Thursday 2nd April ’09
spring is here and I’m starting to enjoy the view out the window a lot more.. it is amazing how much better the sun makes you feel!!
this is the fretboard for Andrews 8 string guitar, the glue has cured and the excess needs to be chiseled away..
a false abalone binding is pulled out and cut to size.. it will be a strip of abalone inside a length of flamed maple binding..
everything is clamped up and left to cure..
now.. I still have no working bandsaw.. the starter switch (I think!!) died a death but luckily she has a five year warrantee that still applies.. unfortunately record are undergoing a stock take and it will be a while before i get the part!! ..I’m dieing here!!!.. the jigsaw is brought out.. and does a very poor job of removing the excess rosewood from Nick’s 4 string bass neck..
the fretboard is cut to length
and then the radius is planed onto the fretboard by hand.. funnily enough with a 50 year old record hand-plane.. probably not under warranty any more?..
the large makita random orbital sander makes short work of the fretboard
and the next stage is reached.. the fret slot positions are marked out.. this one has a slightly excentric 33 inch scale length.. the bass is a les paul (heard him on the radio today.. very very funky!!) type and the design lends itself to neck drop.. something we’re combating with the slightly shorter scale..
the slots are cut..
the abalone binding on the bespoke 8 string guitar has dried and the excess is planed off..
the end piece is mitred and glued in..
and there she stays until the bandsaw is up and running.. the flamed maple binding still has to be cut..
the frets are hammered and glued in place in Nick’s bass neck..
leaving sharp fret ends that have to be nipped, filed and profiled over..
before several coats of lemon oil are applied.. and she too waits for a working bandsaw!!!
Nimrod is having two custom guitars built.. sister guitars if you will.. and here we begin with the ebony ‘boards.. the dimensions.. sans binding.. are marked out
and another record machine bites the dust… though this time the fix is to replace the crappy soft bolt that had stripped leaving me unable to change the blade..
once ready the excess ebony is removed.. slowly!!
at this point the planes require a really good sharpen..
before they are used to contour both fretboards..
..sanded through the grits..
very carefully marked out..
and cut… a strip of masking tape is used to mark the depth that we want the saw to go..
sleepy bored pups..
and here we cut 18 crosses out of this chunk of mother of pearl
and here I give up for a while,.. my back aches like hell by the end of the process.. luckily wednesday is April fools day and I have to take it off to celebrate my wedding anniversary.. a good day to get hitched hey?
..on to Marks camoflaged 45rpm.. after a lovely day out visiting Salisbury..,
the final coats of wax are applied.. and buffed..
and we move on to the frets.. after the neck is straightened out using the dual action truss rods the frets are marked and filed perfectly flat..
the fretboard is protected and each fret polished up.. normally I do this by hand, a long and boring process, but today I finally see sense and use the mini router and a buffing wheel to apply the chrome polish.. perfect result!!! I can’t believe it took me this bloody long!
the control positions are drilled..
and a repair arrives.. note the spies outside the window!! this is an 80′s squire strat that needs a bit of a fret dress
so we go through the process again..
and of course the neck has to come off in order to gain access to the truss rod.. I just hate poor design!!!
back to the 45rpm, every cavity is covered in copper tape.. creating a faraday cage..
and the pickups are installed.. and we’re done for the day.. apart from updating this diary that is… have a great one!!
Ben Crowe – Crimson Guitars HQ