Fig. A: If you remove the bobbin brake, be careful not
to lose the nut in the sewing machine! Fig. B: The wire
comes up from the spool, over the edge of the platform,
and onto the bobbin. Fig. C: Thread wire through the hole
in the top of the bobbin. Fig. D: The weight provides friction resistance. Fig. E: Bobbin filled with wire. Fig. F: Tape
wire to the top of the bobbin. Figs. G and H: Melt wax in
hot water — outside. Fig. I: Bobbins ready to dip in wax.
I got an average resistance of 1,360 ohms, with a
variance of 3%. For 3 of the other bobbins, I allowed
the wire to go above the bobbin and it got caught
on the tape; 2 were useable (but well below the
resistance of the others) and one was not.
3. Pot your windings in wax.
Pot the pickup assemblies in hot wax (by weight,
80% paraffin, 20% beeswax). Potting reduces
microphonics — sounds made when the wires in
the pickup pick up mechanical vibrations from the
guitar or sound system.
WARNING: The vapors this wax mixture
gives off when hot are highly flammable. To
minimize fire hazard, do this step outside. Don’t
allow anyone to smoke near the can of hot wax.
Outside the house, I put 16oz solid paraffin and
4oz solid beeswax into a clean, empty 1qt paint can.
Inside the house, I boiled water in a pot. Then I took
the pot outside, placed it on a cork pad, and put the
can of wax in the pot (Figure G). While it warmed,
I went back inside and heated a second pot of water.
I continued alternating pots of near-boiling water
until the wax was melted. I stirred the melting wax
with a wooden paint stirrer until it was completely
liquid. The point here is that the wax was outside,
and the water was heated inside the house, so the
wax was never near the fire (Figure H).
4. Add magnets to make pickups.
Cut a piece of waterproof adhesive tape about 2½"
long and about 9mm wide to fit between the sides
of the bobbin. Using a metal ruler and razor blade
makes a neat job of it (Figure J, following page).
Wrap the wire coils with the tape to protect them
from damage, and try to get both wires on the same
face of the bobbin. Write the resistance of the coil
on the tape with permanent marker.
Use the magnetic compass to mark the polarity
of each magnet (Figure K), and then insert the magnet into the center hole of the bobbin. Make sure
the magnetic poles for each magnet are all pointing
in the same direction with respect to the side of the
bobbin where the inside end of the wire comes out.