Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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1927 Martin 5-17T Finishing Touches

I just finished up the 1927 Martin 5-17T.  Ironically, I thought it would be done before the O-18T, but the neck set threw it off course.  Not, mind you, that it was a competition.  Anyway, here's what I just worked on the last couple of days.

I wanted to make the saddle slot a little deeper.  The original saddle was very thin and shallow in depth.  Since I needed to make a new saddle, I thought it would be a good time to make the slot deeper. 


I stupidly tried to use a routing bit in the Dremel and do it freehand.  Dumb.  I wound up making a bit of mess.  Basically the router went a little out of control and made the slot wider in a couple places. 

So I decided to glue in a new piece of rosewood to fill the slot.  That's what you see above.  It was sort of like making a rosewood saddle.

I had cut the height down as much as I could with a coping saw.  Then I used a chisel to shave the rosewood piece level with the rest of the bridge.

I can't believe I made due with stoopid cheap hardware store chisels.  My newish Two Cherries chisels are just fabulous.  You get what you pay for.  And to think that there are even better chisels out there!

Not too bad.  The original bridge is made of Brazilian rosewood, and the filler strip piece is Indian.  Pretty close color match.  Which is sort of moot because most of the Indian wood will get routed away anyway.  I didn't fill the seams since it will be routed out, but if I had, you'd have to look really hard to see the repair.

I think this is the sort of fix that you learn over time.  Twenty years ago, I would have freaked out and thrown a fit when I did the stupid hack with the router.  Now it's just like "well, that was dumb.  How do I fix it?"  I still shouldn't have tried the freehand rout in the first place, but at least I managed to recover.

Re-routed the saddle slot and this time used my routing jig.  Worked great.

Lately I've been using unbleached bone for saddles and nuts.  But this time I decided to go with a bleached blank in the hope it might look more like the ivory original. 

The finished saddle and bridge.  I sanded the bridge and pins up to 1200 grit and then used Shellawax to polish them.  Looks pretty decent, I think.

I also used Virtuoso cleaner and polish on the finish.  That stuff is very, very good.  The guitar has a lot of scratches nicks, but the polish really brought the original finish back nicely.

Note to Toy Making Dad:  Look! Strings!


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