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Looking to make some wood saddles

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by tonyv77, Sep 22, 2017.

  1. tonyv77

    tonyv77 Tele-Meister

    Mar 24, 2009
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Looking to make saddles for a bass bridge I'm working on (something like a CJ Tooling bridge). Anybody have any experience making rosewood or other wood saddles? Here's what i'm thinking:

    -Start with a square piece of wood (wenge, padauk, purple heart or black walnut are available to me right now)
    -Drill holes for standard height adjustment screws and intonation screws
    -Cut threads into the wood using the screws themselves <- Will this work?
    -Turn the blocks on a lathe (brother has a lathe and experience) to appropriate size.

  2. raito

    raito Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Nov 22, 2010
    Madison, WI
    Personally, I'd start with dowel and avoid attempting to lathe something the size of a saddle. It's easy enough to drill a hole crosswise (google it, there's a couple methods).

    I would NOT tap using the screws themselves. I'd first use a self-tapping screw. They're made a bit differently so that they can actually cut threads. Using the screw itself will not cut a thread, it'll just compress the fibers. Remember, wood screws aren't supposed to be adjustable once they're in. OK, I'd just use a tap, because I have a set of them, but if I didn't...
    callasabra and tonyv77 like this.

  3. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    Use a really dense wood. There's a lot of downward string pressure there. I made these out of craft sticks that I glued up and turned IIRC. I put fretwire along the top for durability.

    popsicle stick tele.png
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017

  4. Barncaster

    Barncaster Doctor of Teleocity

    Yes like ebony and make sure the grain is 90 degrees off the string axis or you'll have made the world first micro wood splitter.
    tonyv77 likes this.

  5. dougstrum

    dougstrum Tele-Holic

    Oct 6, 2015
    blu ridge mtn cabin
    I made some out of bubinga a few years ago. I didn't use height
    adjustment scews~just cut them to the height I wanted. For the
    intonation screws I just drilled a hole and ran the bolt through to
    cut thread. It seems to work fine for threading wood, a tap is fine
    but prbly not necessary.

    I tried it on one of my teles to see if it would sound a bit like my
    archtop. Eventually I switched back, wood saddles took away to
    much zing...

  6. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 2, 2010
    Harder than walnut would be my preference.
    Forming the wood into rod like Fender saddles would not be required, I'd simply rout a 1/8" round over on both sides of one edge (for the round saddle top) of a of a 3/8" thick piece of straight grained padauk, rip off a 3/8" strip of the rounded edge, drill the holes, and cut the lengths.
    I'd try a few hole sizes until I was happy with the tension on the chosen screws. Can't hurt to tap the holes but probably not necessary.

    Might be worth drilling the height holes in the full board, then cutting off 1/8" to eliminate any tear out, then drilling the intonation screw holes, then rounding the top (against a fence so the bearing doesn't make divots where the holes are), then sanding the top, then ripping the bottom off.

    If you do tap the holes, I'd do that before ripping that 1/8 off the top since the tap would get you more chipping or tear out.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017

  7. callasabra

    callasabra Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 11, 2016
    I wouldn't fool with height adjustment screws, cut the saddles to height. You could round over the top like fender or come to a point like gibson. If minor height adjustment was needed, file accordingly.

    Tapping the intonation screw hole might be overkill but I would do it anyway to be safe.

    I would not turn barrel saddles on a lathe, I would want as much contact between the bottom of the saddle and the bridge plate, personally.

    Also, grain perpendicular to the string.

    I think this would look beautiful in rosewood or ebony. Great idea.

  8. Ex-riverman

    Ex-riverman Tele-Holic

    Jun 17, 2016
    Tulsa, OK

  9. I_build_my_own

    I_build_my_own Friend of Leo's

    Mar 9, 2012
    New York
    Try to find some santos mahog scraps or bolivian rosed. Wenge has too many big pores probably.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2017

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