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Author Topic: Daring to build my own guitar  (Read 23265 times)
tadol
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« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2011, 03:25:42 PM »

OK - I took a big step towards starting this project myself - found a guy who was selling off a deceased luthiers wood (long story) who sold me 6 sets of EIR and spruce, all cut over 40 years ago. One set may be Braz, but its probably old growth EIR. All very straight grain, quartersawn, and the whole lot was only 200 bucks!

As I looked it over in the shop yesterday, I'm starting to think its too nice - maybe I should just buy a kit and save this all until I have a lot more experience -

Hmm - ok, maybe I didn't take a big step forward -

 
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Bunch of Larrivees - all good -
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kwakatak
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« Reply #21 on: April 09, 2011, 08:13:15 PM »

Way to go, tadol. My friend whose shop and materials I'm using stumbled into a similar deal. He strongly suggested I start with mahogany over EIR because it's supposed to be easier to work with. My next attempt at making a guitar will be with EIR.

As for what to do first, go with the scratch build. That way you can get a feel for working with the wood and dream up what you want to do with regards to the decorative elements. Buy the mold and templates if you must - if only to keep the ball rolling - but I'd only buy that kind of stuff if you intend to use them several times. Otherwise, the only real big investment in building them yourself is time; the materials are pretty cheap.
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Neil

2009 Martin D-16GT

2006 Larrivée OM-03R

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« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2011, 09:01:10 AM »

I've been thinking of building here lately. This thread is nudging me more towards it. I don't think I could build from scratch. But a kit might be a great first project. I'll keep watching this thread, maybe it'll inspire me to take the plunge. Thanks for the pics. They really help to see what some one would be getting into. 
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GA-ME
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« Reply #23 on: April 14, 2011, 11:20:02 AM »

Otherwise, the only real big investment in building them yourself is time; the materials are pretty cheap.

I'd qualify this statement a bit. You will be able to buy a brand new 03 for less money then it takes you to build a guitar unless you have most of the hand tools in advance and friends who can loan you things like nut files, fretting equipment, and a multitude of other little things.
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GA-ME
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« Reply #24 on: April 14, 2011, 11:24:45 AM »

OK - I took a big step towards starting this project myself - found a guy who was selling off a deceased luthiers wood (long story) who sold me 6 sets of EIR and spruce, all cut over 40 years ago. One set may be Braz, but its probably old growth EIR. All very straight grain, quartersawn, and the whole lot was only 200 bucks!

That was a pretty sweet score!
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kwakatak
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« Reply #25 on: April 14, 2011, 07:56:19 PM »

I'd qualify this statement a bit. You will be able to buy a brand new 03 for less money then it takes you to build a guitar unless you have most of the hand tools in advance and friends who can loan you things like nut files, fretting equipment, and a multitude of other little things.

Here's a further qualification: get active in the online luthier community and you'd be surprised at how generous they can be. There are also a few who take on students and offer classes where you can build your guitar in a week or so.

As for materials, yeah a set of Honduran mahogany comes in at under $80 USD. That rift sawn board of Honduran cost me $10 at a local lumber yard. I've seen AAA Spruce tops at Rockler for about $70 and $2 pen blanks that were just big enough to make pyramid bridges (though they were too small for a Martin-style belly bridge.)
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Neil

2009 Martin D-16GT

2006 Larrivée OM-03R

1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster, Ash Body, Natural finish

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« Reply #26 on: August 07, 2011, 06:49:19 PM »

Sorry to bump an old thread but I wanted to put in some progress/regress that's happened over the past four months:

Second set of mahogany sides with birch plywood tail block and pre-mortised mahogany neck block with birch plywood extension


Gluing in the neck block assembly showed an inconsistency in my homemade mold that required shims


The kerfing is now in for both the top and back rims though they haven't been radiused yet.
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Neil

2009 Martin D-16GT

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1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster, Ash Body, Natural finish

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1973 Takamine F-360 ("Martin Lawsuit" all-laminate D-28 clone)
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« Reply #27 on: September 22, 2011, 03:29:24 AM »

I started the second attempt at bracing the other night.

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Neil

2009 Martin D-16GT

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1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster, Ash Body, Natural finish

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1973 Takamine F-360 ("Martin Lawsuit" all-laminate D-28 clone)
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« Reply #28 on: December 09, 2011, 02:47:22 AM »

I don't come here much but I figure I should bring things up to date:

9/25/2011: glued in the X brace:



10/16/2011: finished gluing in the rest of the bracing and osage orange bridge plate. THe lower face braces were inlet to the bass-side X brace:





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Neil

2009 Martin D-16GT

2006 Larrivée OM-03R

1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster, Ash Body, Natural finish

1989 Kramer 610

1973 Takamine F-360 ("Martin Lawsuit" all-laminate D-28 clone)
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« Reply #29 on: December 09, 2011, 02:50:18 AM »

Moving on to the back:

10/23/2011: sand the 20' radius to the ladder braces:



Next, using a template mark where each brace goes and with a Japanese saw and a 1/4" chisel remove a specific section of the centerline graft.



Glue them in with go-bars just like with the top. Note that the waist brace had to be supported. That's because I removed a little too much from the center strip so the brace had a little "wiggle room."



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Neil

2009 Martin D-16GT

2006 Larrivée OM-03R

1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster, Ash Body, Natural finish

1989 Kramer 610

1973 Takamine F-360 ("Martin Lawsuit" all-laminate D-28 clone)
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« Reply #30 on: December 09, 2011, 03:00:10 AM »

10/27/2011: the RH stabilized in my basement workshop so I took my materials home from my friend's humidity-controlled shop and did a little work:

I'd made my own gobar deck and used it to install the sound hole grafts:



10/29/2011: started chiseling the top braces:



10/30/2011: It was recommended to me to butt the ends of the upper transverse brace against the sides instead of tapering the ends and inletting them through the kerfing. I measured and cut incorrectly:



11/3/2011: after much musing I fashioned a work-around: side braces with a shim to mortise into the gaps:



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Neil

2009 Martin D-16GT

2006 Larrivée OM-03R

1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster, Ash Body, Natural finish

1989 Kramer 610

1973 Takamine F-360 ("Martin Lawsuit" all-laminate D-28 clone)
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« Reply #31 on: December 09, 2011, 03:03:32 AM »

11/3/2011: chiseling the back bracing. This was LOTS of fun! The impulse purchase of a 3" block plane made short work of it:





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Neil

2009 Martin D-16GT

2006 Larrivée OM-03R

1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster, Ash Body, Natural finish

1989 Kramer 610

1973 Takamine F-360 ("Martin Lawsuit" all-laminate D-28 clone)
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« Reply #32 on: December 09, 2011, 03:06:09 AM »

11/5/2011: scalloping the top braces and voicing the top. This pic is from the middle of the pricess. I'd since whittled down the finger braces and sound hole grafts:



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Neil

2009 Martin D-16GT

2006 Larrivée OM-03R

1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster, Ash Body, Natural finish

1989 Kramer 610

1973 Takamine F-360 ("Martin Lawsuit" all-laminate D-28 clone)
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« Reply #33 on: December 09, 2011, 03:14:31 AM »

11/14/2011:

Two weeks (and then some) of hard work trying to line up the plates and notch the kerfing first with a 1/4" chisel then with a Dremel 300. It was ugly work but I was careful. I'd done a lot of work on the top rim but shifted focus to the back rim so that I could glue the back on first. Humidity was starting to have an affect on the back plate which was losing its radius. I had to employ a couple of bungies to get the plate to sit right:





Here's a good view of the notches in the kerfing and sides:



11/23/2011:

Dry fits in the go-bar deck. Note the cauls. I'd come to hate them later:



That night I took it back over to my friend's shop so that it could sit for a day after glue-up with no worries of shifts in humidity:



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Neil

2009 Martin D-16GT

2006 Larrivée OM-03R

1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster, Ash Body, Natural finish

1989 Kramer 610

1973 Takamine F-360 ("Martin Lawsuit" all-laminate D-28 clone)
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« Reply #34 on: December 09, 2011, 03:18:30 AM »

11/26/2011: It's a boat!

As has been customary it took me a few days to get back there where I took it out of the go bar deck and mold and trimmed the excess of the back plate with a router. I brought it back home:





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Neil

2009 Martin D-16GT

2006 Larrivée OM-03R

1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster, Ash Body, Natural finish

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1973 Takamine F-360 ("Martin Lawsuit" all-laminate D-28 clone)
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« Reply #35 on: December 09, 2011, 03:22:18 AM »

12/1/2011: closing the box:

Checking the neck block angle:



Applying the Titebond to the kerfing:



Gobars under tension:

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Neil

2009 Martin D-16GT

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1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster, Ash Body, Natural finish

1989 Kramer 610

1973 Takamine F-360 ("Martin Lawsuit" all-laminate D-28 clone)
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« Reply #36 on: December 09, 2011, 03:22:48 AM »

Looking Good!  

Keep em coming.
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Steve ....aka the SMan
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« Reply #37 on: December 09, 2011, 03:25:15 AM »

My favorite kind of Posts - luv it!!!!!!!!!!!!! Looking forward to more updates.
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« Reply #38 on: December 09, 2011, 03:25:58 AM »

12/2/2011: ANOTHER setback:

Something didn't go right and my top chipped at the point where the end of the upper transverse brace ended:



In fact, a good portion of the rim didn't bond:



The break was clean enough though (at that point ) :



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Neil

2009 Martin D-16GT

2006 Larrivée OM-03R

1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster, Ash Body, Natural finish

1989 Kramer 610

1973 Takamine F-360 ("Martin Lawsuit" all-laminate D-28 clone)
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« Reply #39 on: December 09, 2011, 04:48:17 AM »

12/4/2011: From bad to worse:

I tried to glue the broken piece back on to the rim but it set in motion an unfortunate series of events that forced me to apply gobars, several of which failed and did some damage and it compromised the integrity of the glue joint. Since the box was mostly closed I took it out of the mold and tried to use clamps instead but by that time the new Titebond had already passed its setting time, making this attempt not only a failure but also leaving a scar in the top. Now I know why Jean Larrivee doesn't like to work with Western Red Cedar:





Also seemingly unfortunate (yet strangely not) was that when the gobars let loose one shot into the soundhole and speared the waist brace:



Meanwhile, I had a hunch that something was keeping the plate from coming in full contact with the rim at that point. I thought it might be those side braces that mortise into the upper transverse brace. Looking at that was problematic now that the box was closed but with a strategically-placed desk lamp and a droid phone that both conveniently fits inside the soundhole and has a screen that I could use to get the right shot:



One thing that I can't depict is how I could tell something was physically blocking the glue joint. When I pushed down at that point I could hear something creak. A puzzling sounds but not the kiss of death that a "crack" would be. Meanwhile, I managed to thread a piece of sandpaper in the remaining gaps in an attempt to clear out some unbonded Titebond.

Which brings us up to date. As of 12/6/2011 I took it back to my friend's workshop. He chided me for trying to fix the break - which BTW would mostly be trimmed off once it comes time to rout for the binding - the "scar" will only be about 1/8" from the binding/purfling. When I told him about my hunch with the side brace, he went in with a pair of pliers and tried to pull it out like a mad dentist. Lucky for me - and my sides - that brace is glued in quite well. In the end he pulled the broken piece completely off - to be glued back on later - and I just wicked some Titebond in the gaps. Then I clamped the area down with about a dozen cam clamps and that's where we sit even now. Hopefully it glued up this time. Then we can move on to getting that little hunk glued back on and trim off the excess around the plate so that I can move on to truing up the sides.
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Neil

2009 Martin D-16GT

2006 Larrivée OM-03R

1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster, Ash Body, Natural finish

1989 Kramer 610

1973 Takamine F-360 ("Martin Lawsuit" all-laminate D-28 clone)
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