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I had an hour this morning so I continued sawing those neck blanks. First pic shows the second of a nested pair getting its headstock defined with the Pax rip saw. The left over wedge will come in handy, I reach for wedges all the time. 



I have three sopranos on the bench so I stopped at four neck blanks. The last pair can wait a bit. They’re pretty rough so some (a lot of) planing is necessary. 



I chose my no.5 jack plane for the bulk of the work. Long enough to be precise but nimble enough to adjust the surfaces quickly. 



And here they are, really straight grained and pretty mahogany. They will be perfect for the ukes I’m working on. 



But that’s not all. Remember the Fugly Traveller? Sure you do. I wnt to make some more and I need a template. With a sheet of 5 mm plexi / perspex I laid out all the lines. 



And I cut it out on the band saw and cleaned it up with files. More to follow!


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I need some soprano necks. I have a chunk of mahogany that I took home from the cottage and the larger scale workshop, remember the bandsaw there is up shit creek with no sight of a paddle. I’ve thought of pestering the wood shop teacher at Li’s school - I can see their bandsaw through a window when I walk past - but never got around to it. So tonight as I stood with a so far rejected neck blank of Spanish cedar I thought, feck let’s just saw this to necks and be done with it. 

So I laid out six profiles, nested as they usually are. 



I need holes later, to let a narrow saw blade turn, I found easier to drill them while it was still a large piece. 



Then rip sawing between the pairs. I tried my other new old rip saw, the pointy one in the background, but it needs a bit of sharpening. So I let loose my trusty Pax saw which made short work of the task. 



Then I cut the blanks to length with my father’s old cross cut saw. Despite the plastic handle it’s a great tool. 



Then the only tricky cut so far, going between the blanks with a bow saw. I bought the blades and hardware from somewhere but went cheap and fitted them on an old frame I had. Li helped me take the pic. 

Not quite done but enough progress for tonight. 



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A batch of pics from the last couple of days. I’m done with the finish, the result is a lustrous semi pore filled sheen. I like it and hope Daffyd will too. 

In the first pic you can see my jig for marking out holes for the coverplate screws. 



Then I put the saddle in the biscuit and the biscuit on the cone. It is held with a screw from beneath. 



Then the string holder. The holes in the coverplates are a bit shit so I fit a wooden string holder on my resos. The break angle over the saddle is reduced but that is balanced by the fact that the strings don’t snap. In the pic you can see the wooden rabbet plane I used to make the profile on the string holder. Massive planes are often useful for tiny parts, just keep them sharp. 



And here it is. Rosewood I believe. 



But what holds the holder? Screws do. I use the string holes for a couple of cut off screws. This is the most intricate part of the arrangement, I have to make sure the holes for the screws don’t go into the holes for the strings (which are angled in two directions).



This is what it looks like from beneath. The screws are at the edge of the holes to prevent any movement of the wooden block. With the screws in place I also put a drop of super glue into the holes in the plate. Don’t know if that will matter at all but it felt good. 



Ancient technology like resonator instruments deserve to be assembled with ancient technology tools. In Seeden we call this kind of screwdriver ”a Yankee screwdriver”. I suspect they’re called something else in Yankeeland. 



Only tuners, nut and strings left, eh? Sadly I’m off to make a new Swedish embassy in a far away country now, so I won’t get to that until the weekend. Stay tuned will you. 


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I promised Dafydd an ebony fretboard for his patience, and that means I have to ship it before that brain dead shit scenario of Brexit. I slotted the board and made marker dots of 1.6 mm styrene rod. Next pic will show the advantage of this. Frets went in with a bit of force, ebony is quite unforgiving. I made sure the profile was exactly how I wanted it before placing it on the neck, I prefer to whittle the neck down to match the fretboard than the other way around. 

Actually when I think back now I profiled and placed it before istalling the dots, I drilled into the neck through - wait, let’s go to the next pic shall we. 



Like I said, I placed the fretboard and clamped it. Then I drilled through two of the holes into the neck. Installing the dots I let two of them stick out as you can see, making for two anti-slip brads. It went nowhere during glue-up. 



And the glue-up can be seen here. The bead of squeeze out glue hides the very tiny ledge of the neck edge sticking out. I took that down with my sharp knife. 

The advantage of taking the neck down to fit the fretboard rather than the other way around is that the fretboard will have straight sides. If it’s wider than the neck you could trim it down but it’s tricky to do so at the overhanging end on the soundboard. That’ll result in a slight splay past the neck joint. 


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