Archive for August, 2009

Guitar 901, 902 and 904 have been cured: Praise God Almighty

August 31, 2009

It’s been two weeks since I applied the final coats of lacquer on three guitars.  They have sat long enough for the lacquer to be ready for final sanding and buffing.

The resonator:



I’m going to tackle this guy first because I’m so interested in playing it as soon as possible.

Finally, Carol’s and Beth’s guitars, very different, but quite stunning.  They’ll look great, and I’m anticipating good quality guitar like sounds coming from them once they’re strung up.



Even though these both are Koa guitars, they have very striking differences.

Guitar 906 – Neck shaping and graphite install

August 27, 2009

Continued shaping the neck and channelling for trussrod and graphite reinforcement rods.  Used epoxy to secure the rods and let dry for 24 hours.


Used the bandsaw to bring the neck down to thickness then used the spindle sander to smooth and create the heel swoop.


Guitar 905 – Headstock Veneer

August 27, 2009

I was able to extract enough material from the walnut back to craft a headstock veneer of flamed walnut.  I jointed the sides, carefully matched up the sides and joined and thickness sanded.


Guitar 905 and 906 – Neck work

August 26, 2009

Worked simultaneously on necks for 905 and 906.  Got both stacked, glued and somewhat trimmed.


Neck on top is 906, the parlor.  It’s ready for chanelling for graphite and truss rod.  Neck 905 is a little further along and also is ready for graphite and truss rod.

Both guitars have the rosewood bridge reinforcement installed and next step is to trim the bracing.

Guitar 905 – Neck construction and bracing top

August 26, 2009

Between back bracing clamp and glue drying and constructing braces for the top, I built the rough neck using a 3″ x 1″ mahogany neck blank and the stack method.  The neck blank is cut into 5 pieces, one for the headstock, one for the neck, and three for the stacking heel block.  The neck blank is marked before cutting to ensure that all pieces are aligned.  I planed the gluing surfaces before cutting to create a perfectly flat surface for invisible glue lines.


While this sucker dries, I profiled all the top braces prior to gluing.


Profiling brings the brace down to it’s approximate shape and size.  Final shaping and sizing is done with a chisel and plane after the braces have been glued to the soundboard.

Prior to installing the braces, the soundboard is marked to show exact locations for each brace.


The only brace which is radiussed for the top is the X Brace, at 15′.  This is just enough to give spherical support to the bridge, and still be close to flat.  The X Brace is installed first, followed by the remaining braces.


Guitar 906 – Neck blank into neck

August 26, 2009

Multitasking.  While clamped and glued bracing dries, I started on the neck.  I’m using a 3″ x 1″ mahogany board and using the angled headstock cut and reverse to create a long grain headstock.  I have a special jig I use to hold the neck blank and cut at the desired angle.  For this guitar I’m using 12 degrees.


After slicing off the headstock piece, I plane the surfaces which came out of the cut to give a perfectly flat edge I can use to glue.  Using the same jig as a clamp, I roll the headstock wedge over and glue it to the back of the neck blank.  This will sit for 12 hours before releasing from the clamp.  Next step is to build a stacked heel with the same neck blank material.


Guitar 905 and 906 – Bracing

August 25, 2009

Cut out and shaped all the braces for both 905 and 906.  Shaping is an approximation of the final shape of the braces, which will be planed and chiselled to their final shape after they are attached to the plates.

Finished gluing bracing for top and back for 906.


X-bracing goes in first.




Only time enough today to get the back bracing for 905 installed.


Mandolin Repair 9004 – new in shop

August 24, 2009

My brother in law Bim’s sister Lisi sent me a mandolin for repair and it arrived today.  It’s very similar to the Romanian mandolin (Repair 9001) given to me by Joel Tepp.

Lisi’s mandolin is 50ish years old, with a gourd shaped back and some serious issues.  It sat in an attic for multiple decades, probably going through sever temperature variations and with the strings fully tensioned the whole time.  It essentially compressed itself over the decades.


This is a view of the butt end from the top showing how the tailpiece pushed against the top, compressed against the heel block and binding and shoved a center piece of spruce toward the soundhole.



The above shows the cracks in the spruce top.  The soundboard dipped, once there were cracks and nothing to keep it from dipping.  Another side effect was that the soundhole bowed up in response to the pressure from the cracked top.



Finally, the decorative back pieces have come loose and will need reglueing.


I think the best, and least intrusitve solution will be to remove the center panel on the top where it is cracked on both sides, get in and flatten the soundhole and add new bracing, reinstall the cracked piece and craft a new bridge.

Guitar 905 – Rosette installed, top ready for bracing

August 23, 2009

The rosette is in and the soundhole is open.  I’m ready to install braces.



Rosette is a bit dull and not fully down to the spruce surface.  It will all come clean with fine sanding after the bracing and install to the sides.

Guitar 905 – Work on top and rosette

August 22, 2009

Went back down into the man cave and finished sanding the top after it came out of the joining jig.


Such a fine piece of spruce.  The joint is wonderful.


Located the center hole, drilled the 3/16″ pilot hole and mounted on the workboard.


Routed the channels for the rosette.


Started with installing the inner and outer ring.  After they set and I can scrape them down, I need to widen the center channel just a tad to accept the bwb/teflon/bwb.  I’ll pull the teflon then insert the paua.


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