Saturday, December 25, 2004


Parlor guitar - Redwood top and braces

So this morning I picked out a nice redwood top for the parlor guitar, joined the edges, and cut it to shape. I also sawed off some pieces at the end as they will be used for the back graft that strengthens the center seam on the back.

I also took a sitka spruce billet that was about 1" x 4" and resawed it into 5/16" wide pieces which will be used for bracing.

I used my $87 Ryobi bandsaw to do this. It was a pain in the butt to set it up. All of the bolts with philips heads on them were loctited in there so tight that I had to destroy the bolts to remove them. I had to use a dremel cutting wheel to cut a slot in them so I could turn them loose with a regular screw driver. I tossed the blade that came with it and replaced it with a decent Olson blade. Mark Duginske's Band Saw Handbook is a must if you own a bandsaw, even a piece of work like this one. I followed his instructions and got this saw adjusted and tuned the best that I could. It really doesn't do a terrible job, at least not for $87.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to post the pics of the cocobolo back after it was joined, and I also snapped a pic of the sides.

Friday, December 24, 2004


More Christmas Eve fun

Two posts in one day, this is crazy.

So after I got the cocobolo back joined, I decided to start on the neck. I had started the neck joint last year in November, before I even took the class. That's November 2003, I'm sorta slow.

I cut the joint by hand with a Japanese handsaw. I didn't have a tremendous amount of experience when I made the 15deg cut through the neck blank, so the cut wandered quite a bit. This is obvious in the photo, though at this point I had already started planing it flat with my smoother plane.

When I drew the initial line to make the cut, I hadn't planned on cutting so badly, so I did not leave near enough room on the headstock end. There is enough room for the headstock now, but just barely. So in this picture you can see where I've clamped the headstock to the neck blank so I can plane the whole surface smooth. They have to be at exactly the right angle so that the surfaces line up correctly in the next photo.

Fast-forward 13 months to today and now I've drilled alignment holes with toothpicks as the alignment pins, and everything's glued and clamped together, just like I learned to do in class. And I even remembered to use waxed paper so I didn't glue the clamps or the cauls to the neck blank.


Beginning of a cocobolo parlor guitar

So, as is typical for me, I'm starting the next guitar before I finish the last one. Actually, the humidity is especially low these days in my house, so I need wait to apply a finish to it, so that's my excuse. I'll think of a new one when it warms up and I'm not running the heat constantly.

So the next one is going to be a parlor guitar based on Martin's 0-size. I haven't worked out all the details, but I'm planning on cocobolo back and sides, and probably a redwood top. I bought this set of cocobolo at Allied Lutherie when I was in California taking the guitar making class at Harry Fleishman's shop. It's beautiful, but only big enough for a parlor guitar, so I got a good price. I'm leaning towards doing ebony binding, though that step is a long way off.

Here's the back set:

This afternoon I joined the bookmatched halves together. I used original Titebond, and Stewmac masking tape to clamp the two halves together. If you're a new builder, go ahead and order a case of the Stewmac tape, this stuff is great and there's a million uses for it. Note the waxed paper so I don't glue the thing to the workbench.

So that's what I'm working on this Christmas Eve. Next step will be thicknessing and bending the sides. I don't have an abrasive thickness planer, so I'll be using a Saf-T-planer in my drill press, and I got a new drill press table from Rockler, so I'll post some pics of that when I get that all set up. I need to wait till the humidity gets under control in my house before I start bracing the top and back.

I'm sorry I've been lax about getting the rest of the pics up from the guitar making class, they will eventually get posted.

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