Pickup winding

I’m on a forced vacation for a few days, because I mangled one of my finger tips this week.  I was surface grinding some steel, and was flipping it over to do the second side, and used my hand to sweep some iron dust off of the magnetic chuck.  Well, the grinding wheel was still spinning, and my middle finger touched it, and got sucked in.  The wheel was about 3/16″ from the surface of the chuck, so the tip of my finger got squeezed to that thickness, and a healthy amount of flesh was removed.  Hurt like hell for an hour or two, and now I’m babying it until it grows back…

So, the moral of that story is, shut the machine off before sweeping it clean, or use a brush.  😉

So, since I can’t do any heavy work, I decided to wind a couple pickups this morning.  I think I’ve posted some pics of my winder, but haven’t really gone into detail.  So here goes.

First step in making a neck position pickup is to solder the end of the wire to a lead.  I use black for the “start” lead and white for the “finish” lead.


Here are the bobbins.  I go over them with a file to remove any burrs that might snag the delicate wire.  I’m using 42 guage wire for the neck pickups.


Now the black lead is run through a hole in the bottom of the bobbin, and glued in place with superglue to immobilize it:


Now the bobbin is screwed to the winder:



I use a calculator to count the windings.  There is a switch connected to the “=” button which is struck by the crank on the reel.  So you enter 1 plus 1, then crank away.



Here it is at 950 cranks, which is 4,940 windings,  I went all the way to 1125 cranks with this bobbin.


Which resulted in a DC resistance of 4.03 K ohms, which is what I was shooting for.


Now the wire is immobilized with a piece of tape, and the white lead is soldered on:


Then the coil is wrapped with tape to protect it:


Then the process is repeated 3 times, since I’m making 2 humbucking pickups.  The bridge pickup is wound with 43 gage wire, to 6.5 K ohms per bobbin.  This is because the strings are moving in a smaller arc at the bridge position, and so to get the same output, you need more DC resistance.

I’m waiting for the rest of the parts to come in.  When they do, I’ll continue this tutorial.



Of chisels.

Now, isn’t that an exciting title?

No?  Oh well.

Ok, I’m talking about two very different kinds of chisels.  In my last post, I had talked about my new part time job, and promised more pictures (which will no doubt hold all enthralled 😉 ), and I also mentioned sometime ago about the $150 Challenge, part 2, which I am sponsoring.  I’m making the prize, which is a damascus brace carving chisel.

First, the jackhammer bits.  They are called points, if they have four sides, and chisels, if they have two.

So, here’s one before I got to work on it.  Most of them don’t look this bad; I picked this one for it’s dramatic value. (cough cough)

Now that ugly end needs to be cut off, other wise you may just be forging a bunch of cracks and junk.  I use a chop saw to do that:

Now I heat up about 2″ of the end in my gas forge, and draw it out to a point under my Bradley hammer:

Then while the end is still hot (around 1500 to 1550 degrees F) I quench it in water to harden it.  Then it’s tempered for a couple hours at 475 degrees, then the tip is cleaned up on the grinder.  Here is a bunch of them ready to go back:

In the last couple weeks, I’ve done 185 of them.  It pays pretty well, and it’s nice to have work that doesn’t require much brain time…

Now, the other chisel.  To see the whole build, click here:

Chisel Build thread

But here are some pics of the finished product:

And a high resolution pic in case you want to look closer:


I’d encourage you all to follow along with the guys who are competing, and to vote for your favorite, come December.  You can find the threads here:

2012 Challenge Part 2

Thanks for looking,

My new job

That is to say, my new part time job.  A blacksmith friend of mine suggested I might be interested in sharpening jackhammer bits for some local companies.  I decided to give it a try, and I have to say, I like it.  It pays pretty well, and doesn’t require a lot of brain usage.
These bits are used to remove the refractory walls in furnaces used to melt down aluminum cans.  They do this sometimes when the furnaces are still hot, so it can really chew up the business end of the bits.  I’ll take some more pics next time I work on them.

My job is to heat up about 3 to 4 inches of the tip, and forge it back into the shape it started out as. Then touch up on the grinder.  Some of them are shaped like chisels, and some are 4 sided, and come to a point.  It takes about 2 minutes to heat up and forge one bit (using my Bradley power hammer), and they pay me $5.50 per piece.   :bliss:
Today I dropped off the first batch, which was 26, and brought back about 80 more:

Which was less than half of what they had on hand.

I’m going to be busy for awhile.  🙂