Chapter Seven – Lucky

So, this chapter starts with a bit of a mess.


Attempt #1 – Failure

Yes, that’s the mess to which I’m referring. I had chosen to use the same African blackwood for my veneer here, and it looked good until I botched gluing it in. The clamps went on fine, but the ratchet strap pulled the veneer sideways, and I couldn’t see underneath the caul. It ended up looking like this:


Not the best.

So, that defintely wouldn’t do. Back to square one…


The cavity re-routed.

I cut two new pieces, bookmatched them, glued them together, and this time…


Attempt #2 – Success!

I still had a bit of cleaning up to do, but it sanded off quickly enough and you’d never tell what had happened. There were a couple things I learned – screw-ups aren’t always permanent, and they won’t take as long to redo as they did to ‘do’ in the first place. The same way it was easier and faster to shape braces each time I made one, replacing this veneer was nowhere near as big of a problem as I thought it would be.

On instagram, I made some hints as to what else I’d been working on, things I haven’t posted on here yet. It involved some math (math that I didn’t personally have to do, thanks to computers), a lot of precise measurements, and maybe a bit of acceleration of the development of carpal tunnel syndrome, however, I made it through. For the first time, I present to you…

My fretboard!


Wenge! Such wonderful contrast

Wenge is, as I found out, an incredibly dense wood, and it took a lot out of me to get these fret slots sawed out. I measured these to within a 64th of an inch, and, in fact, maybe a bit more precisely. The whole idea of a fanned fret guitar is to get more accurate intonation, so being precise was top priority here.


More than just the fret slots, you can see the binding and purfling channel I routed out of the body. A mounted router and even more precise measurements, I was able to get that step you see to account for the size difference between the binding and purfling. There are no process shots of this because it is never a good idea to operate machines while using a mobile device. I’m not saying that because I had a bad experience, I’m saying that because I’m smart enough to know that without having lost a finger. I hope anybody reading this knows as much.


Taping the binding in place


Here’s what it will eventually sort of look like!

This project keeps on amazing me. There are jobs like sawing out the fret slots that require a lot of attention on a pretty small area, and it’s easy to find it monotonous and lose sight of the project as a whole. But then I finish one or two steps and I take a look at the big picture and it looks so much more like a guitar! For as many times as I’ve felt bored or discouraged, I’ve gotten a huge thrill twice or three times over. It’s hard work, but it’s paying off!

I’m really excited to share my next big of progress with everybody – the as-yet unseen neck!

Stay tuned…


One comment

  1. Laura Ly · December 2, 2015

    Photos are awesome – cant wait to hear it.


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