Every guitar project eventually hits a snag. Yesterday I hit one, big time. While I was attempting to put back bow on the neck I exerted too much torque and snapped off the threaded end of the truss rod. I was following instructions but somehow the neck was either too stiff to bend, or there was something else wrong. In any case I won’t be doing that again. This truss rod comes with instructions to glue it into the channel with epoxy. In my view all this did was prevent the thing from bowing. Other suppliers indicate that some builders do not glue this rod in. I may go that direction next. My supplier is sending a new rod, but the neck and all the work that has gone into it is now wasted.

This is most annoying because I had the neck joint fitted perfectly. This involved lots of chiseling, filing and sanding, and a multitude of checking for proper angles both vertically and horizontally.

detail of neck joint rough cuts

neck showing truss rod barrel nut

In the meantime I have begun a new neck by cutting up another mahogany 1×4 board, band sawing and gluing up three more pieces.

Neck with broken barrel nut, and new neck blank in background

Neck with broken barrel nut, and new neck blank in background

My first reaction was to glue on the fingerboard and try it with the truss rod as is, whereby it would be at least a passive reinforcement. But then this morning I reconsidered. So I removed the fingerboard with the aid of a heat lamp and some steel scrapers.

removing the fingerboard

removing the fingerboard

I still don’t have the answer as to why this thing didn’t bend in the first place. Plus I am not confident that this particular truss rod is the best quality. I may go to a different source for a better one, i.e. one made in Japan. My supplier does not say who makes their truss rods. Form your own conclusions.

But other work is progressing. Today I bent the bindings on the hot pipe. There are four pieces, made of rosewood with white/black/white pinstripe laminations on the bottom edge. I then taped them to the binding channel that was previously cut, and let them dry in place.

hot pipe ready to bend binding

hot pipe ready to bend binding

Later I applied glue and taped them on. I use lots of tape to ensure that the binding is pressed tight into the channel. One particular place that is often problematic is at the waist of the back, because here the binding channel takes a bend downwards. The twist induced causes the binding to want to pull away from the guitar. So I added a heavy duty clamp to force it into place. Once one side of the back is dry I will do the other side.

installing bindings

installing bindings

bindings drying in place before gluing - (note Hermes 3000 typewriter in background - received as Christmas present)

bindings drying in place before gluing – (note Hermes 3000 typewriter in background – received as Christmas present)

A final note, but not about guitars. Above you see a Hermes 3000 typewriter. This was given to me by my brother & sister in law for Christmas. It belonged to the late father of my brother in law. I have to extol this machine as probably the finest typewriter ever made. I’m not saying that it’s everyone’s favorite, but I guarantee that if you have a look inside at the works you will see a true wonder of the finest precision Swiss engineering and manufacturing. I’m keeping it close at hand as inspiration while I build this guitar. It is a reminder of the meaning of quality.

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Filed under Guitars, Typewriters

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