Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Goodbye Monotony

Routing the binding and purfling ledges
What a difference a month makes! It seems only yesterday that I was complaining about the slow pace of progress and whining about the monotony of eight months of carving. Suddenly, it seems I'm reaching one milestone after another. I have no illusions; it's only temporary. But I'll enjoy it while I can, and the variety of work and my quick progress are making it a lot more fun to go to class.

Since my last post, I finished sanding the edges of the top and back so they're flush with the sides. That allowed me to move on to the next step, which is to rout the ledges for the binding and purfling. In case you forgot from the first go 'round, the purfling is the decorative trim that goes around the body, and the binding (which also serves as a decorative accent) runs parallel to the purfling and binds the components of the instrument together into a unified whole. Amazingly, things dropped perfectly into place at class this week, so, not only did I finish the ledges, but I routed the end graft, as well. (The end graft is a decorative strip of wood inserted at the base of the guitar to cover the place where the two parts of the sides come together).

The binding and purfling ledges
The task of routing the ledges is more nerve-wracking than anything. It's a fairly simple process but, I'm sorry - cutting holes in my guitar makes me a little nervous. Fortunately, everything went fine. The result is two grooves around the outside of the top and identical grooves for the back. If you look carefully at the photo, you can see that the inside groove is shallower. That's the one for the purfling, which consists of three very thin strips of wood glued together. The outside groove is deeper, and that's where the binding will go. When finished, the three strips held in the inside groove will create stripes because they'll alternate maple and mahogany. The binding on the outside will be maple. So, from outside in, you'll see a thick strip of maple, then thin strips of mahogany, maple, and mahogany again, which will contrast with the wood of the body of the guitar, which is spruce on top and maple on the back. It should look great when I'm finished.
Routing the slot for the end graft

Next is to rout the dovetail in the top of the guitar where the neck will be attached. Then I'll likely begin gluing the binding and purfling. Following that, I'll begin work on the neck.

So it looks like I'll be checking off these tasks for at least another month or two. Then it will be back to the sanding and lacquering...and more monotony. But it's getting closer!

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