Archive for the 'general' Category

Kyuss Lives!

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

The good news: I have 2 Kyuss Lives tickets for 3rd of April.

The bad news: I really want 2 tickets for the 2nd of April.

Anyone want to swap?

Skip to the End…

Monday, October 20th, 2008


If you don’t already know, you probably won’t care.

DIY Fretpress (Part deux…)

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

Those of you with a long memory may remember my noble endeavor to convert a drill stand into a fretpress. Turns out, it was a bit punky, and the wheels came off.

Actually, the lever came off. It didn’t have any wheels.

Anyhow, let me present the replacement, this time converted from an el cheapo Screw Fix welding clamp.

To convert it from the original use as a welding clamp, I drilled out the rivets holding the lower jaw, and bolted in a straight replacement, using M6 nylox nuts and a section of .25″ steel cut from a discarded hydraulic door closer arm. The top jaw was cut short, and rounded over at the end.

I fitted a pivoting glass-filled nylon fitting to the top jaw, to hold some fretting cauls from Stew Mac, and a teak neck caul (padded with leather) on the lower jaw, slotted to slide back and forwards to allow self alignment as the adjustment of the jaws changes to suit different neck sizes. The pin to prevent the neck caul falling off is an offcut of M6 studding.

Here it is in situ:

The neck shown is the first one I fretted with the new gizmo, and it went very smoothly, despite the complications of an ebony board and teeny-tiny Fender style frets. It’s a replacement neck for Tim’s Musima, more details to follow…

P.S: The flat clamp included in the screwfix welding clamp set is very handy for holding nuts, saddles and other small parts for shaping on a belt or disc sander, especially if you share my aversion for sanding away the tips of your fingers.


Monday, August 13th, 2007

I’m not dead. Honest.

I do, however, seem to be having some email problems. If you’ve tried to get in touch and got no reply please try again, and failing that leave a comment here and I’ll try to get back to you.

Unless you’re posting spam (I just deleted about a brazillian spam comments - burn!)

DIY fretpress

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

Pressing frets has a good few advantages over hammering, not least the noise - hammering frets at 12.30 in the morning isn’t a good way to make friends and influence people. I didn’t want to lose workbench space to a dedicated arbour press, so I decided to convert a tool I already had, but didn’t use (unless you extend the definition of ‘use’ to include tripping over it. I did that *a lot*).

Here’s the victim, a Black and Decker drill stand. This was a staggeringly crap tool for it’s intended purpose. Assuming you could finally get the drill clamped square and true (not a safe assumption, as it happens) the first time you introduced the drill bit to wood the stand would flex and the bit would take the path of least resistance, which invaraibly took it somewhere you didn’t want it to go.


The first thing I did was to remove the front half of the drill clamp. This effectively disarms it, removing any risk of innocent parties trying to use it as a drill press…


I drilled 2 holes in one face of a scrap of english oak, then turned it 90 degrees and drilled a 3/8″ hole, into which I screwed an M6 threaded insert.

fretpress3.jpg fretpress4.jpg

I shaped a a block of glass filled nylon to make a fret arbour, narrowing one face so it was a little over 2mm wide, and cutting a 12″ radius into it, then drilling a recess to accept an M6 crossdowel in the other face. I screwed a short length of M6 studding into the crossdowel to act as a shaft. I screwed this shaft into the oak block, using a nylox nut as a rotation stop so the studding won’t come loose.

fretpress5.jpg fretpress6.jpg

I then attached the oak block to the drill press, using the allen bolts which held the drill clamp. Et Voila - fretpress! The cross dowel allows the radius press to self level, so that it matches the alignment of the fretboard, and pressing the fret is as simple as cranking the handle.

fretpress7.jpg fretpress8.jpg

The press works very well on RW fretboards, though early tests suggest it struggles with harder woods like ebony. The flex which made it so useless for drilling is still apparent, but really doesn’t alter it’s effectiveness as a press, and the conversion gives it a chance to acrue some positive karma for all the times it let me down as a drill stand. Best of all, it cost less nothing to make, since had all the components already.

**Edit 17/10/08**

The old fret press is dead, long live the new fretpress.

Shit, shit, shit.

Thursday, November 23rd, 2006

Today was a genre defining ‘I should never have got out of bed’ day. One of those days where everything you touch turns to shit, and just when you think the pile of indignites is heaped so high that nothing else can possibly go wrong, somebody manages to balance another one on top.

Based on the uncanny accuracy of Tuesdays’ prediction, I imagine my stars for today looked something like this:


To have had a flat battery this morning would have been annoying. Likewise, to dent the crap out of the landing door whilst parking would be annoying. To lock the keys in it 5 minutes after getting it home would be annoying too. Doing all 3 in 1 day would be enough to convince you the van was cursed.

Van man…

Monday, November 20th, 2006

Sorry for the lack of posts recently, there’s not been much happening guitar wise; my current builds are unchanged since I started the new job.

That’s not to say I haven’t been making sawdust in the garage - the last week I’ve been out there full time, fitting out the locksmith van which I will ultimately be turned loose in. In light of my less than comprehensive driving experience (read: 6 months driving in the 3 years since I passed my test) my bosses decided it would be unwise to release me on an unsuspecting world in a Transit, so I was set the challenge of shoehorning a transit-sized amount of stock and tools into the rather less than transit sized Vauxhall combo.

Quite apart from the size, the shape is enough to make for some serious headscratching - nothing in the van is geometric or straight, and there’s no reference for square or plumb (moving from one side of the van to the other changes what’s upright - great!) - I got pretty good at scribing and fitting to curved surfaces by the time I’d got all those shelves in! I also got to break out a few tools I’ve not used much before, not least the air nailer, which allowed me to channel my inner Norm Abraham and thunk nails into everything in arms reach.

new_van3.jpg new_van2.jpg

It all looks nice and square there - but if you look at the first couple of uprights in place you can see how curvy the interior is - every component had to be trimmed to height or length, tried in place and scribed to fit before being cutout on the bandsaw.

van_left.jpg van_right.jpg

Aerodynamics be buggered - if you ask me, this is how a van should look.

New Job…

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

…or to look at it another way; job.

It had to happen eventually, and it has. This morning I accepted a trainee locksmith position with a local locksmith. Hours are long and the pay during training is pretty tight, but the work should be interesting, they seem like a nice bunch, and they were very keen to employ me, even after I initially declined the position.

It’ll inevitably mean having a lot less time to spend on guitar building, but I’ll still keep working on them in my spare time, and posting progress on here.

So there you go, I’m employed, and I start on Tuesday.

Congratualtions Filth Monkies!

Wednesday, July 19th, 2006

It seems your extravagant use of profanity (presumably?!) has earned you the ultimate accolade:

Sorry, this page is filtered.

Pembrokeshire County Council is not amused by:

Jamie, Kaz, Mara, Tim or Adie & Mel. Good work :)

гинекология олимпийская

Tuesday, July 4th, 2006

Or in English: gynecology is Olympic.

This baffling statement is bought to you via the comments section of my post titled ‘Knobs!’, in association with Babel Fish.

Remember, you heard it here first.