Starting a couple more guitars

After a brief hiatus and doing a bunch of small projects for the shop and in the house, I decided to start a couple more guitars.  On the subject of shop projects, I should post those soon.  I just haven’t felt much like writing these days.

So… the guitars.  Going for a couple OO size again.  This time with a cutaway, 14 fret neck, one with a spruce top, one with cedar.  Other options might be a sound port and a slotted peghead.

Start with design.  I wanted to make my own shape.  Started with a list of standard dimensions from OO and OM size guitars and drew my own.  Used the bent stick method of drawing curves.

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Made about 4 versions and picked one I liked.  I did a full scale drawing and I’m still kicking around what I want to do for bracing.

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I made the form.

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As far as wood goes, I bought a board of ambrosia maple that had some nice flame in it.  I marked off the pieces that I wanted and resawed it to size.  Finally got to use my new bandsaw for something heavy duty, and it worked like a champ.  I cut a total of 4 sets from this board.

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There are also some orphan (non book matched) pieces, as I was able to get 5 slices from the thickness.  I will make a test guitar box with those so i can play with some new things Ive been thinking about, as well as some brace options. Here are the two sets I’ll use for these guitars.

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As far as the rest of the wood goes, I laid it all out.  Cherry for necks.  Basswood for neck and heel blocks as well as linings.  Walnut, cherry and maple for binding, purfling and rosette.  Of course the ambrosia back and sides.

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Looking at all of this, I realized that minus the cedar and spruce, which is from British Columbia, the rest of the wood is local.  That being the case, I may go for a local wood for the fretboards and bridges.  It would be cool for the majority of these guitars to be made from materials that came from within a 50 mile radius.

Ok.  More for next time.

 

I never worry, but I have started to fret.

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Started fretting the guitars.  I have two done so far.  These were my first bound fretboards so I had to clip the tang off the fret to go over the binding.  I made a little device based on one I had seen, with some modifications.  I call it the Detanginator.  Worked really well to grind off the tang and dress the bottom.

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All the guitars have been oiled and sealed with shellac.

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One more to fret.  Then to build, locate and mask off the bridges.  Then I should be close to spraying lacquer.  That should be interesting as a first.

 

Hey, first steel string… mit neck!

I’ve been slowly shaping necks.  Got the first one to where I think its a good shape.  I have a hard time telling on neck shape as I’m not much of a guitar player… hell, I don’t even own a real steel string guitar.

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Sanded both the body and the neck, crossed my fingers and glued it on.  Overall I’m fairly happy.

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There are a few things I’d like to improve as I progress.  Of course, I noticed spots that needed more sanding as soon as I looked at it in a different light.

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While the hot hide glue was heated up, I glued the fretboard on the third neck.  The second guitar is pretty close to being ready for assembly too.  Just a bit more sanding on both pieces.

I’m going to stain parts of both of the flamed maple guitars.  Hope to start that soon.  I have a few steps before I can seal with shellac.  Then the frets, then the finish.

Neck shaping

Made a neck carving fixture. Got the idea from another luthier online.
It’s nice because you can clamp it horizontal to work on the fretboard edges.

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Then it clamps vertical in the vise and keeps it high enough to use a spokeshave.

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Got one neck pretty close. Need to drill the tuners and final sand before I put it on the guitar.

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Then two more necks to catch up on.

Necks and fingerboards

Made a prototype adjustable radius sanding block. Had to figure out how to radius these fretboards.

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 It worked well.  Sanded the fretboards down to 120.  I made a second block at the same time.  A bit more low profile.  I put 220 paper on there for use when everything is on the guitar.

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I have the headstocks thinned down and the veneers on all three.  They are all in semi different stages of preliminary carving.  The heel is the only thing that really needs to be pretty close at this point, just so the neck can be fit once more before the fretboard is attached.  Final carving won’t get done until the fingerboards are on.

I need to figure out what to do for the side markers.  Once they’re done, a fretboard can go on at least one of the necks.  The rest to follow shortly after.

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I just couldn’t resist laying one of the fingerboards on as I was checking the neck fit.  Seeing that makes me excited.  Also makes me thing of how much sanding i need to do, which always seems to wait till absolutely last minute.  It also makes me think about the damn finishing work!

Oh well.

Progressing… slowly.

After a few days of no real work in the shop, I was able to get a few things done over the past few days.

Fit up my third dovetail neck.  Paid close attention and used some quick gauges to make sure the angles were consistent.  Best of the three.  These will be final fit once the heels are carved.

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Routed the slots for the truss rods.  Made use of my binding fixture with a temporary fence.

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Glued up some headstock veneer from scraps that came off the back material.

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Trued up three rosewood fingerboards from the Martin wood stash.  Made a new 24.75” scale template for my home made fret slotting fixture.  Then proceeded to slot the boards.

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Next step is tapering, sanding to radius and binding on the fretboards.  Then on to thicknessing the headstocks and laminating on front and back veneers.

Finishing guitar one, starting two

Gallery

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Almost ready to clean up and polish guitar number two after pore filling. I hope it’s enough. Last minute decision to sand and re polish the top on guitar number one before I put on the bridge. The fumed locust … Continue reading