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Making the solera v3

With the 10 string guitar build, the current side mold wasn't wide enough for the 10-string neck.
So I am left with 2 choice: either to cut the side mold or build a new one
Needless to say I build a new one.
This solera is flat without the elevated feature and with a movable side blocks instead of a side mold.
The process of making is alot simpler than my previous one.
Previously I had cut 2 more extra solera base and I simply use them for this make.
I glue them together and glued 2 pieces of pine below to support the solera.
Then I dished out the doming (about 4-5mm) and smoothen them with sandpaper.
After sanding I gave the base a coat of varnish for protection.
Next I cut the side blocks from the pine that I had.
There is some difference between the side blocks and my 1st solera.
In my 1st solera the slots are in the solera base, and for this v3 the slots are in the side blocks.
I drilled 2 holes in the side block base and use chisel to chisel them out.
With sharpened chisels this is very easy.
I drilled the corresponding holes in the solera base.
Finally I just need to find the hardware to fasten the side blocks to the solera.
I should be getting some winged nuts and hex bolts for that purpose
. One important aspect I am thinking of is to use rare earth magnet for holding the sides to the side blocks.
This way I don't need extra clamps and it's clean and easy.
How it works out I have to do some experiments.

Gluing 2 pieces of MDF together to form the base

Clamping the 2 pieces together

Dishing out the doming

Sanding it smooth with a curved sanding block

Checking the doming

Giving it a coat of varnish

Glue the bottom support to make it more sturdy

Clamp the bottom structural support to the base.

Cut a slot for the head stock. This is design for 650mm scale length. I haven't decide if I wanna cut a slot for 640mm scale length or not (will be placed inner a bit)

Chiseling the slot in the side block.

Side block almost done.

The radiused side block for the end block

Sanding the radius into the side block for end block

Checking the fit

Checking the squareness to the base

All the waste in chiseling

Gluing the reinforcement to the side block.

The solera almost done. Checking the fit for 10-string neck. Noticed the side blocks has a lining to improve the strength of the gluing. The direction of the lining is same a guitar lining.

Checking fit with the top.

With top and neck.


New Tools!

Well as a guitar maker, we always suffer from 2 syndrome:
ZAS (Zoot Acquisition Syndrome) or WAS (Wood Acquisition Syndrome)
TAS (Tool Acquisition Syndrome)
Well I recently bought more new planes from China.
Amongst them is a 2 footer jointer.
Now my jointing will be even easier than before.
Another prize is the high angle smoother which will greatly reduce the tear-out during planing.

If you think these woodies aren't as good as those western plane then you are very wrong.
The HSS iron last longer than the western A2 equivalent.
I have several A2 irons: those on my Stanley #4 block etc.
It's more like the M4 iron.
Also the woodies are much lighter and more handy to use.
Now I only use the Stanley for shooting.

All my plane collection!

Convex and Concave round bottom plane

Rabbet plane with fence

Plough plane

2 footer jointer. Equivalent to a Stanley #8 Jointer

High bed angle smoother

Spoke shave

Comparison between a normal bed angle and a high bed angle smoother.


Disaster! Cracked Top

I was thicknessing the top for my friend's 10-string guitar and I wanted to measure the thickness of the top So I went to fetch the thickness gauge on the rack.
Unfortunately, I had glued the guitar #3 top to the heel block and left it hanging loosely on the rack by the C-heel block.
I accidentally knock if over and it dropped hitting my old solera which was placed below.

Oh shit!
I pick it up and examine it after realising what had happened.
The top crack at 3 location 1 at the waist and 2 at the upper bout.
The UTB was also dislodged.
And so I began my repair.

I glue in all the seams with hide glue and glue in 3 spruce patches at the end of the crack to stop it from propagating.
After the glue dried I use chisel to par the patch down.
I sand the other side with 150 grit and then 1000 grit
Looks nearly invisible at the waist.
The upper bout was more serious but it's barely visible.
Look like I can continue to use this top.

Waist crack

Upper bout cracked at 2 places

UTB dislodged

Glue at the waist

Open the seam and apply some hide glue there.

Glue back the UTB and upper bout region

Finally glue in the patch

Parred down the patch

Looks like a hump

The other patch done.

Sanded the upper bout still show some visible crack.

Waist region was nearly invisible.


Rework on the intonation on my #1

My #1's intonation is not good.
I always wanted to redo it but haven't found the time and effort to do it.
The main reason is because I place the bridge at exactly 650mm spot.
By right the slot need to be at 652mm to adjust for the intonation.
So the 12th frets were always too sharp and it's hard to get the open string in tune.
So I decide to do something about it.

One consideration was to take out the bridge and reposition the bridge.
That would be a major operation and 2nd is to redo the slot.
At that time my skill wasn't that precise and the slot wasn't entirely straight.
So I decide to redo the slot instead.

I refile the slot to make it more square.
Then I dimension a piece of IRW and glued it in using hide glue.
When the glue is dried, I make a rough jig for the B&D RTX rotary tool to sit on.
And clamp 2 Aluminium bar as a rail for the RTX.
After double and triple check I route the new slot in 3 -4 passes.
The end result is a new straight slot at 652mm.

I reuse the same saddle and check the intonation.
The E Bass was dead on, probably about 653mm I refile the edge forward a bit, it was all the way t to the back initially.
The rest is slight sharp but not too noticeable.
All and all a well done :)

While waiting for the glue to dry I redid the headstock.
I cut the string slot from curve ramp to become square ramp as per my other guitars.
Also I chisel the Torres 3 lopes for the headstock.
Now what's left will be to do the pore filling and then French Polish.

Square up the slot.

Glue a piece of IRW into the existing slot with hide glue.

Wait for the glue to dry.

Plane the the excess IRW

Leveled flush and slightly gleaming.

The roughly made (but works) jig: just a base for the RTX to ride on. The Al bars act as the rail guide.

Checking the points of routing.

Start routing in 3-4 passes. Going deeper at each pass

Slot done.

With the original saddle. I file the leading edge forward abit.

Saw the straight ramp. 2 cuts at each side.

Chisel the waste away. The line act as a guide to know where to start.

Slot ramp done.

Headstock Torres 3 lop shape done. Need to sand it smooth though. I chisel while the string is on :) Lazy to remove them.