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  #1  
Old 12-15-2016, 01:40 PM
Chris Ensor's Avatar
Chris Ensor Chris Ensor is offline
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Default Ensor Guitars- The "All American Wood" Guitar- FINAL PICS & VIDEO

I've been wanting to build this guitar for a LONG time- a guitar built with ALL American woods.

First off let's define "American". Simply put, all from the USA. Not just North American and definitely not South American.

I had pitched the client on the idea and he loved it. The only thing he was specific on was that it was different from the mellow tones of his macassar/sinker guitar (that I built years ago). As far as aesthetics go, he gave me a pretty loose leash. He had a couple of pretty broad requests to work in- some more concrete than others: a sound port(s), armrest, maybe some inlay.

Originally I had brought up the idea of doing all American everything, but he likes gotoh 510's (and so do I), so we are keeping this down to woods- which is challenging enough.

So here are the specs as of right now:
Auditorium shape
Osage orage and walnut 3 piece back
Bear claw sitka spruce top
Walnut neck
Walnut binding and armrest
Desert ironwood fingerboard and bridge
Walnut burl and spalted oak (from his firewood pile) worked in throughout

And here are some pictures to get us started:






(Cherry for the back strap)



Originally I was thinking about doing a one piece neck, but I changed my mind and am now doing a multi-ply neck.




The plys are walnut, maple, black dyed poplar, and osage orange



Follow along, this ought to be a fun build.
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Last edited by Chris Ensor; 05-08-2017 at 08:19 AM.
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Old 12-15-2016, 02:51 PM
Stevien Stevien is offline
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Great to see this one under way! Chris & I had also talked of him building me a "Pacific Northwest" model, using woods from the Pacific Northwest! This was to be his Concert model, with American Black Walnut back, sides, & neck, with Myrtle trim throughout. Chris was ready & willing, but alas, my pocketbook had some set backs, & the project is put on hold. Chris is very generous with his time & ideas, & I'm still hoping to get the project rolling in the future. I'm excited to see how this "American" model turns out! Some great ideas here!
Steve
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Old 12-15-2016, 05:12 PM
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Great looking build Chris and I hope this catches on with more players. There are some really great tone woods right here in the domestic US. We did a similar project for Healdsburg several years ago which we called "Born in the USA".
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Old 12-15-2016, 05:46 PM
thomasfelty thomasfelty is offline
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A few years ago I built a All Michigan guitar. The B&S came from a hard Maple log that buried at the bottom of Lake Arcadia for over 125 years. The top came from a Blue Spruce that was a blow down tree. Bracing for top and back came from the spruce log. The Bridge, head plate, bindings and fingerboard came from a old Walnut tree that was quite figured and very, very hard. For a Maple guitar it had a really good bass response from a Gibson 185 inspired type guitar. I like seeing other woods used for guitar building. In the 80's I built several guitars from Black Locust for side and back's. I used Nutmeg for the tops. The Japanese use Nutmeg wood for Go Boards. Good job Chris. BTW the binding jig works great.
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Old 12-15-2016, 05:46 PM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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Very interesting premise, Chris.

Besides the obvious "what wood could I use that ISN'T an 'exotic'" I've also wondered which woods lend themselves to which function. I'll be following this one with interest.
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Old 12-15-2016, 08:03 PM
Stevien Stevien is offline
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The hardest part, as I understand it, is finding a domestic wood that takes the place of ebony for the fingerboard. Ebony has the perfect hardness, not to mention color, that makes the perfect backdrop for inlay, or plain.
Steve
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Old 12-15-2016, 08:21 PM
The Bard Rocks The Bard Rocks is offline
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Default ebony substitute

Here are some suggestions to replace ebony: persimmon, hop hornbeam, ironwood, elm, locust.
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Old 12-15-2016, 08:43 PM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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OT: Does walnut work for fretboards and bridges?
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Old 12-16-2016, 04:14 AM
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Should be an interesting project. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 12-16-2016, 07:35 AM
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A lot of the woods from the mesquite family, Texas Ebony, Desert Ironwood work well for fingerboard and bridges. I have a set of microcurl mesquite that I plan to use for back and sides in an all American build. The T. Ebony and D. Ironwood are dark brown and would be a pretty good background for inlay and I feel confident that they would hold frets nicely.

Nice Job Chris. The osage orange and walnut combination is quite creative. Looking forward to seeing this under finish.
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Old 12-16-2016, 11:52 AM
Alan Carruth Alan Carruth is offline
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Walnut has been used for fingerboards in the past, but it's pretty soft.

I've used persimmon, American hornbeam, and Soft Shell almond for fingerboards. The almond was the hardest. None of these is black, but Tom Thiel, of Northwind Tone Wood, has been dying persimmon black all the way through. Since it's the American member of the ebony family, he calls it 'Ozark Ebony'. The chemistry has been a bit elusive, and it costs about the same as Indian ebony, but works great.

Welcome to the 'native woods' builders club Chris! Now we need to get a 'native wood' BUYERS club going!
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Old 12-16-2016, 12:42 PM
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Looks like a really nice set of osage orange. Will be watching.
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Old 12-16-2016, 06:02 PM
Codfather Codfather is offline
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Default neck wood

Originally I was thinking about doing a one piece neck, but I changed my mind and am now doing a multi-ply neck.





Hi Chris ,
Is the board , flatsawn 6/4 material?

Thanks JJ

Last edited by Codfather; 12-16-2016 at 06:04 PM. Reason: ....
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Old 12-16-2016, 11:39 PM
rwtwguitar rwtwguitar is online now
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I would dearly love to stop using tropical exotics for fingerboards and bridges. But where does one source mesquite or persimmon lumber?


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Old 12-17-2016, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thomasfelty View Post
BTW the binding jig works great.
I'm glad you're getting some good results with the jig.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Carruth View Post
Welcome to the 'native woods' builders club Chris! Now we need to get a 'native wood' BUYERS club going!
I've built with maple and quite a bit with walnut in the past. I'm looking forward to broadening my domestic repertoire

Quote:
Originally Posted by Codfather View Post
Hi Chris ,
Is the board , flatsawn 6/4 material?
Thanks JJ
Close, It's actually flatsawn 8/4- perfect for multi-ply necks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwtwguitar View Post
I would dearly love to stop using tropical exotics for fingerboards and bridges. But where does one source mesquite or persimmon lumber?
I have a friend who runs a wood shop and has some persimmon. Sourcing desert ironwood is what I am working on and it's a challenge for sure.
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