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-   -   MARK BLANCHARD Bristlecone [Italian Spruce | Brazilian Rosewood] (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=596397)

iim7V7IM7 01-11-2021 04:33 PM

Mark has routed the binding channels...:up:

https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...8630C5DB9.jpeg

iim7V7IM7 01-12-2021 07:40 PM

Bindings & Purflings
 
Mark has bent some Macassar Ebony bindings with curly Koa purflings.

https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...57045DBBD.jpeg

iim7V7IM7 01-17-2021 07:33 PM

End Graft
 
Now that the Brazilian Rosewood body has had it’s binding and purfling channels routed, it is time to route and install an end graft. Here’s Mark’s routing jig for the end graft. That’s a 1978 Porter Cable router which Mark has changed out the bearings on 6 times!

https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...6A8D605FC.jpeg

The Bristlecone’s end graft is contrasting Macassar Ebony with curly Koa purflings to match the binding design.

https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...C4C77E6DE.jpeg

iim7V7IM7 01-18-2021 01:58 PM

Binding the Box
 
Mark is installing the top 0.080” Macassar Ebony top binding framed with 0.050” Koa/0.020” Black Fiber top and 0.040” Koa side purflings with titebond 1 glue.

https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...9BBA1F260.jpeg

https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...749466CED.jpeg

https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...87C5018E4.jpeg

iim7V7IM7 01-19-2021 06:21 PM

Rosette & Purflings
 
You can now begin to see how the curly Koa top purfling will visually tie together with the Koa accents in the radial grained Brazilian Rosewood rosette. Not a traditional “blingy” look like shell or marquetry, but I think that these hardwood accents will make an elegant and handsome look. The small shim in the purfling near the continuous cutaway neck junction is there to ensure the binding junction smoothly transitions into the neck.

https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...F53203352.jpeg

Nemoman 01-19-2021 06:35 PM

Wow--I agree. Beautifully elegant!

cigarfan 01-20-2021 04:38 AM

Exquisite! :)

iim7V7IM7 01-20-2021 06:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nemoman (Post 6609166)
Wow--I agree. Beautifully elegant!

Quote:

Originally Posted by cigarfan (Post 6609388)
Exquisite! :)

Thanks for the kind words Gentlemen...:)

iim7V7IM7 01-22-2021 03:32 PM

Box Bound
 
Mark has completed Macassar Ebony binding and curly Koa purflings the Brazilian Rosewood “box”.

https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...3ED4EC93A.jpeg

mhw48 01-23-2021 12:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 (Post 6611747)
Mark has completed Macassar Ebony binding and curly Koa purflings the Brazilian Rosewood “box”.

Wow, that is really beautiful! The ebony/ koa works really well with the BRW.

iim7V7IM7 01-23-2021 01:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mhw48 (Post 6612683)
Wow, that is really beautiful! The ebony/ koa works really well with the BRW.

Thanks, it is a classic combination used by many builders...:up:

I like my bindings to be hardwood and usually using a very hard species such as ebonies, rosewoods, hard maple or even satinwood. Binding’s function is to protect the guitar from dings. When the back and sides are visually dark, homogeneous and plain as with this set of Brazilian Rosewood, a bit of figure in a purfling can be nice. The Koa will show a bit of curl and mottle once under finish...:)

mhw48 01-23-2021 04:39 PM

It certainly has a classic elegance. I didn't know that Koa was typically used as a binding material -- although Nick Kuckich told me he just built an all Koa guitar, with Koa bindings.

iim7V7IM7 01-23-2021 05:10 PM

Yes, I have also seen many guitars bound in curly Koa. It is a beautiful figured binding material. That said, functionally, I am not a fan because it is a relatively soft hardwood. This defeats the protection purpose of binding in my view. As a purfling material however it is a great visual accenting choice against a dark binding.

iim7V7IM7 01-23-2021 05:56 PM

Neck Set
 
Mark was able to set the neck today so it is beginning to look like a guitar. Creating a Macassar Ebony/Koa purfled heel cap and roughing in the Gaboon Ebony fingerboard radius are next tasks ahead of him.

https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...9FA83B3D3.jpeg

https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...FA35B71F5.jpeg

iim7V7IM7 01-24-2021 01:49 PM

What Fret #?
 
3/32” MOP side position markers...

https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...152BB6F9A.jpeg

iim7V7IM7 01-24-2021 06:19 PM

Roughing in a Compound Radius
 
Mark is roughing in the compound 14” to 18” fingerboard radius. The bridge is not glued on to the top yet, it’s just sitting there. He uses a straightedge to project the fingerboard plane out to the bridge to verify and adjust the neck angle on both the bass and treble sides.

https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...82AD4178B.jpeg

Steve Kinnaird 01-27-2021 08:32 AM

It’s starting to look great, Bob! :up:
I love them at this stage, and yours does not disappoint.

iim7V7IM7 01-27-2021 11:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve Kinnaird (Post 6616640)
It’s starting to look great, Bob! :up:
I love them at this stage, and yours does not disappoint.

Thanks Steve...:). I suppose this is more of a "builder" focused thread in it focuses a bit more on how the "sausage" is made vs. how it "looks" and "tastes".

Steve Kinnaird 01-27-2021 04:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 (Post 6616802)
Thanks Steve...:). I suppose this is more of a "builder" focused thread in it focuses a bit more on how the "sausage" is made vs. how it "looks" and "tastes".

Well, it’s a lot more fun watching guitars get made than sausage! Thanks for sharing this with us.

Steve

iim7V7IM7 01-28-2021 06:51 PM

Carving the neck
 
Mark is carving the neck. I like a neck with a bit of “meat” to it, and he shapes it with an asymmetric cross sectional profile. This is Mark’s standard neck profile which I found comfortable on the Pinyon that he made for me 6 years ago. He installed a Macassar Ebony/Koa heel cap to match the body bindings/purflings.

https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...2643FCC5A.jpeg

invguy921 01-31-2021 09:01 AM

That's really looking great Bob. Really clean and lovely wood choices :up:

iim7V7IM7 02-04-2021 04:29 PM

Coming together
 
Mark sent me sent me a photo showing that he added a concave fretboard terminus that is concentric with the inner ring of the rosette. The 21st fret lines up with the outer ring of the rosette as well. You can also begin to see how the curly Koa rings of the radial Brazilian Rosewood rosette visually harmonize with the curly Koa top purflings. The Macassar Ebony binding also ties in with the Gaboon Ebony fretboard. The guitar should be done in “white” fairly soon.

https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...D17318CA5.jpeg

iim7V7IM7 02-04-2021 06:41 PM

A bit-o-pore filler
 
Mark sent me some photos showing the body with epoxy pore filler applied. You can finally see a hint of what the koa purflings are going to look like against the Brazilian Rosewood.

https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...72C440D2D.jpeg

https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...A41E68503.jpeg

https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...DE3E369CB.jpeg

iim7V7IM7 02-07-2021 07:46 PM

Ready for finish
 
Back to bare wood (except for the pores). Hangers attached… ready for sealer

https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...0CD6B642A.jpeg

Guitars44me 02-07-2021 09:31 PM

Very Swanky
 
Elegant and classy! I especially like the flamed Koa purflings and the bookmatched Headstock overlay.

I am also a fairly recent convert to asymmetrical neck carves. You must be getting itchy now...

Salud

Paul

iim7V7IM7 02-07-2021 09:48 PM

Thanks for the kind words, but it is still a ways off...:)

Mark applies his nitro finish slowly allowing for drying time between coats. He also allows for a good month for it to dry before buffing. Another week for assembly followed two weeks to settle in. So it is like 2+ months until it makes the journey from the High Sierra to the East Coast.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Guitars44me (Post 6628735)
Elegant and classy! I Espinoza like the flamed Koa purflings and the bookmatched Headstock overlay.

I am also a fairly recent convert to asymmetrical neck carves. You must be getting itchy now...

Salud

Paul


iim7V7IM7 02-13-2021 06:54 PM

As part of finishing...
 
Mark sprays shellac on his guitar tops to protect it during his construction process. After pore filling, he sands the back and side to only leave residual epoxy in the rosewood pores. Mark sprays on vinyl sealer onto the back and sides to prepare them to accept nitro. When he applies the vinyl sealer to the sides, some overspray always ends up on the top but it is protected by the shellac. He leaves the shellac on until the back and sides receive about 6 coats of nitro. He then sands off the shellac and vinyl sealer overspray from the Italian Spruce top and does his final thinning/tuning of the sound board (if needed).

https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...A9BD3B55B.jpeg

Guitars44me 02-13-2021 10:41 PM

Awesome thread
 
I just re-read this entire thread. Boy, there is a LOT of very interesting technical info above!

The axe sure looks beautiful, and I too hope to play one of Mark's beauties some day soon.

Thanks for sharing all of this with all of us!

Salud

Paul

iim7V7IM7 02-14-2021 08:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Guitars44me (Post 6634913)
I just re-read this entire thread. Boy, there is a LOT of very interesting technical info above!

The axe sure looks beautiful, and I too hope to play one of Mark's beauties some day soon.

Thanks for sharing all of this with all of us!

Salud

Paul

Thanks again for your kind comments about Mark’s work...:). I document these build threads for two reasons.
  1. To try to illustrate what makes a particular luthier’s work different from others. We all know that no two builder’s guitars sound the same but why? Yes, they look different, but as we know there is more to it than that and how they are constructed matters.
  2. To help raise awareness about a builder’s work. These posts remain here long after the delivery of a guitar and they may prove helpful to someone trying to learn about a luthier beyond what is on their website.
Mark learned to build on his own in the 1980s and early 1990s (and actually, as in all journeys toward mastery, he continues to learn to this day). He did not apprentice for anyone so all his methods were home grown in his California and Montana workshops. This is why building methods are so heterogeneous between luthiers.

He did learn the tool of Chladni from Al Carruth in the mid 1990s and he developed his own way of integrating it into his build process to help him guide decisions and improve his consistency of outcomes. Keeping careful notebooks on every guitar coming off his bench has helped him interpret characteristics associated with his best sounding work. He also learned the basics of archtop guitar construction through a course taught by Linda Manzer and Tom Ribbecke. Mark pasted along some of his approach to Chladni methods teaching luthier Randall “Sparky” Kramer. He designed, patented and manufactures his own double acting truss rods as well.

While he has been building custom instruments for over 25 years now, Mark is a quiet guy who now lives in the Sierras. He has a website, makes some guitars for a well known reseller and attends luthier exhibitions. Despite this, I don’t feel that he is widely known enough among the AGF custom acoustic guitar community. Fellow luthiers all know and respect him and his work, but I don’t think there are more than a few threads here on AGF exhibiting his work across the 20-years that this site has been around. His guitars are unique in their construction and in their tone and that is why I am back to have him build me a second guitar.

Jamiejoon 02-14-2021 12:30 PM

Bob, your posts are some of my favorite - so interesting and educational...and you have great taste. This guitar looks like another masterpiece. The BRW is exceptional.


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