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Making bridge Blanks Martin Style

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:39 pm
by John Hall
To make bridges for a guitar you have to start somewhere. As you will see I use my oscillating sander a good bit for this task as well as my belt sander. I start with a pattern that was a reject from Martin. This is my basic bridge . Here is the order of this process
1st stock material , It may be any wood you want , in this case I have ebony. I start by running it though my sander. How you do this can vary but you want to get your stock to about 3/8 inch. I also want it 6 inches long and about 1 1/2 inch wide.
NOTE: I use a push block for the table saw when working smaller pieces like this. A push stick can catch the blade , jam and give you a BIG OUCH. Please think SAFETY at all times. Look at your set up and look for danger before having to call 911. Never rush and keep your mind on what you are doing.

Re: Making bridge Blanks Martin Style

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:43 pm
by John Hall
Once the stock is sized I want to make the wings. I will rough them on a band saw using an old bridge for a pattern , then I make a stop jig so I can sand them to the correct length. As you can see it is not a complicated fixture and it can be modified to work on a drill press with a drum sander. The key here is to make this process repeatable. With a rectangular blank I can do 1 wind , flip it and do the other. I

Re: Making bridge Blanks Martin Style

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:48 pm
by John Hall
Okay here is a blank with the wings, we have to refine them. Again another simple stop fixture made up using a pattern. I do rough the shape of the bridge now using the band saw. So you can see the progression of the wood being removed to make a bridge.

Re: Making bridge Blanks Martin Style

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:50 pm
by John Hall
The stop allows me a precise adjustment to set the wing and initial bridge shape. Keeping the blank still flat , I am able to flip the bridge as I sand the wing shape and have things square.

Re: Making bridge Blanks Martin Style

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:54 pm
by John Hall
Now that the blank has the wings defined , you will have to so some hand work. I place the pattern on the blank and will now shape the final part of the bridge belly. This is done by hand and one reason doing more than one at a time will help develop muscle memory for this task.

Re: Making bridge Blanks Martin Style

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:58 pm
by John Hall
Once shaped we need to radius the top of the bridge . I do this on the belt sander but sanding blocks or any other method that works for you is acceptable. Just be safe. Once radiused I do the final shaping by hand and can slot and drill them as needed.
It may take you a few try to dial in the process but you can certainly improve your production and accuracy with some simple jigs and practice. I hope you enjoyed this and I do hope it helps you
john hall

Re: Making bridge Blanks Martin Style

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:35 pm
by John Rice
Hi John, that was great it is almost a copy of the way I do it myself but it was great to see it in picture form . I'm sure it will be of great help to any newbie. :D