Guitar On The Bench


First You Cut Down a Tree... (final entry)

posted Jun 16, 2013, 12:04 PM by Hiram Philo   [ updated Jun 18, 2013, 6:20 AM ]

Here is a slide show of the completed Shadow Valley guitar. Next I'll take it to show off to Richard Clark, who taught me how to make guitars. Then it will take a trip to the Shadow Valley in Idaho, where I hope it gets used used and scratched up, as any good camp guitar should.

Part 20 slide show



To view this series from the first entry click: First You Cut Down A Tree

First You Cut Down a Tree... (part 19)

posted Jun 15, 2013, 8:31 PM by Hiram Philo   [ updated Jun 16, 2013, 12:10 PM ]

This blurry picture reveals a flaw which must be corrected. It's not the glue spots on the bridge. They scraped off easily. But, notice how the string on the far right lines up with the edge of the fret board, and the string on the far left is inset from the edge... someone put the neck on crooked. That person must not have payed attention to inadvertent changes he put in the lateral angle of the neck to the body as he made adjustments to the hight angle when working with the dovetail joint.




To repair the flaw, the neck had to be removed so the dovetail joint could be corrected. The following series of pictures were taken during this process. First I separated the fret board from  the guitar body with heat and a painters knife. Then I removed the fret overlying the dovetail joint, drilled through the fretboard in the fret slot, inserted a probe which was connected to a Mr. Coffee steamer, and injected steam into the joint as I forced the neck off with a screw clamp neck remover thingy.



Neck removal is dramatic as steam shoots out of the guitar and the joint pops apart. I tell people I exploded my guitar. The process worked. The neck went back on they way if should have in the first place and the guitar sounds great! The next entry will be the last in the series with lots of pictures of the final product.

To view this series from the first entry click: First You Cut Down A Tree
To view the last entry in this series click: First You Cut Down a Tree... (final entry)

First You Cut Down a Tree... (Part 18)

posted May 10, 2013, 7:45 PM by Hiram Philo   [ updated Jul 13, 2013, 6:21 PM ]


Today's post: the nut and saddle


Here I display a cute little vice for shaping the nut, and a tuning machine ready to be mounted in the headstock.






This shows two of my jigs and the router bit I use to rough in bridges. The bridge sitting in the jig is placed there to display how it sat when it was shaped. The second ebony bridge has been fully shaped, sanded and has the peg holes drilled. It is the bridge that you will see being glued to the Shadow Valley Cedar below. 






Finish must be removed prior to gluing the bridge. This was also necessary prior to gluing he neck; finish was removed where the fret board attaches to the guitar.







On goes the bridge.







This tool allows me to precisely mark the location of the saddle slot. Getting this step right is the key to a guitar having true intonation, which is an important factor setting high end guitars apart from low end.





This is the set up for cutting the slot for the saddle... check, recheck, recheck and recheck before this cut.


To view the next post in this series click: First You Cut Down a Tree... (part 19)
To view this series of posts from it start click: First You Cut Down A Tree

First You Cut Down a Tree... (part 17)

posted May 4, 2013, 4:09 AM by Hiram Philo   [ updated Jul 13, 2013, 6:15 PM ]



Here are the pictures I took during finishing, neck construction, and gluing the neck to the body.


After a number of coats of finish are applied the finish is wet sanded starting with 320 grit sandpaper and working my way up to 1500 or 2000 grit.




I'm glad I thought to at least take one picture during neck construction. I am gluing the face plate on the head stock in this picture. Obviously I have glued the fret board onto the neck and have shaped the neck with a rasp, sand paper and the rotary sander attachment to my drill (which you can see between the neck and the body). Shaping the neck was a very enjoyable sculpting sort of process which would have presented some interesting pictures, if I could go back in time and get them.





Finish is applied to the neck in the same manner as shown finishing the body. After sanding the finish is buffed with this powerful buffer. If I loose my concentration while buffing, the buffer can grab a neck right out of my hands and smash a month of work on the floor. Which, incidentally, did happen this winter with another guitar I have been building.





Here is the head stock after binding has been applied, the Shadow Valley Logo inlayed, the neck finished, sanded and buffed out, and the peg holes drilled. 





Gluing the neck to the body
To view this series from the first post click:  First You Cut Down A Tree
To view the next post in this series click:  First You Cut Down a Tree... (Part 18)   

First You Cut Down a Tree... (Part 16)

posted Apr 20, 2013, 6:25 PM by Hiram Philo   [ updated May 4, 2013, 6:00 PM ]



The fret board for the Shadow Valley guitar has progressed to this:


I took a few pictures along the way...


I put the fret slots in the neck blank with this rig up on my table saw





I hand ground the 14 ft radius curve into the blades of this little jointer, which makes radiusing the fret board as easy as a few passes.




The oval mother of pearl inlays are all identical in size and shape because I use this little jig on my router table.





The roman numerals in the mother of pearl inlay are cut by putting them in this jig and scoring the mother of pearl with a hacksaw



I didn't take any pictures of a very intriguing steps of inlay that follow the above. I had major distractions at the time (see the prior post). Simply put, I router slots for the oval and super glue them in. When the voids and the scorings in the mother of pearl are filled with a putty of super glue and sawdust and then sanded flat, the inlay comes out looking great.  





This is an example of hand pressing the fret wire into a fret board. This is not the fret board for the Shadow Valley Cedar guitar but I included this picture  to compensate for my lack photography of he actual project. Fret wire is very soft so it can easily be clipped after pressed into the wood and filed to a precise dimension.

To see this series of posts from the beginning click: First You Cut Down A Tree
To see the next post in this series click: First You Cut Down a Tree... (part 17)


First You Cut Down a Tree... (part 15)

posted Apr 6, 2013, 7:07 AM by Hiram Philo   [ updated Jul 13, 2013, 6:05 PM ]

Friends have asked what interrupted my posting on this Shadow Valley cedar guitar project.  Well... while laid up with a back injury I got a hair brained idea for improving guitar amplification and have filed a patent for it. Since the application has U.S. patent pending status, I feel free to share a link that demonstrates my device in action. I am reluctant to give too many specifics about my invention in a public forum as I anticipate it will be a significant period of time before I can file for international patent rights. I have been very satisfied with the function of my prototype. However, to date  no one else seems to share my enthusiasm enough to use it for public performance. If I continue to be unable to stimulate demand for this device; even if the invention never makes it past the prototype phase, I will have no regrets about "sitting on an idea" without ever having done anything to promote it.

Below is the demo of a guitar recording with and without my invention turned on. Some people are unable to hear any difference while others immediately detect an increased percussive quality to the recording when the device is on. Please give a listen: 
 

 

YouTube Video



With this update out of the way, I promise to start catching you all up to date on the Shadow Valley Cedar guitar with my next post.
 
To view this series from the first post, click on this link: First You Cut Down A Tree
To view the next post in this series click on this link:First You Cut Down a Tree... (Part 16)

First You Cut Down A Tree...(Part 14)

posted Jul 14, 2012, 11:54 AM by Hiram Philo   [ updated Apr 7, 2013, 4:40 PM ]

Time to add color to this Shadow Valley Guitar.  Color aplied to wood = stain.  Color applied in finish = tone.  The First step is wood staining.  I am only staining the curly maple binding and trim.  Then I sand most of the stain off to only leave the stain in the deeper fibers of the wood.  This should bring out the figure in the trim when the final finish is applied. 
 
 
 
I use color to tone the first coats of finish (not the wood itself) to the bulk of the guitar.  This is much easier to match when I sand through in later steps.  If I had stained this darker red cedar color to the wood, there would quite likely have been some blotchy spots to contend with.  Also areas of sand through are almost impossible to match when restained.  I had a run in the tone coat in one of the sides, which was easy to sand off and reapply.  You can see that the figure in the wood shows through well.  Although this is a fuzzy picture, you can see where I pealed back the tape over the binding, that the lighter color trim will contrast well to the toned wood.
 

To View this series from the first post, click here: First You Cut Down A Tree
To view the next post in this series, click here: First You Cut Down a Tree... (part 15)

First You Cut Down A Tree...(Part 13)

posted Jul 13, 2012, 11:11 AM by Hiram Philo   [ updated Jul 13, 2013, 5:59 PM ]

It's time to cut the dovetail joint which attaches the neck to the body.  You can see the neck in the jig I use for this cut.  The neck goes in and out of the jig many times as I gradually cut the joint deeper.  This allows me to make corrections so the final cut fits the neck at the correct allignments.  The second picture shows this fitting.
 
  
 
 
To view the next post in this series click:  First You Cut Down A Tree...(Part 14) 
To see this series from the 1st post click:  First You Cut Down A Tree
 
 

First You Cut Down A Tree (Part 12)

posted Jun 22, 2012, 4:26 PM by Hiram Philo   [ updated Jul 13, 2013, 5:53 PM ]


It has been over a month since my last post.  A sudden lumbar disk extrusion repaired by surgery has kept me out of the shop...till now.  It's time to put on the binding.  The router set up in this first picture is for cutting the binding channels.  I gave the guitar a coat of protective sealer to prevent glue from getting into the wood grain around the binding.  The blue stripes are tape, keeping the decorative back inlay from receiving sealer.  This will allow them to receive a color stain in a later step. 







This last picture is gluing the bindings, which are strips of wood I cut and bent prior.  I taped them in place  then "clamped" them with very long rubber bands.






To view this series of posts from its start click: First You Cut Down A Tree
To view the next post in this series click:  First You Cut Down A Tree...(Part 13)




First You Cut Down a Tree... (Part 11)

posted May 8, 2012, 8:44 AM by Hiram Philo   [ updated Jul 13, 2013, 5:51 PM ]


Every time I glue the top on a guitar I feel like I am sealing  up a treasure that only I have seen.  So today you readers can share the moment.  


Gluing on the top; those beautiful braces are permanently hidden:           



To view this series of posts from its start click:  First You Cut Down A Tree
To view the next post in this series click:First You Cut Down A Tree (Part 12) 

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