Aug. 2016 Phoenix Guitar Co. Guitarmaking class

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Before the class starts, I’m doing some prep work.  First, I’ll glue up a sandwich of mahogany, maple, and walnut veneers, to make neck blanks.  The sandwich starts with mahogany on the bottom, getting a layer of titebond.

 

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Now, the glue is spread, using an old gift card.  I keep a bunch of these for this purpose.

 

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After all the layers are glued and stacked, the sandwich is clamped, and left to dry.  We should get two necks from this stack.  We won’t be needing this for a couple of weeks.

 

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Jeff, one of the students in this class has chosen sides and back from a cocobolo log I had leaning against my wall.  Here, the board is being resawn.

 

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Here’s what the slabs look like—Not too bad….

 

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After some planing and sanding, Jeff is gluing up his back.  He’s come in during the prep work to help out and learn more about the process.

 

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Now Jeff has put the back halves together, and is using a plate joining jig.

 

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He taps in the wedges to tighten and clamp the back together and hold it down nice and level.

 

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While the back is drying, I’ve cut one of the sides to size, and am spraying it with some water, getting ready to bend it.

 

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After wrapping the side in parchment paper and aluminum foil, and put the heat blanket over it.  Spring steel layers are on the top and bottom of the stack.

 

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The whole stack is put into the bender.  Jeff will bend the non-cutaway side.

 

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Here’s the cutaway side, after bending, getting clamped into the mold by Jeff.

 

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This is actually the first day of the class.  Prep is done.  In this photo you see Vic.  He is a good friend of Jeff’s, and flew in from New Zealand to take the class.  That’s definitely the distance record for this class.  The previous record was New York last January.  Anyway, in this photo, Vic has bent one side, and is clamping it into the mold.

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While Vic is working on bending and clamping his side, Jeff is working on his rosette.  He has cut the circles using a laminate trimmer on a circle cutter, and is currently gluing in a piece of b-w-b purfling.

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Vic now cuts his rosette, using the laminate trimmer.

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Here are the two rosettes, all done.  They look great.  Jeff’s top is englemann spruce-on the left.  Vic’s top is cedar.  Both guitars will be Nylon String OM’s.  Jeff’s will be a cutaway, sides and back of cocobolo, and Vic’s a non-cutaway, sides and back of koa.

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Now, we’re ready to work on the backs.  Here, Vic is shown cutting off a piece of his top to use as a back strip.

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I’m giving a brief demo of sanding down the back strip to size, using an edge sander.

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After both guys prepare their back strips, they glue the strips over the center seam of the back, then, with tape protecting the back, they sand the strip to shape.

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Next, Jeff is sanding a 25′ radius onto his back braces, using the edge sander.

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After sanding the radius onto the braces, they are given a rough shape using the bandsaw.

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Here are both guys cutting the back strips to allow for gluing in the back braces, and placing the braces into position.

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The back braces get glued and clamped into position using a go-bar deck.

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Here are both backs, braces all glued up, and glue cleaned up.  This is the end of day one.

 

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At the start of day two, the guys cut the overhanging sides from the molds, and clamp the molds together.

 

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Then, they start to glue in the endblocks and headblocks.

 

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Here is Jeff’s cutaway,

 

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and Vic’s non-cutaway, with endblocks and headblocks all glued and clamped in–and glue squeezeout cleaned up.

 

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Now, with the endblocks and headblocks gluing, we go back to the tops, and start to glue in the top braces.  We start with the upper and lower face braces (on either side of the sound hole), along with the bridge plate.

 

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While the upper and lower face braces and the bridge plate are drying, the fan braces are prepared by using a dremel tool to route out the thickness of the bridge plate, so the braces will fit properly into position.

 

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Here is one of the braces, being fit over the bridge plate to test the cut.

 

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Once all the fan braces are fit, they are glued down, using the go-bar deck.

 

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While the braces are gluing, the guys start fitting their sides to the mold.  First, the clamps are removed, a set of go-bars are used to push the sides firmly against the mold.  After the go-bars are in place, Jeff is using a hand plane to reduce the height of the guitar side over the mold.  These molds are designed to be exactly the final size of the sides.

 

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Once planing gets the sides close. a hollow mold board with a 25′ radius (coated with sandpaper) is used to sand the sides, endblock, and headblock to exact size.

 

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At this point, we start gluing on the kerf.  In this photo, you can also clearly see the go-bars used to hold the sides against the mold.  These will stay in place until the top and back are glued on.

This is the end of day 2.

 

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At the beginning of day 3, the guys start carving their top braces.  They are using curved sole planes and sandpaper to shape the rough braces.

 

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Here are the tops, braces all carved–looking very nice.

 

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Now, they start carving their back braces.  Here, they use a standard block plane to thin and shape the braces, a curved sole plane to carve the outer wings of the braces, and sandpaper to clean things up.

 

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And here are the back braces–also looking excellent.

 

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While they are carving, I cut the necks out of the blank I glued up during class prep.

 

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Before we can start fitting the top and back, the guys use the hollow mold forms to level down the kerf that was glued up yesterday.

 

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Here, Vic is shown with his back being fit onto the sides.  He is marking excatly where the braces will tie into the kerf.

 

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Here, Jeff is using a dremel tool to cut out the pockets in the kerf that the braces will fit into.

After fitting the back, we fit the top, getting ready to glue.

 

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Here is Vic’s back, being Glued,

 

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And here is Jeff, clamping up his back.

 

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After the backs have been left to dry for 1/2 hr or so, we take off the clamps, clean up any squeeze-out, and glue on the tops.

 

This is the end of day 3.

At the start of day 4, we take the bodies out of the molds, and prepare to route off the top and back overhangs. You can see the markings on the top that show the directions to run the router.

 

Here, Vic is routing the top flush with the sides (or as close as possible).

 

The same job is repeated by Jeff…

 

Here, Jeff is routing his end graft.

 

Now for some sanding. You can see Jeff’s completed end graft.

 

Vic is gluing purfling onto the edge of his binding. We don’t typically do this in class, but these guys wanted to see how it’s done.

 

 

At this point, we spray a layer of shellac onto both guitars. The next step is messy, and the shellac helps protect the wood from dirt and glue.

 

Vic is cutting his purfling slot

 

And to end the day, Jeff cuts his purfling slots.

This is  the end of day 4.

 

At the start of day 5, we finish cutting binding slots.

 

 

The guys have decided to miter their purflings between the bindings and the end graft. This step is very time consuming, and I typically charge more to do this in a class…

 

Here they are, starting to work on their bindings.

 

Vic is taping his bindings as he works around the top of his guitar.

 

While the guys are working on their bindings, I start preparing fingerboards. Vic has brought a board of Pohutukawa from back home in New Zealand to use as his fingerboard (it looks a lot like cherry). It’s quite hard, so it should work ok…

This is the end of day 5.

 

As day 6 begins, Jeff is sanding and scraping bindings, purflings and glue.

 

Vic is doing the same…

 

In the meantime, I’m starting to prepare the necks. First is to route the truss rod slots.

 

Next, the neck is clamped into a jig that holds the headstock at the proper angle while it is put through the jointer. Thanks to Tom Ribbecke for this idea.

 

Here’s the neck, being put through the jointer to joint the proper angle onto the headstock.

 

Now, I use a jig to cut most of the excess off the neck blank, to make carving a little easier.

Day six ends with necks being about ready to carve, and the bodies being nearly done with sanding.

 

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Day 7 begins with getting the final touches on sanding the bodies clean–some by hand,

 

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and some with a random orbital sander with 220 grit paper.

 

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In the meantime, we get the “ears” glued onto the headstocks–since the nylon string headstock is slightly wider than the neck stock that was glued together.

 

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Next, I’ll use a router and cut the mortises into the bodies, and the tennons into the necks.

 

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After putting a hangar bolt into the neck tenon, and drilling a hole into the body mortise, we initially get the necks put onto the bodies, and start checking for the fit.  We’ll spend the next couple of hours pre-fitting the necks.  It’s a lot easier to do it now than it is after the fingerboard is glued on…

 

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Next, we start preparing the fingerboards.  Here, Jeff is trimming down  his fingerboard, getting ready to route it to shape.

 

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Here, Jeff has the fingerboard template, held to the fingerboard with a vacuum, and is trimming the fingerboard to the proper size.

 

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Vic now repeats the process with his fingerboard.

 

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Finally, Here is Jeff, using a jig to help him glue on his fingerboard binding.  We also put on t a thin layer of maple purfling.  He’s cleaning glue out of the fret slots.

This is the end of day 7.

 

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At the beginning of day 8, Vic is shaping his heel, using the belt sander.

 

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Jeff is pulling sandpaper along the shoulders of the neck, where it touches the body, to adjust the neck angle.  Jeff is adjusting his neck side to side in this photo.

 

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After a few pulls of the sandpaper (like about 25), Jeff uses a homemade jig to measure his neck angle.

 

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Vic has placed his fingerboard onto his neck to check his vertical angle, against the bridge

 

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Once we’re happy with the initial neck set, we get ready to glue on the fingerboard.  First, we glue in the carbon fiber rods…one on each side of the truss rod.  These get epoxied into the neck slots.  The green tape is to keep the glue only in the slots, and keep the surface clean.

 

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While the epoxy is  drying, the guys start cutting their  inlays.  T’hey’ll finish up the inlay step tomorrow.

 

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At the end of the day, both guys get  their fingerboards glued on.  Here, you see Vic’s fingerboard.

This is the end of day 8.

 

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At the beginning of day 9, we glue on the headstock laminates.

 

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After about  45 minutes, while the guys are working on their inlays, I take the necks and start trimming close to the fingerboards, and get ready to route the necks down to the shape of the fingerboard.

 

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Here, I’m triming the headstock on the router.  There is a headstock template, screwed to the headstock.

 

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Next, the guys use the router to trim the neck to the fingerboard.  Vic goes first…

 

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Followed by Jeff.

 

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Now, I sand the headstocks to thickness, using a belt sander.

 

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Next, here is Vic, drilling the tuning machine holes into the sides of the headstock.

 

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Once the tuning machine  holes are in, we drill multiple holes in the headstock,  where the slots will be routed.

 

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Now, the slots are being routed.

 

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Here, Jeff is finishing up cutting his inlay into his headstock, using a Dremel tool.

 

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All done, Jeff sands the inlay level.

This ends day 9.

 

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At the beginning of day 10, Vic begins carving his neck.

 

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Jeff is putting in his side dots.

 

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Next, he starts working on carving his neck.

 

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Vic uses a long sanding block to finish shaping the neck, to keep it straight.

 

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After the main shaft of the neck is done, Vic begins shaping the heel.

 

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Jeff is also shaping his heel.

 

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Next, both guys get the neck re-fit to the body, now that the fingerboard is on,  Not a lot of re-fitting, but necessary anyway.

 

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The slots in the headstock are now carved using a large rattail file.

 

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Getting ready to apply grain filler, those parts of the neck that don’t get filled, get taped off.

 

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Finally, the last thing of the day, grain filler is applied.  We put on 3 coats.

This is the end of day 10.

 

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At the beginning of day 11, we fit the necks, and put tape under where the bridge and the fingerboard will be.

 

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The rest of  the day (a very long day), we are spraying.

 

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We spray 5 coats on the sides and back, then turn the guitar over, and spray 4 coats on the sides and top (also about 12-13 thin coats on the neck).

This is the end of day 11.

 

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At the beginning of day 12, we start out by sanding everything level.  We use Abranet (400 grit) and dry sand the whole guitar.  We also dry sand the neck with 400 grit.

 

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Both Vic and Jeff use random orbital sanders to sand the bodies.  The neck is done by hand.

 

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Then, it’s back to spraying…the same amount  once again.  This gives us between .003 and .004 finish thickness on the tops, and a little more on the sides and backs.  We are using EM-6000 water base lacquer.  Since these are both nylon string guitars, we want a thin finish on our tops.

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While waiting between coats, the guys prepare their bridges.  They were pre-made–but they glued ebony pieces on the front and  back of the tie blocks.

This is the end of day 12.

 

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We start day 13 with final sanding.  This time we start with 600 grit.

 

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Then we move to 1000 grit…

 

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Then 2000 grit, followed by 4000 grit.

 

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Now the necks…

 

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After sanding to 4000 grit,I give a brief demo of buffing.  Buffing is pretty quick after sanding to 4000….

 

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Then the guys try their hand at it.

 

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After buffing, we peel the tape off where the fingerboard will be glued to the neck.  Then scribe around the fingerboard, and use a chisel to remove the lacquer to the edge of the fingerboard.

 

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Time to glue and bolt on the neck…

 

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While the neck is drying, we peel the tape from under the bridge, scribe around  the bridge position, and use a chisel to peel away lacquer to the edge of the bridge.

 

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Once the bridge area is cleared, it’s been long enough–so we remove the fingerboard clamps, and glue and clamp down the bridge.  This is Vic’s guitar.

 

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And this is Jeff’s guitar.

This is  the end of day 13.

 

 

 

 

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Archtop guitar making class starting 1-9-16

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First, before the class started, I prepared a few things.

I got a nice sitka spruce wedge, and jointed the edges before gluing:

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Then, here is the top, all glued up, being clamped with a couple of bags of lead shot holding things down:

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Next, I got the sides sanded to thickness:

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Then, I took one side (the student will bend the other side in class), and wetted it to prepare it for the bender:

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Here is the side in the bender, clamping down the upper bout:

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After bending, I’m getting the side clamped into the mold:

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Lastly, I’m bandsawing the neck blank.

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That’s about it—now I’m ready for the class to start.

OK–Day one, first thing will be to prepare the cutaway side to be bent.  We start by thinning the side up by the cutaway by about .020″.  We will take a piece of veneer, and glue it to the thinned section.

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Here is the side, glued up and clamped:

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Now we trace lines on the top that show where we will route material away, to prepare for carving the top:

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Here, the overhead router is being set up for a cut.  You can see that one cut has been made, and the next cut is being prepared:

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After all the levels have been cut, I have started carving the top, using an angle grinder.  I learned this method from Tom Ribbecke.  After a demo of how to do it, my student, Nick, takes a hand at it.

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Next, Nick uses a small curved sole plane to clean up some areas:

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After some sanding, the top part is getting pretty close.  Next, we start using the drill press to drill out the underside of the top:

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Finally, Nick uses the angle grinder again, to hog away material on the underside of the top:

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End of day 1.

At the start of Day 2, Nick is using a random orbital sander to remove tooling marks from the surface of the underside of the top:

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While he finishes this, I finish shaping the headblock and the end block.  Shown below is the end block:

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After the top looks pretty good, we use the overhead pin router to cut the f-holes:

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After the f-holes are cut, Nick uses some homemade sanding blocks and files to smooth the edges:

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Once the top is ready, Nick uses a compass to mark the profile of the top onto one of the x-braces:

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Here, Nick is using the bandsaw to cut the brace near the line marked above:

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Next, he sands the saw marks from the brace:

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Now, Nick is using a piece of sandpaper to sand the bottom of the brace while holding it in its position on the top to create a good fit:

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Before we end the day, we glue the sides together by gluing and clamping on the end block and headblock.

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End of day 2.

At the start of day 3, the other “X” brace is marked, cut, sanded, and shaped until it fits properly.  Then, Nick begins to cut the notches in the “X” using a thin kerf saw.

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Once the “X” fits properly, the braces are glued to the top using cam clamps

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While the glue is drying on the braces, Nick begins to profile the sides.  First, we remove all the spring clamps that hold the sides against the mold, and insert a set of go-bars to hold the sides firmly against the mold.  Then, Nick uses a hand plane to cut the sides down close to the proper size:

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Next, Nick uses a flat sanding board to bring the sides evenly down to their proper size:

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Here is a photo of the sides–all profiled, ready for kerf:

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We step away from the sides for a while, and get the top braces carved:

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Here is the top, with the braces carved, and ready to glue to the sides.  We’ve measured the thickness of the top, and it is very uniform.  We will mainly need to add a little recurve after the body is glued together:

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Nick has glued on the kerf, and here he is again using a hand plane to plane down the highest parts.  After this, he uses the flat sanding board to get the kerf level with the sides:

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Here, we are gluing on the top:

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End of day 3.

At the start of day 4, Nick brushes a washcoat of shellac onto the underside of the top.  This is commonly done on carved archtops:

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Now it’s time to get the back ready.  It has been pressed to shape in advance, and Nick is scraping uneven edges and glue:

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Here is the back, scraped and ready.

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Nick is cutting the back to within about 3/8″ from the outline of the sides:

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Here is the back, glued and clamped:

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This is starting to look like a guitar….

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Here, Nick is using a flush cut router to trim the overhanging edges:

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Now, Nick sands the top, where some scratches remain after carving.  We want the top edge to be smooth before cutting the binding and purling slots:

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Here, Nick is cutting the slots for the binding and purling;

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Finally, we get the binding and purling glued on:

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End of day 4.

Day 5 begins with Nick scraping back the bindings and purflings, followed by sanding away glue marks.  Today will consist mainly of scraping and sanding:

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Next, he uses a sharp curved scraper, and starts to shape the recurve.

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Now, there’s a lot of sanding- repairing the marks from the scraper, and blending the new recurve shape into the top profile.  After creating the recurve, we could notice a significant difference in the tap tone of the top.

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While Nick has been sanding and scraping, I cut the fret slots into a fingerboard blank, and shaped the fingerboard on the router table.  We then glued a thin layer of maple onto the fingerboard edges- which will be a purfling layer.  Nick is using a thin kerf saw to cut the fret slots into the purling layer.

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Finally, we glue on the bindings- ebony in this case.  Nick is using a special tool to scrape any glue out of the fret slots.

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End of day 5.

As day 6 begins, it’s time to cut the dovetail into the body:

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Here’s a shot of the dovetail:

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Now, moving to the neck, I’m cutting the truss rod slot:

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After the truss rod slot is cut, the neck is put into a jig that will hold the neck at a 15 degree angle, allowing us to cut the proper headstock angle on the jointer:

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We’re about ready to shape the neck, but we need to trim down a little excess material.  Nick is using the bandsaw for this step:

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Next, the neck is clamped into the jig for routing the proper shape onto the neck blank:

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Nick is cutting the proper angle onto the neck, in preparation for cutting the neck dovetail:

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Here is the neck, clamped into the jig we use for cutting dovetails:

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Nick is now using a chisel to trim material from the flat surface around the dovetail:

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After doing a test neck fit, we find that we have to slightly change the neck angle.  Nick is pulling some sandpaper between the body and the shoulder of the neck to accomplish this:

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Once the initial neck fit looks good, we get the neck ready to glue on the fingerboard.  Here, I’m putting epoxy into the slots we cut for the carbon fiber rods.  The tape over the fingerboard is to keep the glue job clean:

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Here, I’m using a homemade jig to sand the radius onto the fingerboard:

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While I’m sanding the fingerboard radius, Nick is doing more sanding of the guitar body.

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Once the epoxy is dry gluing in the carbon fiber rods on the neck, we glue the “ears” onto the headstock:

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Once the headstock is dry, the channel for the fingerboard extension is cut, and the extension is glued on:

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in preparation for putting in the truss rod, Nick cuts a shim of maple veneer, and it is glued to the top of the truss rod:

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Finally, at the end of a long day, we get the fingerboard glued and clamped to the neck:

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End of day 6.

As we begin day 7, we will glue the headstock laminate onto the bare headstock.  First, Nick takes the laminate (a piece of ebony about 1/8″ thick), and sands a 15 degree angle onto the edge that will come in contact with the nut.

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Now, Nick is using a bandsaw to create a slot in the headstock laminate, that will fit around the truss rod:

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Here, Nick is filing the edges of the slot:

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After the headstock laminate is glued and clamped, Nick cleans glue squeeze out from the nut slot:

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Now, Nick starts to cut his inlay.  He has designed a logo, made a couple of copies, and has glued it onto a couple of pieces of mother-of-pearl and abalam.

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While he’s preparing the inlay, I’m getting the headstock ready.  First, screwing on the headstock template into two of the tuning machine locations:

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Next, bandsawing close to the template to get rid of excess material:

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Now, bandsawing excess material from around the fingerboard:

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It’s time to use the router table to trim the excess down to the template:

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After trimming the headstock and the excess around the neck to the fingerboard, here’s what the neck looks like:

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Now, we’re sanding the headstock to its proper thickness on the belt sander:

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Nick can now finish his inlay.  Since he has finished cutting out his logo, he can use a dremel tool to put it into the headstock:

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Here’s his finished inlay–looking pretty good.

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Lastly, before the end of the day, Nick starts to prepare for fitting the neck, by carving a thin “shoulder” (about 1/8″ wide) onto the edges of the fingerboard extension.  This will simplify the job of fitting the overhang to the top of the guitar by only having to fit the shoulder, instead of the entire width of the fingerboard.

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End of day 7.

Day 8 will be mainly devoted to getting the neck fit.  We start by putting the neck onto the body, and marking the profile of the top onto the fingerboard extension with a compass:

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Nick now uses a chisel to carve the fingerboard extension back to the new pencil line:

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Here, Nick uses a chisel to carve down the dovetail to drop the neck into the dovetail slot:

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He also uses a file (rasp) to carve the dovetail:

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After the neck is nearly in position, Nick pulls sandpaper between the body and the fingerboard extension to make an exact fit:

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I’m using the belt sander to remove some material toward the end of the fingerboard extension:

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Here’s what the final fit looks like on the fingerboard extension.  The dovetail fit is also nice and tight:

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We re-measure the neck angle (both side to side and vertically).  Everything is looking good.

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At this point, we start to carve the neck.  Nick is starting out with a microplane, hogging material away:

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After carving some material away, we start to focus on getting an area around the nut, and another around the 9th or 10th fret to fit exactly:

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Nick checks his work with a template:

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End of day 8.

Day 9 will be mainly devoted to carving the neck.  Nick starts out with a microplane, and moves to a coarse rasp, followed by a more fine rasp:

IMG_3437

To keep the neck straight and level, Nick is using a flat board with 80 grit sandpaper on it, to sand the whole length of the neck at once.  This not only sands it level, but it helps find high and low spots:

IMG_3438

Here, Nick is using a file to smooth out the transition from the fingerboard to the headstock:

IMG_3439

As we get ready to work on the heel, it needs to be cut down.  Nick is taking a little material off the heel before we glue on the heel cap and start carving:

IMG_3440

This is our jig to cut the heel to a pre-measured length, for gluing on the heel cap.  We want the heel cap to be glued down exactly at the edge of the binding.

IMG_3441

After gluing on the heel cap, we go over to the belt sander to hog off some material:

IMG_3443

Nick takes a pass at using the belt sander. It’s really easy to make a catastrophic mistake using a tool like this….

IMG_3446

Now, we start to carve the heel.  This is just about as hard as carving the rest of the neck:

IMG_3447

Once the heel is done, Nick puts in his side dots:

IMG_3449

Here’s the neck–a few tooling marks to still sand out, but it looks really good:

IMG_3453

Just before the end of the day, we have time to draw the curve of the top onto the bridge using a compass, bandsawing on the line, and sanding it down…the fit looks pretty good–we’ll get the bridge fit tomorrow:

IMG_3450

End of day 9.

As we start day 10, we continue working on the bridge.  Here, after drilling the holes for the bridge posts, we are using a tap to put the proper thread in the holes:

IMG_3460

Next, we screw the bridge posts into the holes:

IMG_3462

Now, using a Stew-Mac jig, we sand the bottom of the bridge against a piece of sandpaper taped to the top of the guitar:

IMG_3454

To prepare the top of the bridge, we have marked the fingerboard radius (16″ in our case) onto the ebony bridge piece, and sand the radius onto it:

IMG_3455

The compensation is then sanded into the top of the bridge:

IMG_3458

Next, the string slots are filed, using the same files we will use to file the nut:

IMG_3459

We now sand the “wings” onto the ends of the bridge.  This is to reduce weight and to add some styling to the bridge:

IMG_3464

Here is the bridge with its “wings”:

IMG_3465

So much for the creative part of the day.  It’s time to get ready to spray a finish, so,  sanding, sanding, sanding

IMG_3467

Sanding, sanding, sanding

IMG_3468

Sanding, sanding, sanding……

IMG_3469

End of day 10.

Day 11 begins with Nick mixing some medium blonde shellac.  While he’s doing this, i’m mixing some amber shellac.

IMG_3470

Nick is now taping off those areas of the neck that won’t get any finish or color.

IMG_3471

In the meantime, I’m taping off the body:

IMG_3472

After taping off everything necessary, I’m blowing up a balloon into each of the f-holes, to block finish from getting into the body:

IMG_3474

Time to spray.  First, we’re spraying a couple of coats of medium blonde shellac:

IMG_3475

Nick also sprays medium blonde shellac onto the body:

IMG_3476

Now, time for the color.  This is what I call a “natural sunburst”–just a sunburst of amber shellac around the edges of the body and neck–pretty subtle.  This is why the bindings and purflings were taped off:

IMG_3477

Here’s the neck:

IMG_3478

Now, removing all the tape over bindings and purflings:

IMG_3481

After checking the purflings, a little of the color has bled under the tape–this usually happens–so it gets scraped off with an x-acto knife.

IMG_3482

Next, we spray a couple of coats of the medium blonde over everything, and that ends day 11.

Day 12 begins–and we realize that we forgot to make a truss rod cover…Here, Nick has cut the cover out using a small piece of ebony, and is beveling the edges on the disc sander:

IMG_3484

Now, we start spraying clear lacquer (water base KTM-9):

IMG_3485

Nick will spray 5 coats on the sides and back, followed by 5 coats on the sides and top.  We end up spraying double the coats on the sides (and neck), because since the sides are vertical (and the neck has lots of different angles), we spray lighter coats on the sides and neck, and slightly heavier coats on the top and back:

IMG_3486

After spraying, we end our day a little early, and go to a SIMSCAL (Stringed Instrument Makers of Southern California) meeting.  On the agenda was discussing how to pick a good set of sitka spruce by flexing the wood and tapping:

IMG_1913

Also on the agenda was a talk from Chris Herrod from LMI.  Chris discussed the availability of numerous different kinds of woods–very interesting talk.

IMG_1914

End of day 12.

Day 13 is another day of sanding–trying to get the finish flat before we spray more coats:

IMG_3488

More sanding….

IMG_3489

Once the finish is nice and flat, we start putting on a few more coats.  We won’t get them all done tonight, but we get a couple done:

IMG_3490

Here’s the guitar back after one new coat…looking very good:

IMG_3491

End of day 13.

As we begin day 14, we continue spraying coats on the back and sides, followed by coats on the top and sides.  In the meantime, we’re going to work on the tailpiece as we’re waiting for coats to dry.  First, we roughly shape the tailpiece on a block of ebony about 1/4″ thick:

IMG_3493

Next, Nick uses a dremel tool to route away the section inside the white lines in the photo above:

IMG_3494

Here’s the tailpiece all routed out:

IMG_3495

Now we glue our tailpiece “skeleton” into the recessed area.  This piece is made of stainless steel, to easily handle the string tension, and allow us to ground the strings when we add electronics:

IMG_3496

Nick is cutting out the center section of the tailpiece to add some styling to the design:

IMG_3497

As we bring the day to an end, here’s a look at the top with all coats on:

IMG_3498

End of day 14.

As day 15 begins, we are spending the morning at the NAMM show in Anaheim. I ordered the case for Nick’s guitar from Cedar Creek, and the case has been brought to the NAMM show by TKL (the makers of Cedar Creek cases).

IMG_1916

Here are a few pretty interesting electric guitars….

IMG_1922

Anyway, time for some business…at the Martin Guitar booth:

IMG_1918

I wanted to meet my friend Dick Boak.  Dick was the teacher (along with Bill Cumpiano) of the first guitar making class I took–back in 1992.  Dick also was nice enough to endorse my book last year.  I owe him one…

IMG_1926

Finally, after a little more looking around, we stop at the TKL booth to pick up Nick’s case:

IMG_1917

Now-after lunch and a drive back to Torrance, we get back to work: Nick has a lot of sanding to do.  Here, he’s touching up the f-holes:

IMG_3499

While he’s sanding, I shape the pick guard, and glue on the foot-which will be screwed to the fingerboard overhang:

IMG_3500

End of day 15:

As we begin day 16, we still have a lot of sanding to do, to level the finish, and get ready for buffing.  Nick continues to sand the body:

IMG_3501

While he works on the body, I spend some time sanding the neck:

IMG_3502

With the neck sanded out, and ready for buffing, I get ready to sand the fingerboard.  First, I chalk it:

IMG_3504

Now, I use a Stew-Mac sanding board to straighten the board, and re-sand the radius:

IMG_3505

After the board is leveled, Nick pounds in the frets:

IMG_3506

After the frets are in, he files the fret ends.  Leveling and crowning will be done after the neck is glued onto the body:

IMG_3507

In preparation for gluing on the neck, Nick uses a chisel to remove finish where the neck will touch the body:

IMG_3508

Here’s the neck. glued and clamped:

IMG_3509

End of day 16.

As day 17 begins, Nick is working on the tailpiece again, trying to get the final carving done:

IMG_3511

While he’s carving the tailpiece, I’m doing some sanding on the body:

IMG_3510

After some sanding and buffing, it’s starting to look pretty good:

IMG_3512

Here’s the final tailpiece, all sanded and buffed…

IMG_3516

Now, Nick is working on the fret job.  Here, he is marking the tops of each fret, prior to leveling the frets:

IMG_3513

After leveling, Nick is crowning the fret tops with a Stew-Mac diamond fret crowning tool.

IMG_3514

End of day 17.

As day 18 begins, Nick has finished crowning his frets, and now has taped off the fingerboard and is polishing the frets using micro mesh.

IMG_3519

While he’s working on frets, I’m doing some final sanding on the pick guard:

IMG_3518

After sanding the pick guard to about 600 grit, I’m buffing it:

IMG_3520

Next, sanding the bridge–followed by buffing:

IMG_3521

In the meantime, Nick has put the nut into its slot, and is marking it with a half pencil to determine about where the top of the nut will be (actually about 1/32″ above the line):

IMG_3522

Now, Nick is sanding the top of the nut on the disc sander:

IMG_3523

Now, filing to remove the sanding marks:

IMG_3524

Here, Nick has measured out his string spacing on the nut, and is putting shallow string slots in the top of the nut:

IMG_3525

We’re getting ready to put strings on this thing….first the tailpiece gets put on:

IMG_3526

Now, reaming out the tuning machine holes:

IMG_3527

Starting to put on the strings:

IMG_3528

After a little setup work, this guitar is sounding fantastic…

IMG_3529

After the pick guard gets put on, it’s looking pretty fantastic too…(at least that’s my opinion)

IMG_3530

End of day 18.

As day 19 starts, Nick is filing the notch in the pick guard, which will hold the pickup.

IMG_3531

After mounting the pickup onto the pick guard, we drill the hole to hold the output jack using a forester bit.

IMG_3532

Now the hole is tapped so we can thread the output jack into the hole.

IMG_3533

Here is Nick, testing out the pickup for the first time.  The volume and tone controls are mounted on the underside of the pick guard, so nothing but the bridge touches the top.  The guitar is very acoustic (especially for a 15″ guitar), and the electronics sound amazing.

IMG_3534

Now, Nick does some last minute sanding…

IMG_3535

And last minute buffing…

IMG_3536

Now for the official graduation photo:  Really a great job done by Nick.

IMG_3537

This was a great class…a few late nights–but Nick was a great student, and the results were terrific.

IMG_3540

19 days start to finish…

My Guitar Journey Part 3

Posted by & filed under Guitar Journey.

In early 1992, I had a chance to go to the NAMM show in Anaheim as a guest of a friend who was in the music business. During the show, I found a magazine called “Guitarmaker”, which was published by ASIA, the Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans. I was blown away by this magazine, and read it cover to cover. Among all the amazing articles about building guitars, there was an ad for a guitarmaking class (eight days), to be held in August at a place called “Peter’s Valley Craft Center”, near Layton, New Jersey. The class was to be taught by Dick Boak of the Martin Guitar Company, and Bill Cumpiano, who had written the book I had been using as a guide and reference book. I called and signed up for the class, along with my friend who had invited me to the NAMM show. I felt very fortunate that a class like this even existed- and I was going to be a part of it.

The class was excellent. I have included several photos below. We built Martin kits, and even though I had already built about four guitars, and was pretty familiar with the basics, I had a chance to ask about a million questions- of a couple of very experienced guitar makers, and work with some jigs and molds that were new to me. In addition, both Dick and Bill were great. They were very approachable, and kept the class running smoothly. One afternoon, we closed up shop early, and were invited over to the home of Bob Benedetto, the great archtop builder, for a shop tour and dinner. At that time, Bob lived and worked in nearby Stroudsberg, PA, which was just across the Delaware River from Peter’s Valley. This was an unbelievable trip, and started to give me a lot more insight into what tools were needed, shop setup, and a chance to ask even more questions of another of the greatest guitar makers of our time (and a really great guy). From this class, I knew that I wanted to be a serious guitarmaker. I still kept my day job, but began making guitars in my spare time. I was invited to come back to Peter’s Valley to help teach the guitarmaking class, which I did over the next few years, helping Frank Finnochio teach the class.

This class, and others that I have taken since, motivated me to start teaching my own classes, which I’ve offered since 2001. My classes have been referred to as the “Weekend Warrior” classes, where people come and spend about fifteen Saturdays in a row, building their own guitars. It’s been great to watch the classes bond as each person creates his/her own very high quality instrument, from bending sides, to neck carving, to inlay, and spraying and buffing out their finish.

Below:  Dick Boak Addresses the class.   Next photo:  Bill Cumpiano helps a student position the bridge.

Scan13a Scan15a

Below left:  Dick Boak helps a student route the binding slot.  Below right:  the author tapes and glues his binding

Scan14a  Scan16a

 

Below:  A shot of Bob Benedetto’s shop  circa August, 1992.  Next photo:  Bob showing us his binding router table

Scan12a Scan11a

 

Below:  Bob showing us one of his recently completed archtops.  Last photo: our class photo.  Bill is front center..That’s me front row on the left.

Scan10a Scan09a

 

 

 

 

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

My Guitar Journey Part 3

Posted by & filed under Guitar Journey.

In early 1992, I had a chance to go to the NAMM show in Anaheim as a guest of a friend who was in the music business. During the show, I found a magazine called “Guitarmaker”, which was published by ASIA, the Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans. I was blown away by this magazine, and read it cover to cover. Among all the amazing articles about building guitars, there was an ad for a guitarmaking class (eight days), to be held in August at a place called “Peter’s Valley Craft Center”, near Layton, New Jersey. The class was to be taught by Dick Boak of the Martin Guitar Company, and Bill Cumpiano, who had written the book I had been using as a guide and reference book. I called and signed up for the class, along with my friend who had invited me to the NAMM show. I felt very fortunate that a class like this even existed- and I was going to be a part of it.

The class was excellent. I have included several photos below. We built Martin kits, and even though I had already built about four guitars, and was pretty familiar with the basics, I had a chance to ask about a million questions- of a couple of very experienced guitar makers, and work with some jigs and molds that were new to me. In addition, both Dick and Bill were great. They were very approachable, and kept the class running smoothly. One afternoon, we closed up shop early, and were invited over to the home of Bob Benedetto, the great archtop builder, for a shop tour and dinner. At that time, Bob lived and worked in nearby Stroudsberg, PA, which was just across the Delaware River from Peter’s Valley. This was an unbelievable trip, and started to give me a lot more insight into what tools were needed, shop setup, and a chance to ask even more questions of another of the greatest guitar makers of our time (and a really great guy). From this class, I knew that I wanted to be a serious guitarmaker. I still kept my day job, but began making guitars in my spare time. I was invited to come back to Peter’s Valley to help teach the guitarmaking class, which I did over the next few years, helping Frank Finnochio teach the class.

This class, and others that I have taken since, motivated me to start teaching my own classes, which I’ve offered since 2001. My classes have been referred to as the “Weekend Warrior” classes, where people come and spend about fifteen Saturdays in a row, building their own guitars. It’s been great to watch the classes bond as each person creates his/her own very high quality instrument, from bending sides, to neck carving, to inlay, and spraying and buffing out their finish.

Below:  Dick Boak Addresses the class.   Next photo:  Bill Cumpiano helps a student position the bridge.

Scan13a Scan15a

Below left:  Dick Boak helps a student route the binding slot.  Below right:  the author tapes and glues his binding

Scan14a  Scan16a

 

Below:  A shot of Bob Benedetto’s shop  circa August, 1992.  Next photo:  Bob showing us his binding router table

Scan12a Scan11a

 

Below:  Bob showing us one of his recently completed archtops.  Last photo: our class photo.  Bill is front center..That’s me front row on the left.

Scan10a Scan09a

 

 

 

 

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

My Guitar Journey Part 3

Posted by & filed under Guitar Journey.

In early 1992, I had a chance to go to the NAMM show in Anaheim as a guest of a friend who was in the music business. During the show, I found a magazine called “Guitarmaker”, which was published by ASIA, the Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans. I was blown away by this magazine, and read it cover to cover. Among all the amazing articles about building guitars, there was an ad for a guitarmaking class (eight days), to be held in August at a place called “Peter’s Valley Craft Center”, near Layton, New Jersey. The class was to be taught by Dick Boak of the Martin Guitar Company, and Bill Cumpiano, who had written the book I had been using as a guide and reference book. I called and signed up for the class, along with my friend who had invited me to the NAMM show. I felt very fortunate that a class like this even existed- and I was going to be a part of it.

The class was excellent. I have included several photos below. We built Martin kits, and even though I had already built about four guitars, and was pretty familiar with the basics, I had a chance to ask about a million questions- of a couple of very experienced guitar makers, and work with some jigs and molds that were new to me. In addition, both Dick and Bill were great. They were very approachable, and kept the class running smoothly. One afternoon, we closed up shop early, and were invited over to the home of Bob Benedetto, the great archtop builder, for a shop tour and dinner. At that time, Bob lived and worked in nearby Stroudsberg, PA, which was just across the Delaware River from Peter’s Valley. This was an unbelievable trip, and started to give me a lot more insight into what tools were needed, shop setup, and a chance to ask even more questions of another of the greatest guitar makers of our time (and a really great guy). From this class, I knew that I wanted to be a serious guitarmaker. I still kept my day job, but began making guitars in my spare time. I was invited to come back to Peter’s Valley to help teach the guitarmaking class, which I did over the next few years, helping Frank Finnochio teach the class.

This class, and others that I have taken since, motivated me to start teaching my own classes, which I’ve offered since 2001. My classes have been referred to as the “Weekend Warrior” classes, where people come and spend about fifteen Saturdays in a row, building their own guitars. It’s been great to watch the classes bond as each person creates his/her own very high quality instrument, from bending sides, to neck carving, to inlay, and spraying and buffing out their finish.

Below:  Dick Boak Addresses the class.   Next photo:  Bill Cumpiano helps a student position the bridge.

Scan13a Scan15a

Below left:  Dick Boak helps a student route the binding slot.  Below right:  the author tapes and glues his binding

Scan14a  Scan16a

 

Below:  A shot of Bob Benedetto’s shop  circa August, 1992.  Next photo:  Bob showing us his binding router table

Scan12a Scan11a

 

Below:  Bob showing us one of his recently completed archtops.  Last photo: our class photo.  Bill is front center..That’s me front row on the left.

Scan10a Scan09a

 

 

 

 

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

My Guitar Journey Part 3

Posted by & filed under Guitar Journey.

In early 1992, I had a chance to go to the NAMM show in Anaheim as a guest of a friend who was in the music business. During the show, I found a magazine called “Guitarmaker”, which was published by ASIA, the Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans. I was blown away by this magazine, and read it cover to cover. Among all the amazing articles about building guitars, there was an ad for a guitarmaking class (eight days), to be held in August at a place called “Peter’s Valley Craft Center”, near Layton, New Jersey. The class was to be taught by Dick Boak of the Martin Guitar Company, and Bill Cumpiano, who had written the book I had been using as a guide and reference book. I called and signed up for the class, along with my friend who had invited me to the NAMM show. I felt very fortunate that a class like this even existed- and I was going to be a part of it.

The class was excellent. I have included several photos below. We built Martin kits, and even though I had already built about four guitars, and was pretty familiar with the basics, I had a chance to ask about a million questions- of a couple of very experienced guitar makers, and work with some jigs and molds that were new to me. In addition, both Dick and Bill were great. They were very approachable, and kept the class running smoothly. One afternoon, we closed up shop early, and were invited over to the home of Bob Benedetto, the great archtop builder, for a shop tour and dinner. At that time, Bob lived and worked in nearby Stroudsberg, PA, which was just across the Delaware River from Peter’s Valley. This was an unbelievable trip, and started to give me a lot more insight into what tools were needed, shop setup, and a chance to ask even more questions of another of the greatest guitar makers of our time (and a really great guy). From this class, I knew that I wanted to be a serious guitarmaker. I still kept my day job, but began making guitars in my spare time. I was invited to come back to Peter’s Valley to help teach the guitarmaking class, which I did over the next few years, helping Frank Finnochio teach the class.

This class, and others that I have taken since, motivated me to start teaching my own classes, which I’ve offered since 2001. My classes have been referred to as the “Weekend Warrior” classes, where people come and spend about fifteen Saturdays in a row, building their own guitars. It’s been great to watch the classes bond as each person creates his/her own very high quality instrument, from bending sides, to neck carving, to inlay, and spraying and buffing out their finish.

Below:  Dick Boak Addresses the class.   Next photo:  Bill Cumpiano helps a student position the bridge.

Scan13a Scan15a

Below left:  Dick Boak helps a student route the binding slot.  Below right:  the author tapes and glues his binding

Scan14a  Scan16a

 

Below:  A shot of Bob Benedetto’s shop  circa August, 1992.  Next photo:  Bob showing us his binding router table

Scan12a Scan11a

 

Below:  Bob showing us one of his recently completed archtops.  Last photo: our class photo.  Bill is front center..That’s me front row on the left.

Scan10a Scan09a

 

 

 

 

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

My Guitar Journey Part 3

Posted by & filed under Guitar Journey.

In early 1992, I had a chance to go to the NAMM show in Anaheim as a guest of a friend who was in the music business. During the show, I found a magazine called “Guitarmaker”, which was published by ASIA, the Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans. I was blown away by this magazine, and read it cover to cover. Among all the amazing articles about building guitars, there was an ad for a guitarmaking class (eight days), to be held in August at a place called “Peter’s Valley Craft Center”, near Layton, New Jersey. The class was to be taught by Dick Boak of the Martin Guitar Company, and Bill Cumpiano, who had written the book I had been using as a guide and reference book. I called and signed up for the class, along with my friend who had invited me to the NAMM show. I felt very fortunate that a class like this even existed- and I was going to be a part of it.

The class was excellent. I have included several photos below. We built Martin kits, and even though I had already built about four guitars, and was pretty familiar with the basics, I had a chance to ask about a million questions- of a couple of very experienced guitar makers, and work with some jigs and molds that were new to me. In addition, both Dick and Bill were great. They were very approachable, and kept the class running smoothly. One afternoon, we closed up shop early, and were invited over to the home of Bob Benedetto, the great archtop builder, for a shop tour and dinner. At that time, Bob lived and worked in nearby Stroudsberg, PA, which was just across the Delaware River from Peter’s Valley. This was an unbelievable trip, and started to give me a lot more insight into what tools were needed, shop setup, and a chance to ask even more questions of another of the greatest guitar makers of our time (and a really great guy). From this class, I knew that I wanted to be a serious guitarmaker. I still kept my day job, but began making guitars in my spare time. I was invited to come back to Peter’s Valley to help teach the guitarmaking class, which I did over the next few years, helping Frank Finnochio teach the class.

This class, and others that I have taken since, motivated me to start teaching my own classes, which I’ve offered since 2001. My classes have been referred to as the “Weekend Warrior” classes, where people come and spend about fifteen Saturdays in a row, building their own guitars. It’s been great to watch the classes bond as each person creates his/her own very high quality instrument, from bending sides, to neck carving, to inlay, and spraying and buffing out their finish.

Below:  Dick Boak Addresses the class.   Next photo:  Bill Cumpiano helps a student position the bridge.

Scan13a Scan15a

Below left:  Dick Boak helps a student route the binding slot.  Below right:  the author tapes and glues his binding

Scan14a  Scan16a

 

Below:  A shot of Bob Benedetto’s shop  circa August, 1992.  Next photo:  Bob showing us his binding router table

Scan12a Scan11a

 

Below:  Bob showing us one of his recently completed archtops.  Last photo: our class photo.  Bill is front center..That’s me front row on the left.

Scan10a Scan09a

 

 

 

 

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

My Guitar Journey Part 3

Posted by & filed under Guitar Journey.

In early 1992, I had a chance to go to the NAMM show in Anaheim as a guest of a friend who was in the music business. During the show, I found a magazine called “Guitarmaker”, which was published by ASIA, the Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans. I was blown away by this magazine, and read it cover to cover. Among all the amazing articles about building guitars, there was an ad for a guitarmaking class (eight days), to be held in August at a place called “Peter’s Valley Craft Center”, near Layton, New Jersey. The class was to be taught by Dick Boak of the Martin Guitar Company, and Bill Cumpiano, who had written the book I had been using as a guide and reference book. I called and signed up for the class, along with my friend who had invited me to the NAMM show. I felt very fortunate that a class like this even existed- and I was going to be a part of it.

The class was excellent. I have included several photos below. We built Martin kits, and even though I had already built about four guitars, and was pretty familiar with the basics, I had a chance to ask about a million questions- of a couple of very experienced guitar makers, and work with some jigs and molds that were new to me. In addition, both Dick and Bill were great. They were very approachable, and kept the class running smoothly. One afternoon, we closed up shop early, and were invited over to the home of Bob Benedetto, the great archtop builder, for a shop tour and dinner. At that time, Bob lived and worked in nearby Stroudsberg, PA, which was just across the Delaware River from Peter’s Valley. This was an unbelievable trip, and started to give me a lot more insight into what tools were needed, shop setup, and a chance to ask even more questions of another of the greatest guitar makers of our time (and a really great guy). From this class, I knew that I wanted to be a serious guitarmaker. I still kept my day job, but began making guitars in my spare time. I was invited to come back to Peter’s Valley to help teach the guitarmaking class, which I did over the next few years, helping Frank Finnochio teach the class.

This class, and others that I have taken since, motivated me to start teaching my own classes, which I’ve offered since 2001. My classes have been referred to as the “Weekend Warrior” classes, where people come and spend about fifteen Saturdays in a row, building their own guitars. It’s been great to watch the classes bond as each person creates his/her own very high quality instrument, from bending sides, to neck carving, to inlay, and spraying and buffing out their finish.

Below:  Dick Boak Addresses the class.   Next photo:  Bill Cumpiano helps a student position the bridge.

Scan13a Scan15a

Below left:  Dick Boak helps a student route the binding slot.  Below right:  the author tapes and glues his binding

Scan14a  Scan16a

 

Below:  A shot of Bob Benedetto’s shop  circa August, 1992.  Next photo:  Bob showing us his binding router table

Scan12a Scan11a

 

Below:  Bob showing us one of his recently completed archtops.  Last photo: our class photo.  Bill is front center..That’s me front row on the left.

Scan10a Scan09a

 

 

 

 

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

My Guitar Journey Part 3

Posted by & filed under Guitar Journey.

In early 1992, I had a chance to go to the NAMM show in Anaheim as a guest of a friend who was in the music business. During the show, I found a magazine called “Guitarmaker”, which was published by ASIA, the Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans. I was blown away by this magazine, and read it cover to cover. Among all the amazing articles about building guitars, there was an ad for a guitarmaking class (eight days), to be held in August at a place called “Peter’s Valley Craft Center”, near Layton, New Jersey. The class was to be taught by Dick Boak of the Martin Guitar Company, and Bill Cumpiano, who had written the book I had been using as a guide and reference book. I called and signed up for the class, along with my friend who had invited me to the NAMM show. I felt very fortunate that a class like this even existed- and I was going to be a part of it.

The class was excellent. I have included several photos below. We built Martin kits, and even though I had already built about four guitars, and was pretty familiar with the basics, I had a chance to ask about a million questions- of a couple of very experienced guitar makers, and work with some jigs and molds that were new to me. In addition, both Dick and Bill were great. They were very approachable, and kept the class running smoothly. One afternoon, we closed up shop early, and were invited over to the home of Bob Benedetto, the great archtop builder, for a shop tour and dinner. At that time, Bob lived and worked in nearby Stroudsberg, PA, which was just across the Delaware River from Peter’s Valley. This was an unbelievable trip, and started to give me a lot more insight into what tools were needed, shop setup, and a chance to ask even more questions of another of the greatest guitar makers of our time (and a really great guy). From this class, I knew that I wanted to be a serious guitarmaker. I still kept my day job, but began making guitars in my spare time. I was invited to come back to Peter’s Valley to help teach the guitarmaking class, which I did over the next few years, helping Frank Finnochio teach the class.

This class, and others that I have taken since, motivated me to start teaching my own classes, which I’ve offered since 2001. My classes have been referred to as the “Weekend Warrior” classes, where people come and spend about fifteen Saturdays in a row, building their own guitars. It’s been great to watch the classes bond as each person creates his/her own very high quality instrument, from bending sides, to neck carving, to inlay, and spraying and buffing out their finish.

Below:  Dick Boak Addresses the class.   Next photo:  Bill Cumpiano helps a student position the bridge.

Scan13a Scan15a

Below left:  Dick Boak helps a student route the binding slot.  Below right:  the author tapes and glues his binding

Scan14a  Scan16a

 

Below:  A shot of Bob Benedetto’s shop  circa August, 1992.  Next photo:  Bob showing us his binding router table

Scan12a Scan11a

 

Below:  Bob showing us one of his recently completed archtops.  Last photo: our class photo.  Bill is front center..That’s me front row on the left.

Scan10a Scan09a

 

 

 

 

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.

The post My Guitar Journey Part 3 appeared first on Phoenix Guitar Company.