Guitar 1002 – Topside Workboard

January 22, 2012

I built this workboard several months ago.  It’s adapted from the workboard I used for the ukes and examples I’ve seen at luthier suppliers.  The next step is to shape and dimension the butt block then glue it in place in preparation for the attachment of the sides.


Guitar 1002 – Neck to Top Join

January 22, 2012

The neck was notched on the router table to accept the top.  The center lines were aligned, pilot holes drilled, and the neck has been glued to the top.  After drying, the neck and top will be mounted to the workboard in preparation for attaching the butt block and joining the sides to the top.


Uke Lacquer – Fretboard Markers – Lava Light

November 30, 2011

Let’s start with the Lava Light.


After William left for UW, several items which I coveted were left behind.  Lava Light (or Lamp)!

I mapped out a schedule for the completion of Uke 1101, and it is possible to complete before I go to Salt Lake for Thanksgiving.  It will be a bit tricky to continue working on the uke while the lacquer is curing.  Today, I finished the 8th coat of lacquer, with an intention of putting on 20 coats.  Tomorrow I’ll add 4 more coats.  Coincidentally, I am adding coats to the Bubinga uke, and after tomorrow’s application, it will have 24 coats.


This is the back of the Bubinga.



Between coats I attached the fret markers to the Hybrid’s fretboard and the Thorn and Vine to 1202 (Bob).  The shell is glued to the surface with white glue.  I will score a border around the glued shell, then pop off the shell in preparation for routing a channel.


Neck jig – Box balloon

July 9, 2011

Just a heads up on a few new jigs/techniques.  In order to keep dust and such out of the box during final sanding and prep, I blew up a balloon while dangled in the box, then tied it off.


I am now using a recently completed neck shaping jig.  It’s just a vise mounted platform that allows me access to shave and shape the neck.


Guitar 1002 – Plates

May 30, 2011

I used the drum sander to bring the back plates down to .090″ then jointed and joined in the spanish joiner jig.


After drying, the joint was sanded, a protective posterboard cover was taped to the outside, and the center strip was glued using the go-bar clamp.



The top was similarly protected with posterboard (I’ve dinged too many top plates) and the bracing pattern was pencilled in.


Guitar 1002 – Join Top Add Rosette

May 29, 2011

Planed the top plates down to .115″, jointed, then joined.  Routed for the rosette, then proceeded to glue it in upside down.  Really?  Pulled it out quickly, reversed it, and pushed it back in right side up.  Everything looks a bit wonky from all the glue about, but experience shows that scraping and sanding cleans it all up beautifully.



Guitar 1002 – Side Bending Progress

April 21, 2011

The first bent side is out of the bending machine.


The resulting bend is accurate yet not tight enough.  I’m resigned to the fact that I also need to apply more bend with the bending iron.


I’ve had limited success with the bending iron, mostly due to wood being too thick and preloaded with tiny cracks.  The machine bend of the first side did produce two minor cracks, which I filled with CA glue.  I took a first pass attempt at increasing the tightness of the bends with the bending iron, and found I could make some headway on tightening the bends and not introducing new or wider cracks:  all due to the nice .070″ thickness of the sides.

I will complete the hand bending just prior to installing the sides onto the work board, which is still under construction.


The workboard will be finished with sliding cauls along the outside border of the sides.  The sliding feature will allow me to use this workboard for dreadnoughts, OM’s and this Macaferri style body, along with others in between.

I usually build in a mold, which is only appropriate for guitars with dovetail or mortise/tenon bolt on necks.  The workboard is necessary for the spanish heel type construction.  This will all become obvious when I get to the step where the sides are glued to the top which has been attached to the neck.

I will have to provide a small radius bowl in the lower bout area of the workboard to accommodate radiussed X bracing.

Guitar 1002 – Side Bending Underway

April 20, 2011

Palo Escrito is a pleasure to work with.  I first planed the sides down to about .075″ with the Safe-T-Planer then passed them through my newly repapered drum sander to smooth them and bring down to .070″.  This is very thin, but not so for a cutaway bend.  I bent the non-cutaway side first to practice bending this stuff for the first time.


This photo shows the setup before plunging the waist press, then drawing the spring bars down across the bouts.


I’ll let this sit for a couple of hours, reheat then let sit overnight.

Guitar 1002 – Sides Planed

April 16, 2011

Using the same setup for planing the uke sides, I brought these sides down to .070″ in preparation for bending.



I’m tempted to thickness the cutaway side even more, as there is a sever bend in the upper bout.  Both sides will go through the drum sander tomorrow to clean up the planer marks left behind from the Safetee Planer.

Guitar 1002 – Cutaway Binding Examples

March 11, 2010

Yesterday, a customer came into the shop for a truss rod adjustment.  His guitar, an Ibanez cutaway, is an example of the approximate construction for Guitar 1002.  I took a few pics to document how the binding and fretboard and heel all come together.  This will give me some reference as I start to dimension the heel and the heel block.

Note that the side comes in and under the edge of the fretboard.


The heel is square and meets the body flush with the binding.


I may take that approach, but I may also consider tapering the heel.  I understand the squared heel aesthetic, as it also creates a smooth transition for the hand where the body and heel meet, rather than having an abrupt corner where the heel tapers back from the body.

This also informs me as to the width of the heel block inside the guitar.  What it also does is scare the shit out of me when it comes to creating nice binding channels around the cutaway/fretboard/heel junction.  I’ll need to carefully consider the whole binding channel preparation sequence given the spanish heel construction calls for attaching the top to the neck before inserting the sides.  I think I’ll have to get some mad chiseling skills in place.

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