Hamley Fine Guitars

"Play to Express not to Impress"

Guitar Building

Hello everyone and welcome to my website. If your passionate about woodwork I’m sure you will like to ask questions regard my woodwork at some stage or just enjoy checking out whats on the bench. Present projects for 2017, 2018 are two Concert Ukulele’s, a Tenor Ukulele, an OM size acoustic guitar, a mini sized Acoustic guitar and a Les Paul style chambered body electric guitar with f holes and P90 pickups. These projects have been on going for about twelve months now and they are all ready for the finish stage.

My next projects are going to be some Torres inspired Classical guitars. More on that later as I have a solera and mould to make before tackling the guitar builds.

Thanks for checking out my new site please have patience with me regard the building of this website and I hope you enjoy my journey into future stringed musical instrument building.

Cheers

Alan

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8/12/18

Missed last weeks progress report but not much work done on the Cajon other than fill a few places and glue the back on. It is 6 mm thick. Neal has dry fitted the machine heads, made the nut, bent the rosewood binding with success, top glued on and the neck has been fitted nice and snug. He has taken the guitar home with him and with the sanding sticks he has made he has set to and finished up all the shaping. The neck heal and cap have been designed and will need some careful sanding. See the pictures I have just attached and check out the progress. Thanks for looking Cheers Alan

17/11/18

A crack developed in the side of the cajon so after spreading it a little I rubbed some water first and then some glue into the the crack and clamped it up. There is also a crack on the bottom of the cajon but it is not all the way through so I think the box structure will keep it stable. I scraped the sides and levelled the joins and I found one small pit hole that will have to be filled. Neal was here again Saturday morning and he worked on his guitar neck. Almost there. Thanks for looking. Cheers Alan

10/11/18

The Cajon drum required a few touch ups and the sides scraped with the scraper card. Still needs more work but it is now level so I can so a round over of the sides. Neal was here Saturday morn and he continued on with the neck profile. The neck is getting very close to profile though and looking good. Cheers Alan

3/11/18

Went into Friday morning woodwork class and did some further work on the Cajon Drum. The back was fitted using the block plane and 2 mm removed on the band saw on one end. The back is a snug fit and needs a little chisel work so it fits tight but not so you have to tap it in with the wooden hammer. On Saturday morning Neal did some more work on his electric build starting the neck profile. I usually remove the excess wood with the belt sander and then use a neck template and the rasps. Because Neal has no experience on the belt sander he has opted to use the rasps although taking more time it is safer and he won’t take off too much. The neck is taking shape nicely. There are some new pics of the Cajon and the electric added if you would like to see whats happening. Thank you again for looking until next weeks report, take care. Cheers Alan

28/10/18

I spent my usual Friday morning at Studio Dubbell woodworking class and continued on with the Cajon drum. First job was to cut the rebate so the back can be fitted to the frame. The frame is 14 mm thick while the back is 7 mm thick. Once rebate cut I then squared off the corners with a sharp chisel. The back was measured carefully and cut on the band saw to fit the rebate so it was just oversize. A 100 mm hole saw was then used in the drill press to drill out the hole required in the back. I will now hand sand or use the block plane to shave a little off the sides of the back and trim 2 mm off the bottom and we should have a nice firm fit. Pics added of the days progress. My friend Neal has been coming along on a regular basis since January this year building a Les Paul, thinline style electric like I built. This is Neal’s first guitar building effort and being very handy working with metal as a tradesman he has a great feel for tools and he will build a beautiful guitar. There are pics of his progress on the website so check it out. Thanks for your attention, hope you enjoy the updates.

Cheers

Alan

19/10/18

Applied some more shellac to the two Ukulele builds this week. One more session will do it but not at the moment as the climate here has become very humid and looks like an early the start of the wet season. Today I went down to woodwork at my friend Joel’s woodworking class at Studio Dubbell to continue on with the Cajon. The dovetail joints only required a little tweaking with the chisel down the knife lines and the fit is good. I used some glue that has a long open time as this job takes time and the shell has to be squared when clamped. That extra time makes a world of difference and keeps the pressure off when gluing up the shell. All done good job. There are some pics added today if you would like a look.

Cheers

Alan

12/10/18

Finished off removing the waist from the tails but on trying a dry fit it looks like a little wood will need to be removed. Waist removed on the bandsaw as close as possible to the knife lines. Some fine tuning and we will have a drum shell. More shellac applications during the week on Vikki’s Concert Ukulele and Marion-Graham’s Tenor Ukulele. Looking good!

Cheers

Alan

05/10/18

Today I have been working on the Cajon drum. The shell has hand cut dovetails with the top and bottom tails cut but no waist removed as I run out of time. There are a few more pics added today on the link if you would like a sneak preview. This week the Tenor Ukulele neck was shaped, the instrument sanded to 320 grit and it has had several coats of shellac. The plan is over the weekend to mix up a new brew of shellac ready to apply the final finish over the coming weeks.

Cheers

Alan

13/09/18

DIY Dovetail Gauge

Well I tried to make the gauge following the youtube video however it turned out not very accurate so I have started again using a different idea. I had some Cooktown Ironwood that was already 7 mm thick sanded and it was the right length although not as wide at 28 mm. I didn’t think that would matter to the accuracy of the tool however the 1:6 pitch needs to be spot on. The first piece was cut to 100 mm long x 28 mm wide x 7 mm thick. There where two pieces so with the other piece I cut one end square then calculated a 1:6 pitch for the dovetail angle which is about standard for most softwood and hardwood dovetails. After calculating the correct 1:6 pitch I transferred the measurement to the small pieces of Ironwood and glued these to the 100 mm piece. I spent a lot of time on the pieces making sure they where flat and square and double checked the pitch before cutting that with the Japanese saw. After the glued dried I checked the dovetail angle and it is more like 1:6.5 but I am happy with that.

Cheers

Alan

08/09/18

Well if I’m going to use dovetail joints to build the Cajon drum then I need a dovetail gauge. Some quick research found all the info I required. There are a few different designs out there however they all do the same thing in the end. I decided on the simplest design and have selected a nice 1/4 sawn block of Figured Queensland Maple for the tool build. See some pics in Projects of the tool taking shape. I have started out with a block 100 mm in length, 35 mm wide and 25 mm in depth cut with a square guide on the bandsaw. The next step is to get the block perfectly square which I will do with the block plane and a flat sanding base. I just happen to have a piece of marble 60 cm x 100 cm x 20 mm thick and it is ideal for gluing sandpaper to and squaring up small pieces of wood like neck block, brace stock all sorts of jobs.

More on the project as I go. Thanks for looking and I hope you find it interesting.

Cheers

Alan

01/09/18

This Cajon Drum project has been on the bucket list for a while and I have started the build. The drum will be built from Tasmanian Blackwood for the base, top, back and sides and the front Tapa will be 3 mm ply. The back is 7 mm thick and the sides top and base 14 mm Blackwood. I intend to use hand cut dovetail joints and glue the back in with the Tapa face screwed on. Not sure yet about which snare arrangement to use maybe a little more research needed. The Blackwood came from Tasmania from a good friend in four roughly cut pieces. First job was to slice it into rough sizes and then feed them through the drum sander to correct thicknesses. The book matched pieces where then joined to yield a box approximately 30 cm x 45 cm. The Blackwood is a nice rich colour and should sound good. A few pics of the the wood preparation so far can be found on the projects page. Any comments, advice greatly received. Thanks for looking. Cheers Alan