Before gluing anything, all glue joints need to be true. These joints are long and it helps the truing process if the table sander surface is longer than the glue joint.           >  This is the reason for working the headstock and the arm seperately.           



     Pictured below is a lead came knife. It is used by stained glass crafts people to cut the soft metal (lead) strips that hold the pieces of glass together in assembly.


     This knife is ideal when used as a scraper when building guitars.  The handle makes it more comfortable and useful than ordinary scrapers. Of course, one needs to square and roll the edge of the curved (stainless) blade, just as one sharpens an ordinary scraper.

     OK.  That's the tip. The cost is less than $10. Just Google "Cascade Lead Knife". I have no relationship with the company that sells these. My wife is a former stained glass artisan and I rescued two of these tools from a remote shelf in the garage.

     As a scraper... this tool is GREAT!

     That will do for this month.  By the end of April I hope to be finished with the Mini and preparing to spray lacquer in the finishing shed. Hopefully, Woody will be able to start another body assembly. I believe that the next one is Sapele followed by a Rosewood (both dreadnoughts).  Hmmm...

                       To cutaway or not to cutaway?

Make it a great day!

 Woody  (aka Wooden J. Strings)

^​ Glue up the heel and arm seperately from the glue up of the already-scarfed headstock.

     Once th 5-piece arm and the 5-piece headstock have been glued up, true the scarf joint and assemble just as you would without the laminates.

March, 2019

Tools and Tips​


Laminated Neck

​​​     Later in March the neck for the mini was built and dovetailed to the body. The unique features of the 5-piece laminated neck are explained below. Before I do that, Woody would like to give you a tip that might be the best part of this month's journal.  So this tip will come first.

< When the maple cutouts are added we have 8 pieces. The headstock maple laminates (~ 20 x 180 mm) are then cut from the ends of the maple cutouts. Thus, both the arm and the headstock become 5-piece lay-ups. (I told you that this is not simple)


     Woody does his laminate neck a little differently. After the built-up heel is cut and glued to the arm, and the scarf joint for the head is cut, the entire assembly is ripped into three pieces...on a converging angle. I will try to explain what I mean in the photos below. It is not a simple process.


     One should really try this sometime...making a true cutaway, i.e. cutting away the upper bout with the bandsaw  once the box is completed and bound. The first time I did this, I admit, I was nervous. It's a lot easier than I thought it would be.   

     Below I have tried to add captions to the photos that explain the process. The first step is to layout the cutaway on the guitar body. Make sure that the layout on the top and back are aligned_one directly over the other.

     Lay the body on the bandsaw with the soundboard down (it's flatter). Then cut near the layout line (1/4" scant). There's no gain in cutting close to the line as the next step is to sand out a nice even curve with the spindle sander.

     Then install the kerfing and use the spindle again to smooth out the actual glue surface. Bend and glue in the side. Rout for binding (carefully). Some parts of the binding install will seem more like an inlay install. 

     I like this cutaway method. Then again, the bandsaw is  my favorite tool in the shop, and old Woody has 15 years repair experience which is how we learned to do this in the first place. Remind me sometime to tell you the "Bullet Hole" story.

  Next, slice (rip) the glued-up arm and headstock seperately so that you now have six pieces.            >

CUTAWAY during assembly.


​​      Woody has been putting together a small guitar (23-1/2" scale). The body was completed early in the month.  It's about 90% of full size (18" body length; 13-1/2" wide; 37" total length). The guitar is noticably comfortable to hold and play.​