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Gluing the bridge

Actually I glued on the bridge and strung it up the same day I glued on the fingerboard.
But after stringing up, the bridge flew up... Luckily no damage to the bridge and top.
Another good reason to use hide glue.
I wanted to redo the gluing since I noticed a gap behind the bridge, the bridge flew up on me just at the right time.
It's not fault of the hide glue, it's just that I waited only 1/2 hour before stringing up before the glue had dried.
I am sure if I leave it to dry it would have held up just fine, but I rather not see the gap there since bridge is part of the very important part of sound production.
Anyway here is what I did.

I marked the position of the bridge at 652mm; 2mm for compensation.
The reference mark should at 325 mm at the 12th fret; not 0 mm at the nut.
This is because some maker do a nut compensation.
Also I use a square to ensure the saddle is perpendicular to the center line.
Another way to check is to ensure both treble and bass side are of the same length.
Next I tape the bridge down and drill 2 holes (1mm) for guide.

After all set, it's time to apply the glue.
I prepared the clamps in position at the sound hole.
The caul didn't work too well so I tape some cork to the clamp instead and use it without the caul.
Using similar procedures as before, I heat up the surface and apply the glue.
Align the holes and press it down a bit.
Then I apply the clamps.
After that I did notice a gap behind the tie block area.

After 1/2 hour or so I remove the clamp thinking if I want to redo gluing.
But I just record the tap tone and strung it up.
It sounded pretty loud with the open strings.
When I was about to test with a high note the bridge pop out.
Luckily there is no damage to the sound board and bridge.

Marking the bridge at 652 mm

Making sure bridge is perpendicular to the center line.

Drill the guide hole

All set for gluing

Apply the hide glue

Apply the clamps

Another way after I noticed the gap...

Strung it up

The bridge flew off..
No damage to the top.

After that I clean up the glue remnants on the top.
Though for hide glue is not really necessary as the old glue will fused with the new one.
But I need a clean surface for sanding the 2 surface to fit.
So I proceed to sand the bridge after I got both surfaced cleaned up.
Then again I did the gluing again.
This time round I didn't apply the clamp, just use my hand pressure for 15 minutes or so until it grabs and then I apply just one clamp to hold it down.
The fit was good no gaps front or back.

Sand to fit

Apply hide glue again

The clamping is just a flexible stick clamp on 2 sides.
No support underneath not really necessary actually.
The top can support itself.


Next will be to string it up.
But this time round I'll wait for 24 hours to let it dry.
After 2 hours, I removed the clamp and did some pre-setup that's another post...


Gluing the fingerboard / Shaping the neck

What's next? Well I guess it's the gluing of the fingerboard.
The fingerboard is already tapered correct.
What I need to do is to align the center line and make sure the fret slots are perpendicular to the center line.

After that I drilled 4 guide holes and start the gluing process.
I clamp it down with clamps.
I place a wood block beneath the top and apply a clamp there.

Find the center line using the metre rule.

Drill the guide holes (1 mm)

Using wire to fix the position.

Fingerboard caul

Saw off the 1st fret excess.

Ready for gluing

Heat up the fingerboard

Apply HHG

Glue to neck with the 4 pins are guide. The cauls has 4 holes to allow for the pins / metal wire

Apply the clamps

When it's dried, I began to shape the neck with my beloved rebate plane chisel and the spokeshave.
First I saw off the excess portion of the neck to fit the fingerboard.
At one side I use the ryoba and it's fine but the other side I use the coping saw and it cut a little into the fingerboard... argh...
Not choice I would have plane / sand it away.
After that I shape behind the head using the chisel.
It was all messy of shavings...

Saw off the wings of the neck

Shape using my rebate plane

Fingerboard done.

Shape the neck.

Mark the back of the head.

Chisel to shape

File to smoothen the curve.

Shaping the heel

Shaping the neck using spokeshave (2 handed of course)

Sanding smooth the curvature (2 handed)


Some more new wood stock!

Well I managed to acquire some more new back and sides woods for my collection :)
I know I know I have the illness(ZAS)... Zoot Acquisition Syndrome but I couldn't resist it...

I managed to get a lovely Ziricote and Waterfall Bubinga.
Haven't decide what use for them but certainly they will be used for classical guitars; at least for now.

Lovely Back. Looks very much like a BRW

With the sides. Unfortunately the sides isn't Quartersawn...

Waterfall Bubinga. I try to take a better pic next time
The lightning doesn't do justice to the wood.

I ordered somemore new wood including Osage Orange and premium dark IRW.
The Osage Orange is still on the way from RC Tonewoods while the IRW has arrived, beautiful set!

Premo dark IRW.

2nd take of the waterfall Bubinga which I bought.
Without spirits wetting, it's kind of hard to see the beauty of it actually


Making the Heel Cap

I also began to do the heel cap after all the binding are flushed with the sides and top / back.
The binding wasn't done very well but well that's a lesson learnt for next time.
For the heel cap, I also put 2 layers of white and red fiber underneath the ebony heel cap to match the side purfling.
The heel cap is made from the fingerboard cut-off.

Before tracing the shape, I had to trim the binding at the heel cap which I do so using the rebate plane and chisel.
After that I trace the heel shape onto the heel cap.
Next will be to saw off the excess.

Level the binding at the heel cap area


Cut the red and white fiber to match the side purfling

Trace the shape to the heel cap blank. (from fingerboard cut-off)

I decided not to put in the purfling as the based of the heel is not flat.
When I plane it flat it will not be align with the binding and purfling anyway.
I decided on a full thickness (as per fretboard) ebony cap instead.
Thereafter I leveled the heel flat and marked the outline on the cap.
After sawing the excess, I shape it using my rebate plane.
And finally it leave some excess to be leveled using chisel and glued on the cap using PVA glue. (I have kept the hide in the fridge and lazy to take it out; this isn't structural so it perfectly OK)

Shaping the heel using my rebate plane

Check the fit

From the side

Apply the glue



Making Bridge (cont.)

Well I had to drill the holes for the bridge.
I don't have a drill press so I device a set up for drilling it.
Firstly, I glued up a slider which is just a wooden block with side fence edge to glide on a long straight wooden block
The bridge will be held by hand on this slide and slide to the dremel fitted with a 1.5mm drill bit.
Next I clamp 2 pieces of wood to hold the dremel.
The height can be adjust by closing the 2 pieces of wood or making them further apart.
The dremel are all clamped down and I slide in the bridge with markings on where to drill.
All went well for the 1st 6 holes
When I drill the other 12 holes for a 18 hold bridge.
I drill the 1st hole too low.
For the center 4 holes, I adjusted it higher but 6th string I drill it the same as the first to make it look normal.

Marking the 6 holes

The set up for drilling

Another view. The bridge is held by hand on the slider block

End view

Top view

Drilling in action

6 holes drilled OK.

12 more holes mistake on the 1st set

A MOP will be glued for the tie block.

Following that I began to saw the MOP to slightly oversize and I intend to sand / file the MOP to fit the tieblock.
I was thinking to either file it after gluing onto the tie block or file first then glue?
Which would be better?

Saw to size using a junior hacksaw

The MOP slightly oversize than the tie block.

After sanding / filing to size I began the gluing process.
I put a curve block of wood underneath and put a straight edge at between the tie block and the saddle block (My useful Al bar)
Then I apply the CA glue (super glue) and glue the MOP; 1st I held it down by hand then after it began to set, I clamp a block of wood to it.
After the glue set, I level the edges with the tie block by sanding and then use the micro mesh to polish the surface (12000 grit); it shine like a real pearl!
With this I am done with the bridge.
Next will be gluing the fingerboard and bridge onto the guitar itself.
I forgot to weigh how much is the bridge I'll remember to do that next time.

The gluing set-up

Apply the CA glue (superglue)

Glue the MOP and clamp a block to hold it.

After unclamping before leveling the edges

Polished MOP, hard to see the real beauty of in this picture but it looks very 3D in reality.

I have the chance to measure it it's about 22.4 g well still within my range.
Final weight of the bridge 22.4g