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Gluing the bridge

The bridge is on!
I measured the correct distance from the 12 fret 325mm mark.
I tape the bridge to the top and then I drilled 2 guide holes (1mm) thru' the saddle slot.
Next I apply the hide glue and glue it onto the top and then I apply the clamps.
The wings are clamped using the cam clamps the central portion is by the Ibex clamp.

Measuring the location of the bridge from 12th fret mark (325mm) to the front edge of the saddle slot.

Drilling 2 guide holes (1mm) to prevent bridge from moving during gluing

Paste some tape so that the squeeze out will be removed by the tape.

Applying hide glue to the bridge

Applying the ckamps

Another view

After clamps removed

Another view


Making the bridge

I wanted to glue the lining but it was raining for the past few weeks, I had to do things which doesn't require gluing.
So I began to make the bridge.
I was wonder what bridge material to use, I had a few very good Madagascar Rosewood bridge blank which is light looks good and more importantly has a very glassy tap tone.
But in the end I choose a relatively OK tap tone Indian rosewood blank but is ultra light.
I intend to make this an all IRW guitar including using the IRW for fingerboard, so it makes sense to use IRW for the bridge too.
Furthermore I had this ultra light blank which makes a good candidate for the bridge.
I wanted to see if I can make it about 15g. :)
If I managed to do that, that will be my lightest bridge to date.

The blank wasn't aligned with the grain, but it's big enough to saw away the 2 edges and still have enough for the bridge.
So I saw away the 2 skew edges and leave the grain square to the bridge.
It's a rift sawn blank, looking from the sides so I have no worries the saddle will break at the grain line.

Anyway after sawing away the skew part, I plane the blank to size and mark the tie block region.
Next I use the scraper to scrape the bottom of the blank and check the fit to the top doming.
When it's almost fitted, I put a sand paper on the top and sand the bottom of the blank.

Weighing the blank.

Scraping the bottom of the blank

Checking the fit of the bridge blank with the top.

Sand the bottom of the bridge to the top

Next I routed the saddle slot and thin the wings.
Unfortunately at the last pass for the saddle slot, I push the dremel router base over the fence.
So I routed into the front saddle block by a bit.
Now I just have to plug it in.
I measure the weight is not at 20g, it would be easy to hit 17 when U thin the tie block further.

Cutting the kerf for the tie block

The saddle slot routing setup

Mistake when I route into the front saddle block. I push the router base over the fence

Both saddle slot and the space between the saddle block and tie block done.

Cutting kerf for the wing's excess removal

Chisel away the waste

Plane away the waste

Carve the rear saddle block with a slope

Weight is 20g. Target is min 17g and if possible 15g preferred

I glue a MOP onto the tieblock and shape the wings to correct thickness.
Final weight is 18g, well one short of my target.
Without the MOP it's 17g.
I still have to drill the string holes and plug in the mistake.

Gluing the MOP

Clamp it

Done. 18g

The bridge

Close up at the MOP inlay at the tie block. I have yet to polish it.

I patched the small blotch whe I route the saddle slot.
I just hold a small piece of IRW cut-off with a pliers, and chisel it into a cylinder.
Finally I sand to correct size and apply glue to stick it in.
After the glue is dried, I saw off the protruding part and chisel the extended part in the slot.
It looks good now.

The error patched by gluing a small cut-off onto it.

Cleaned up

The last part of the bridge making involves drilling the holes.
I use my last set up to drill the holes.
It work reasonably well for me.
The base holes were drilled perfectly but the 2 upper holes for the 18 hole bridge, weren't as nice...
I didn't adjust the height of the RTX properly before drilling the upper holes.
The weight of the bridge after drilling is 17.7g nice!
I can't really wait to glue on the bridge.

The setup for drilling bridge string holes.

Holes drilled. Base holes were nice but the upper holes is abit too low. I didn't adjust the height properly

Weight of the bridge is 17.7 after drilling

Making the neck (Contd)

I continue on the neck.
Saw the fret slots on the IRW fret board, then shape the under side of the fretboard such that the bass side is lower than the treble side.
This will make the saddle more or less even in height.
This guitar will have 23 frets (top D).

Then I glue the fingerboard to the neck and plane the excess neck away.
It's still very heavy.

Sawing the fret slots


Saw away the sound hole part

Drill pilot holes for the fretboard

Gluing the fretboard using hide glue.


Planing away the excess neck.

How the completed guitar would look

Side view

Next I began to thin the neck and rough shape the contour.
My new spoveshave is very useful as it can reach inner the bigger size Stanley.
But the Stanley is better are removing bulk of the neck first
For hard to reach area, I use chisel instead.
With the neck so free it's easier and faster to shape.

Shaping the neck with the new MJF spokeshave. This spokeshave is small profile and can reach hard to reach places.

Shaping the neck with the Stanley spokeshave. This is better for bulk removal.

I scrape the neck smoother.
Then I level the fretboard with some sandpaper.
I think there's some back bow introduced by the gluing.
Initially I had planned to fret it before gluing to the main body and heel, but after some thoughts I decided to glue it now before fretting.
As I check the neck angle, I found that it was wrong
The string height was 16 mm at the bridge location.
To correct the neck angle, I plane the elevated neck part with my block plane and re-check the neck angle.
Now it's correct at 10mm.
Then I proceed to glue the neck to the main body.
One reason is I want to ensure the neck angle is correct, and fretting in the body isn't exactly too difficult to do.
Secondly I'd like to carve the heel nicely now rather than wait to last minute.

Correcting the neck angle by planing off the elevated neck part.

Checking the neck angle

Apply glue

Glue to body and clamped

After the neck is glued to the main body, I can now carved the heel.
I made a mistake of shaping the neck near the heel side, should have left it square so as to leave more allowance for heel shaping.
Any way I use the drum roller sander to shape it.
The front curve was done easily and nicely.
The only problem is shaping the side curve; not only I have to get the left side and right balanced I must also transit the curve nicely from the heel to the neck.
After some sanding it looks better than before but still some curve to smoothen out.

After the glue dried. The neck fully attached to the body.

Another view

Shaping with the drum sander drill attachment

The left and right curve still a bit unbalanced. Also need to correct the curve transition from heel to neck.

The frontal curve was done nicely.

The heel is done for now.
It's not perfect but reasonably acceptable.
Hmm.. I must think of a way to refine the heel shaping process.
The binding purfling problem is solved but now the heel shaping is affected.
Anyway I clean up by hand using sand paper.

Heel shaping done. Not really perfect though

The heel done another view.