"Kilometers are passing like kidney stones" – Bob Roll

Burke Ride

February 5th, 2012 Posted in Mountain Biking | 1 Comment »

Another long time between rides. This time I dragged Anthony out for a ride on some lower Burke trails. A warm up on Hustler followed by Franks and then down to David Ave. Fun ride, it was good to get out!

Oh, and I’ve trying out Strava as an alternative to Garmin Connect. One of the cool things about Strava is that you (or anyone else) can identify certain sections of a ride and then whenever your ride includes this section, it will compare your time to all the other time you rode the section and to other people’s time as well.

Eagle Ride – Hey I Remember How to Ride a Bike

October 10th, 2011 Posted in Mountain Biking | No Comments »

After many, countless  months off the bike I finally went for a ride. I think this was the third or fourth ride of the year for me. That’s right, I said year. I used to do that many rides per week.


Anyway, I finally managed to get out with Steve for an  “easy xc ride” in Port Moody climbing up from the rec center up through the various neighbourhoods to the power lines, to Physiotherapy to the hub that is the intersection at the top of Manhandler. From there it was down Mossom Creek trail to Academy down to Anmore and then back through Starz and down to the inlet again. I was hurting right from the start from my lack of any exercise this year, but it was great to get out.

Guitar Build – Done!

June 11th, 2011 Posted in Guitar | No Comments »

Finally done after a few months of work. There were  some setbacks along the way but overall it wasn’t a difficult project. I think it turned out well and it sounds great.








Looking back on it, for a first build I probably should have gone a bit more basic with a simple one colour finish and no binding as it made the painting  a little bit complicated.

Guitar Build – Clear Coat, Assembly, Wiring

June 11th, 2011 Posted in Guitar | No Comments »

We finally had a stretch of nice weather so I managed to get some clear coats on the body. I wasn’t sure how long the weather would last so I hit it with as many coats as I could manage per day. I think in the end I ended up with around 9 coats of clear lacquer.

Hanging out, off-gassing and curing in the sun:




After letting the clear coats cure for three weeks I did a little wetsanding and polishing to finish it off. No pictures of this, use your imagination.

Then it was on to assembly. The body came pre-drilled with holes for the neck mounting screws, but the neck did not, which meant I had to locate and drill some holes in (hopefully not through)  the neck.

I don’t have any pictures of this process, but here’s what I did. I mounted the bridge, dry-fit the neck into the neck pocket and strung up the E and e strings. Using the strings as a visual guide I then made sure the neck was aligned properly. When I was happy with the alignment I clamped the neck in place, turned the whole thing over, stuck an appropriately sized drill bit through the holes in the body and marked the locations for the next step.

Then, to ensure I drill the holes in the neck the correct depth, I measure the thickness of the body at the neck pocket and the length of the neck mounting screws to calculate the depth that I need to drill for my pilot holes. I mark the drill bit with tape then clamp the neck into the drill press and drill four holes.

Next it’s as simple as screwing the neck to the body, after putting some wax on the threads to help ease the screws into the maple neck. This is almost looking like a guitar now. I couldn’t resist placing some parts on as a mockup:


Next on the list is the wiring. I downloaded a wiring diagram from TDPRI and set to work on the controls. Hopefully no one that actually knows how to solder sees this picture and cringes at my blobby job:


Then it was mounting the neck pickup. This again involved drilling pilot holes into the body for the mounting screws, so I brought out the calipers to takes some measurements…better safe than sorry. The pickup install goes smoothly.


I then wire the pickups to the controls as per the diagram I downloaded. Before I screwed the control plate to the body, I figured I’d better check my wiring, so I string up a couple of strings and plug the guitar in to try it out. Not good. The neck position works, the middle switch position does nothing and the bridge position is very quiet. Damn. After a little investigation I find out that the diagram I used was for a vintage telecaster which uses a different swith than what I am using. Or something like that. All I know is it doesn’t work. So I download a different wiring diagram, desolder the switch and start again. This time was a success and after testing, everything works as it should

The final bits and pieces go on. The strap buttons, the control plate, pickguard and string trees all get installed after drilling pilot holes for all the screws.

I install a set of strings and do a quick set-up. Rough in the intonation using my cheap little tuner. It’s close enough for now. Then check the neck relief and adjust the action and play with the height of the pickups. All goes pretty well.




Guitar Build – More Neck Finishing and Tuner Install

May 16th, 2011 Posted in Guitar | No Comments »

The neck has been sitting for a while, so it was time to do some finish sanding, treat the fingerboard and install the tuners.

The face and back of the headstock were wet sanded starting with 600 then followed by 1000, 1500 and 2000 grits. After that was done I applied some polishing compound as the final step. The back of the neck was wet sanded with 600 grit and then rubbed down with 0000 steel wool for a nice satin finish.

After living in the garage for a couple of weeks and being covered with masking tape, the fretboard was looking pretty dry. I perused the web for the best way to treat the rosewood. There were, of course, conflicting opionions and thoughts. Some people suggest lemon oil, olive oil, linseed oil while others suggest disaster will ensue unless you use the special fingerboard conditioner sold in music stores and the last thing you should use is lemon oil. From what information I could find, all of these things are basically mineral oil, lemon oil isn’t made of lemons (well maybe a teeny bit) and I’ll leave the olive oil in the kitchen. I hit the local Rona and picked up a can of Circa 1850 Lemon Oil and applied it sparingly to my fretboard. Looks good, smells lemony.

Next up, it’s time to install the tuners. I decided on the vintage Kluson type for the tuners, mainly for the vintage look. The tuners come with bushings that are pressed into the tuner holes from the front of the headstock. Then the tuners are attached to the back of the headstock with teeny-tiny screws.

I assembled my hi-tech tuner bushing installation tool kit and went to work.


The tuner holes needed to be reamed a bit as they had accumulated a few layers of laquer during the finishing process. That’s were the 1/4″ drill bit came in. Insert the drill bit into the hole, twist around a bit by hand and repeat five more times. Now the bushings could be started in the holes but needed a little extra persuasion than my thumb could provide. In comes the clamp and block of wood to be used as a press. Like a charm.


Time to mark out the pilot holes for the tuner mounting screws. I flip the neck over and drop the tuners in to the holes from the back of the headstock. To line them up properly I use another tip that I found on the mighty internet. I clamp a straight edge, in this case a piece of wood to the headstock alongside the tuners, making sure that they are nicely lined up. Then the screw locations are marked. With the tuners in place, I drilled one hole and then started to install the screw. Unfortunately I ran into a somewhat common problem when installing these screws. The screw broke, leaving half the screw embedded in the neck. Crap, crappity, crap, crap. Or something like that.

What to do? After taking a deep breath I drilled three holes around the screw, with the holes as close to the screw fragment as I could get. Once I did that I pried the screw fragment with a finishing nail until it started to move and then came out. I was left with an ugly, nasty hole in the back of the headstock.


What to do? After taking another deep breath, I clamped the neck to the drill press and bored out the ugly, nasty hole into a nice, clean 1/4″ diameter hole. I should mention that all these holes being drilled from the back of the headstock do not … and should not go through the front of the headstock, so for each hole drilled, I mark the depth on the drill bit using masking tape. What I now have is this:


Next, I need to  fill that hole. The 1/4″ hardwood dowel that I have is slightly too small for my nice, clean 1/4″hole, so I put a piece of 5/16″ dowel into the chuck of the drill press and sand it down while it spins until I get to the correct diameter. I cut a short piece to act as a plug and glue it in place.


After letting the glue set, the area around the plug is masked and the plug is sanded flush. Again, like a charm.

Back to the tuner installation, I threw out the wimpy brass screws that came with the tuners and picked up some #4 x 1/2″ metal screws. I also made sure to mark the depth of the pilot holes deep enough. Once again I mark out the location of the screw holes and then head over to the drill press and drill the pilot holes with a 1/16″ bit. This time, before installing the screws, they get coated with wax from a candle and everything goes smoothly. With the tuners installed, the plug disappears and only you and I will know it’s there.


And from the front, the finished neck: