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   A similar hole in the top edge of the neck block aligns the top.
   Take a look at the end block. Martin and other makers have used a reinforcement strip to help keep the end block from splitting in case of a dropping accident. Collings does them all one better by actually inlaying the reinforcement for extra rigidity.
   Tops and backs are glued on simultaneously in this press. Notice the truck steering wheel. (It is Texas, after all.)
   As they are glued up, the sides remain in the mold and are held there by a spreader.
  Here you can see the spreader through the soundhole as the braces are fitted into the linings.
   After glue-up the spreader comes out through the soundhole.
   The end wedge inlay is router using a laminate trimmer and a simple fixture
   It's easy to locate this fixture, sighting it to the back center inlay.
   Ivoroid inlay and purfling.
   Before the top and back binding is routed, the end inlay is glued in place and trimmed.
  Here's another "first generation" fixture - a pair of regular routers mounted in a bench setup.
   Each router has a wooden bearing collar and tongue on which the guitar body is guided as the binding ledge is routed.
   A few layers of packing tape adjust the depth of cut. Like most factories, the Collings shop is a combination of various kinds of tooling. Old style tools still do their jobs as new ones are developed.
   It takes a steady hand to guide the guitar body across the cutters.
 There's quite a battery of other routers, each set up for a specific purfling cut.
   Binding is hand fitted around the body. (As if there were any other way!)
   Masking tape does a fine job of holding the binding as the glue dries.
   More hand work. There's always a bit of trimming here and there.
   Check out this cool sanding block. It's plastic (high density polyethylene, maybe) with lateral saw kerfs making it extremely flexible in only one direction.
   With this long block, it's easy to "fair" the curves of the sides.
   Here comes another cool simple setup. Herringbone wood top purfling and ivoroid binding are glued all around the body.
   That particular combination of materials is a bit of a problem to sand or scrape level with the spruce top without damaging the soft spruce.
   The Collings solution. A flush cutting router setup.
   Simply running the cutter around the top, it slices the binding a purfling without touching the spruce.
   Neat, isn't it?
   A bit of finish sanding at the downdraft sanding bench.
   All the time, angles are kept constant.
   And everything is checked, and checked again.
   Necks are made from seasoned genuine mahogany. Rough blanks are laid out for cutting on the band saw.
   The rough blank is trimmed on a shaper fixture.
   And, as with so many other parts, alignment holes are drilled so the blank will "index" on various fixtures.
   Here's where the CNC really shines. Nothing matches its ability as a neck making appliance. Right now, it's trimming the peghead for gluing on the "ears."
  Changing cutter heads, the machine drills a hole at the heel end.
   A heavy hardwood dowel is glued into the hole.
  Everything is calculated to line up just right. Here, the dowel reinforces the neck mortise joint so the hanger bolts will hold extra well.
   The ear gluing bench.
   Gluing ears. To avoid wasting a lot of mahogany cutting an entire neck from a 4-inch thick piece, Collings adds a bit of extra width at the peghead by gluing on these little ears.
    Back on the CNC for some more tooling.
   Flattening the peghead.
   And, leveling the fingerboard surface.


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