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Bow Hair Jig

Bow Hair Jig

by Thomas Snyder

Originally published in American Lutherie #3, 1985 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume One, 2000



As and apprentice luthier, I have come up with a better mousetrap for rehairing bows. The results with this method have been uniform hair tension, long-term retention, and reduction in rehairing time.

The jig was fabricated from pine and oak. I used oak on all blocks. Item 4 makes a great carving back for ferrule wedges. I average ten bows a month and this method and jig has cut my time in half and increased the quality.

On my sketch, items 2A, 2E, 2D, and 2F are the new additions to an old jig. I have made a few small changes. For the lack of a name, I will call this a “hair holder.” Item 2A swings aside to place hair over sponge rubber. The half of a 1/8" dowel holds the hair in place when the wing nuts are tightened.

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Making Lining Strips — One

Making Lining Strips — One

by Rolfe Gerhardt

Originally published as Guild of American Luthiers Data Sheet #71, 1978 and in Lutherie Woods and Steel String Guitars, 1997



I used to make lining strips one at a time, a long, tedious process. Then I visited Charlie Hoffmann in Minneapolis and was inspired to work out this gang-saw setup. The saws are 6" plywood saws, very small kerf, and are spaced on the radial arm shaft with 1/4" spacers. Three blades fit comfortably on my radial arm saw. The holder is a board with a guide strip and two hold-down springs. This holder is clamped to the radial arm saw table. I hold the strip I am sawing with my other hand.

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Hand Sander Dust Collection

Hand Sander Dust Collection

by John Calkin

 

Shop dust is a pervasive enemy that can cause damage to the lungs and sinuses. One of the silliest inventions ever is the dust collection bag that is hung on many hand sanders in an attempt to convince woodworkers that the manufacturers care about our health. They don't work, they might even blow off of the machine causing a dust cloud of their own, and the irregular port sizes make it difficult to improvise a vacuum hookup.

I broke down and bought a new DeWalt DWE6421 sander along with the DWV9000 hose-to-sander adaptor and a 20' length of 2" hose, all for about $110 from Amazon. The long hose is to keep me as far away from the noisy shop vac as possible, though I still wear earmuffs while working. The rig works very well, much better than even the powerful down-draft table I used at Huss & Dalton Guitars. It's not perfect, though, and a particle mask should still be worn for safety.

All photos by John Calkin

Remember that the filter in the shop vac will clog up and need cleaning long before the collection tub is full. As the photo illustrates, it is way too easy to put off cleaning it for too long. I intend to be more diligent.

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Adjustable Neck Joints

Adjustable Neck Joints

by Larry Robinson

Originally published as Data Sheet #190, 1981 and Lutherie Woods and Steel String Guitars, 1998



Adjustable neck joints, although not common, are not a new idea. I got a good look at two Howe-Orme guitars from the early 1900s owned by Rick Turner which use this system. Basically, it’s just a pin through the bottom of the heel, acting as a pivot, and two adjustment screws coming out of the body just under the fingerboard. I souped up mine a bit by using all brass parts, putting a brass sleeve through the heel so the wood wouldn’t wear down and a brass plate epoxied/screwed to the back of the heel so the tension wouldn’t warp or crack it. The advantages to this system are multiple, and I haven’t noticed any loss of tone, sustain, or strength.

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Improved X Bracing

Improved X Bracing

by Don Musser

Originally published as Guild of American Luthiers Data Sheet #172, 1981 and in Lutherie Woods and Steel String Guitars, 1997



After building a number of guitars with the standard steel string X-bracing pattern, I noticed some problems. First, even when the braces were precurved to a 25' radius, there was still a deformation just behind the bridge that was caused by the upward pull of the strings on the inner bridge plate. Energy which could have gone to sound production in the whole top was being lost to wood deformation in a small area of the top.

Second, there was always a problem of creating a guitar having both an outstanding bass and treble response. Good bass response requires less or lighter bracing on the bass side of the top. A crisp, well-defined treble requires more or slightly heavier bracing on the treble side. The challenge was to be able to achieve both without retarding either.

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