Crimson Build 2017 – Day Four

…continued from Day Three

Day four was beautiful and sunny. I started by removing the clamps from the headstock and cutting the veneer down to size, first with the bandsaw and then the spindle sander. For the rest of the morning we were working on the frets – first levelling them, then crowning…

…dressing the ends and finally polishing and buffing them.  These are all very fine operations and there isn’t much that can be shown without a camera with a macro lens, so I didn’t take many pictures during that process. Here’s the neck all taped up and ready for buffing (the tape is to protect the fretboard from the buffing compound).

Then it was time to turn back to the body. Because of the problems with clamping, I had some dents that needed addressing. Christopher showed me how to steam out some of the dents by spraying water on the body and then using a soldering iron to steam it off, thus softening the wood and making the compressed parts expand again, which helped. However, next I spent some time with the orbital sander and basically carved my top down so that the surface was pretty well smooth and uniform. This meant that I only have a very thin top on the edges of the guitar, but it more or less solved the problem of the dents.

Next I planed the top of the guitar to create a flat surface in the middle for the bridge and pickups.

Then we worked out where the neck should go, sticking pieces of scrap wood in place to mark it…

and routed out the cavity for it, which worked pretty well and gave us a tight fit.

I drew a new centre line down the body based on the neck position and marked the scale length, then from the bridge position and the neck we worked out where to rout out the pickup cavities.


I had a slight issue with the depth stop on the pillar drill, but fortunately I noticed it and no harm was done – there’s just a small part of the neck pickup cavity that was drilled past the bottom, but it didn’t go through the body so that won’t be visible.

Callum was also working on the various cavities and carving of his guitar, and spent some time making a belly carve, even though he doesn’t have a belly yet. He’ll appreciate it when he’s my age, though!

By the end of the day, the back of his guitar was looking pretty well sorted out!

Lastly, I drilled pilot holes and then routed out the holes on the body – not really f-holes, but they serve the same function (mostly cosmetic, to be honest, but they do show that it’s a semi-hollow). A slip with the router meant that I had to slightly widen the smaller holes to hide a small accident, but that’s not a problem.

There’s plenty to do in the last two days, but at the moment it looks like we are on course to finish our guitars by the end of the week!

Continue to Day Five…