Archive for May, 2009

Guitar 904 – Binding and installing tuning pegs

May 31, 2009

Welcome to the last day of May.  Finished binding the peghead with abalone and ebony (live together in perfect harmony).  Drilled for tuning machines with the center pair being a bit inside of the line to compensate for the severe angle of the outside strings.


Saturday and Sunday was primarily routing the body to accept the binding and purfling and then installing.  Suffered several cracks to the binding and needed to do some additional clamping to bring the cracks down flush.



Misc. This and That

May 26, 2009

It’s Tuedsay and I’m golfing this afternoon.  Beforehand I took the maple neck blank left over from building Larry’s guitar and replicated the insertion of a Cocobola laminate/center strip.  This neck will be overstock until some guitar comes along and begs for a maple neck.

I got an email from Phinney Neighborhood Assn. with photos from the auction.  Here’s some auction girls doing a little Smoke on the Water with my demonstration guitars.


When the bidding got up to $3000, I got a little excited.


Guitar 904 – Box assembled

May 26, 2009

Did lots of top brace trimming, tap tuning (mostly listening), trimming, tapping, and decided to scallop the x-braces.  Once complete, did the luthier thing and signed the inside.


Prepped the go-bar and glued down the top.


Let dry for several hours then removed from the go-bar and unclamped the mold.  Took my laminate router with a flush mount bit and trimmed the scarf.


Finally, positioned the neck on the body for a look-see on how this one will turn out.


Guitar 904 – Makin’ the box

May 24, 2009

My good friend Bryan is dropping by this afternoon.  This morning did some irrigation investigation and earned a few moments in the shop.

Since deciding on an unadorned headstock (i.e., sans logo), I was conniving a location for the sMg.  End graft seemed to be the most interesting opportunity.  I removed the sides from the mold and notched out the area for the tapered end graft, glued down with BWB purfling then scraped down to approximate depth.


Cool eh?  Here’s another look, with my hand in the photo for perspective (really, my hand wanted to be photographed).


I used a prefab neck block for a dreadnought which was too tall AND had inappropriately spaced pre drilled holes.  Located new hole for truss rod access and second neck bolt hole.  Drilled these out before assembling back and top as to avoid chipout on the neck block.


I consider the extra hole a pressure relief valve.  It has to have a purpose, and now it does.

I continued to trim top bracing and got them down to the point where I could locate and route out the upper bout brace area that runs into the kerf.  This allowed me to assemble the back on to the sides.  While the glue dries, I can proceed with fine tuning the top braces.


Parts are set out in the go-bar clamp in preparation for gluing.


Abstract onion sculpture.

Guitar 904 – Neck shaping

May 23, 2009

After clamping/gluing the koa headplate, measured for neck taper and cut out on the bandsaw.


I’m going to leave the koa headplate without any logo or inlay, but will bind with ebony and abalone.


I had to make an order for the binding and abalone purfling, which should arrive next week.

Notched out the body and kerfing to accept the back bracing which I left a little proud, rather than disappearing before hitting the kerf.  I think the back needs the brace/kerf connect to support the 15′ radius.  I will although bring the top bracing down to the top which will create a top only ring without bracing before it meets the kerfing.


I still have some serious brace shaving to do on the top.  Tomorrow, shaving, then assembling the top and back to the sides.


Guitar 904 – Bracing shaped

May 21, 2009

Proceeded with shaping the installed braces.  Back is done.


Did lots of chiselling on the top braces.


Trying out my new chisels.  Still lots of material still to remove.

Guitar 904 – Leisure equals progress

May 20, 2009

Work, work, work.  I’ve got time on my hands, and progress is being made.

First, for Beth’s guitar, all is well.  I have produced the absolute best rosette ever.


This photo may not reveal the quality, but it is flawless.  I’m proud of the tight BWB and abalone inlay which is absolutely tight and without gaps.  I give it a….ten.

Next is the top bracing.  I’ve got some dimensions worth considering.  The top and sides are a bit thick.  Know that this is intentional.  It’s not a lazy man’s attempt to justify not bringing them down to size.  I’ve got some input which indicates that with a spectacular spruce top, it can be left thick with slight bracing and the sound will be impressive.  Given that I have a spectacular spruce top and bracing that is world class, I’m going to venture into the thickish top with trimmed down bracing.


This photo shows the bracing placed before gluing.


As I proceeded with the gluing, I did do a little shaping beforehand.  I will take a chisel to these big boys and reduce them considerably.090520brace.jpg

The back (koa) has been joined and it is a beautiful piece of work that refuses to be interrupet by a center strip.


Looks a little like a vagina, eh?  I was thinking that from now on I would only pick back wood that Georgia O’Keefe would approve of.  I only inserted this comment to see if you were paying attention.  Are you?

I wanted to talk a little about dimensions.  Here’s what I determined, and executed for thicknesses.  For the sides, I went a bit thick, for constructional integrity, even though the guitar may seem a little heavy in the end.  (insert:  even though thick, the bending went exceptionally well).  3mm or (I’ve been instructed to think in thousandsths) .120″  The top, 3.2mm or .130″.  The back will bear the brunt of thinness, 2.7mm or .110″.

All this said, it is once again an excercise in produciing a “sound”.  Unfortunately for the guitar builder, this is unrealized until the final steps.  I have input which says grand soundboards love to be thick, but I will only know once this puppy is strung.

Stand by, but I think I’m going to like this guitar.

Guitar 904 – Rosette work

May 15, 2009

Today, I became a full time luthier.  I don’t have any more distractions (like a job) to keep me from dedicating myself completely to building guitars.

I received replacement bits for those which I sheared off in earlier aggressive channelling.  I routed the inside and outside ring and glued in the purfling.


Next, after scraping down the inserted rings, routed out the center ring and installed purfling with teflon which will be removed to insert the ablam.


Guitar 904 – Koa OM moving forward

May 11, 2009

Made progress, finished kerfing and radiussing the top and back.


Spent time pencilling in the general neck shape and removing excess with the bandsaw.  Waiting for graphite rods before attaching headstock veneer and trimming tapered side shape.

Couch Cousins

May 11, 2009

As a child, when all the cousins were together, Grandma used to line us all up on the couch in order of age and take pictures.  Over the years, we collected a progression of pictures of cousins on the couch when finally we were all too big to fit together and we had to start lining up in the yard.  We became known as the couch cousins.

I was fortunate enough to have all but one of my finished guitars in the house at the same time (except the 12 string dreadnought).  So I lined those cousins up on the couch and took a snap.


In order of age:  801, the OOO mahogany; 802, the rosewood OM; 803, the maple OM; 804, the koa parlor; (805 missing); 902, the unfinished koa mahogany parlor; and out of order, 901; the zebrawood resonator (also unfinished).

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