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Mark Hatcher 09-07-2011 03:31 PM

Highly Figured Cocobolo Hatcher SJ Build
Since I'm a new guy here on AGF I thought a build thread might be a great way to introduce my work. I hope you enjoy!
This guitar is being made with all of my standard features (other than the Coco B/S set). It will have a 25.5" scale length, a 1 13/16" nut, and 2 1/4" string spacing.
Here's a link to the standard features list:
Here's a link to the Josie model page:

I've had a beautiful Coco board seasoning in my shop. It's a great match for this back and side set so here it is cut for the fretboard, head top veneer, and bridge

Gluing down the back graft

Shaping the back graft with my favorite little Lie Nielsen plane

Checking postitioning of lattice back bracing

Fitting the braces

I find it very rewarding to use 17th century technology on a contemporary guitar

Lattice bracing is a great way to stabilize a highly figured back. Keeping the back light and stiff also allows great feedback to the player as the back will have a very lively feel.

More to come. Thanks for viewing!

CBG_BUILDER 09-07-2011 05:15 PM

That's gorgeous!! Love the lattice bracing too! Can't wait to see how this build turns out!

KolayaGuitars 09-08-2011 09:50 AM

You surely are a tidy worker! I love it! Nice looking cocobolo too.

Mark Hatcher 09-08-2011 02:51 PM

Thanks AJ, Brad,

I'll be getting more shots up soon


mb propsom 09-09-2011 05:38 PM

Mark, nice work, gorgeous wood, fantastic photography. And your clamping cauls are a lot prettier than mine. However, I havequ a couple of questions regarding the function of the lattice bracing. You claim it allows your back to be light and stiff which "allows great feedback to the player as the back will have a very lively feel." Maybe it's your choice of the word "stiff" in describing the the back. I equate "stiff" with rigid, which in turn implies to me a back that would be anything but lively. Could you expand on your original statement? If by stiff you mean it gives the back (thinned to less than "normal") a good deal of integrity I understand that.

Secondly, although the lattice bracing is definitely eye-catching, I don't see its superiority over the traditional system for going to the additional time it much take to accomplish that system. You cited its function of stabilizing highly figured backs. However, I've always just used "ladder" bracing for my backs, and have never had a problem with highly figured woods like quilted sapele and ziricote. I've just made certain they've been well-seasoned before using them. Thanks.

Once again, nice work.

Mark Hatcher 09-09-2011 06:49 PM

Hi Michael,

I appreciate your comments and questions. When you asked if I meant that I could go a little thinner than usual on the back, yes, because lattice bracing combined with a thinner than usual back can be more responsive. Light and stiff allows for better sound conduction.

Having the back supported by a web of braces prevents the skeletal effect that can arise over time with a thinner back stretched across heavier ladder braces.


royd 09-09-2011 07:06 PM


Billy Boy 09-09-2011 08:36 PM

Love that cocobolo...gorgeous!

cotten 09-09-2011 08:51 PM

What a beautiful way to further introduce us to your work, Mark. That cocobolo back/sides set, together with the fingerboard, bridge and headstock is going to make for a visually striking, artistically cohesive guitar! I really like your "brand" oval in the center of the back - very classy!

I look forward to learning more about your work here and on your web site, and to watching this guitar's creation.

Thanks for supporting this community - you're among just the right sort of people here! :)


Sirgreggins 09-09-2011 09:39 PM

Can't wait to see the top. Crazy amount of bracing, looks cool

gregg 09-10-2011 11:38 AM

Hi Mark,

Beautiful work.....I've used lattice braced backs years ago and will say that they do seem to influence the tone in a positive way, I like the look of them too....but, they are a pain to build. Some of my favorite guitars(that I built)had both lattice braced backs and tops.


Mark Hatcher 09-10-2011 04:39 PM

Top Pics
Thanks Cotton and everyone for your comments!
I chose a Sitka top for this guitar.
I'm seeing a lot of "tile type" rosettes lately so I thought I'd take a crack at one with a little twist of my own. This is two different colors of Cocobolo and Ebony.

This hole cutter contraption which seems to work best for me cutting out smooth soundholes.

I try to put aside a full day for cutting top braces and voicing the soundboard.

All tops are started at a target deflection under a standard weight. Voicing the guitar is a slow process and involves going for the ring I want and chasing away all the tight sounding spots.

Thanks for viewing!

rgregg48 09-10-2011 04:47 PM

Now correct me if im mistaken, but it looks like slabsawn as opposed to
quartersawn... its very pretty, quartersawn would look plainer but would
not need all that bracing on the back, is that correct.
either way, it is very nice looking wood,

Mark Hatcher 09-10-2011 05:04 PM


Originally Posted by rgregg48 (Post 2757132)
Now correct me if im mistaken, but it looks like slabsawn as opposed to
quartersawn... its very pretty, quartersawn would look plainer but would
not need all that bracing on the back, is that correct.
either way, it is very nice looking wood,

Hi Rick,

Yes, it is mostly slab sawn. Cocobolo tends to be so stable that I'm sure ladder bracing would do just fine as Michael commented earlier on the thread.
The real reason I use lattice bracing is that it allows for a much thinner and lighter back. If you add up the weight of all the lattice braces it would be much less than standard ladder braces. In the end I'm aiming for a back that is active.


Mark Hatcher 09-13-2011 12:57 PM

Hi Everybody

I did some work on the sides and am posting a few more photos
I use a heat blanket for bending. I find I can get good controllable and even heat.

Gluing up the heel block

Gluing on the kerfing

This is my set up for preparing the sides to receive the back. The backs have a 15ft radius curve so the edges of the sides and kerfing have to have that radius curve as well. That dish has the 15' radius and I can rotate it to get the curve. My favorite part of this whole process is sanding the Spanish Cedar I use for the kerfing which just fills the room with it's scent and I love the smell of that stuff. Frankly, that's why I use cedar kerfing-so that the guitar has a nice smell!

Thanks for looking!

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