Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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DIY Bandsaw Log Sled: Toy Making Dad Visits the Dungeon

Early last December, I had the pleasure of welcoming the justly famous Toy Making Dad to The Dungeon.


He brought a homebrew/DIY log sled he had cooked up, which we used successfully in hacking up some actual logs on my trusty Rikon bandsaw.

This is the back of the sled. It's essentially a vertical fence to support the log, bolted to a platform.

He drilled some holes to adjust the fence's position on the platform. There are slots on the bottom of the fence, so there's a good amount of adjustability.

If you look closely, you'll see the small 1/2 inch guide that fits right into the slot on the saw's table. That allows the mill to slide along the fence while the log is cut.

Here's the business (saw blade) side.

You can see there's also a fixed end fence to hold the log - we drove a wood screw through that end into the log to keep it in position.

There's also a clamp on the vertical part of the main fence to help keep that square.

A perfect, simple design. It worked great.

And Toy Making Dad left it with me in The Dungeon! I have some Japanese Maple logs to cut into boards and this will be perfect for the job.

The log in the pictures above is Sycamore.

It is not good (allegedly) for woodworking, but it does have beautiful grain as you can see on the left. (I wet it with mineral spirits to highlight the grain).

Here TMD is cutting a big Sycamore log into boards.

We had a 1/2 inch resaw blade on the saw and it cut this log like butter.

Look at that cut. Beautiful!

It was about this point we started to get giddy after successfully cutting the log and started to imagine all sorts of projects down the road.

And to think I was going to pony up $140 for a Carter Log Mill!

Once we knew how well the log mill worked, we got down to the business of making boards.

Toy Making Dad is going at it here.

Note the wedding ring. Sorry, girls, he's married!

Isn't this different?

This is the pinkish sawdust produced when we cut up a Chinese/Dawn Redwood, aka Metasequoia log. The log is from a Chinese Redwood tree that was in TMD's front yard when he was growing up. He's been saving the log for decades and was able to finally cut it into boards.

Here's what he says about the tree:

"It's Chinese redwood, aka "Dawn Redwood" aka Metasequoia aka 'The Valuable Tree.'

The story was that the former owner of the house had been a missionary in China and brought it back and planted it before my folks purchased the house. They bought the house in I think 1964 (maybe '62).

My folks used to be worried that our property assessment would go up since the tree was rare in the area.

Honest to God, we were told that if anyone asked us about it when we were out playing, to go and get our parents to talk to them about it since it could have been an assessor.

Hit by lightning at least twice. The second time catastrophically.

It had a perfect Christmas tree shape and in the fall turned an amazing orange and dropped its leaves.

It was really cool."


And on the right we have some beautiful Chinese Redwood boards.

TMD is planning to make Christmas ornaments from these. They should look great. The wood is really beautiful.
And watch his site for more Flippy Acrobats using these perfectly cut Red Oak parts.

 
 

Completed 1931 Martin 0-18T: Restoration and Repair, Pt. 11

Here are some pictures of the finished 0-18T.

Probably not the best shots I've ever taken, but given that it's about 16° F outside, I don't want to take this guitar out to the garden.

Here it is perched on the workbench.

It's got one of the darkest finishes I've seen on an old Martin. Usually they're yellowish or a little amber, but this one is really dark.

I'm pretty sure it was sitting without a case in someone's basement for decades.

I wasn't sure about the look of the pickguard at first, but I like it now.

And I still have the original, although I don't know what I can do with it.

Another angle.

You may recall from Part One of the project how filthy the guitar was. It cleaned up very nicely and the finish polished out well.

The back. Lots of scratches, but it still looks good I think.

And a through-the-finish wear spot.

I'm pretty much at the point that unless the finish is just awful, I'll just polish it out instead of trying to touch up old spots. Too hard to match for one thing, and I think you lose a bit of the original mojo the instrument has.

That mahogany sure is pretty, innit?

Here's the side where I repaired those three cracks - they're backed by a cleat now.

The other side is nearly perfect.

Green grunge from the tuners is all gone.

They look a whole lot better now, and they work well.

Bridge cleaned up and a new bone saddle installed.

The guitar plays very nicely and sounds wonderful. It's a lot more open sounding than my other 0-18T, and the neck is a bit chunkier for some reason.

All posts in the 1931 Martin 0-18T Restoration Project:
  1. 1931 Martin 0-18T Guitar Restoration and Repair, Pt. 1

  2. Neck Removal on 1931 Martin 0-18T Guitar: Restoration and Repair, Pt. 2

  3. Trimming the Neck Heel for Reset: 1931 Martin 0-18T Restoration and Repair, Pt. 3

  4. Shimming Guitar Neck Dovetail and Finish Chip Repair: 1931 Martin 0-18T Restoration and Repair, Pt. 4

  5. Caul for Heat-straightening Guitar Neck: 1931 Martin 0-18T Restoration and Repair, Pt. 5

  6. Reparing Acoustic Body Cracks: 1931 Martin 0-18T Restoration and Repair, Pt. 6

  7. Making a Tortoloid Pickguard: 1931 Martin 0-18T Restoration and Repair, Pt. 7

  8. Heat Straightening Bowed Guitar Neck: 1931 Martin 0-18T Restoration and Repair, Pt. 8

  9. Fret Marker Installation and Filling Fingerboard Chips: 1931 Martin 0-18T Restoration and Repair, Pt. 9

  10. Compression Fretting to Correct Upbow: 1931 Martin 0-18T Restoration and Repair, Pt. 10

  11. Completed 1931 Martin 0-18T: Restoration and Repair, Pt. 11 - This page.

 
 

Compression Fretting to Correct Upbow: 1931 Martin 0-18T Restoration and Repair, Pt. 10

Finally we're ready to refret the 0-18T!

I took some measurements of the old frets compared to the new ones and found that the tang was about .029 in. compared to the new ones, which are .023.

I'm doing a compression fret job to correct the upbow of the neck from the first to about the fifth frets. What this means in a nutshell is that we'll put frets that have a slightly wider tang than the fret slots, so they will 'compress,' or force the neck into a backbow. Then under string tension, the neck will be pulled straight.

And by slightly wider, we're talking a thousandth of an inch or so.

The new frets' tang measures .023 inch. So ideally we want to have a tang width of .024 of an inch or thereabouts for the compression. But since the old slots are about 5 thousandths (.005) too wide, I'm going to fill the slots with ebony sawdust and then make newish slots.

I just filled the slots and used super glue to hold the sawdust in place, as I would on a hole or chip fill.  That's the easy part.

Rather than use my big fret slotting saw, I used a fret slot cleaning tool - which is .020 inches wide.

The saw has two blades - one for the push cut and one for the pull cut. Very handy, and a lot easier to control than the slotting saw.

Along with cutting the "new" slots, I'm checking the depth of the slots with a depth gauge to make sure the new frets will seat properly.

This job is looking like a Stew-Mac ad. I really, really would like an endorsement deal.

Although the slot cleaning tool is .020 wide, I'm not surprised to find that the slots wind up a bit wider than that - about .024. I say I'm not surprised, because the dust/glue mixture is softer than the ebony on its own would be, so the slots are just that smaller amount wider than the kerf of the tool is.

This is ok, not a problem at all.

The main thing is that they are no longer .029 wide, which is where they were originally.


+
Now we take a length of fretwire and run it through the fret bender.

Although the fretboard is flat, I want just a small radius on the wire so the ends will sit into place before the frets are pressed in.

Those people in Ohio have everything for every repair situation.

A gentle squeeze with this fret tang tool will make the tang compress and get a tiny bit wider.

I found the tool does leave small tooth marks on the crown of the fret, but they disappear when the fret gets dressed.

Well, gol-lee.

After a bit of squeezing, our .023-wide tang has become .025!

Exactly what the doctor ordered for our .024-wide slots.

I think this might work!

Now we press our new frets in with the Jaws (actually a modified Facom press) fret press.

This tool is great, but I have to relearn how to use it each time I do a fret job, since I don't do a lot of them.

Note that I have strings on the guitar - I installed a few frets and then tuned it to tension to get an idea of how the neck would look under tension before I put all of the frets on. It looked good with just a few frets installed.

The Jaws press doesn't work on the frets over the body, so there I have to hammer them in the traditional way.

Note that I have a brace jack inside the body to support it. I did see plans for an elegant fingerboard support online and I want to make one. But for now, the jack works perfectly well.

Frets are all installed. They need to be levelled, trimmed and crowned.

The neck looks good and straight at this point.

We use our trusty Corian fret leveller and 320 grit paper to level the frets.

Then clip the overhanging ends.

And next, file the fret ends to a 30 degree bevel.

And finally crown and polish them.

I'm leaving some details out - some of my older posts have more detail on this process.

After the frets were dressed, I put some fretboard oil on the board. It took 2 passes - the old, dry board just soaked the stuff up.

I also used it on the bridge, which is also ebony.

Made a nice new saddle out of unbleached bone, and set the action.

The neck now has a perfect angle, and there is just a bit of relief - maybe .015 inch. A tad more than I'd like, but considering we started with about a 1/4 inch upbow (!) I think we're in good shape.

It plays really well now - and sounds great. The neck is a bit chunkier than my other 0-18T.

In the next post I'll have some pictures of the completed guitar.

All posts in the 1931 Martin 0-18T Restoration Project:
  1. 1931 Martin 0-18T Guitar Restoration and Repair, Pt. 1

  2. Neck Removal on 1931 Martin 0-18T Guitar: Restoration and Repair, Pt. 2
  3. Trimming the Neck Heel for Reset: 1931 Martin 0-18T Restoration and Repair, Pt. 3
  4. Shimming Guitar Neck Dovetail and Finish Chip Repair: 1931 Martin 0-18T Restoration and Repair, Pt. 4
  5. Caul for Heat-straightening Guitar Neck: 1931 Martin 0-18T Restoration and Repair, Pt. 5
  6. Reparing Acoustic Body Cracks: 1931 Martin 0-18T Restoration and Repair, Pt. 6
  7. Making a Tortoloid Pickguard: 1931 Martin 0-18T Restoration and Repair, Pt. 7
  8. Heat Straightening Bowed Guitar Neck: 1931 Martin 0-18T Restoration and Repair, Pt. 8
  9. Fret Marker Installation and Filling Fingerboard Chips: 1931 Martin 0-18T Restoration and Repair, Pt. 9
  10. Compression Fretting to Correct Upbow: 1931 Martin 0-18T Restoration and Repair, Pt. 10 - This page.
  11. Completed 1931 Martin 0-18T: Restoration and Repair, Pt. 11

 
 

Fret Marker Installation and Filling Fingerboard Chips: 1931 Martin 0-18T Restoration and Repair, Pt. 9

Now that the neck is straight, I'm going to remove the pearl fret markers and also fill the chips that came out when I removed the frets.

While working on pulling the frets and doing the heat straightening, I realized what had happened to this guitar. The fingerboard has a crack or a split seam along the side. This puzzled me because I couldn't understand how it got there. If the fingerboard had been removed, there might be a seam between the neck and the board, but not in the side of the board.

It was also very obvious that there was a non-stock big pearl dot at the 12th fret. After comparing this guitar's board to my other 1931 0-18T, it all became clear.

The markers on a Style 18 tenor of that vintage had markers at the 5th, 7th and 10th frets. This guitar had them at the 3rd, 7th and 12th frets. And there is no indication that there had ever been markers at the 5th or 10th frets. Plus the big dot at the 12th was not just the wrong size, it was installed off-center.

I'd guess that the board was replaced at some point, there were some issues getting the old one off and the new one on, and the new board got new markers.

I decided to restore this fingerboard (which is most likely not the original) so that it is period correct.

To remove the old dots, I covered them with some aluminum foil and heated them with a soldering iron.

You can see how ugly those chips near the fret slots are. The worst ones were the ones higher up which were less played. Interesting.

Then I used a small chisel (I think it's a 2mm) to wedge the dots up.

This is that big one I mentioned.

I tried not to hack the fingerboard too badly, but it will be filled.



Then I levelled the board with 300 grit paper on my trusty Corian fret leveller.

I wanted to see if the dust created would fill the chips in the board.



You can see here that there wasn't enough ebony dust created to fill the chips. But at least there is some, which I can use for part of the fills.

I used a fret slot scraper to get the dust out of the slots.

And I filed some ebony scraps to get more dust. Note the 'whip tip' on the super glue container. I just started using them on this project and they rock!

They make it super easy to control the amount and location of your super glue application.

We put a pile of ebony dust on the holes where the dots used to live, and put a few drops of super glue (CA) on them.

I like to let the fills harden overnight.

I put a teflon strip in each fret slot, filled the chips with the ebony dust, and then put a couple drops of CA glue on these fills.

The strip helps keep the glue and the dust out of the slots.

Which sort of doesn't matter, because I'll have to clean up/resize the slots anyway for the new frets. But keeping the fill out will give me a better guide to saw into.

I partially leveled the hole fills with a chisel.

Note the fill on the left - that's the hole I drilled for the steam hole when I removed the neck. Seems like a long time ago.

This picture is a bit out of order - the chips aren't filled yet. And boy are they ugly.

Here's the whole fingerboard after a first sanding pass after the fills.

Still a little blotchy and there are still some places to touch up.

Here's a closer view.

You can see that hole needs a second pass with the fill.

It took a total of three passes to get everything filled nicely.

Here's the finished board.

Smooth as the bottom of a baby. What happened to all the chips? Ha!

There were a couple of shallow finger-divots on the lower frets that I filled too. If you look from different angles, you can see the fills in just a couple of spots. But overall it's looking good.

I have sometimes used ebony stain on an entire board to make the fills less obvious, but I don't think it's warranted on this guitar.

Now let's put some new pearl markers on.

Mark the spots to be drilled.

I'm using a brad-point drill bit - these are sized exactly for the dots I have. My dots are very close to the original sizes that Martin used.

This hole will be a 5mm.



Hole is drilled. Have to be careful not to drill it too deep.  I drilled a bit, test fit the dot, drilled a bit, until the dot was just a tiny bit 'proud' of the board.

Those bits make a nice 'shelf' for the dot to sit on.

Put a couple drops of CA in the hole, and gently whap the marker.

That excess glue wipes right off with a bit of acetone on a rag.

I always put too much on the first time!

Comparison of the fret markers on two 1931 Martin 0-18Ts. My first one with the original fingerboard is on the left and the one I'm working on now is on the right.

Next: frets!

All posts in the 1931 Martin 0-18T Restoration Project:
  1. 1931 Martin 0-18T Guitar Restoration and Repair, Pt. 1

  2. Neck Removal on 1931 Martin 0-18T Guitar: Restoration and Repair, Pt. 2

  3. Trimming the Neck Heel for Reset: 1931 Martin 0-18T Restoration and Repair, Pt. 3

  4. Shimming Guitar Neck Dovetail and Finish Chip Repair: 1931 Martin 0-18T Restoration and Repair, Pt. 4

  5. Caul for Heat-straightening Guitar Neck: 1931 Martin 0-18T Restoration and Repair, Pt. 5

  6. Reparing Acoustic Body Cracks: 1931 Martin 0-18T Restoration and Repair, Pt. 6

  7. Making a Tortoloid Pickguard: 1931 Martin 0-18T Restoration and Repair, Pt. 7

  8. Heat Straightening Bowed Guitar Neck: 1931 Martin 0-18T Restoration and Repair, Pt. 8

  9. Fret Marker Installation and Filling Fingerboard Chips: 1931 Martin 0-18T Restoration and Repair, Pt. 9 - This page.

  10. Compression Fretting to Correct Upbow: 1931 Martin 0-18T Restoration and Repair, Pt. 10

  11. Completed 1931 Martin 0-18T: Restoration and Repair, Pt. 11