Friendly Advice, Joints and New Tools

The debate still rages in my mind……..binding? perflings?……should I, shouldn’t I….ahhhgg! Had some very useful advice and encouragement from a couple of Luthiers who’s blogs I follow, regarding my questions on bindings. As always, with pleasant friendly people, their advice and tips ranged onto other construction ideas, that were all very useful and gave me even more to think about, so I am grateful for the kind people out there in the world of crafts. We now know where we are heading…roughly, the neck angle for the head stock is cut and glued, the fret board is planed flat…….but

The project is stalled for a few days while I wait for some new tools to arrive. I have decided to ‘radius’ the fret board for the first time. So I looked for radius blocks on line and found that Crimson Guitars in Dorset, England do a good value set. They look like this.Radius-Block-11 They also have a summer sale on, so I bought a fret bending jig from them too. The other big purchase was a bending iron for the sides. I did a few days of research and found this one to be the best value, to my mind. I wonder how much wood I will waste learning how to use it! It comes from a company called Luthiers Bench. and it looks like this.


To prepare for the big build, I decided to do an audit of the tools in the workshop. I must put in a bad word about Veritas here. I purchased the Verital ‘Honing’ jig because I was worried my cheapo jig might not be doing me any favors. I had been getting a very keen edge on my plane irons but felt I should be more ‘professional’ in my approach to sharpening. As a quick review of the Veritas jig, let me say…..ITS RUBBISH! It is a classic example of ‘over engineering ‘ a problem that doesn’t exist. The measuring guide cannot be tightened well enough to guarantee the angle hasn’t changed during use, and the compression jaws for holding the blade just cant hold it square, meaning that when I first used it I skewed the bevel on all my blades without realising. These were blades I had kept perfectly sharp and straight just by eye and hand up to that point. I spent the last few weeks convincing myself that my planing technique had gotten worse. I was getting way more tear-out than I have done for ages, and felt I had lost my ‘mojo’ for reading wood…..Until today when I inspected the blades under a magnifying glass. That’s when I noticed the problem. Lesson..”Don’t trust fancy jigs, use your eyes and feel when sharpening”.  This meant I spent a long time this afternoon and evening going from 400grit wet and dry paper, to reset the bevel, then working my way up to 600, 800, 1000 grit paper, then switching to wet stones from 3000grit all the way up to 12000 grit.

My little collection of Very Sharp and perfectly set up Planes…you can never have enough planes..

It was worth it because now my planes are all sharp enough to shave with….seriously, I have a bald forearm to prove it, where I tested them all! I might even get to use my little violin plane in this project on the arched sound board. I might have to buy more planes….I mean, if you are going to do a thing properly, you need the right tools. I may need more chisels….and saws….

You can never have enough chisels and gouges either..









Saws, now you can never have too many of them..


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