Tuesday, November 29, 2005


New Top for Cocobolo Parlor, and Neck Stuff

This is a neck I started about 2-1/2 years ago, back before I had even taken the Fleishman class. I cut the scarf joint with a Japanese hand saw and cleaned it up with a plane. Here I'm touching up the face of the headstock with a hand plane so that everything's squared up.

Here's the stacked heel getting glued up.


New Buildoff Top

Monday, November 28, 2005


Excuse me, I seem to have misplaced my soundhole

The top on the left was to be for the cocobolo guitar, the one on the right was to be for the rosewood buildoff guitar. Somehow I mislocated the soundhole on both of them, almost an inch too high. I have no idea how that happened, it was months ago when I did that. I think I must have accidentally picked up the wrong blueprint and took the measurement off of it without double checking which plan I was holding. Anyway, I guess these will get to be on other smaller guitars, and I get to make some new tops. And it was all going so well.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


It's Back

Lotsa pics on this one, I apologize if you're on dial-up.

I made quite a bit of progress on the back today. Here's how it went.

Now I'm starting to shape the braces on the back. I rough out most of it with a chisel, "rough" being the operative word. Then I finish up with a curved sanding block to smooth out the curve.

Then I use this small plane to profile the sides of the brace like so. I also finish that up with a bit of sandpaper to smooth everything out.

Rinse and repeat...

Then I place the back on the side assembly, it won't rest all the way down because the braces are still too long. Then I had my helper monkey take a small stubby pencil to get the outline of the guitar onto the back.

I took it to the bandsaw and cut almost up to that outline I had drawn. It's hard to attach the back to the sides if there's too much overhang, it rips the tape.

The braces won't come out to the edge of the sides, they'll stop just short of the lining on the inside. So I chisel and sand away at the brace so it stops just shy of where the lining will be.

So here's the back ready to go.

I use masking tape from Stew-Mac to clamp it to the sides.

After the glue had dried and I removed the tape, I noticed that the neckblock hadn't been firmly glued against the surface of the back. So I worked some glue into the gap with a piece of posterboard, and then clamped it like so.

So here's the back all braced up and attached.

If you'll remember a few posts back, I had made some center joint reinforcement strips to go down the center seam of the back. I decided not to do it. It's really only necessary for guitars that have a centerstrip inlaid in the back that weakens the joint. I kind of like the clean minimalist look, too.

Friday, November 25, 2005


Back Bracing

Got the back braces glued in this evening, the one on the upper bout is still in the gobar deck. Tomorrow I hope to taper and shape the braces and then I'll glue the back onto the side assembly.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Misc Thanksgiving Day Activities

I finished profile sanding the top of the side assembly on the buildoff guitar.

I cut some PVC for the gobar deck. Now it's pretty solid and seems to work like a charm so far. It's so much more stable than without the PVC.

Here I'm beveling the ends of the tail block so that it's the same width as the linings. I had originally started doing this by hand with various rasps and a file and it was taking forever. Then I spotted this little belt sander sitting on my shelf and gave it a shot. It makes quick work of it, but it's pretty easy to wreck it. I'll still finish off with a sanding block, but this removes material in a jiffy.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Buildoff Back Linings

Saturday, November 12, 2005


Go Bar Go!

With the linings all glued in, I sanded the cylindrical profile into the top and the spherical profile into the back. Here's the spherical back linings.

On to bracing the back. This is my new gobar deck that I made this afternoon. The deck is just four pieces of 3/8" all-thread and two pieces of 24"x24"x3/4" plywood. For the gobars, I bought 48" fiberglass rods from Into The Wind, a kite making supply company, cut them in half and put rubber tips on the end. The general idea is that you flex the gobars and wedge them between whatever you're gluing and the top of the gobar deck.

I set up a dry run using six gobars to clamp this back brace to the back. I set the timer on my camera, and with three seconds left to go the brace tipped over and sent go bars flying everywhere. Eye protection's really important with this sort of stuff. Luckily, I was standing back behind the camera.


Back That Thing Up

Here's the last piece of lining to be glued into this one. I just barely had enough. If one section of this little piece had been missing, it wouldn't have been long enough. I had bought basswood linings like this, and another set of mahogany linings for the buildoff guitar. But I accidentally started lining the buildoff guitar with basswood also, which I didn't realize until after I had already glued a few pieces in... I was going to order more from Stew Mac, but I had to cancel my credit card two weeks ago because of fraudulent activity on my account, and the new one hasn't arrived yet. Apparently, "three or four business days" is longer than two weeks. Anywho...

The linings aren't perfect, I didn't always get them well aligned since I was gluing in several pieces on each side. But it's much better than it was before and I'm real happy I went through the trouble of redoing it.

So after I get these linings profiled with the sanding dish, the next step will be getting the back bracing glued to the back, and then gluing the back to the sides.

I use the radius dish to sand the curved profile into the spruce bracing, which will hold the back into a more-or-less spherical shape once it's glued up to the sides (which you may remember, will be sanded with this same dish).

Here's how these will be laid out on the back.

These pieces are going to be the center strip on the back running between the braces. These are trimmed from the ends of the spruce plates I used to make the top. You can see my little sanding block I made for profiling these. One side has 80 grit sandpaper glued to it and the other side has 120 grit.

Monday, November 07, 2005


Lining success

I finally figured out a method that works well for me for gluing in the linings. I install about 4" at a time. This gives me much better control over the glue spread, and allows me to pay more careful attention to getting a tight glue joint all around. So far I'm satisified with the results, and glad I went through the trouble to redo it.


Buildoff - profiling top

Saturday, November 05, 2005


Unlining Again

I think it's funny that all the stuff I thought was going to be hard wasn't that difficult, and the stuff I thought would be a snap (like clamping and gluing things) turns into a major source of frustration.

If you go a couple posts back, you'll see where I figured out a decent method for removing the linings since I wanted to redo them. Honestly, the guitar probably would have held together fine, but it would have bugged me every time I looked in the soundhole. Also, the way I figure it, if I have to redo it four times on this first guitar, that's better than not really figuring it out until the fourth guitar.

So I had removed those linings, and glued another set of linings in... Only to have the same problem with gaps. And also my linings got all dented up because I clamped things harder this time, used extra windings on the rubber bands on the clothes pins, used a spring clamp at the waist, etc... So last night I grabbed the heat gun and removed all the linings I had installed.

So tonight I decided to switch to the more traditional non-reversed linings which should be a bit more forgiving. I glued in one side and thought everything was going swimmingly. After I took the clothes pins off, more gaps. Uggh.

On the positive side, while I'm very slowly learning how to build guitars, I'm quickly becoming quite the expert in unbuilding them.

So I got out the heat gun again and started over. This time, I cut the lining into about 4" sections. I think this will be much easier as I don't have to bend one long lining into the profile shape. And at least now there's less to undo when I screw it up.


Buildoff - Profiling Sides for Back

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