Gluing the Soundbox Frame and Soundboard

Gluing and clamping the pin block and small

Gluing and clamping the small side to the bottom of the soundboard after the pin block has been attached. Two clamps are still attached to the previously glued pin block (on the right) because it hadn’t dried for 24 hours and I didn’t want to stress the joint (per instructions on the glue bottle).

The pin block (the wood piece that holds the tuning pins) was glued first because it only needed clamps to connect the top glued surface to the soundbox. I didn’t take a picture of the just the pin block being glued.

Picture of gluing and clamping the small side to the sound box

A second view of gluing the first side piece. The pin block is the piece of walnut being held with two clamps on the left in this image. It is dry, but the clamps are keeping the glue joint from being stressed while the small side is being clamped and glued.

The two side pieces of the sound box frame were glued after the pin block. See pictures above and below. Each of these two parts had to be glued on the top to the soundboard and on the side to the pin block. It takes a bit of moving and adjusting to get both of these joins to properly align because there is a tendency for the wood parts to slip around on the wet glue. On the small piece, clamps were used to hold the top glue joint to the sound box while countersunk screws were used to pull the side together with the pin block. The long side piece was glued to the instrument last. In addition to using clamps for the top join and countersunk screws to pull the side together with the pin block, a large clamp was needed to adequately hold the side joint together.

Picture of gluing the long side to the bottom of the soundboard.

Gluing the long side to the bottom of the soundboard.

Picture of gluing the long side of the frame to the side of the pin block with large clamp to ensure a good glue joint.

Gluing the long side of the frame to the side of the pin block with large clamp to ensure a good glue joint.

The gluing process can be messy – glue seeps out of the joints when they are pressed together. This should happen – it is an indicator that there is enough glue if a little bit squeezes out all around. If it doesn’t in places it means there may be spots where the two surfaces are not attached. The excess glue needs to be quickly cleaned up with a wet rag or paper towel before it dries up. A bowl of water to clean fingers and a small screwdriver to push the rag into the corners are helpful tools to have on hand during this process. A lot of care is needed when cleaning because any missed spots of glue that may not be very visible on the unfinished wood become quite noticeable when finish coats are applied.

One of the many issues that held me back on this project was access to woodworking tools, in this case clamps. I did have some small ones but they were too small to use for this project. I did not want to buy new ones outright because the ones found in local big box stores run about $13 – $15 each for the size needed. As you can see in the pictures, quite a few are required, and I didn’t want to spend around $100 for 7 or 8 clamps I wouldn’t use very often. I was looking to borrow some but was relieved when my brother found an extra good deal on the clamps you see in the pictures – they were purchased for $3 each. My brother and I each bought 4 and 3 of them respectively. He wanted to have some on hand in the future so this saved me some money.