A Winter Night

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Home for the holidays; Good marks in all classes, finished with assignments with time to spare.  After four fret jobs, I’m ready and excited to do some complex real-world refrets.  I’m on the lookout for promising apprenticeship opportunities; I’m visiting all of my favorite musical instrument shops in SF Bay Area, working on my 1956 Chevrolet Wagon, and eating great Mexican food.  Now, for a visual recap of the last month or so.

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The polished fingerboard of Fret Assignment #3

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My Crafters of Tennessee dobro gets a checkup, a shimmed saddle, and nice polish

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Study Young Men!

New experiment: bacon/beet calzone/galette

New experiment: bacon/beet calzone/galette

Archtop Update, Pizza Pie

Time for some skillet licker pizza:  bacon-spinach with grated nutmeg, cooked up in the trusty Griswold #11 skillet.  YUM.

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I’ve kept myself busy, refining my fretwork in class, rehabilitating the archtop at home, and getting in some great tunes and square dancing in the Twin Cities over the weekend.  My friends Bob and Julie had a great house party, with Old Time tunes in the kitchen, Cajun upstairs, Quebecois in another room, and so on!  We stayed up ’till almost 5am singing ballads and sea shanties…what a blast!  It was just what I needed.

As for the archtop, I’ve had my hands full attending to the most heinous faults: filling 19 holes in the headstock with mahogany plugs, installing the correct bushings and redrilling for the Golden Age reproduction tuners, and rebuilding the dovetail joint.

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When I steamed the neck out, I discovered that this beautiful guitar was put together rather haphazardly.  The dovetail joint holds the neck onto the body, maintaining the correct extension height and resisting the pull of the strings.  In this case, the dovetail pin on the neck was badly gouged (it appeared to have been assembled that way).  With this much material missing from critical surfaces, it is no wonder why the neck had pulled away from the body.

I decided to rebuild the dovetail.  To do this, I chiseled away the gouged sections, leaving nice square and flat surfaces to splice in fresh mahogany.  Although this work will be hidden inside the headblock of the guitar, it is nice to know there is clean, respectable work in there.

Next step will be to carefully fit everything back together.  As the joint fit was rather poor to begin with, some careful shimming and carving will be required.  I can’t wait to hear what this guitar will sound like with a correct neck angle and solid neck-to-body connection.  Fun!

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