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Per Hallgren

 

Posts: 241
Joined: Jul. 1 2006
From: Sweden

The building of a Swedish flamenco g... 

Since I have been posting a photo essay on building a flamenco guitar on a Swedish guitar forum for awhile I felt a little guilty of not posting here. The essay has been posted on http://forum.klassiskgitarr.com/viewtopic.php?id=885&p=1 Maybe you are interested in following the construction of a flamenco guitar? I am a little bothered about writing about it in english since it will take some time to get it right but maybe we can take it picture intensive and with less words?

The pics have been taken during a two week period while I have been working with a flamenco guitar for the Swedish Music Achademie of Piteå (which is more north than most of you will ever travel in your whole life!!! )

I have not had time to search the perfect angle or perfect light. It has just been "let's make a guitar and shoot some pictures meantime". If you are willing to look at all the imperfections in my work, my workshop and my persónal styling I am willing to share this with you.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 21 2007 9:22:16
 
nhills

Posts: 230
Joined: Jul. 13 2003
From: West Des Moines, IA USA

RE: The building of a Swedish flamen... (in reply to Per Hallgren

Really great! I'm sure I'll have some questions, but the pictures are very good.

Thanks very much!

Norman

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"The duende is God's orgasm." - Antonio Canales

"I'm just a poor crazy man in love with his art." - Santos Hernandez (as translated by R. Brune)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 21 2007 12:44:13
 
mrMagenta

Posts: 942
Joined: Oct. 25 2006
From: Sweden

RE: The building of a Swedish flamen... (in reply to Per Hallgren

Nice! Very enlightening. There are many jigs and tricks and tools.. but looking at the pictures there's so much that relies on really sensitive handiwork. If i would have gotten to the point you're at in the essay, where all the parts that make up the guitar are nicely closed together, the process of carving the neck would be really nerve wrecking.

Have you had to tear up and restart almost finished guitars before getting your skills and process down?

This essay, and Stephen Hills documentary, and Anders' stuff have been really inspiring, though the work looks very difficult. Sometime i will have to try my hand at making a guitar (as well as commission one of you guys for a guitar (ideally one from each :D)).

@Per
Jag experimenterar med flöjter. Har labbat med bambu och olika slags rör, men vill förstås även göra några finare varianter när jag är nöjd med prototyperna. Jag letar efter vettiga råvaror. Jag har inte hittat något sätt att skaffa små kvantiteter av diverse trä, på tex fanerkompaniet måste man köpa väldiga plankor. Har du något tips? Kanske kan man köpa spillmaterial från någon?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 21 2007 13:51:15
 
HemeolaMan

Posts: 1514
Joined: Jul. 13 2007
From: Chicago

RE: The building of a Swedish flamen... (in reply to Per Hallgren

are you comparing a classical bridge to a flamenco bridge in this pic?



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 21 2007 17:58:20
 
TANúñez

Posts: 2547
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
From: TEXAS

RE: The building of a Swedish flamen... (in reply to Per Hallgren

Per,

Thank you for posting these photos. I have great respect for your work. Your craftsmenship is superb. Really clean work which shows you take great pride in what you do.

If anyone else here builds guitars, it would be great to see some photos of your works in progress. It's really interesting to see that even though guitar construction in general is the same, the process and methods used to achieve certain things can vary from maker to makers, often showing you how to make certain tasks easier.

I'm currently working on a bench copy of a Santos Hernandez. I'll post pictures as I get closer to the end.

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Tom Núñez
www.instagram.com/tanunezguitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 22 2007 1:48:00
 
jshelton5040

Posts: 1500
Joined: Jan. 17 2005
 

RE: The building of a Swedish flamen... (in reply to Per Hallgren

Well done Per. Thank you for the tour of your shop and methods.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 22 2007 3:08:57
 
Per Hallgren

 

Posts: 241
Joined: Jul. 1 2006
From: Sweden

RE: The building of a Swedish flamen... (in reply to Per Hallgren

Well, actually my intention is to post everything here but with a slightly reduced english text compared to swedish one. Maybe something good can come out of this and I am NOT pretending to be the one who knows everything about this. My main production has always been, and will probably always be, the classical guitar, since the flamenco guitar is small in Sweden and my waiting list on classical guitars is long (for the moment approaching 4 years). So, if you flamenco experts and pros will chime in, please do, if not that is OK too.

A question about posting pictures. I have all the pictures hosted at photobucket already. Can I link to them instead of uploading to this forum to save storing space?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 22 2007 5:18:23
 
Per Hallgren

 

Posts: 241
Joined: Jul. 1 2006
From: Sweden

RE: The building of a Swedish flamen... (in reply to HemeolaMan

Hemeolaman, the comparing is between my flamenco bridge and a Swedish guitar factory bridge. The factory is Lugnås Gitarrfabrik producin guitars under the Levin label. The difference is huge concidering weight. My bridge 15 grams, the Levin 30 grams.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 22 2007 5:21:48
 
Per Hallgren

 

Posts: 241
Joined: Jul. 1 2006
From: Sweden

RE: The building of a Swedish flamen... (in reply to mrMagenta

mrMagenta, please realize your plans for going to Gothenburg with duende (Henrik). Then I can help you with all the stuff with different woods for your flutes. The company to ask is "Bröderna Holm" in Sala I think.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 22 2007 5:32:59
 
TANúñez

Posts: 2547
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
From: TEXAS

RE: The building of a Swedish flamen... (in reply to Per Hallgren

Per,

This is an interesting tool. What is it called? I'm embarassed to say I haven't seen one of these yet. Or, maybe I have and didn't realize it.



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Tom Núñez
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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 22 2007 6:25:40
 
Doog

Posts: 59
Joined: Sep. 17 2007
From: Tennessee

RE: The building of a Swedish flamen... (in reply to Per Hallgren

quote:

ORIGINAL: Per Hallgren

Since I have been posting a photo essay on building a flamenco guitar on a Swedish guitar forum for awhile I felt a little guilty of not posting here. The essay has been posted on http://forum.klassiskgitarr.com/viewtopic.php?id=885&p=1 Maybe you are interested in following the construction of a flamenco guitar? I am a little bothered about writing about it in english since it will take some time to get it right but maybe we can take it picture intensive and with less words?

The pics have been taken during a two week period while I have been working with a flamenco guitar for the Swedish Music Achademie of Piteå (which is more north than most of you will ever travel in your whole life!!! )

I have not had time to search the perfect angle or perfect light. It has just been "let's make a guitar and shoot some pictures meantime". If you are willing to look at all the imperfections in my work, my workshop and my persónal styling I am willing to share this with you.

Wow! Thank you Per.

Your pictorial essay is so awesome. I thought that it took a great deal of patience to PLAY the guitar! It looks like the guitarerros wrote the book on patience!

I certainly admire your talent and dedication.

Doog
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 22 2007 11:24:52
 
jshelton5040

Posts: 1500
Joined: Jan. 17 2005
 

RE: The building of a Swedish flamen... (in reply to TANúñez

quote:

ORIGINAL: TANúñez

Per,

This is an interesting tool. What is it called? I'm embarassed to say I haven't seen one of these yet. Or, maybe I have and didn't realize it.



I'd call it a drawknife but he's using it as a froe.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 22 2007 12:11:19
 
TANúñez

Posts: 2547
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
From: TEXAS

RE: The building of a Swedish flamen... (in reply to jshelton5040

quote:

I'd call it a drawknife but he's using it as a froe.


Is a drawknife similar to a spokeshave?

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Tom Núñez
www.instagram.com/tanunezguitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 22 2007 13:08:00
 
Per Hallgren

 

Posts: 241
Joined: Jul. 1 2006
From: Sweden

RE: The building of a Swedish flamen... (in reply to Per Hallgren

John is actually incorrect, even if he is close. The tool is not a kind of drawknife but a "splitting knife" (please help me with the right name in English) that normally is used beside the fireplace to split wood into smaller pieces that is easier to get on fire. The two handles gives you a good grip and the possibility to use your body weight. But hey, don't let us start this too early. I want to present all this in english to you. The swedish link was only to give a glimpse of it. Instead, please let me know how I can handle all those pictures without uploading them to the foroflamenco. Do I use the "image" button above with a link to photobucket or what?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 22 2007 19:06:57
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: The building of a Swedish flamen... (in reply to Per Hallgren

First of all thanks for the essay. Its avery nice and wel done work. I think the photos are great. Dont worry about all the lightning stuff etc. Its not nescessary. I see what I want to see: The building of a guitar.

I will have to take my time and read me through the text. Its always good to refresh language. Its boring when everything is English. We are a huge majority of non native English speakers.

The last thing before watching some more: You have about the tallest press I´ve seen.
How thick can you go with the Bok sarglistarna (beech inner lining (I think)) before they crack and why Beech. Its a bit heavy, no. If I can get Cypress, I use it, if not I cut cedar kerfed linings. Cedar bends very badly so it has to be kerfed.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 22 2007 20:00:33
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: The building of a Swedish flamen... (in reply to Per Hallgren

I can see on your soundboard cut offs that you work a lot of cedar

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 22 2007 20:01:37
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: The building of a Swedish flamen... (in reply to Per Hallgren

The way you slope or cut of the end of the braces (ändarna på ribborna) below the bridge is very diffrent from my way. You hardly cut of anything. I do up to 80mm in order to relieve the guitar, make it more percussive and dry sounding. I use closing struts which stiffen the lower bout, so it cannot be directly compared, but still the diffrence is very big. I could Imagine you get a lot of harmonics this way????

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 22 2007 20:06:58
 
Per Hallgren

 

Posts: 241
Joined: Jul. 1 2006
From: Sweden

RE: The building of a Swedish flamen... (in reply to Anders Eliasson

Hej Anders, can't anyone help me with my question and wait with the photo essay? I will try to write a short version in English after Christmas (now I have too much to do) but I need to understand how I can link to the pictures instead of uploading them.

To answer your questions. I can bend thicknesses up to 3.0 mm without problems most of the times. Some wood works even thicker. Cedar is a bit troublesome in that it crushes on the inside of the waist. It really doesn't matter since it doesn't break. Why beech? Well, I happened to have beech at hand and my Francisco Barba has beech linings so I thought it would be OK. Sometimes I use kerfed cedar, some times I use bend too.

What do you mean you can see a lot of cedar? Don't understand...

Now you all can see what my purpose is with this essay. Since I will show so many photos there will be a tremendous amount of opportunities to ask questions, not only to me but to everyone involved.

This is a try of linking. If it works I have solved the question about the pictures and will start after Christmas.


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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 22 2007 20:18:48
 
Per Hallgren

 

Posts: 241
Joined: Jul. 1 2006
From: Sweden

RE: The building of a Swedish flamen... (in reply to Per Hallgren

Yup, that's it!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 22 2007 20:21:26
 
aarongreen

 

Posts: 367
Joined: Jan. 16 2004
 

RE: The building of a Swedish flamen... (in reply to Per Hallgren

Hi Per,
Thanks for posting such a nice essay. It's always fun to snoop on other builders and see how they do things. I am amazed that your bridge is only 15 grams, is it Indian rosewood? I have some old, old brazilian that was originally a carpenters level, made about 100 or so years ago. The bridges I made from that piece of wood came in around 17 grams and were great for flamenco guitars. I think you need a little more mass on a classical, or at least I do. I bought a huge plank of Honduran rosewood that I have been thinking might make some really nice bridges as well. I tried making a bridge out of Madagascar rosewood but it wasn't really a success. Makes great guitars but not so much for bridges.

Anders,
Cedar actually bends relatively well if you soak it for a day or two before you bend it. I bend my linings at 4 mm thick. They end up thinner when I clean them up for gluing and shape them but it works quite well. I use a piece of pvc pipe that I bought at the hardware store and stuck caps on the ends. I am sure that there are other woods that work better but I am addicted to cedar and that smell is just about the greatest thing ever. I think it was Richard Brune who told me that beech is much easier to bend and even suggested that walnut works quite well.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 23 2007 2:14:56
 
jshelton5040

Posts: 1500
Joined: Jan. 17 2005
 

RE: The building of a Swedish flamen... (in reply to Per Hallgren

quote:

ORIGINAL:

Now you all can see what my purpose is with this essay. Since I will show so many photos there will be a tremendous amount of opportunities to ask questions, not only to me but to everyone involved.



I really like this photo of your shop. It looks rich and warm with the wood on the walls and the beautifully crafted benches. Makes my shop with plastic laminates and white walls look pretty sterile and bland.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 23 2007 2:59:52
 
Per Hallgren

 

Posts: 241
Joined: Jul. 1 2006
From: Sweden

RE: The building of a Swedish flamen... (in reply to Anders Eliasson

Anders, this guitar is very much inspired by the two Reyes guitars I have access to. Actually I usually slope the braces more since this is what I am used to from my classicals, but since I like those Reyes I thought I wanted to give it a try..

Aaron, the wood in the bridge is old Brazilian but it is quite light and deliberately choosen as such. My classical bridges are normally more heavy, 18-24 grams depending on what I want to do and need.

John, when I built this workshop I wanted a nice place with lot of daylight (which there is such shortness of in Sweden half of the year) through big windows. I also wanted a high ceiling since the house I live in is an old traditional farm house of 150 years and the ceiling is only 185-195 cm. Wood is the traditional house material in Sweden and quite cheap. The wall panels are made of birch, 6" x 2.5" and quite heavy to handle by myself when I built the house. I lost 15 kg by hard work, but this is 8 years ago and the weight is back to normal
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 23 2007 3:15:22
 
r0bbie

 

Posts: 160
Joined: Feb. 11 2007
From: Holland

RE: The building of a Swedish flamen... (in reply to Per Hallgren

Hi Per,

Thanks for sharing the pictures, I tried to translate the text but I think this is more bothering for me then for you to write in english

I do have some questions but I will wait till after you put the story here, anyway I have learned some things and thats great so thanks again.

I wish you and all the others a Merry Christmas and a Happy new year to!
Rob.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 23 2007 9:04:20
 
jshelton5040

Posts: 1500
Joined: Jan. 17 2005
 

RE: The building of a Swedish flamen... (in reply to Per Hallgren

quote:

ORIGINAL: Per Hallgren

John, when I built this workshop I wanted a nice place with lot of daylight (which there is such shortness of in Sweden half of the year) through big windows. I also wanted a high ceiling since the house I live in is an old traditional farm house of 150 years and the ceiling is only 185-195 cm. Wood is the traditional house material in Sweden and quite cheap. The wall panels are made of birch, 6" x 2.5" and quite heavy to handle by myself when I built the house. I lost 15 kg by hard work, but this is 8 years ago and the weight is back to normal

I must say I'm very impressed that you built it yourself. Birch of that dimension would be impossibly expensive to use here, the only wood I could use like that would be Alder which we could harvest from our own land but I couldn't bear to cut the trees. I agree with you about high ceilings. I insisted on 9 foot ceilings for my shop, it's so nice to be able to swing long boards without worrying about hitting the ceiling or light fixtures. How to you heat your shop and isn't humidity control a big problem with your cold dry winters? By the way your english is excellent, my compliments.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 23 2007 11:43:47
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: The building of a Swedish flamen... (in reply to Per Hallgren

quote:

What do you mean you can see a lot of cedar? Don't understand...


There are this photo where you put the circular cut offs from the soundhole on a string. A kind of collection. And I just noticed that you use a lot of cedar as soundboard material.

Funny this with the sloping of the braces. There are so many ways of building a good guitar, and this is just another exampla of how different it can be done. Its all about balance.

I´ve seen a few guitars in Granada with beech linings. Maybe I should get some beech.

Aaron, why didn´t you like Madagascar rosewood bridges. I think its a great wood for bridges and have some really light ones.
I will soak some cedar and try bending it. I like it for its lightness and ease of sanding. (I dont like its dust)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 23 2007 20:29:30
 
Per Hallgren

 

Posts: 241
Joined: Jul. 1 2006
From: Sweden

RE: The building of a Swedish flamen... (in reply to Anders Eliasson

OK, I understand what you mean, but acually the picture fools you a little since I build my classic Concert spruce guitar with a cedar soundhole reinforcement. I build perhaps 60 % spruce and 40 % cedar and most of my cedar guitars are "double-tops", i.e. sandwich tops.

Yes, I collect the cut outs. At the beginning it looked kind of stupid with a dozen or so cutouts on a thread, but now, approaching 200 it gives a nice perspective of what my last 17 years has consisted of. And it impresses some customers too...

And yes, it is all about balance!!!!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 23 2007 22:00:01
 
aarongreen

 

Posts: 367
Joined: Jan. 16 2004
 

RE: The building of a Swedish flamen... (in reply to Per Hallgren

Hi Anders
To be fair I only tried Madagascar rosewood once for a bridge and the guitar sounded ok but I decided to take it off and put on another with my ususal brazilian rosewood and the guitar was much better. I think it's safe to say that for that guitar, it needed the extra stiffness that the brazilian had. Madagascar rosewood to me is a little spongy compared to either brazilian or indian. In that I mean it works almost more like a softer wood than it is. It still has the cross stiffness and it certainly is acoustically a wonderful wood so I am not sure what to make of that. I have quite a lot of it and it does vary like all other woods. I am sure in my stash I can find a board that is more to my liking for bridges but for now I am sticking to what has been working for me. I am going to whittle up a honduran rosewood bridge just to see what I think though and I'll let you know how that goes. I have two jigs for making bridge blanks that makes life much easier. A jig to sand the underside to the curve of the top and another to route the wings, using a 4 inch end mill on a router table, with a speed control me from getting impaled from flying wood shards. The jig is a swing arm kind of thing. It works really well (gets me within .2 mm of my finished dimentions) and allows me to create a ton of bridge blanks so I can find the one that is right for each guitar.

I am certainly with you guys on the high ceilings. My shop is just under 700 sq feet but I have 12 foot ceilings. It helps me keep the place from feeling cluttered with all the stuff I have in there. Big floor to ceiling windows help as well.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 24 2007 1:42:09
 
TANúñez

Posts: 2547
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
From: TEXAS

RE: The building of a Swedish flamen... (in reply to Per Hallgren

quote:

Yes, I collect the cut outs. At the beginning it looked kind of stupid with a dozen or so cutouts on a thread, but now, approaching 200 it gives a nice perspective of what my last 17 years has consisted of. And it impresses some customers too...


It do this too but more for a keepsake. I'll also write on it the date, classical or flamenco, and what wood I used for the top and back.

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www.instagram.com/tanunezguitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 24 2007 2:05:28
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: The building of a Swedish flamen... (in reply to Per Hallgren

quote:

I have two jigs for making bridge blanks that makes life much easier. A jig to sand the underside to the curve of the top and another to route the wings, using a 4 inch end mill on a router table, with a speed control me from getting impaled from flying wood shards. The jig is a swing arm kind of thing. It works really well (gets me within .2 mm of my finished dimentions) and allows me to create a ton of bridge blanks so I can find the one that is right for each guitar.


Uuuuuuuhhhh that sound scary. Arent them machines dangerous. I like to sit outside in the sun togerher with doggy and fiddle with some sandpaper and a file. But I´m also a bit of a freeky

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 25 2007 19:29:20
 
aarongreen

 

Posts: 367
Joined: Jan. 16 2004
 

RE: The building of a Swedish flamen... (in reply to Per Hallgren

It certainly is scary, to be honest. However the jig is between me and the machine so there is some protection there. In actuality there is no danger but it certainly looms near. I lock the door to my shop for the most part but I double check when I use the router table or any power tool for that matter. My shop is in an office building and not long after I created it I was startled at my bandsaw by a kid selling candy bars for his soccer team. He came up beind me and without any preamble started in on his pitch... Hey Mister would you like to buy a candy bar for my soccer team?! I almost cut my thumb off. So now I lock the door.

I only have a few speciality jig and this is one of my best. I feel it is hard to standardize anything in my building without the risk of compromising the individual guitar. I am also convinced that the bridge and how it relates to the soundboard is vital in determining the success of a guitar. I found that the materials I used for my bridges determined the mechanics of the bridge more than the design. In other words each bridge is somewhat unique... it's weight, flexibility, "tap tone" etc. even if physically they all are as close to the same as could exist in this world. So for me this seemed to be a great and rare instance of convienence and the pursuit of excellence lining up. I find it much easier to assess a piece of wood the closer it gets to it's final dimentions and these jigs allow me to produce a lot of blanks that are quite close to being done. Having the choice I can pick from any number of blanks to find the one that I think is best suited for the particular guitar in question.

The first jig is a shaped caul that screws to the bed of my belt sander. With that I can alter the thickness and taper of the bridge wings rather accurately just by hand pressue, so even there I can change the charecteristics of each bridge. A good piece of advice that I picked up early on was that anything that you find to be a real pain in the butt (making bridges) is something you may want to figure out a better way of doing. All the better if you end up making an improvement in your work along the way.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 26 2007 15:08:59
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