Workshop: Strange Day at the Office

One of the things I love about my work is just the odd stuff that happens around the shop. On Wednesday a local touring musician popped in and finally picked up his poor old Yamaha dreadnought that'd been living (post-work) under my "gluing and setting" work table since early this year.

He also came in with a problem: gigs in 2 days time and the need to hack up a brand new guitar.

I couldn't resist, of course, so most of Thursday was spent chopping this guy up quickly and reconfiguring it to work for his needs (essentially a 5-string banjo neck plus extra low string on an electric reso guitar).

This is one of those Eastwood "Airline" Korean-made sort-of-repros of the old 50s National thin-body guitars. It's a cute guitar and has a good feel in the lap but like many imports, there are some design hurdles thrown in that have to be cleared to get the most out of one of these fresh from the store.

After popping out the first 4 frets, the neck was brought to the bandsaw and promptly cut. Thankfully, the truss-rod channel on these guitars is pretty narrow (unlike older imports) which meant there was plenty of meat to install that banjo "5th peg" into. We even managed to use one of the knobs from the Grover-style tuners at the headstock by filing down the shaft on the 5th peg.

Note the screw-style "pip" I use for the drone string. This is my favorite solution as I like to use the 5th fret as a "zero fret" for the drone.

All that super-duper blue finish covers up a perfectly-nice hard maple neck. We didn't have time to color match or spray new finish so the cut was simply rounded off a bit and rasped to a nicer shape, fine-sanded down to 600 grit, and sealed up.

And, later on (2:00 AM), I snagged this picture after finally getting all of the clamps on this poor old 50s Harmony Stella Sundale model.

Lately I've been reading 3-year-old Oona to sleep (and falling asleep myself) and then waking up randomly in the wee hours, turning off the Xmas lights outside, loading the pellet stoves (ahhh, Vermont) and getting a bit of quiet work time in before getting a bit more shuteye. It sounds like not the most ideal situation but I do enjoy the absolute quiet of odd-hours work.

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