Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Putting the Pieces Together

Fitting the fingerboard to the neck
It's been more than a month since my last post, and that seems to be the pattern lately. Progress continues, but so much time has been spent working out design details and figuring out how to complete new tasks that the progress is hard to see. In one respect it's great: we're actually designing certain components of the guitar from scratch, and the process is fascinating. The downside is that there isn't much to show for the effort, and it's making the process take much longer than it did for my flat top. In fact, I just realized that I'm now thirteen months into the building of my arch top. The flat top took right at fourteen, and there's no way I'll match that. These things are hard to predict, but I'm pretty sure I have at least two months of work left. But things are starting to speed up again, so who knows?

Shaving down the fretboard binding
I've been focused on several different things over the past month. including binding the fretboard, routing the dovetail joint for the neck and fitting it to the body, finishing the milling of the tailpiece, and beginning to fit the fretboard to the neck. Much of this work, especially the fitting of the neck, requires great precision and lots of arithmetic, so Ted's help has been especially important. And being involved in the design process makes you realize that, while woodworking skills are extremely important, it's the math that's the most important part of making a good instrument. If you don't have the proper alignment, the proper angles, and the proper dimensions, you don't have a good guitar. And when I say "proper," I really mean "perfectly accurate." When we're measuring anything in class, we're always talking in thousands of an inch, if not finer measurements. And, fortunately, Ted is not only insistent that we be precise in every detail, he's very good at the math. Without that assistance, I don't think any of us could be successful building good guitars.

So I hope to be showing more results soon. I'll start shaping the neck any time now, and all of the parts we've been constructing will start to go together in the next few weeks. Who knows? Maybe I'm closer than I think.

But I doubt it.