Archive for February, 2010


Seems like everything I’ve been touching lately I am trying to ruin. If it’s not my own finger, it’s a soundboard.


So I got my Stew-Mac order in on Thursday. In the order was just some purfling and the binding router with a few different sized bearings. The binding is something that I’ve been dragging my feet with, so I figured I should just get it over with.

I didn’t take a ton of pictures, but hopefully you get the idea. I have a lot of sanding to do now. As you can see I buggered up the soundboard. I think it’s too deep to sand out, i might have to just find something to glue on top of it…. i dont know.

Random updates for #2

I’ve just been doing busy work on #2 while I wait for parts to come in.

This soundboard is going to prove tricky to keep alive. Every time i put a piece of sandpaper on it, the rosette starts to fall apart. I just flooded it with some CA to protect it and I’ll deal with it later.  One of the pictures is of a patch job i did on the veneer because I sanded through it (again).

I laminated the back braces, I always wanted to do that, I think they look really cool. I realize the idea is to put a thin piece of hardwood as the laminate and not fiber paper, but for now I just wanted the look, not so much the function. I shaped the soundboard braces as well and finally thicknessed the back. Thicknessing is still a trick without a drum sander, but I am trying out a solution (shown in the pics) where I take data points around the outside of the plank and write it on the board. Those metal discs that i use for thicknessing work really good.

#2 Rosette

So I was able to avoid a complete disaster (hopefully).

So I have this pretty cool piece of Carpathian Spruce that I am going to use as a soundboard for my next guitar. And since I am waiting on some parts in order to move a long with guitar #1, I figured I would do some work on #2.

I thicknessed the soundboard to where it had a nice tone and moved really nicely. I knew I didn’t have much thickness to work with, but I didn’t need much since the veneer sheet i was using wasnt actually that thick. Things went pretty well for the most part, but I didn’t route my channel deep enough, so my veneer rosette was standing proud. So when i sanded it down to level, i had some blank spots where I sanded all the way through the veneer.


I decided to incorporate my funky design into the soundhole… it was either try that or snap the soundboard in half and toss it (I almost did that).

This poses a new problem though… I think some of those funky holes are going to mess with my guitar bracing.

This should be fun…

Safety 101

I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to make one of these posts, but I guess it was inevitable. However, it could have been much, much worse.

So I went to the ER the other night. In retrospect, I probably could have just gone to the clinic or something. But one tends to assume the worst when there is so much blood coming out of you.

I don’t really want to focus on what happened, but more on what I could have done to prevent the accident.

You see, in woodworking, there is a lot of force and energy applied to your workpiece. Most of the time it is you who is applying the force and energy. Whether it is carving out a piece of wood with a chisel, feeding some wood through the bandsaw, or simply cutting a sliver of veneer with a utility blade. You apply force in all of these. There are multiple things to consider when you create that kind of tension between you and your workpiece, especially when you have a very very sharp tool in the middle of it all.

-Where is my point A and point B?
A lot of what you do in wood working has a start and finish location. It is pretty much second nature to figure out where you will start, but have you figured out where you will finish? Have you visualized your process from start to finish? When you finish cutting a piece of wood on your bandsaw, the next thing that your bandsaw is cutting could be your finger. Working with tools is a lot like handling a gun, you want to be very aware of  the business end of your tool and where it can end up.

-What if something unpredictable happens?
I can’t count how many times that my workpiece slips and I end up taking a huge gouge out of my beloved workpiece, or worse yet, my hand. Wood is inherently inconsistent. Let’s use the bandsaw as an example again.

Imagine you are ripping a piece of wood at, say, 1 inch per second. It’s not a very big piece, so it is easy to manage. In an instant, the saw blade hits a patch of softer wood and eats in 3 inches before you can even blink.  I think you can guess what CAN happen at that point. Hopefully, you just take a deep sigh of relief because nothing horrible happened. However, it is possible that you could be picking up your thumb off the floor as well.

Moral of the story is: Always prepare for the worst.

-What am I reacting into?
This lesson comes from my buddy Greg.

Lets say that when you are working on a piece and you are exercising safe procedures and ready to react in a split second. Have you thought about what happens when you DO react? When you jerk your fingers out of the way of potential danger, are you just going to react into another danger?

My shop gets pretty messy, I try to clean it occasionally, but sometimes I end up working with crap laying around. This poses a potential hazard because some of the mess might be a sharp chisel that I forgot to put back on the rack. Having your work area clear of other hazards is important.

Keep these rules in mind when working with dangerous equipment. There are plenty of other rules to consider, but those are the big ones that I have learned in the 10 months of wood working.
Stay safe.

Fretboard work, more work and rework.

So I had this grand idea for the fret markers. I would create little triangles and put them on the upper part of the fretboard. For the 12th fret, I would make a double-triangle thingy…. yeah, it didn’t turn out so great. Unfortunately I had the entire thing done by the time I realized it looked like a 3-year old’s drawing on refrigerator. Time to adapt.

I routed out the markers along with rectangular pieces for each fret slot. I cut around the original design because I wanted that to be the primary element. Then i cut the white pearl pieces to go in those slots. I think it looks a lot better.

Headstock inlay

I did my logo on the headstock using the Paduak that’s used on the fretboard. Here are some pictures.

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Bailie Guitars Blog

Greetings! This is a blog about my adventures in building guitars. I hope you enjoy!