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Old 11-13-2018, 10:18 AM
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Mark Hatcher Mark Hatcher is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Peterborough, New Hampshire
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Eastern Black Walnut is a pleasure to bend. It doesn't need a lot of heat so it's unlikely to be scorched. It also doesn't tend to crack on the outside curve or crinkle on the inside curves. Plus the bends hold well!



Here the Mahogany heel and neck blocks are going on:



The back is radiused and here I am installing Spanish Cedar kerfing:



Meanwhile, lest you were to think I'm moving along all business as usual, I've also been researching, both materials and techniques for putting the neck together. I'm setting up and practicing the old style joinery that was once used to hold a headstock on.
Today a headstock is normally just cut out along with the neck. When thicker pieces of Mahogany started becoming available around the turn of the century the factories started using a one piece neck. It's a lot faster, and doesn't require much skill. The problem is that doesn't make for a very strong headstock because the grain is short on that angled head. Laminates on the top and back help sure all this up but, that's not how they used to do this. The stronger method is to use a separate piece of wood for the headstock. There are several ways to join the headstock. The best way is also one of the oldest, most time consuming, and hardest ways so of course, I'm going to get really good at this because it's also the coolest way!

It's called a bird's mouth joint for obvious reasons:



Luckily, I have a lot of previous experience making this type of joint from 20 years ago when I was making Cedar strip ocean kayaks. I used this type of joinery when constructing paddles. The thing I love about this kind of old joinery and some of the other old style wood joinery is the joints are hand fitted and there is a mechanical element holding it all together. In this case the joint is made tight enough that you can push the headstock down in until it tightens up with about a 20 thousandths gap. Then you hold a wood block to protect the headstock up top and bring it on home with a smack of a wooden mallet:



As a craftsman I find it quite satisfying as I hone my skills mastering this art. The only question that remains is, do I really need glue for this to hold?


So no, it's not business as usual in the Hatcher studio!


Thanks for following along.

Mark
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Last edited by Mark Hatcher; 11-13-2018 at 04:57 PM.
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