Saturday 28th March ’09
..more coats of oil are applied to the stock eight string guitar.. she’ll be completed next week.. anyone want her?
then it is on to Andrews bespoke guitar.. the abalone inlays were glued in place last week and the excess glue is now filed and chiseled away.. for future reference it is much easier to do this fairly soon after the glue has initialy cured.. over the next 24 hours it continues to harden to it’s final… um.. hardness??
anyway.. this neck blank (three sections of African mahogany with maple veneers) is not wide enough for this job.. so the bandsaw is brought to bear and an angle is cut..
the surfaces are planed flat..
and more mahogany is glued in place.. making one jumbo blank!
a clean job next, this left handed custom PRS type guitar is ready for shipping..
but first off the Peterson tuner (the best you can get!) is brought out and the guitar has her setup.. action and intonation.. a guitarists mantra!
delivery.. a very complicated kit left me scrathing my head.. I suppose that once I get it all out and working it should make sense.. with this I will be able to anodise alumium to pretty much any colour you can name.. should be fun, as long as I’m careful with the acid that is!!!
the engineers lathe is used in anger for the first time on metal.. making mini knurled knobs for the headless tuner system..
she doesn’t look too bad but this is a guiyar I built quite a few years ago now and the small finishing touches that make a good guitar are either not there… or just look like shit!! I’m utterly embarrassed and am replacing the guitar.. this one will end up with a rejigging, some custom hardware and a new finish and will end up doing me proud!
..she will be a beautul beast in the end..
after the hardware is all removed I can see what I have to work with.. over time..
..for another guitar I’m playing around with the idea of covering her in copper tape.. I just need to see if there is any adverse reaction with lacquer..
a road trip takes me through my old haunting grounds in Chichester.. the cathedral there is simply stunning!!
the mid point is reached.. these are the kilns that are used to dry timber..
I feel just a little powerful when I visit here.. being followed around with a 5 tonne fork lift at my beck and call.. and of course every plank I need is right at the bottom of the pile!
then the reason for this trip.. Mr Roger Rose is getting old and has been teaching the building of early stringed musical instruments at West Dean college for 25 years.. he is the reason I’m able to sharpen my tools properly!! Two years under his tutelage and I was well on the way to being the luthier I am today
the obligatory recital bu one of the top viola da gamba players in the world reminds me why I don’t build these any more… guitarists are so much cooler!!!
and here is the bench were I built my first instruments!!
two years with this view!!
in this building..
going back to civilian life really was a bit of a shock.. though the main thing that everyone misses is the food.. superb!!! oh, and after this there was a barbeque!!! I had to go just for the novelty of the idea!!
back at work.. a bit knackered from all of the driving yesterday but well up for it! we start off by marking out the truss rod position in Andrews eight string guitar..
with the appropriate template the channel is routed..
and here is one I prepared earlier.. Nick’s four string bass guitar has blue stained pinstripes.. and you can see the masking tape that protects the truss rod from glue etc..
the neck dimensions are marked on the bass neck and on the birsdeye maple blank that will be on Jason’s second bespoke guitar..
and the bandsaw comes out again.. excess timber is removed from the neck blank..
and then, like a bugger, the switch decides to die on me!!.. and the reall bugger is that I can only order a replacement on Monday, it seems that no one else works on Saturdays anymore..
the dimensions of Nick’s bass neck are carefully planed in..
and then the rosewood fretboard is prepared..
and is glued onto the neck blank..
the next bit is to mark out the position of the fanned fretboard on the five piece multi-laminate neck..
she is glued in place.. and I unpack a delivery alumium rod..
and i start having fun with the milling machine.. a thread is cut into the piece of rod..
another 8mm section is hollowed out..
and eventually I have the components of my first ever headless tuner.. prototype!!
but it does work.. and has given me many ideas on how to proceed with the project.. I’m also designing a replcement trem for both floyd rose and standard Fender type trems.. both of them with a new ball-bearing system!! fun fun fun!!
Have a good Sunday!! Ben Crowe
Crimson Guitars HQ