Sunday, July 12, 2009

Binding the Soundboard and Installing the Fretboard

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Progress this week was hampered a little bit by a couple things - a short business trip that kept me away for a couple of nights and my most recent order from Stew-Mac is being held with one item on back order. Consequently, about all I was able to accomplish was gluing on some of the binding, attaching the fretboard extension, and gluing on the fretboard.

I finished up last weekend by hand carving the remainder of the grooves for the bindings and then, this week, I shaped and glued the binding around most of the soundboard. Rather than attempting to shape this binding with the heat gun like I did for the fretboard, this time I chose to use a similar to the one I now use to heat my hide glue - hot water. Since the temperature of water does not have to reach boiling to soften the binding, the likelihood of burning oneself and the binding is pretty slim and it is also easier to fine-tune the shape since all you have to do is dip the specific section into the water. I will probably drop the heat gun method now that I know how easy water is to use.

This picture shows the binding being glued on to the outer ring of the scroll. I have used painters tape to hold it and have chosen to glue the scroll first while leaving the body free. This allowed me to focus all my attention on getting the scroll binding tight without having to worry about the body, too. I came back later, after the scroll binding was dry, to glue the remainder of the body binding on.

Next, having run out of binding to glue (I did not order enough to do both the front, back, peghead, and fretboard and the rest is coming in the back-order I mentioned before) I chose to move on to installing the fretboard extension. A couple of weeks ago while waiting for my inlay glue to dry, I spent time making the fretboard extension fit with the soundboard. This meant a good deal of scraping and sanding on the soundboard and the extension itself, but eventually I got the two to fit pretty well. So now, having installed a short strip of binding in between for cosmetics, it was time for gluing

To securely hold the extension while the glue dried, I drilled a hole through it and into the head-block. The screw, being on an angle as it is, creates force both down and back toward the neck. For glue, I used Tite-bond on the base and weld-on cement in the joint that mates with the binding.

After allowing the glue to dry over night, it was time to level the extension with the neck. Checking regularly with a straight edge, I sanded the extension until the two were level.

Finally, I glued the fretboard on. Once again, because it is a relatively normal practice to have to remove or replace a fretboard, I used hot hide-glue for this job. I left approximately a 1/8” gap between the fretboard and the peghead for the nut and I hope to be fine tuning this gap to size and cutting the nut to fit this week.

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