Remember in the last post, when I mentioned that Uncle Sam's Postal Service saved me from eco-unfriendly government regulations.
OK, let me explain. I'm into the building process, where the next step is to cut channels and add binding to the guitar body. Simple, right? Not so quick. I can cut the channels, because of the handy-dandy router table I made a while back, but adding the binding is a little more involved.
Why, you ask? Well, it seems that our good government regulators don't think it is in good form to send certain types of plastic materials through our domestic mail system. According to their quirky determination the plastic is unstable and susceptible to catching fire. However, they don't seem to mind if the same product is shipped direct to my home from China. Figure that out, if you can! This is why I think we should allow any third grade class in the US to regulate products and process, and to send our good congressmen/women (every one of them) on a one-way adventure to inhabit Neptune -- God help the Neptunese.
How do I know this? Because, I wanted to add tortoiseshell binding to replace the white stuff that came with the kit. I called my friend Liz at Martin Guitar,'cause she's the product wizard there, to order the required quantity. Sure, she said, "We have it. Are you going to pick it up?" "No!", I replied, "I need you to ship it." 'Can't do", she said. That's when I learned about the regulation our Washington braintrust has developed.
Alright, enough already. Let's get on with the fun stuff.
In the photo at left, you can see how the binding is glued in place and held firm with tape, while the glue dries in about two minutes. The blue tape outlines the bridge position, which will come later.
I was expecting this to be a lot more difficult procedure than it turned out to be, and the result is awesome.
I really like how the color of the tortoiseshell compliments the color and grain of the rosewood sides and back.
Next in the process was to apply a heel 'cap' to the bottom surface of the heel (that portion of the neck extending down vertically on the front of the body. The kit came with a plastic heel cap, but I don't like how it looks, so I chose to cut a piece of Ziricote to finish off the heel.
And, to finish off the backside of the guitar, where the adjoining sides created a seam, I cut a wedge-shaped piece of mahogany to match the neck. After carefully cutting away the necessary body material, I glued the wedge in place. (I need to point out that I did this prior to attaching the binding).
What's left to do?
Shape the nut and saddle, and drill the tuner holes in the headstock. The tuner holes are easy, it's just a matter of aligning them perfectly on the headstock in the positions recommended by Martin. Again, measure twice or three times and drill once. The nut and saddle are hand shaped from pieces of bone to correspond with the curvature of the fretboard and bridge. If it's done correctly, the strings will follow the curvature and the string action will be just right. I may need to do a little adjustment when the strings are attached, but I think it will be minimal.
The tape is there to mark the centerline of the neck, so I can locate the string slots.
The next phase is finish, so stay tuned.