Choosing Sides

Wow we got beautiful pieces of rosewood for the sides! 

We need a straight edge where the sound board will meet the sides so they are clamped and put on the big belt sander.

The drum sander is used to get them down to 2mm. Nice and easy to bend, I hope! 

Wood Turning

I’m turning a 3mm dowel to sure up the glue job on that double bass bow. 

I’ll try to get 3 dowels out of this piece of mahogony.

Got two dowels down to 3mm. Finished it with sandpaper and measured with a digital calipers. Not bad for my first piece of lathe work! I was sure it was going to break!

This should hold! Kinda looks like a steamer on the high seas…

Hair today, gone tomorrow…

I payed a flying visit to Ian Knepper in his fabulous workshop in Cork. He’s a luthier and after some ridicule of my 1/2 size bow in the old timely session (The Gables Tuesday nights!) he said he would show me how to rehair my 4/4 bow. What a nice guy!

I must say it was an inspiration to watch him work. Such fine knots with extra strong polyester thread (doubled up!). Super glue, resin, water, mapel, a comb, a hammer, a knife and no Dull Chisel! The hairs are meticulously inspected and thin or deficient ones are cast aside. We also have fun recambering the wood over a methylated spirits flame!

Meanwhile back in St. Johns….

Serious overhaul!

This is a Korean bass guitar I bought new ten years ago and it has served me well! After a tour in Europe with The Underscore Orkestra last summer I took it out of commision as it was a little worse for ware, same as myself!

The volume pot had gone intermittent and been bypassed; The frets were so worn some notes were failing to sound; The humbucker was falling out (due to insufficient gaff tape!) And a general air of wantonness had befallen this once proud instrument.

First the guitar was screwed to the bench by removing one of the machine heads. The neck was syraightened by adjusting the truss rod. Then the frets were filed down with emery paper glued to a straight aluminium beam.

To recrown the frets a small file with one safe edge was used. Permanent marker serves to indicate when the highest point is left in the middle of the fret.

To finish, ten strokes each or 600, 800, and 1200 grit carbide paper followed my 20 strokes of 0000 wire wool to polish the surface. 

The results are amazing. The frets are shining, good as new.

The electronics were not as complicated as they look here! Only a blend pot and a master volume pot are engaged.

Here’s to the next ten years of playing!


Setting up the action and intonation on this nice old Japanese Fender. Handy new micrometer proves accurate at measuring string gauge to 0.01mm! Thanks Robin. What a nice birthday present!

This banjo bridge was full of divits and useless. Super glue and rosewood dust makes it good as new!

New machineheads too.

The truss rod was way off on this beautiful double cutaway semihollow telecaster. Now it plays like a dream! 

Back to bracing.

So after a busy week off enjoying the world famous Cork Jazz Festival, and much more, it’s back into the workshop to finish the back of the guitar.

An off cut from a sound board provides the centre strip which hold the two halves together. Into this I cut tight slots with a Stanley blade to hold the braces.

Clamp em up for the night and hope the back takes on the subtle curve which has been put onto the braces…