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  1. I got TS kickback early on. It could've cost me my fingers, but luckily the board left my hand and my hand didn't move much. This is like two months into woodworking with a friend who insisted no guard and only a 5 hp PM 66 would do. It scared me before that and then definitely after. I've lost a lot of that fear, but only have a portable TS myself now and rarely use it (due to the rare affliction of wanting to do everything entirely by hand). Another friend (speaking of no danger from planers, I pretty much agree and was surprised to find someone who could make a planer dangerous) was trying to make a bunch of cutting boards (end grain). He asked what you do to keep your planer from spitting things out (i think he used the word shooting, but I'd have to see it to believe it). That led to ???, a planer? Do you mean a TS, a router table? Can't be a planer. He said "well, i'm running end grain cutting boards through it and they keep shooting back out". "How many times have you done this" "Many, and they shoot out every time" "OK...don't put them in the planer, then, find someone who has a drum or wide belt sander" (the world of spiral heads with inserts and skew cuts has maybe eliminated this fun).
  2. Ditto that. It moves, it will be straight at some point. Until it has moved back and forth with moisture changes many times, it will keep moving. Many times could be a decade or more. It could be less, but it's a risk. A violin maker and luthier I knew (hopefully I didn't say this in this thread already) would cut his blanks oversize, rough a neck in oversize, and then hang them. The necks had to hang for a year and not move. If they moved, they hung another year (unless their movement was terrible) until they stopped moving. He trimmed the movement amount off each year so that he could check them the next year. If they got too small/thin to use, they got thrown out. I got burned on my second neck. I let it sit for two weeks, then sawed it out of a table top blank perfectly quartersawn and straight down relative to the pith. It should never have moved, and it didn't release tension when I sawed it. I carved the neck, added a fingerboard, and then set the project aside. It's got a little bit of twist in it. If I'd have followed my friend's advice, I'd have a finished guitar. It's still waiting for another neck, though the twist is in a favorable direction and minor, it probably wouldn't matter. Better to learn that lesson early.
  3. Yes to all you've said, though I always cut and thickness fingerboards with hand tools. I have a newer version of the planer you have (when I say that, I mean portable, not a craftsman). They generally will snipe. The typical procedure is this: * if you know the planer is set well, run an inexpensive wide board through, ensure that it's cutting similar thickness both sides. and that it's generally working properly * if you're not in a hurry, don't race to take off huge amounts. a 16th is fine - the board is going to go through and you can just basically pick it out, reduce thickness, feed it through, over and over.. * you should run at least one test pass with thin removal to make sure that there won't be much tearout (there shouldn't be with ebony - it doesn't have a lot of directional conviction or beam strength in the fibers) * your last pass should be relatively little removal to clean things up and not create more problems (the heavier the cut, the heavier the tearout). You'll likely have two problems: 1) the board will have snipe on the ends. You can see how long it will and make sure the area between the snipe is long enough for a finished board, or you can run dummy stock through. If your planer has four posts, it may have a locking mechanism and reduce snipe. 2) the planer's minimum thickness may be more than what you're looking for. You can affix your board to something to make it functionally thicker as long as that something is uniform in thickness (decent plywood is probably fine - I've never done this as I always hand plane thin items). I don't have the typical tools that a luthier would have in 2000, I have a lot of what they'd have had in 1890, so I don't have things like drum sanders, etc, that most folks would use to thickness something thin like this. Before you are finished with what you're doing, I would get a good look at the fingerboard with some hope that it is close to flat before final thickness. While I like to work entirely by hand and have no bandsaw or any such things, when the mrs wants something done (like casework, etc), I find a thickness planer to be a godsend, though it cheats me out of part of the work that I really enjoy (dimensioning). It's worth getting used to using one. They're not that dangerous as long as you keep your hands out of them, but they will make a filthy mess without strong dust control. Shop vac on trash can with 4 inch line to the planer will catch most. Watch out for the dust control nazis when you start talking about dust control.
  4. Half of final retail price, maybe slightly more if you have something compelling, unique and proprietary, but it's an extremely competitive market and dealers here are under a lot of pressure. Many won't take much risk because their core business has moved from new guitars to giving lessons and renting instruments to school kids at a local level because ...well, that's a local thing and less subject to internet scrutiny. The other issue is that your product can be quality (in terms of a finished guitar), but most custom makers are producing good stuff. The average consumer isn't looking to spend much unless something looks like and is fender/gibson, etc. The semi-custom buyers are usually looking to buy domestic here (collings, etc) and don't care as much about price as they do name and origin. In my opinion, you need to market your guitars directly first and establish that they will sell to the US and then find a situation that's better for you from a dealer standpoint than direct marketing them yourself (which probably won't occur).
  5. Thanks, Looks good to me!! I like how the poster said the router plane and chisel are the ad-hoc method. I came to the same thing, but without relying on the reference surface on the side. Instead, I just mark the truss rod channel with two lines and do my best to mortise between them with a chisel. If you get a big enough pile of things (I'd be embarrassed to admit how many chisels I have), you can start modifying or dedicating tools to certain tasks. So, I have a small sash mortise chisel that's about as wide as the blue truss rods on ebay. I am a lot faster with hand tools than I would be if I had just gotten into them, and aside from the outside of the templates and binding channel, I think I'm going to phase them out. However, a good power tool builder with a batch of ten guitars would blow me away because making one in progression with hand tools is about 15% of the time that it would take to make ten. If you could get a good power tool setup, you could really make time on a batch (I'm keeping all of my guitars, though, so that would present a problem. Always felt like that with power tools, A bit or a guide short of what I wanted to do and all of the effort would've been better making ten of something than one - some people enjoy that setup. I enjoy modifying a tool to do the work - there's no right or wrong as far as I know. What's hard with hand tools is looking at a pile of 300 board feet of wood and doing something like building a bench or ten kitchen cabinets with M/T doors when you want to build something else. That's where roughing work with power tools really shines. My power tool selection is now down to really nothing accurate (everything that requires any accuracy is completed by hand), but I keep a lunchbox planer around for the rare instances when someone asks me to build the kinds of things that go in a house. If I didn't have kids, though, I would do all of those completely by hand - I don't find interest in exercising much, but I could be convinced to dimension lumber for an hour and a half per day if I didn't have kids. The kids own 75% of the time I'm not at work, though, so I keep the lunch box planer around and I have a TS that hangs on the wall (which is a good indication of how heavy duty or capable it isn't, but it comes in handy from time to time). In terms of time spent, I think even a dewalt 734 used properly is probably a recipe to thickness boards (assuming they get hand planed the last 100th of an inch to remove anything) is five times faster than by hand. But it's a different experience. Dust collection with hand tools for me is after the job is done and not during, and often with a leaf blower/vac because the chips are too rigid and thick to go through a 2 1/4" (or whatever the size) shop vac hose.
  6. I think one of those might work, but not sure how well. Cardboard with foil, or white background could reflect some of the waves onto the back of a blank. The solution I saw most people using was a deliberately made box that had light tubes from end to end and on all sides. I did see some listings looking for tanning lamps, but nothing local that still worked. One article I read advised they can be a fire hazard, but I doubt that they'd be such a thing for me - probably an instance of one person out of 1000 putting one against something and starting a fire. Nothing was quite easy enough for me to get a sure solution, click on it and have it delivered, though (except two UV aquarium lamps, which could probably dry a body in 5 days).
  7. And the back, plus one more of the body hanging in varnish. Unfortunately, the thin more vintage look that I was hoping to get with varnish didn't materialize. It looks like lacquer, but isn't as hard.. Since the varnish is sticky, when I can't get a body in the sun, it ends up in the far reaches / storage area of the basement to make sure no kids can touch it. Not sure if summer would be better, because there's more birds, and probably would get bird crap. After the varnish was finally dried (it does at least build fast if you can stand waiting between coats), I hit it with #0000 steel wool and then waxed it with carnauba wax and a buff - the pliability makes it so that you can skip steps when finishing the surface - it can be burnished. No clue if it will eventually ever get fully hard. It's no longer sticky like uncured varnish, but it doesn't have the same super hard quality that nitro lacquer does. Carnauba wax sounds dumb, but I figured that it would make a wax barrier that made it harder to feel the sticky. All of these decisions were done on the fly, I'm just experimenting. Lacquer would've been smarter. Commercial varnishes like epifanes (true varnish, not urethanes like "behlen's table top varnish" (which isn't varnish at this point) have driers in them and do dry hard - I used that on my first guitar, but the turpentine/pine/dammar/flax oil varnish is much easier to work with. Epifanes is really sticky and smells like an oil refinery. The house made stuff smells like pine sol.
  8. Something went wonky with the position of the control plate with the route - I think it's my template vs. most pickguards, so the two gouge cuts just make enough room. I'm sure that would be commercially unacceptable, too!! Another picture of the fingerboard. lesson learned - if using birdseye for a fingerboard, the figure needs to be really intense from end to end over the whole area.
  9. There was a lack of pictures for a while after this - i didn't take pictures of this guitar intending to show a build, so I didn't get pictures of everything. After this, I: * marked the frets on the fingerboard blank, then cut them with a dovetail saw (I set the teeth on one to be the right size for fret tangs. I know you can buy a saw already made, but I made some of my saws and know how close they are to the tang groove size, so it wasn't a big deal). * Planed the initial radius on the fingerboard (10 inches in this case, close to the traditional size) * cut the mortise for the truss rod in the neck with a sash mortise chisel and router plane (easier than it sounds, and accurate). I used a double action truss rod. I'm sure that's not correct for a telecaster, but back bow isn't that cool, either! This isn't a "correct" instrument end to end. * glued the blank to the neck and then proceeded to cut and shape the neck, doing the profile by: 1) draw knife 2) spokeshave/rasp (for the curves) 3) scrape, and then finally once everything was scraped to the appropriate proportion and passed the light test (looking across raking light) lightly sanded the scraped results to remove any scraper marks. Cherry always gives you the risk of having pitch marks, but this guitar is for me. I'd bet that's commercially unacceptable. This profile is tubby - over 0.9" with fingerboard at the nut end. I may still end up thinning it and removing the varnish that went on later. If you play a while, it's still a little sticky and oil and wax would be nicer. Picture of the front before varnish (I planed off the test varnish on the other picture)
  10. Very first blank I ever made, I threw away. I squared the sides and faired the curves entirely by hand and was still going to use it, but when I went to try to cut the binding channel with marking knives and chisels, it didn't turn out the way I expected!! I learned a lesson, that it's OK to do everything with hand tools, but it doesn't make sense to do things that are power tool artifacts (roundovers instead of chamfers, tight inside curves, bulk 90 degree cuts around curves instead of biases one way or another) with hand tools, especially if the quality is worse. Maybe on a later telecaster, I'll venture to changing some of the elements to be more hand tool friendly, but didn't want to risk making an ugly guitar guessing wrong. The elements on a gibson SG (chamfers, etc) are more hand tool friendly than roundovers. I roughed the pockets out with a router, but again, the chicken theme comes up. I route them short of full depth and size because I know I won't do them accurately with a power tool. Visual prof that I didn't, even after sizing the lateral parts by hand. I use planemaking tools and a chisel to work the pocket fit into something tighter to the neck blank: The tool that looks like a chisel in this picture just past the end of the pocket is actually a scraper - it's rehardened with no tempering (super hard) and then ground on the front square to the bottom of the chisel to scrape - works well for something like spruce where the grain lifts if you try to run a chisel through the long grain. This isn't particularly time consuming - it takes about 20 minutes to get everything mated well. I haven't built many guitars, but I suspect the sound transfer on a guitar like this doesn't happen at the sides, but between the bottom of the neck and bottom of the pocket. Differential movement between neck and body would prevent ever having a good tight permanent contact at the sides without glue and without risking cracking the pocket in weather changes.
  11. I wanted to test my varnish on the blank, so that was next. I think varnish is better on violins than guitars, but I had to try it to figure that out for myself. I haven't ventured into japan drier in the varnish, so this is like the stuff violin makers would've used hundreds of years ago, and a lot of them had an area where they could hang violins in the sun. It will dry 90% in 6 hours in the sun, or you can wait three or four weeks inside for enough ambient something or other to do the same thing. I don't want to invest in a light box with UV lights, and attempts to use aquarium bulbs show that they just don't have enough UV output to dry anything more than a spot or two (not a whole blank). The brown bag is a stop loss bag with the varnish - thanks to a tip elsewhere, it should last for a long time in there. It was easy to make, but a fire hazard and needs to be made outside.
  12. After resawing them, I planed the one i'm using to thickness and set it aside, I'll plane the radius onto it later. (the end of the neck blank sitting there is still flat - planing things by hand makes it important to preserve flat ends to stop against dogs. that cut can be made once everything is definitely final thickness). Couldn't tell you why the drill was on the bench, but it (the bench) ends up being a collection point sometimes, and I'm messy - I clean enough of the bench off for my needs at any given time, and brush the shavings onto the floor to be cleaned up and burned later. I ended up routing the outside of the blank, that part is just so much better to do with power tools, and routed a binding channel and the blank and finished it off. For no particular reason, I didn't take pictures of that, but i did it the same way as everyone else did except i remove most of the router flotsam with a scraper before sanding. Most of the drum sanding contact on my guitar bodies is just the inside curves (they're hard to do by hand and get visually perfect). So, the next picture I took was of the body blank. Very straight except one little "eye" in the grain on the back. I don't care about that, still delighted with this blank for $50.
  13. Neck roughing out is similar to any other method, but with the turning saw again, and getting the initial proportions defined is spokeshave and rasp (I like nicholson's milled tooth files - can't remember the name of them - shear cut or something) territory to get room up at the nut end for the spokeshave to get to the line. I got this piece of cherry out of a table slab. It was rift, but again, working by hand, you can sort of cut any orientation out of it without much extra effort - mark the ends and get a quartered piece out. A luthier friend warned me to hang neck blanks and roughed necks for a couple of weeks, so I had two of these (still have the other) hanging and chose the one that moved the least. The other one is OK, it cupped end to end and didn't twist, so I'll use it on another guitar. On to fingerboard. I think it makes a lot of economic sense to use a pre-cut fingerboard blank. But I didn't do that. I found a decent piece of birdseye on ebay and sawed it into three blanks.
  14. Laziness promotes competency with hand tools. You're pretty much pointing them at marks, and other than learning things (like the proportion of the blade being key in this situation), it's probably easier to do stuff like this with hand tools early on. It took about one board to learn to steer this saw, and then no issues since then. If it wanders at all, you can feel it - constant feedback. And it's free functional exercise with all kinds of interesting tactile sensations (aggressive teeth on a saw like this feel like pushing something through velcro - you can really feel them doing the work). I know it sounds ridiculous to most, but i'm impressed by people who can set up and use power tools consistently without ruining as much stuff as I was ruining. You can go up in quality of tools, I guess, but i went this direction instead. Making guitars with the hand tool skill set is almost ideal because the value vs. the volume of materials is pretty high (vs. something like a book case from rough lumber, though I have done that kind of stuff by hand (completely by hand), too.
  15. It's 1095 steel off of a coil. I find good old 8" heavy taper files on ebay and filed teeth into it just over 2 per inch. You can buy the blade and a saw kit, but I made this one out of junk other than the good quality steel. Unfortunately, I made two - the first, trying with a thinner less tall blade, but it wasn't stiff enough for the frame and wandered all over the place. I think this steel is .042" thickness, and the height of the blade is 4". I anticipated screwing together some offcuts from making my bench (to make the frame) and then making a nicer saw later, but I haven't gotten around to that because it works well, and at the same time, you really only get it out for something wide. The metal fixtures are scrap sheet metal. It really is a mostly junk saw. It steers pretty easily with a big wide blade once you get the hang of it (though it would be nice to be able to see the opposite side of the cut - as it is, you take about 30 strokes, walk over, have a look, adjust which way you're steering it and continue to do that. But that keeps you from getting quick and getting in trouble. There's a surprising amount of resistance in the cut in a wide board - it's a workout.
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