Lil ’58 Build Update
The Lil 58 build has moved on quite a bit and is drawing to a close as far as the woodwork aspect goes. Since my last post, the body has been bound and the neck is nearing completion.
The body is bound in 2mm thick grained ivoroid which is glued and taped as I work round the body. In order to bend the binding round tight curves, like the horns, I heat it with a hairdryer and overbend it slightly. The binding is glued using a specialist ‘solvent weld’ adhesive.
Gluing the ivoroid binding in place.
When the glue has cured the binding is scraped flush with the top and sides of the body using a sharp cabinet scraper.
Trimming the binding flush to the body with a cabinet scraper.
The fingerboard and headstock are bound in the same way though in this case the binding is shallower and thinner and the binding is cut and mitred at the sharp corners.
The bound headstock with ebony head veneer.
Before the neck is joined to the body I finish as much of the neck as possible as it’s much easier to work when the two are still seperate. Access to and around the heel is where finishing gets harder if the two are joined so, this is finished and sanded before joining. This leaves me with just a little clean up to do around the joint when the neck is permanently fixed. Before I carve the neck heel I glue on the ebony heel cap, I usually fit a heel cap to all the the necks on a Lil 58.
Rough carving the neck heel with various rasps.
Once the rough carving has been done I use coarse cloth backed abrasive strips to blend and even out the curves and transition from neck to heel. Cawls are taped around the neck tenon to prevent any damage to the edges of the joint.
Blending in the transition from neck to heel with coarse abrasive.
When the heel shaping is complete I finish shaping the neck profile before carving the transition between neck and headstock. The carved neck is scraped and then any bumps are smoothed out using a coarse abrasive strip rolled in a zig zag fashion up and down the neck.
Roll sanding the neck with coarse abrasive.
I carve a volute where the neck meets the headstock, for increased strength, rigidity and I like the aesthetics of it. The upstand is shaped with a medium thumb plane and is finished off with various scrapers. A rasp and round file are used to blend the area leading from the neck to the headstock sides.
Carving the volute with a thumb plane.
Finishing off with a goose neck scraper.
With the majority of the heavy neck work completed I can then move on to checking and adjusting the neck joint. The neck joint is keyed and self tightening when clamped in one direction. This allows me to dry joint the neck for final check of neck angle and side to side accuracy, also for cambering the fingerboard, dotting and fretting.
The neck and body dry jointed for a first fit.
When all the neck work is completed the neck and body will be seperated again, final sanded and then permanently glued in place.