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Old March 29th, 2012, 08:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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The idea here is to keep it relative to my favorite guitar, roughly the same body style with a slightly different shape, bolt-on neck 25-1/2" scale and 9.5" radius. For electronics, I'm going with a pair of P90s, probably with two vol and a master tone control. Since the pickups I bought have a narrow polepiece spacing, I want to have a 2" string spacing at the bridge end. After seeing the excellent hardware that Herb made for his snakehead build, I thought I might try giving it a shot.

I thought it'd be a good idea to do a little polishing and drill the holes for the adjustment bolts on the back edge before heading to the brake to bend it.


I managed to scratch things up pretty good drilling the rest of the holes, but with a little elbow grease, I was able to get a decent surface going on.



A few more hardware pieces left to make and I'll move on to making some templates.

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Old March 29th, 2012, 09:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Here's the wood I plan to use. Alder two-piece blank, cocobolo fretboard, flame maple or cherry neck.

Check out the flame on this piece!
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Old March 29th, 2012, 03:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Cool Craig , you have a bending brake ? I would like to get a small one. The bridge looks great , so does the wood.
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Old April 3rd, 2012, 02:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Cool Craig , you have a bending brake ? I would like to get a small one. The bridge looks great , so does the wood.
Thanks Herb. I picked up that brake from HF a few years ago for I think like $40 so I could bend my own amp chassis. I've used it for a whole bunch of different things.
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Old April 3rd, 2012, 02:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Next up, trying to make my own barrel saddles. I don't own any kind of milling machine, just a drillpress, so I had to figure out a simple way to hold the material and guide the drill bit to reduce wandering. That became especially challenging on this threaded 5/16" brass. So I sacrificed the ends of this aluminum (which I was saving to make tonebars with) to make a drilling guide. It's pretty self-explanatory. Set up to drill the height adjustment screw holes:





Pull the whole works out of the jaws and lay it flat to drill the intonation adjustment screw hole.



Then tap with 6-32 threads.




I cut some stainless 6-32 bolt to length and cut a slot on one end for the height adjustment screws.

Then lastly, I'll need to cut to length and polish all those burrs that developed during drilling/handling.

The plain rod guide works the same way, but instead of using the threads to hold the rod in place, I drill the adjustment screw hole first, pin that with an old worn out drillbit, then place the guide block upright in the vise and drill the two height adjustment holes last.
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Old April 3rd, 2012, 03:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I like seeing builders making their own hardware. You are doing a great job of it!
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Old April 3rd, 2012, 06:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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What a great idea for guiding the drill. Kudos to you.
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Old April 3rd, 2012, 07:13 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Nice drilling guide Craig , I might just have to aaaah borrow , yea that's the ticket , that idea
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Old April 4th, 2012, 10:10 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I like seeing builders making their own hardware. You are doing a great job of it!
Thanks Glen...unfortunately the tune-o-matic and tuning machines didn't work out so well, and there's enough metal shavings on my garage floor right now to prove it!!!


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What a great idea for guiding the drill. Kudos to you.
Thanks! But I think I must have stolen the idea from somewhere. But I'll take the credit for coming up with it anyways


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Nice drilling guide Craig , I might just have to aaaah borrow , yea that's the ticket , that idea
Oh, wait a minute...didn't I borrow that idea from you???

Kidding aside, it would be much better if the block was something harder, like stainless. I'm afraid that after drilling a few more of these, the guide holes will get widened out by the drill bit and it won't work so good anymore. We'll see. At least I got one set made.
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Old April 5th, 2012, 09:47 AM   #10 (permalink)
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some new tools arrived a few weeks back. Actually, I've had the planer for a few months now...last weekend I finally felt good enough after a couple months of physical therapy for my back to get it set up. It has its own table with casters so I don't have to carry it over the the sideyard where I do all my dust-making. I'm excited to try out the whiteside spiral bit everyone raves about. I also bought a caswell nickel plating kit for the bridges and other metal parts.



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Old April 7th, 2012, 11:06 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Honestly, I can't see how the challenge contestants pull off building everything so fast while I'm still screwing around with this stupid bridge, but here's the finished saddles, polished up.


I screwed the finish once again on the bridge plate test-fitting the saddles At least I've gotten to be good at something!


This little dremel bit did come in real handy for getting the burrs out in between the threads. I tried sanding, filing, wirebrushing, but that thing smoothed things up real quick, and then followed up with the wirebrush wheel to polish.


CHeers, and Happy Easter to all of you!
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Old April 8th, 2012, 07:22 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Awesome job on the hardware. Right now I'm about to mod some strat trem plates into hardtails. Question, does the thickness of the height adjustment screws get in the way of the string spacing? It looks a like it might in your pics.
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Old April 8th, 2012, 09:16 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Awesome job on the hardware. Right now I'm about to mod some strat trem plates into hardtails. Question, does the thickness of the height adjustment screws get in the way of the string spacing? It looks a like it might in your pics.
Good point. I measured the outside spacing of low E and A strings and they'll brake over the top of the saddles between the screws without being pinched. I think I may need to grind off some brass if the coarseness of those threads binds on the strings, though.
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Old April 8th, 2012, 12:41 PM   #14 (permalink)
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That bridge and saddles are looking fine Craig
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Old April 9th, 2012, 09:49 AM   #15 (permalink)
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That bridge and saddles are looking fine Craig
Thanks Herb! I made another bridge plate just like it and a couple neck mounting plates that turned out pretty good. But botched a third plate which would've given me enough parts to make a batch of plating brew. Maybe this coming weekend.

I was planning on plating a set of steel barrel saddles, but I'm wondering how to hang those off the top of the tank. Fishing line Wonder if that'll withstand boiling temps.

Also wonder if the plating will be thin enough to allow the adjustment screws to fit into the threads...hmm.
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Old April 9th, 2012, 10:00 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Hey Craig , use heavy cotton sewing thread to hang your saddles in the mix , I would pull them after 15 minutes , plate thickness shouldn't be a problem in the threaded holes at 15 minutes .
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Old April 15th, 2012, 08:44 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Hey Craig , I picked up one of those small brakes from harbor Freight today , should work good for bridge making , thanks for the tip. How is the plating coming along ?
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Old May 3rd, 2012, 09:38 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Hey Craig , I picked up one of those small brakes from harbor Freight today , should work good for bridge making , thanks for the tip. How is the plating coming along ?
Cool! You'll get lots of good use out of that.

Well, it seems like every time I set aside sometime to work on this project something else comes up , and that would be work... but I have made a little progess, and as it turns out, my calculations for surface area didn't take into account BOTH sides of the objects. So I redid all the numbers and it looks like I've got enough plating solution to do 2 small tonebars, two hardtails, two neck plates, and a light plate on a couple sets of barrel saddles.

So I made up a couple steel tonebars. These are only 3/8 material, so I've ordered some small pattern bits to get the job done. Got them drilledn ends shaped and polished up a bit.


Here's the set of parts ready for plating. I hope to get them degreased, water break tested and into the pot this weekend so I can get going on templates for the body and neck.
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Old May 5th, 2012, 12:18 PM   #19 (permalink)
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plating success!

Put the parts into simple green for degreasing, heated up. Then rinsed in distilled water. The water still beaded up, so back in the 'green' one more time

then water break test again, the water sheets right off, no beading.

Rechecked my calculations to make sure I mix up the bath and replenish on the right schedule. Heat it up to 195 degrees, then in the tank with the tonebars, neck plates, and bridge plates. Can't really see what's going on in there with the mist balls in the way, so cross my fingers, replenish, wait, replenish, etc....

then at the last replenishment, I put the bridge saddles in the tank. I don't want as thick of a plating on them because I don't want to have to re-tap for the adjustment screw holes. A couple last minutes for the larger parts and out of the tank to see how they look and rinse.

Oh yeah, looking good!

A total of 15 mins for the saddles and out of the tank

and here's what the assembled bridge looks like.


Now out to the backyard to get some templates made!
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Old May 5th, 2012, 06:14 PM   #20 (permalink)
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i love what youre doing with the hardware. what kind of steel did you use for the bridgeplates?
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