Yesterday I made some more guitar building progress. Every time I work on them, I realize that it's not quite as tough as I sometimes make it out to be. I also decided that I like breaking the process into individual steps, and posting about each one. I think it helps pace myself, or process my thoughts, or something.
The plan was to rip off a piece to use for the headstock. It comes from behind where the fingerboard will go. Ideally, the neck ends up about the right thickness, and I have a nice piece left over to use as the headstock. This way the headstock will end up matching the rest of the neck.
|I drew out all the steps some time ago. Now I just have to stick to the plan.|
Unfortunately, I had set myself up for a challenge by making a really dumb mistake when I prepared the layers of the neck blank. The piece of cocobolo in the middle is not the full thickness. I tapered it off when I cut it out of a large piece, apparently attempting to save wood. This means that I have just barely enough wood for a headstock, and next to no room for error.
|The middle layer of the sandwich doesn't reach the bench. D'oh!|
In order to cut out a headstock piece without wasting wood, I needed accurate lines to follow, and before doing that, I had to bring the surfaces up to snuff, accuracy-wise.
|There is foamy dried glue showing near the top, but it will get covered by the fretboard.|
Before I actually marked anything, I wanted to sanity check the dimensions in my drawings. I made a full scale cardboard mock-up to make sure I liked the size. I didn't end up deciding to change anything significant, but I did end up deciding that I will need to beef up the headstock a bit. If the picture of the mock-up looks weird, that's because it's going to be a weird guitar. The whole thing will be tiny, and the body is not integral to the design.
|The neck blank with hardware, tape & cardboard gives me an idea of what this thing will look like|
|Chalkdust makes knife lines visible.|
|This spacer might have been overkill, but I like not having to change a gauge setting until I'm sure I won't need it again.|
|The chalked knife line is crisp and noticeable.|
I used my favorite saw for this, which also happens to be the only decent rip saw I own, an inexpensive ryoba made by Vaughan (no financial connection etc.). It was important for this step to use a saw that cuts a thin kerf, and to stay right on the line--for at least two reasons. For one, I need to avoid wasting wood. For another, because of the shape of the neck, it will be very difficult to plane the back. Better sawing means less work later.
|Sawing to a line is the key.|
|Ripping exotics is a good way to work up a sweat. Good thing I had a sharp saw!|
|This begins to suggest what the back of the guitar will look like.|
|This scrap should be just big enough to make a matching headstock.|