Since I last posted an update I’ve made two good days of progress on the RockMangle and it is starting to look, not just like a guitar, but one I’ll be proud of.
Yesterday, on the advice of Steve Benford, I went out hunting for Titebond Original. This glue is particularly suitable for a set neck. Titebond is not a very common product in the UK and it took me a while to track down a supplier within a reasonable driving distance. I’m glad I put this effort in because it lead me to the most amazing shop, called Graham’s Machinery Sales, on an industrial park on the outskirts of Chester. This place is just full of workshop porn. I used to think guitarist’s GAS* was bad until I stumbled on to woodworker’s GAS.
With Titebond in hand I headed home and spent the rest of the day routing deeper slots in the pickup cavity to clear the two round-head screws in the baseplate, and for the cable. Also because I’ve got a long hole to drill from the jack socket (remember there’s no control cavity in this guitar) I wanted to cut a decent sized slot to give me a reasonable chance of hitting it. The rest of the day was taken up with small fiddly jobs; filling the old screw holes in the headstock, gluing the fretboard to the neck, slightly reshaping the end of the neck to ensure maximum contact area in the neck pocket.
Today I was up bright and early and ready to get cracking. The morning was spend carving body around the neck heel to make sure that reach to the top frets would be as easy and comfortable as possible.
Here it is from the front:
And from the back:
The final shaping of the neck heel will take place after the neck is glued in.
I then drilled the 11mm holes for the bridge posts, first taping up the drill bit to ensure the holes were the right depth:
Next job was to drill the 19mm hole for the jack socket:
And then to tape the jack socket plate to the body and drill the four pilot holes for the screws:
I also drilled pilot holes for the strap buttons, the tuners, and the hole for the earth strap that runs from lower bridge post to pickup cavity.
One common problem with figured maple is that there are occasionally cracks in the surface. I had a couple just between bridge and pickup. I followed the excellent advice at http://www.bladeforums.com/ (a whole community of knife makers – who knew?). I flooded the cracks with Cyanoacrylate glue (better known as Superglue, but this is the key ingredient you need to look for), let it start to go tacky, and then sanded the body, forcing the maple dust into the cracks where it gets embedded into the tacky crack (no sniggering at the back). The glue is transparent when dry and all you can see is maple. I gather it’ll take the danish oil finish fine too, but time will tell.
Next up was hours and hours of unglamorous sanding. Previously all of the body shaping and sanding had been done with 60 and 80 grit paper. I’ve got a lot of marks to get rid of! While doing this I added a very slight round over to the back edge of the body.
Last of all, out of curiosity, I loaded up the kitchen scales with the body, neck and all of the hardware. When finished this thing is going to weigh in at a fairly back friendly 7.5lbs (3.4kg).
* GAS = Gear Acquisition Syndrome