Assembly Line Mode

May 28, 2012

Today and yesterday have been consumed with the assembly line.  I made necks for Guitar 1201, 1202 and 1203, and Uke 1201 and a uke to be numbered later.  I also thicknessed backs and sides for Guitar 1201 and 1202, and joined the back for Guitar 1203.  In between neck builds, gluing and clamping, I scraped away at Guitar 1002.

Here’s Rachel’s Myrtle back after thickness sanding.

120528thicknessedback

Oooh that’s nice.  I also thicknessed and joined the Peruvian Walnut back for Em’s guitar.

120528joinbackplate

I’m ready to bend sides for Susan’s and Rachel’s guitars which means they can be forthwith set into the molds.

Guitar 1002 – Frets Installed

May 20, 2012

Banged away on the frets this weekend.  After sanding and smoothing the fretboard and cleaning out the fret slots, the frets were cut to length then tapped in place.  I have also been sanding away at the binding and purfling, bringing it flush to the sides.  Still a lot of fairing and squaring to go before I mount the bridge and prepare for the lacquer spraying.

120520frets

Once this guitar is ready for the spray booth, I will apply the same finish to the Girdis guitar I am finishing.  I’ve rough cut the snakewood bridge in preparation for final shaping.

120520snakewoodbridge

The Gotoh ebony button tuners arrived.

120520gotohebony

New Shipment of Headplates

May 11, 2012

Just took possession of a new batch of custom headplates for sMg Guitars.

120511headplates

Row 1 – Curly Sycamore and Koa

Row 2 – Pau Ferro and Cocobolo

Row 3 – Rosewood and Ebony

Guitar 1002 – Redo Binding

April 29, 2012

I just wasn’t happy.  The binding on the front of the guitar, the binding everyone will see and admire, was just not right.  Too thin in places, poorly fitted around the cutaway, and even a few cracks that needed repair.  I ordered additional rosewood binding strips, which arrived yesterday, and set out on removing the first application of binding and installing it again.

I routed out a binding channel for the top binding with a depth considerably deeper than the original.  The first pass at installing this binding included thinning of the binding strips to assure a clean bend around the cutaway.  What I discovered was that I could tightly bend even full width binding if I got my iron hot enough and patiently bent the binding strip a wee bit at a time.  Bending, then checking, bending then checking, until I had a nice tight bend with no cracks or pullaway of wood fiber on the outside of the bend.  (What I did find is that my insulated gloves don’t work as well as I would like, and my fingers are a bit crispy).

A good tight bent binding and purfling make for a spectacularly easy application of the binding with binding tape.

This will be way better.  I am no longer afraid of the tight bend of the cutaway.

Guitar 1002 – Compared to an OM

April 22, 2012

The fretboard is attached, and the long slog of finish sanding lies ahead.  Here’s a little comparison of this Macafee style guitar next to an OM (which happens to be a Rob Girdis guitar).


Guitar 1002 – Fretboard Binding Heel Cap

April 22, 2012

All binding is on and trimmed.  I decided to install a rosewood heel cap and did so by routing out the heel cap material to allow installation of a maple veneer topped with rosewood cap.  The heel cap will be flush with the body.

Side dots were inserted onto the fretboard, it was trimmed to match the profile of the neck, then indexing pins were located to hold the fretboard in position while it was glued and held in place with the amazing 40 foot rubber band.

120422fretboardmount

The binding, heel cap and fretboard all meet up in various spots around the guitar.  Next steps will be to flush up all the joints and prepare for detailed finishing of all the surfaces.

120422neckfretboard

120422cutawaybinding


Guitar 1002 – Binding Trimmed, Now the Tedious

April 9, 2012

The binding is installed (save one small section on the neck heel).  It’s been trimmed close to the body and now the scraping begins.  Using a cabinet scraper, nicely burnished, I’ll draw down the binding flush to the sides, top and back.  I enjoy this process, yet it takes a long time to do it right.

120409roseandbind

The Palo Escrito looks fine treated with naptha.  The blotchy parts still need further sanding to remove the glaze of wood glue still on the surface.

120409sidebind

120409fullback

120409back

An hour here, an hour there, then some more here and there, and the fretboard goes on.

Guitar 1002 – Binding continues

March 19, 2012

I’ve attached the cutaway side binding after hand bending.  I’m pleased with the process, and am no longer flummoxed by tight binding bends.  All went swimmingly, and installation was straightforward.  A few minor gaps which can be filled with rosewood shims.

120319frontbinding

120319sidebinding

I still need to install binding and purfling around the heel cap area.

120319cutawaybinding

Guitar 1002 – Binding

March 18, 2012

I like this part.  The binding puts the real finishing touches on the body.  This one is more complicated due to the cutaway and the heel shape.  I’ve taken the first “easy” steps of binding the non-cutaway side.

120318bindingtape

The binding, pre-bent, and a purfling strip are glued into the channel, secured with binding tape.  I like to glue the crap out of it, which makes the cleanup more labor intensive, but these puppies need to be secure.

120318binding

After the tape is removed, it almost looks like a guitar.  I will trim back the excess with a cabinet scraper before the final sanding.  The cutaway side is next, but I will need to hand bend the binding and purfling strip for the severe bend around the bout at the cutaway.

Guitar 1002 – Binding

March 12, 2012

The binding process for this cutaway is quite a bit more complicated.  I’ve got some tricky executions especially around the neck.

120310buttgraft_0

First I installed the butt graft, and had to recover from oversanding after I installed and trimmed.  I almost sanded through the sides around the butt block and had to go inside and reinforce with resin to restore the thickness and strength of the sidewalls.  After that recovery, I routed out the channels for the binding on the top and back, having to pull short as I approached the neck.

120310bindingchannel

The continuation of the channels was achieved with a chisel and saw, but I still have some decisions to make around the end graft for the neck.

120310binding


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