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  #1  
Old 11-04-2014, 08:55 AM
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IndianHillMike IndianHillMike is offline
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Default Build Thread: Indian Hill C.M. Russell GC-12

I have a new project in the works that I'm pretty excited about -- building a guitar that will be part of the C.M. Russell western art auction next spring! This is an annual event held in Great Falls, Montana and is part of the city's long running western art week. Charles M. Russell was a well known western artist that lived from 1864-1926 and the auction is run by the museum dedicated to him and his work.

So, here's where it starts! The wood for this one will be beautiful set of claro walnut for the back and sides with a sitka spruce top...



I almost always bend my sides over a hot pipe, but I recently made a bending mold for my grand concert shape (to save me from the woes of hand-bending curly maple!) and figured if I have it, might as well use it...



For any of you who have followed my other builds, you'll know I'm a fan of laminated sides and this one is no different. I want the sides to be super stiff and act as a rigid base for the top to vibrate on. Here a side is clamped in my lamination mold (which is my regular molded taken apart and folded in half)...



The most exciting part of this guitar for me will be the top -- I'll be trying a wood burning and f-holes! More pictures soon...

Mike
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  #2  
Old 11-04-2014, 09:41 AM
printer2 printer2 is offline
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I burn wood all the time, it is easy. On my tablesaw, router... ...just kidding. I like your laminating jig.
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Old 11-04-2014, 03:28 PM
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J.R. Rogers J.R. Rogers is offline
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Sounds interesting! I'll be following this one. The wood looks great already.
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Old 11-06-2014, 11:10 AM
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With the sides fully laminated, time to glue in the blocks and join them together...



For the past few years I've been putting in some laminated braces angled along the length of the back. These braces are typically made of the same material as the back (walnut in this case) and are two pieces pre-laminated into a 15' arch before gluing to the back. The goal is to make a really stiff back that will maintain it's arch over time; essentially a latticed braced back. In this picture you can see my template between the braces that ensures a consistent angle from guitar to guitar...



Now for the exciting part! The wood burning on the top...



The image is C.M. Russell's logo and initials. After sizing and printing out the logo, I took some carbon transfer paper and traced it onto the top. Then, it was just a matter of learning how to burn wood!



It was a bit tiring on my hand, but I'm really happy with how it turned out! Next up is designing the f-holes and bracing the top.

Mike
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Old 11-06-2014, 12:21 PM
jaymarsch jaymarsch is offline
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The wood burning turned out great. I love the look. Thanks for keeping us in the loop.

Best,
Jayne
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Old 11-06-2014, 02:38 PM
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So rad!! Loving this one and will be following for sure!
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Old 11-07-2014, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaymarsch View Post
The wood burning turned out great. I love the look. Thanks for keeping us in the loop.
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Originally Posted by Oxwood_Handmade View Post
So rad!! Loving this one and will be following for sure!
Thanks! There are a lot of departures for me on this build and I'm excited to see how they turn out.

One of the new things will be f-holes. I had a fun couple of days coming up with a design and I think I've settled on one...



It's a bit hard to tell scale from that picture but I should have the top braced (and f-holes cut out) in the next few days!

Mike
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Old 11-12-2014, 11:21 AM
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Another challenge with this guitar is coming up with a new(ish) bracing pattern for the top to account for the f-holes. This is a mid-bracing picture but you can get the gist of what I'm going for...



Once the top was braced it was time for the fun part -- cutting out the f-holes...



Using an arsenal of saws, knives, rasps, and bits of sandpaper I was able to get the job done reasonably quickly...



Here's a shot of the fully braced (but un-tuned) top...



And here is how the f-holes turned out!



Today I'll work on carving down the braces and tuning the top. I'm quite interested to see how this pattern will respond as I'm carving.

Mike
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Old 11-17-2014, 09:56 AM
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I made some more progress on this one the end of last week. Here's a shot of the fully braced and tuned top...



In a side by side comparison you can see there's quite a difference before and after tuning. Since this pattern was an unknown, I glued on the braces a bit taller than normal to make sure I had some material to work with...



One of the basic goals in tuning the top is to try to get a closed ring and a half pattern. This one worked out great!



And ready to be joined...





Next up is binding and starting on the neck!

Mike
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Old 11-25-2014, 09:58 AM
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I had fun the past few days trying to figure out how to do the binding and end graft on this guitar. With only f-holes in the top, I needed another way to access the interior of the guitar and figured the end-graft was the best spot to do it! Here's a bit of the process...

Since this is just a one-off idea, I find it easier/faster to just use with knives and chisels to cut out the shape instead of making a template and routing (though I do clear out the bulk of material freehand routing)...



And putting in the frame...



The main part of the end-graft is another wood burning. Since this is a western themed guitar, I thought it appropriate to put my brand on it...





Now for the sneaky part with hidden magnets...



Once the end-graft was done, the rest of the binding was relatively standard...



Continuing with the western theme and another first for me, making some rope purfling!





Once I clean up the guitar a bit it's on to the neck!

Mike
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  #11  
Old 11-27-2014, 04:44 AM
GeoffStGermaine GeoffStGermaine is offline
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Mike, this build looks fantastic! Familiar but with a very original twist. The build quality obviously looks outstanding.
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Old 11-27-2014, 06:39 AM
Treenewt Treenewt is offline
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Very cool! Love the f holes! Can't wait to see how it turns out!
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  #13  
Old 11-27-2014, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffStGermaine View Post
Mike, this build looks fantastic! Familiar but with a very original twist. The build quality obviously looks outstanding.
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Treenewt View Post
Very cool! Love the f holes! Can't wait to see how it turns out!
It's my first foray into the world of f-holes and it's been fun trying to figure the best way to make it work. I debated for a while if I wanted to try beveling them or not and ended up going for it...



Mike
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Old 11-27-2014, 10:49 AM
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Making a comment just so I can follow this build.
WOW!
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Old 11-27-2014, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndianHillMike View Post
Thanks!



It's my first foray into the world of f-holes and it's been fun trying to figure the best way to make it work. I debated for a while if I wanted to try beveling them or not and ended up going for it...



Mike
That looks great.
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