Saturday, June 2, 2007

Neck Holes, Bridge Holes and Jack Holes Too

I wanted to try one more thing w/ the neck pocket before going out back and re-leveling it w/ a router. The neck holes, as I originally drilled them, were a bit too small. I drilled them so that the screws bit into them a little bit, thinking this would add some stability to the neck joint. What it really did was make it so that the screws couldn't draw the neck to a snug fit because they couldn't turn freely. I redrilled them w/ a bit one size larger and now I'm satisfied w/ how snug the neck screw in:

W/ that taken care of, it was time to install the bridge--a task which I had been feeling considerable anxiety over. None of my pictures of the process of lining up the bridge didn't come out (the pencil lines I drew didn't stand out enough to make them worth posting) but basically, I measured and remeasured, squared and resquared until I was satisfied I had the sucker in the right place. Then I drilled the holes carefully w/ my hand drill. As far as I can tell, it is nice and straight:

The bridge is a top-loading strat-style fixed bridge. I went w/ it for a few reasons, not the least of which was I wasn't confident in my ability to drill the string-through ferrules (now I realize that it would be no problem). I also just plain think it's a pain in the ass to have to thread strings through the back of the guitar. (So I took the easy rout? Sue me.) I bought the cheapest one I could find off eBay and later found out the reason it's so cheap is it didn't come w/ the mounting screws. I went ahead and got some good wood screws from my local but not locally owned mega warehouse of supplies for the home and garden. I put some strings on it and it all lines up and seems sturdy so I will leave it at that for now.

For the jacks, I followed a pretty straightforward process. First, I found where I wanted them to go and drilled a pilot hole for each:

Then I used a wood boring bit to drill the holes.The bit is either an improved version of a spade bit or a half-ass auger bit depending on how you count. One way or the other, it's a rather vicious looking implement:

Of course, my crappy little drill did not like pushing that three-quarter inch bit through an inch of mahogany and it bound up:

Eventually, I managed to yank it out and drill the holes the rest of the way through. Naturally, there was no possible way they could've ended up straight and they didn't:

So I put a drum sander into my cheesy Dremel knock-off:

I had at it for about five minutes and eventually got things looking pretty straight (unfortunately, they are not so straight now that I've screwed them in):

Since I had the Dremel out anyway, I also cleaned up that ugly mistake I made in the control cavity:

Compared to the third picture in this post, it's much, much better even if it's not perfect. I think I've gotten it to where I can live w/ it--not that I have much of a choice. Anyway, that's pretty much it except for the body aside from cleaning up some mistakes, sanding and finishing.

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