the scraper by putting a burr on its edge. That burr, if you get right, will take a shaving off the wood without tearing up the grain. If you’re serious about woodwork, you must master the scraper! It’s flexed between your thumbs thus....

At this stage I try to get the body really clean and get any tiny imperfections sorted out. For example, any tiny hairline gaps between the bindings and the sides need to be filled, especially if you French polish as the finish will accentuate them. Hence wearing a head magnifier whilst cleaning up.
Three hours later.....

The scraper is also used one the front- if you use just abrasives, you increase the possibility of grinding dust from the bindings into the relatively soft soundboard.

As I said, this Hare Signature is for Chris and I’ve added a link at the side for Chris’s Ceilidh Band, Whirligig.

Standard Mandolin II

I’ve been spending a bit of time on t’interweb looking at other luthiers’ sites. Mainly at looking mandolins- one thing that strikes me, is the puny looking dovetail joint for the neck. Clearly they work else there’d be thousands of angry bluegrass players about, with their mandolins in two pieces. I’ve just glued the neck on Standard mandolin II and thought that I’d show my joint.

As you can see, I use a fairly hefty mortise and tenor joint. There is a mass of surface area for gluing and I’m confident that this baby is built to last!

You can see the Koa back, bound in Indian rosewood, nice eh?

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