In the last episode of how it’s made, I finished shaping a maple neck. Now it’s time to fit that neck to the cookie tin. Here you can see the maple neck, blank fret board (in lovely red padauk), and the tin with its shaped belly. Note the long tail end of the neck. This will fit all the way through the tin body and will support the string anchor at the butt end. The neck angle relative to the tin body has already been set by the angle of the maple shoulder where the neck will meet the tin. The neck will fit across inside the tin something like what you see above. Note that the butt end has some excess length. This excess will be trimmed to fit later.
To get the neck through the tin I need a rectangular hole in the side that will line up with the guide marks I made way back when I was shaping the tin. With a ruler and a carpenter’s square I will extend that fading horizontal sharpie line down the side of the tin.
The tin above is resting on a handy scrap of 2×4 (indicated by the big arrow). I clamp that scrap 2×4 in a vise with enough sticking out fit inside the tin to support this part of the work. Above you can see the sharpie guide marks I have laid out for cutting a rectangular hole with tabs in the side of the tin. These marks may not yet make sense, but bear with me. The small arrow points to the outline of what will become one of the tabs that will be bent inward to form the edge of the rectangular hole.
I use a standard box cutter knife with a fixed blade to push through the sheet metal into the supporting 2×4 scrap. I work through the metal with an old school can-opener-like motion and lots of downward pressure. I do not try to draw the blade along as though cutting paper. Yes, the bade is immediately dull. Yes, the razor tip will break. Yes, I wear eye protection. Like Norm, I ALWAYS wear eye protection. If you don’t have yours on right now while just reading about forcing a box cutter through sheet metal you should put on a pair of goggles without further fuss.
Ahem… In the image above, I have cut through the T shape at the top of the opening. I will continue cutting (or can opening) along the red dots.
The three tabs, two at the sides and one at the short end, disappear into shadow but you get the idea. I will finish up bending the tabs to form a nice rectangular opening using some duck bill pliers.
That’s all for now. Next time I’ll get into trimming the butt end of the neck and getting the shoulder to fit snug to the tin. Buon metallo.