Sunday, 13 July 2014

Scratch Pine Toronado: Neck, Bridge & String Ferrules

Well, I finally got the woodworking completed on my very first scratch body today - it's all ready to start the final finishing! To get it there, I had to do all the tiresome drilling tasks - you know, the ones where you have to be accurate and have a steady hand. Not my forte, naturally.

The first task was to get the neck bolts drilled and installed. With a nice tight neck joint this was a no-brainer. The holes were drilled, (after checking the drill bit diameter in a scrap of pine) and the neck was screwed in-place through the plate. I used a few drops of boiled liseed oil to lubricate the neck bolts as they went in.

After the neck was attached and tightened down, the next step was to position the bridge to get correct string travel down the neck. With the two E strings threaded through the bridge and clamped at the headstock, it was just a matter of moving the bridge from side to side until the strings aligned correctly up the neck and the desired distance from the edge of the neck was achieved for each string.

With the bridge holes marked, drilled and screwed home, the string-through positions could be marked and drilled. After marking with a punch, I tried to drill the holes with my el-cheapo drill press. I quickly realised that the drill press doesn't have the clearance to drill in the centre of the guitar body :(. And so it was back to the hand drill to finish the holes.

The first set of small string-size holes were OK, if a little uneven. I tried my best to keep the drill upright in both dimensions but unfortunately one or two of the holes were slightly off by the time they travelled 45mm to the back of the body.

With the string holes drilled, the wider ferrule-size holes needed to be drilled from the back. When doing these I tried my best to get them all lined up again. I was partially successful. The ferrules will be almost in line (not bad for a hand drill) but not perfect. Damn my el-cheapo tools! I was also amazed at the amount of tear-out I got drilling these ferrule holes. Despite the fact that I used a Brad-Point drill bit, the soft pine just didn't want to cooperate.

Hopefully the lip of the chrome ferrules will hide the majority of the tear-out, but I'm sure that some (for example the 3rd from the left) will still be visible. All in all I'd have to say that this experiment in string-ferruling has been a bit of a fucking disaster :(. I will definitely need to fill the tear out with Timbermate before even thinking about staining. The uneven lineup I can't do anything about. Just chalk it up to experience I guess and try do better on the next build!

Anyway, the body is now ready for a thorough sanding before staining or painting (I haven't decided which yet). On the end-grain especially, there are some major machining marks which will need to come out. I'm hoping that I can handle most of these with the random orbital sander, so it wont be long before I'm ready for some colour! Stay tuned folks...