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BRIDGE SHAPING

 The first step in making the bridge is to cut all the blanks to the proper length.  As with many aspects of guitar building, it is time-effective to do a whole batch at once.

 

 

  The basic outline of my bridge is cut on the spindle shaper, and there is  photo of this jig HERE.   Here I am using the spindle shaper to cut the profile of my "belly bridge."  The jig is one sided - I cut one side and then flip the blank over to cut the other side.  This automatically makes a symmetrical blank.

The pyramid bridges are quite different.  I have started a page on that process HERE.

wpe4.gif (26838 bytes)  After this is done, I rough shape the top of the bridge on my belt sander.  The shape is curved both side to side and from to back, and by a bit of careful "rolling" I can come quite close. 

 

 

wpe6.gif (30554 bytes)  After the basic shape is created I sand the ears of the bridge to the correct thickness.  The curvature of the ears is created by the drum sander (which is simply a large drum mounted in my lathe).

 

 A closer view.

 

 

 

 This sander can be set up with finer grits than the sander in my lathe.  I use it to finish sand various parts of the bridge.  By varying the degree to which the drum is inflated, and thus its "hardness", I can use this for flat surfaces (as shown here) or for curved surfaces such as the top of the bridge.

 

These days I use my oscillating spindle shaper for much of the shaping of the bridge.  Works wonderfully.  I love this tool!!

 

 

wpe7.gif (30175 bytes)  The belt sander is used for some more final shaping, and then a small amount of hand sanding will complete the bridge.

 

 

 

 After the bridge is shaped, I drill the holes.  I use an arc to lay out the pin holes for two reasons.  First, I like the look.  Second, it may help to prevent cracked bridges of all of the pin holes are not on the same grain line.  This may or may not be a real advantage.  The next steps are on the next page about gluing a bridge in place.

 

 

  This website and all of its content, text and images are copyright 1997-2012 by Charles A. Hoffman.  All rights reserved.

2219 East Franklin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN. 55404

hoffmanguitars@qwestoffice.net or choffman@hoffmanguitars.com

(612) 338-1079