Monthly Archives: March 2011

Side Bending

In this next post I will bend some rosewood sides thicknessed down to 2mm.

Tape up the bookmatched sides for the jointer.

Thickness them down to 2.1ish mm.

Some final hand sanding.

The sides will be tapered so I use a template to pencil in the taper and then make another pencil mark as a reference for placement on the bender.

I am using a heat blanket for the heat source and some flashing to make a sandwich. From the bottom up I have wood, flashing, heat blanket, flashing. The flashing protects the wood from getting burned.

See the mark is lined up to to mark on the bender. I want the bookmatching to be the same.

Everything in place I applied a spritz of water on the surface of the wood and start bending.

Let the wood heat up. If you have a thermometer start bringing down the press slowly when the temperature reaches around 250-300F. Don’t force the wood to bend and as you apply pressure you can feel the wood giving in.

Here you can see the bent side in the mold. But I had some problems fitting it. I couldn’t figure it out until I read online that I should make my bending mold about 2mm smaller than my body mold to account for the wood thickness. So I took everything apart and shaved 2mm off the bending mold and did it over.

I was worried that re-bending the wood would not be successful as wood plasticizes and sets when you heat it.

I had no problem with the second bend. A nice fit.

The Fox bending jig really is the cats meow for hobbyist and professional alike. Easily adaptable and almost no fail it’s a total winner. This was my first time to bend guitar sides and even though I had some problems I was able to go back and re-bend the sides to a perfect fit.

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Side Bender

Finally back with some pics uploaded to my server. Still having the same problem with my domain so for now I am updating this from a friends place.

Currently I have the top and back plate finished and will move on to the side bending. There are two basic ways to bend the sides: 1. A bending iron, which can be an electrical device or a simple pipe with a flame heating it. 2. The second is the widely popular Fox Bending jig invented by Charles Fox in the mid 70’s. For mine I made a Fox bending jig.

A simple cradle with the body cut from the template.

Check the fit.

The sides of the jig with a routed slot for the press to slide up and down.

Check the match.

I want the routed slot to match up to the bend.

Screw the sides on.

Make a caul to fit the mold.

Fit the caul in place, screw it altogether with the press hardware.

A finished Fox bending side jig.

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Bracing the Back Plate

Moving along things have been going well so far. No major mistakes or difficulties to trip me up.

In the next step I will attach the braces to the back plate.

This pic was in the last step but I am posting it again as it is the beginning of the layout for the braces. Here I use a square to mark my center point of each of the four braces.

Then I use my square with the brace in position and mark where I will saw.

All four braces positions marked for cutting.

With my braces cut to length I check the layout.

Using my hand saw and a square block I cut across the spruce seam inside of my pencil mark. Then I carefully chisel it out and pare it back for a snug fit.

Everything in position I check for square. Looks pretty good.

Then I lay out the guitar and brace positions on the radius dish.

Put some sandpaper down and start sanding the radius into the brace.

Once all four are done I check for the fit. Again it looks good.

Then I do some rough shaping on the braces at the spindle sander.

And then finally glue them in position.

In the final step for bracing the back plate I shaped the braces with my block plane, scraper and profiled sanding block. The shaping is just round-over on the edges and a scallop on the ends.

I used a low angle block plane and profile sanding block on the length. The scallops were done before glue-up and then I used a scraper to get the ends down to 3mm.

Close-up of shaping.

Next step I move on to the sides.

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