INCA Table Saw and Veritas Jointer Plane!

P1100863Some satisfactions are more reliable than others; to the toolmonger such as myself, the acquisition of a coveted tool is hard to beat.

Today’s subject: two new-to-me tool acquisitions for guitar construction: A Veritas Jointer Plane and an Inca 250 Major table saw.

Both tools are central to the work. The Jointer plane is the Dreadnought of hand planes. It will get service in the Miller Guitars shop jointing top and back plates and truing neck blanks, among other shop tasks. It is a well-made tool, and takes fine shavings even before receiving a careful hollow grind and hone. After? A dream.

The Inca Table saw is especially interesting. Recently, I’ve been learning more about Inca, a Swiss company that made very high quality combination woodworking machines. While researching machine tools to complete my compact guitarmaking shop, the Inca tools seemed to fit the bill perfectly. They are smart, wonderfully designed and machined, with precision fit. They have a popular following among woodworkers, and as they have not been available for some time, they fetch a premium price in good working condition. When purchasing a 250 Major saw new, you would have had the option of getting a host of useful accessories such as a mortising table, tenoning jig, moulder, and various micro-adjusters, fences, and slides. My saw had a fortunate start, having all the bells and whistles installed from the get go. When I saw a Craigslist ad go up for the saw, I hustled out the door and made the 2-hour drive to go pick it up. Happy day! And thus I go about, learning what all of the beautiful pieces do that came with the saw. Fortunately, there is ample information available on the internet. Now all of my crosscutting, ripping, fret-slot-cutting, and mortising needs are easy!

Voicing the Guitar

My wonderful Lie-Nielsen low-angle apron plane.  Not a required tool in the program, but such a help

My wonderful Lie-Nielsen low-angle apron plane. Not a required tool in the program, but such a help


An exciting event has come and gone; I have voiced my first guitar top.  Following the concepts of Dana Bourgeois and the guidance of my instructor, I flexed and tapped the braced top, listening for tone, sound quality, and response.  Bits of spruce bracing were shaved off, the height of the finger braces were lowered.  I’m using an exceptionally stiff piece of Adirondack Spruce (Picea rubens), so I was able to elegantly taper my braces into smooth arcs.  When finished, I could tap the top nearly anywhere and be met with clear, musical tones.  It felt like tuning a marimba key, shaving away bit by bit, until it seemed as good as it could be.  This should make the guitar truly speak.Image

Next, I quickly braced the back, which is a lovely peice of Claro Walnut from Oregon.Image 


So: the top and back are joined and braced, the rosette installed, the soundhole cut, the top and back are joined and braced; the sides are bent, blocks are glued in and shaped, half of the kerfing is glued, templates are made for neck and headstock shape. 

By the end of next week, I should likely have the box closed up, binding channel routed, fingerboard shaped and slotted, neck cut out and begun getting shaped, truss rod channel routed…

Meanwhile, back at home I’m graduating F5 mandolin plates, fabricating spool clamps, managed to get the 1-18 Martin copy (home build, starting last spring) going with the top and back joined, thicknessed and cut out.  I’m going full tilt, trying to stay productive and still get a nights sleep.  We had a great visit from a friend and prospective student from New Orleans; I’m sure he enjoyed our below-zero windchill (although it wasn’t too cold at 9 degrees F).  Till next time, friends.