Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

A Literal "Carved Top" Take 2

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by skipjackrc4, Jan 13, 2018.

  1. skipjackrc4

    skipjackrc4 Tele-Meister

    Jan 21, 2011
    Next, I draw the neck taper and leave the pegbox walls parallel to each other.

    DSC_0040 (1280x857).jpg

    Fresh off the bandsaw:

    DSC_0041 (1280x857).jpg

    DSC_0042 (1280x857).jpg

    DSC_0043 (1280x857).jpg

    I don't have a picture of this process, but I use a 1x42 belt grinder to cut the angle on the heal of the neck.

    DSC_0045 (1280x857).jpg

    I rough out the radius using a sanding belt.

    DSC_0046 (1280x857).jpg

    DSC_0048 (1280x857).jpg

    And rough out the transitions using a ROSS:

    DSC_0049 (1280x857).jpg

    DSC_0050 (1280x857).jpg

    I still need to carve out the peg box. Hopefully that will happen this weekend.
    LowThudd likes this.
  2. skipjackrc4

    skipjackrc4 Tele-Meister

    Jan 21, 2011
    I've been carving out the inside of the pegbox over the last few days. Normally I hog out most of it with a drill press and then just tidy up with the chisel, but... no drill press. I've intentionally left the walls a bit thick so that the roughness can be cleaned up easily.

    DSC_0006-009 (1280x857).jpg

    DSC_0005-006 (1280x857).jpg

    I think that Cherry is far too soft to be used in a friction pegbox, so I'm going to install small Maple bushings in each hole to reinforce it and hopefully get smoother peg action. This is a very common repair for acoustics, and it's pretty straight forward. It will be slightly noticeable, but it's necessary I think. Hopefully I won't have any issues with maple pegs turning in a maple bushing.

    The inside of the box is narrower than the last one. I tapered this box off over its length rather than leaving the edges parallel, which looks a lot better. Acoustics are done this way, and I'm not sure why I didn't do it on the first neck...

    The working name for this project has been "Ariadne" (I need to keep my CAD files organized). That's a Greek name, and this really needs a Gaelic name, so here are a few options. The name and my logo will be laser engraved on a piece of maple veneer that will be inlaid on the bottom, directly covering the neck joint. What do you guys think?

    Dubhchobhlaigh (10 points to anybody who can guess how to pronounce this ;))
    Neamhain (NYAV in)
    Ailill (AL yil)
    Ainnir (AN nyir)
  3. skipjackrc4

    skipjackrc4 Tele-Meister

    Jan 21, 2011
    Let's work on the headstock!

    I started by drilling a hole at a sharp angle using a brad point bit. This took over a minute, as I drilled REALLY slowly to avoid tear out.

    DSC_3207 (1280x857).jpg

    The result, after cutting a small slit with a coping saw:

    DSC_3210 (1280x857).jpg

    After some time on a belt grinder (1") and some filing/chiseling:

    DSC_3211 (1280x857).jpg

    DSC_3213 (1280x857).jpg

    That is it for tonight. I need to pick up a new #9 gouge to carve out the scoop that transitions to the hole. I was using a really small one, but that turned out to be too uneven. The local Woodcraft carries Pfiel chisels, so hopefully tomorrow I will be able to continue.

    I'm liking this design. I think it looks better that the pictures indicate, but maybe that's just me. I'll post some better angles after getting it more complete.
    LowThudd likes this.
  4. skipjackrc4

    skipjackrc4 Tele-Meister

    Jan 21, 2011
    [3 Years Later]

    One of the things that was preventing me from finishing this thing was my lack of good chisels. The cheapo Stanleys I had just wouldn't hold an edge and were way too thick to get into some of the tight spots that this violin has. I've been wanting to get a full set of half-way decent chisels for a while, so I finally bit the bullet recently.

    Of course, buying 10 new chisels means sharpening 10 new chisels (and lapping their backs), so I got a Work Sharp 3000 electric sharpener as well. I set it up in my living room on the coffee table because it's way too cold out in the garage right now.

    IMAG0667 (1280x724).jpg

    The chisels all waiting their turn:

    IMAG0665 (1280x724).jpg

    Another problem I had last time I was working on this was that of inadequate lighting. I set up a fiber optic microscope light to be able to get good lighting without shadows anywhere I need it.

    IMAG0671 (1280x724).jpg

    This is a "before" picture of one of the transitions:

    IMAG0668 (1280x724).jpg

    It doesn't look so bad in the pic, but you can see that's it's not all that smooth and there's some roughness in the corner.

    For the topside of the violin, that has all been taken care of now:

    IMAG0669 (1280x724).jpg

    Most of the "roughness" you see here is just sawdust wedged in the corner. Now I just need to do the same thing to the back side.
    LowThudd likes this.
  5. skipjackrc4

    skipjackrc4 Tele-Meister

    Jan 21, 2011
    I've had a few concerns with this build that have kind of discouraged me from continuing with it. I wasn't terribly pleased with the way the maple fittings contrasted with the cherry body--they were too close in color. I was also worried about using friction pegs in a cherry pegbox--the cherry is too soft and would soon go out of round, rendering the pegs useless. Maple bushings in the peg holes could help with this, but even then, the wood could still be crushed.

    I'm replacing the friction pegs with planetary geared pegs, which should arrive next week. That will solve the tuning problem. As for the maple fittings, well, they're being replaced with bocote.

    I started with piece of bocote:

    IMG_20160625_143331481_TOP (720x1280).jpg

    And resawed it to be closer to the correct thickness:

    IMG_20160625_144643242 (720x1280).jpg

    Not bad for a $200 Craftsman bandsaw. It took about 5 seconds to cut:

    IMG_20160625_144903872 (720x1280).jpg

    Bandsawn to the line and template:

    IMG_20160625_145534782 (720x1280).jpg

    Sanding the bottom to remove the resaw marks:

    IMG_20160625_160515191 (1280x720).jpg

    The sander didn't do a perfect job, but it's pretty flat on the granite reference plate. Close enough for something that is fully suspended by string tension above the instrument body.

    IMG_20160625_160640323 (1280x720).jpg

    Using a contour gauge to make sure that the two sides are symmetrical:

    IMG_20160626_134947528 (720x1280).jpg

    The scoop in the underside of the tailpiece is made using a spindle sander:

    IMG_20160626_140005663 (720x1280).jpg

    Like This:

    IMG_20160626_140413761 (720x1280).jpg

    The wide end of the tailpiece was then rounded to match the curvature of the bridge. I didn't get any pics of this, but I used a belt sander to rough it out.
    LowThudd likes this.
  6. skipjackrc4

    skipjackrc4 Tele-Meister

    Jan 21, 2011
    Violin tailpieces have a hollow cut into the non-string end so that a nylon string can be installed to suspend the tailpiece at the end of the instrument. I cut that using a fortsner bit and this setup:

    IMG_20160703_142754243 (720x1280).jpg

    Halfway there:

    IMG_20160703_143240972_TOP (720x1280).jpg

    Done with hollowing the end:

    IMG_20160703_143330772 (720x1280).jpg

    A similar hollow has to be cut in the underside of the tailpiece to allow the nylon tailgut to be tied off. This is done at a 20 degree angle, and trig told me where to begin the cut.

    The jig looks like this:

    IMG_20160703_145549509 (720x1280).jpg

    IMG_20160703_145753365 (720x1280).jpg

    And it turned out like this:

    IMG_20160703_150204739 (720x1280).jpg
    LowThudd likes this.
  7. skipjackrc4

    skipjackrc4 Tele-Meister

    Jan 21, 2011
    It was cool enough in the garage today to get some more done on the tail piece. There are four holes that anchor the strings. Because of the curvature of the tailpiece, each hole has to be drilled at an angle. The angle was measured using one of those sliding bevel things:

    IMG_20160723_113525326 (720x1280).jpg

    I cut a 2x4 to the correct angle and drilled like this:

    IMG_20160723_112237697 (720x1280).jpg

    The tailpiece was clamped to the jig using a band clamp. It worked pretty well.

    IMG_20160723_112231808 (720x1280).jpg

    All done:

    IMG_20160723_115458466_HDR (720x1280).jpg

    IMG_20160723_115452495_HDR (720x1280).jpg

    A nylon tailgut runs through the back of the tailpiece to be strapped to the back of the instrument. Two 1/8" holes work for that:

    IMG_20160723_122042948 (720x1280).jpg

    Tailgut installed:

    IMG_20160723_171141556_HDR (720x1280).jpg
    2blue2, I_build_my_own and LowThudd like this.
  8. skipjackrc4

    skipjackrc4 Tele-Meister

    Jan 21, 2011
    The bocote is a bit light in color for my tastes. A single coat of Candlelight stain from General Finishes gets it right where I want it:

    IMG_20160723_172903076 (720x1280).jpg
    LowThudd likes this.
  9. skipjackrc4

    skipjackrc4 Tele-Meister

    Jan 21, 2011
    [End Previous Material]

    Re-uploading the thread took a little over an hour. Not too bad. It was fun to see all the progress and backtracking that I've done on this so far. I've moved 5 times since this thread started, but I'm settled now and hopefully this thing actually moves forward. I think this is at least the third time I've said that in this thread...

    I've been working on the body on and off for the past year. The improvement isn't all that visible on camera, so I haven't been taking any pictures. I have a pretty cool (IMO) new way of holding the violin at awkward angles though. I had another build thread on that, but it's also gone. I'll do a quick recap here.

    I've always liked the Stew Mac guitar vise (also known as a gunstock vise), but it wasn't adjustable enough for my liking. That's nothing that a 8" diameter oak sphere won't take of:


    The sphere is clamped between two thick plywood laminations:

    IMG_20170128_150742952 (1280x720).jpg

    Like so:

    IMG_20170217_143742495 (720x1280).jpg

    In the photo above, you can see a hole being drilled into the surface of the ball. A 5/8" hole is also drilled straight through the sphere so that I can bolt the Stew Mac guitar vise:

    IMG_20170217_153542547_HDR (720x1280).jpg

    Some grade 8 1/2" threaded rod provides adjustable clamping pressure to the ball, allowing me to rotate the vise in any direction.


    Here it is holding an 8' 2x12 very securely (except for the Workmate it's mounted on):

    tintag27 and LowThudd like this.
  10. skipjackrc4

    skipjackrc4 Tele-Meister

    Jan 21, 2011
    The ball vise turned out to work pretty well, but I wanted more flexibility, so I made a table equipped with T-track that installs on the ball. Also visible in this photo is the 1/4" AL U channel used to reinforce the top. It was flexing too much under the force of the clamp before the AL was installed, but now it's super rigid.

    IMG_20170604_142700369 (720x1280).jpg

    IMG_20170604_142710039 (720x1280).jpg

    Oh yeah, I also made a real work bench out of 2x6 fir. It weighs several hundred pounds, making it the perfect base for the ball vise. The vise is attached to the bench using 3/4" threaded rod through one of the dog holes.


    That pretty much brings us up to current day. Hopefully more progress soon...
    LowThudd likes this.
  11. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 2, 2010
    Cool thread and build and jig building for the build!
    I like jigs, and have a bunch I keep from one off projects, sort of abstract art.

    The shaping was really you seeing the thing inside, I couldn't quite imagine it looking how it came out, but there it is!

    So, where in heck is the bridge going to rest?
    Will it have a fishman pickup?

    I've had a few electric violins and they are great versatile instruments.
    The one solid body was a Fender, and didn't sound as good as the acoustic-with-Fishman varieties.
    Electric cello is great too and I never finished my electric cello build.
    The parts got lost somewhere in a move between cities.
  12. skipjackrc4

    skipjackrc4 Tele-Meister

    Jan 21, 2011
    Thanks! I know how losing things during a move goes...

    The bridge will be wider than normal and will fit in some grooves that haven't yet been routed out (I'm doing that at the end so that everything will line up, since the bridge position will unfortunately have to be permanent).

    I will make my own pickup for it. The ones I've made in the past have been at least as good as the Fishman (which I have on an acoustic). I'm still experimenting with pickup designs for this one. With such an unusual bridge shape, the pickup will have to be unique.
    LowThudd and telemnemonics like this.
  13. skipjackrc4

    skipjackrc4 Tele-Meister

    Jan 21, 2011
    Also, I love the look of the Fender violins. I've heard they're not particularly good sounding, but they look awesome.
    telemnemonics likes this.
  14. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 2, 2010
    I can also recall what my hands feel like after that much intensive sanding.
    Many times I've stopped and realized I'd sanded most of the skin off my fingertips.
    Osteo arthritis now limits my projects, but I got years of joy from fine woodworking.

    Yeah I guess the Fishman piezo based pickups are really pretty simple, and maybe how the are supported influences the sound.
    My sense is that a bridge on a solidbody bowed string is helped by being a bit flexible so it can vibrate, thus softening and warming up the tone.
    But I've never made a pickup, and also, the amp can adjust the ultimate sound, along with your target sound possibly not being the same as mine or Fishmans.

    No idea what the Fender pickup is, but it was not a visible part of the bridge on mine.
  15. LowThudd

    LowThudd Friend of Leo's

    Feb 11, 2014
    Sherman Oaks, Ca
    Beautify work! I really like that. Any plans on doing a Celtic knot Tele, now that you are permanently situated?
  16. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 16, 2003
    Arlington, VA
    multiple levels of remarkable!
  17. I_build_my_own

    I_build_my_own Friend of Leo's

    Mar 9, 2012
    New York
  18. oldrebel

    oldrebel Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Oct 23, 2011
    Lynchburg Tennessee
  19. Picton

    Picton Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Feb 7, 2009
    Reading, Massachusetts
    Looking good! I’d forgotten this build.
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