Virtual Non-Meeting
June 6, 2020

Ostrich Wood

Chet's friend sent him this pic. Howard wants to know if it's long enough for a neck and headstock.


Chet - Resonator

I completed the National Duolian that was included in the last post. I installed a radiused fretboard (original was flat) and new frets on this guitar because it was split and crumbling much like the old Silvertone the group worked on.


Gary - Bass repair required

I received a phone call to repair a broken neck on a bass. They said the head stock had broken. Attached are some pictures of what they brought to the shop. Any suggestions? It is a clean break perhaps just some wood glue and clamping?


Michael Dean - Wilkinson kits

My most recent Covid of the Wilkinson kits off Stewmac. That is a Lollar Charlie Christian pickup I put in the neck position. Had to widen the rout with chisels and gouges. Instructions on construction and set up are great--very clear. And for $450 plus new pickup, a great sounding and playing guitar.


Woody McKenzie - Fiddles


Michael Dean - Movingui Violin

Other instrument I have been working on. Movingui violin....getting close to finished. Will turn my attention to next double bass once i wrap this up.


Larry Sakayama - Travel guitar fiasco

A few months ago I finished this travel guitar. It fits inside a bass uke case


When I was taking photographs of it, I knocked it over and cracked the top.


I fixed the crack with CA glue, put another couple of top coats of lacquer on it. A couple of days ago I finally buffed it out and strung it up. As I played it, the action seemed to be getting worse and the end of the heel was pulling away from the body a bit. The next day the crack in the heel was clearly visible. I took it apart and wedged a small flathead screwdriver into the crack to get a feel for how strong the wood was. Not very. So I need to rebuild the heel. While I'm at it, I'm going to thin the neck a bit.


Larry Sakayama - Strip-built canoe in progress


The hull is stripped. I'm debating on whether or not I should fix some cosmetic things. Like with all cosmetic repairs, there's the chance of making it worse.


The Smith Mountain Arts Council was asking local folks to submit videos of stuff they were working on while in social isolation. I made this one (in the right column). Narrating it was the hardest part. One mistake I made was calling it Part 1, whick means I need to make at least one more. It's a lot of work.

Here's what Steve sees in the guitar top

**I see an elephant head front on with tusks dripping blood.

Back to Steve's question.

Covid-19 Pandemic Virtual Non-Meeting 2

Main events: What we are doing while unable to meet with our fellow luthiers. Hopefully we'll be able to meet face to face soon.

Steve Clark - Les Paul Kit


Steve's initial comments on the kit:

  1. Anyone see an image in the top? Let me have your ideas – I reveal my own here (see bottom of left column**). That pretty spalted maple top is about .015” thick veneer on a laminated mahogany(?) body. I see opportunities for color enhancements on both sides. I suppose they imagine a solid color on the back.
  2. The kit comes with a good instruction set, though perhaps intended to sell some tools. The progression of work starts with these steps:
    • Shape the top of the peghead to suit. I have some ideas that play off of the ubiquitous Gibson peghead
    • Set the neck – more on the neck in a moment
    • Fretwork. Here’s where they hope to sell you a 9-1/2” radius fret sanding block and fret file at least
    • Prep for finishing. I would think it wise to finish sand before putting the neck on?
    • Etc.
  3. Neck. I was surprised on the neck joint. My brain imagines a symmetrical joint makes more sense. They intend and instruct for this neck to be glued so that joint is intended to get the length relative to body correct, it seems.
  4. Fretwork. Maybe, but this neck to my novice eyes and fingers seems ready to play.

  5. Woody McKenzie- Dulcimer


Frank Riner - Instruments

I have two tenor guitars ready to spray finish on next time I go back to the cabinet shop. One is made of Ambrosia Maple the other is Poplar with a Redwood top. The necks are 23 in scale. The fret board, head plate veneer and bridge are made of Katalox. I have a 3rd guitar, that has a maple body, started that will be a tenor also.


I am also revisiting an idea I had a while back- a rectangle guitar. I may go for 6 strings on it but i like the tenor guitar set up as well as a dulcimer Im not real sure what it will be yet.


I decided to try my hand at a bevel guitar. It was quite an ordeal. I wont be making another until I do some research on how to do it more efficiently. I just went about it on a whim and wing on a prayer. I wound up free handing with a router to install the perfling on the top and sides, its got a few waves in it. the side is Walnut, the front and back is Poplar. The binding is plastic that looks like abalone but the bevel is actual thin abalone shell.


Chet Dickerson - Banjo Dowel Stick

I had to make a dowel stick for a banjo. It needed to be a tapered square stick with a round dowel on the end to go into the neck bore. I chose not to just use a dowel inserted in the stick and neck but to make it in one piece like the original would have been. I built a fixture to use on my table saw. I drilled a hole In the fixture that was slightly larger than the finished square dimension of the stick at the widest point. Next size standard bit that was larger than the stick measuring across the points. I cut my stick square to this dimension (same as hole across the points).

I made the fixture base with a rail to fit in the miter slot on my table saw and added the tee with a locking screw so I could secure it to the saw table.


Inserted the square stick through the holes and positioned it close the the saw blade. With the saw running, I raised the blade until it made contact with the stick, rotated the square stick in the round hole, and raised the blade until round dimension was achieved. I fed the stick toward the fence. The saw fence served as a stop to get the needed length of round.


After cutting the round, I cut the square to final size and tapered it as needed. Note the one picture has a scrap piece of pine, test piece, the other pics are the maple stick. Worked really well.


Chet Dickerson - Mahogany Resonator

All mahogany dobro in process. Finish not done yet. This is reclaimed mahogany from Black Dog. I decided to do a dark stain with a shade on the edge. One pic before stain showing internal braces.


Chet Dickerson - Rosewood Dobro

So this is some rosewood (Brazilian I think) that was given to me a few years ago. It had some defects, voids, black splotches, etc, so I had put it away and forgot about it. With a slowdown in repair work during the pandemic, I decided to dig it out and see if I could do something with it. Side pieces had some cracks out on the edge so were not wide enough for a dread but I had been wanting to build a rosewood dobro and they we’re wide enough for that. They also had pins holes which I will fill. I used epoxy and filled the voids on the back. I think they will be fine. The top is torrified red spruce that had a grain lines that curved toward the center seam. Cosmetically for me it was not desireable for guitar top but works for a resonator since most gets cut away, and covered by fretboard. This is a work in progress...


Larry Sakayama's Canoe video

Frank Riner's "Long Covid Train"

Covid Parody - tune borrowed from Josh Turner's "Long Black Train." Lyrics and chords are here if anyone wants to add some parts or just play along.