Sunday, September 26, 2004


Guitar making class with Harry Fleishman, Day 3

I just realized that it's probably easier to see what's going on if I show a picture and then describe it, instead of the way I did it in my last post.

So here's one of the sides I bent. I clamped it into the form and marked where the centerline of the guitar body would be so I would know where to trim each end of the sides. I'm using a Japanese pull saw in this picture. These saws leave a smooth cut and are a joy to use. I'm using a straight block as a guide so my cut line does not wander.

This is the jig used to shape the mahogany tailblock where it will be glued to the tail end of the guitar, holding the two side pieces together at that end. This jig is used with the disc sander, also shown. The bottom part of the jig is shaped like the tail end of the guitar I'm making, so the tail block will be sanded to the same shape. The easiest thing to do would be to make a guitar shape that was flat at the tail block and heel block (where the neck attaches), but that typically doesn't result in a nice curvy guitar shape, so this is worth the effort.

Now I'm sanding the insides of the guitar sides (or ribs as some people call them). In particular I'm concentrating on the parts where the heel and tail blocks will be glues. But in general, it's a good idea to sand the whole inside nice and smooth so that it looks like nice when people take a peep in the soundhole. That sentence would be funnier with a typo.

Harry is demonstrating to us how to glue the tailblock to the ribs. Several clamps and clamping cauls are necessary to get even pressure while it glues. Since the outside surface we're clamping is curved, we use a special adjustable curved clamping caul. It's basically just a piece of MDF with slots cut into it so it's flexible. Another important thing to remember is to use wax paper so that the clamping cauls don't get accidentally glued to the guitar, or the guitar glued to the form.

Now I'm beginning to route the channel where the decorative rosette will be inlaid into the sitka spruce top. This is a laminate trimmer with a special circle cutting base that Harry made. It has a 1/4" pin that spins on a 1/4" hole I've drilled in the spruce top. I'll make several passes to get it to the full width.

Here is the rosette, and the channel is almost to the right width for it after I've made several passes with the trimmer.

So that's Day 3. If this sort of thing interests you and you can set aside the time and money to do a hands-on class, I highly recommend doing it. You can do lots of research in guitar making books and internet forums and websites, but there is no substitution for being right there in the shop with a master. It's like the difference between shooting a bullet and throwing it.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?