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cigarfan 02-17-2020 01:59 PM

A McKnight Skinny Slope Dreadnaught for cigarfan
Construction on my McKnight SSD is getting ready to begin so I thought I would give you a little introduction to the guitar (right now just a stack of wood) and my experience with Tim and Mary so far. I hopped on Tim schedule Summer 2018 when he told me he may be able to have the guitar finished in time for McJam 2020. These are the specs we have agreed to.

Model: Skinny Slope Dreadnaught

Woods, Trim & Other Materials
Top Material: Tim's Special 1959 Sitka Spruce
Back & Side Material: Quilted Pomelle Sapele
Neck Material: Honduran Mahogany
Rosette: Select Wood Mosaic with inner and outer Abalone rings
Top Purfling: Abalone
Binding Material: Pomelle Sapele
Headstock Shape: McKnight fingerstyle
Headstock Inlay: Abalone Knight Head
Headplate & Backplate: Pomelle Sapele w/ maple sandwich
Bird's beak volute
Radiused Fretboard: Ebony
Fretboard Inlays: Slotted Abalone Diamonds w/ Abalone Dove @ 12
Fretboard Side Markers: White tubes with Black fill
Heelcap: Pomelle Sapele w/ Abalone
Back Strip: Abalone
Nut & Saddle Material: Laminated piano keys (ivory)
Bridge Material: Ebony
Bridge Style: Std McKnight
Bridge Pins: Colossi Dyed Bone w/4mm Abalone dot
Finish: Sunburst

Nut Width: 1 13/16"
Saddle String Spacing: 2 5/16"
Scale Length: 25.4"
# Of Frets Clear: 14
# Of Frets Total: 20
Upper Bout Width: 11 3/4"
Waist Width: 10 1/2"
Lower Bout Width: 15 1/2"
Body Length: 20 3/8"

Other Features
Tuning Machines: Gold Gotoh 510 & Knight head logo
Strap Pin: Gold
Pickguard: Tortis with engraving
Electronics: K&K Pure Mini
Case: Guardian Dark Gray

The back and the top

I had heard so much about Tim's '59 Sitka. At my first McJam I played a guitar that was in the shop for repair and little did I know it was topped with a piece. Man did I love that guitar! So much so, at the next McJam I asked Tim if he would build me one just like it. He said he could come close!

At McJam this past summer I arrived a little early and spent some time with Tim in the wood room. My goodness that is a wonderful place. The aroma is to die for. I could live in there. We picked out a '59 Sitka top and a really nice piece of Sapele. Both tapped really well so we have high hopes!

Here Mary caught me back in the wood room sneaking my Sapele off the shelf to get a pic.

We also discussed a wood mosaic rosette. Tim keeps every scrap from every guitar for just such an occasion. Here Mary and I are picking out some choice morsels.

This is what we are shooting for.

More photos coming when the building process begins in earnest.

David Wren 02-17-2020 03:43 PM

Good grief ... that wood ... and that rosette ... this'll be just gorgeous!

iim7V7IM7 02-17-2020 03:45 PM

Looks to be a busy year for you...:)

SJ VanSandt 02-17-2020 03:47 PM

Won't be ready in time for B.I.G. I wouldn't think. Darn! Guess I'll just have to settle for seeing your new Sexauer. ;)

Jamiejoon 02-17-2020 03:54 PM


Originally Posted by cigarfan (Post 6294883)

Wow, that will be a magnificent rosette. Congrats, Dennis!

Bill Kraus 02-17-2020 03:57 PM

Now I want to smell McKnights wood room!, I've got a thing for cigar and pipe tobacco, I wonder if the McKnights wood room has it beat.
That is one nice set of Sapele, should make a fine guitar, and '59 Sitka?, I like the sound of that.
I've never seen laminated piano key used for nut and saddle, is ivory as hard as bone or a bit softer?, very interesting. That will be one heck of a beautiful rosette, this will be a fun guitar to watch go together

Nemoman 02-17-2020 04:11 PM

Looks like this will be another killer guitar coming your way down the pipe!

Tim McKnight 02-17-2020 04:13 PM

Mucho Kudos to Dennis for rendering the rosette in PhotoShop. No pressure on us to try and mimic his artwork though ... YIKES!!! All kidding aside, this should be a very fun project to look forward to.

Haasome 02-17-2020 04:15 PM

Wooo Hooo, buckle up. This looks like fun!

SongwriterFan 02-17-2020 04:17 PM

Nice rosette!

Tim McKnight 02-17-2020 04:24 PM


Originally Posted by SongwriterFan (Post 6294997)
Nice rosette!

OK, nice one David. LOL. Nothing like adding to the pressure ;)

Guitars44me 02-17-2020 04:47 PM

Nut and Saddle...
I believe Ivory is considerably harder than bone. The laminate piano keys are a new idea to me. Cool way to recycle...

Dennis you will be ROCKIN'

This will be fun to watch from afar


TomB'sox 02-17-2020 05:10 PM

Wow, congrats Dennis. That Sitka looks amazing...what perfectly straight tight grain and almost as old as me!!!

Your rendering of the rosette is stunning, should be a breeze for Tim to whip that up when he has your photo to work from!!! Go Tim Go.

Eire 02-17-2020 08:21 PM


Originally Posted by cigarfan (Post 6294883)
At McJam this past summer I arrived a little early and spent some time with Tim in the wood room. My goodness that is a wonderful place. The aroma is to die for. I could live in there.

I have dibs on the wood room as my future place of residence, Dennis. Sorry. ;)

Beautiful piece of wood you've chosen, and that mosaic rosette is simply gorgeous -- literally a piece of art in its own right. I'll be eager to hear this baby come McJam season.

Kenneth Casper 02-17-2020 08:46 PM

Dennis, I love sapele, and you plucked a really nice set from Tim's stash! Cool rosette! You might have spent as much time mocking that up in Photoshop as Tim will spend putting it together :D. I enjoy local builds for the very reason the customer can come by the shop, touch and feel the woods, and pick out the exact woods he or she wants. Can't always happen, but nice when it does.

Enjoy the ride. Looks to be a good one!


Ukulele_Eddie 02-17-2020 09:53 PM

Dang, Dennis. You mean business this year with yet another fantastic build. I love that sapelle!

Steve Kinnaird 02-18-2020 08:42 AM


Originally Posted by Tim McKnight (Post 6294991)
Mucho Kudos to Dennis for rendering the rosette in PhotoShop. No pressure on us to try and mimic his artwork though ... YIKES!!! All kidding aside, this should be a very fun project to look forward to.

Hey Tim, you are correct sir, Dennis has impressive skills in Photoshop. In fact--sorry about this Dennis--he can do that rendering in several different colors!
And then you will have several different targets to hit. Or at least you can say, "Well, this bit of your rosette is like the 3rd drawing, this section is like the first..." And so on.

Kudos to both, it will be a wonderful guitar. Love that Sapele! (Just like Eddie said.)


cigarfan 02-20-2020 06:13 PM

Thanks to everyone for your comments. Appreciate you following along. If I know Mary, the pictures will start flowing. This is going to be fun.

So the process of building the rosette gets started with the tools of the trade and, of course, a copy of the photoshop challenge I prepared for Tim.

So much care with each piece.

A short video of the careful sanding of each piece to fit.

And the last piece slides in.

Then to remove all the working materials.

And finally after a pass through the sander.

When I received the photo above I had to slip it into my photoshop file to see how it looks. Tim did an awesome job!

The inlay work will be done tomorrow.

Mbroady 02-20-2020 09:44 PM

I can stare at that rosette all day and half way through next week. Truly a work of art.

ukejon 02-21-2020 02:12 AM

Another absolute the wood selection

TomB'sox 02-21-2020 07:25 AM

I would say Mr. McKNight nailed it Dennis!

Vaillant75 02-21-2020 08:24 AM

A nice declination of your already sublime Kostal rosette! Will follow this build with great interest.


Nemoman 02-21-2020 10:14 AM

Nicely executed, Tim!

Rodger 02-21-2020 06:24 PM

You have exquisite taste, Dennis!!

Can't wait to check this one out at lucky McJam 13!

cigarfan 02-21-2020 06:33 PM

Before I launch on the rosette progress today I want to mention an occurance today, I really can't call a setback but something that luthier and customer inevitably have to deal with from time to time. Tim was in touch this morning with a dilemma. The Sapele back we had agreed to was just short of wide enough for an SSD. But, by the way, he had 5 more Sapele backs to offer. Since I had spent some glorious aromatic time in Tim's wood room, I remember tapping those sample backs so when he said I have 5 other choices, 2 similar in figure, and all tapping nearly the same (no standouts) the choice would be fairly straight forward. These are the 2 finalists with my original set in the center. We chose the one on the left.

And the work on the rosette continues. Here is a short video of the router work to cut the inner and outer ring on the mosaic.

And some photos showing that same process.

With the channel routed in the top, time to glue in the mosaic.

And then a weight to keep it in place while the glue dries.

cigarfan 02-21-2020 06:35 PM

Creation of an endgraft to match the rosette.

And while the rosette is drying, the back is routed for the center strip of abalone. Then the abalone is glued in.

Not bad for a days work. Whew! Tim and Mary have got to be tired.

SJ VanSandt 02-21-2020 06:39 PM

Love it, Dennis! This is going to be so gorgeous.

cigarfan 02-22-2020 03:10 PM

When you commission a McKnight you can count on complete documentation of the process. We all love pics and each step is an opportunity for learning something new. I hope you all are ready for the onslaught.

Tim tells me today's goals include bending the sides, brace the back and complete the rosette. Lofty goals but something tells me this hard working man is going to get there.

Profiling the sides. Sapele outside and Honduran Mahogany inside.

Thicknessing the sides.

Marking the waist before bending.

A little spritz before bending. You have to soften them up a little bit.

Preparing the sandwich.

Line up in the bender.

And a short video showing the process of slowly getting the sides in the mold.

cigarfan 02-22-2020 03:25 PM

The rosette moves into the next phase ... addition of the paua rings.

Just a reminder of where we left it.

Measure twice (or five times), cut once!

Bend the maple purfling.

Materials are ready!

Dry fit the pieces.

cigarfan 02-22-2020 03:26 PM

A short video of the final cut.

Then comes the sticky stuff.

A short video of the glue clean-up.

Shave the high edges.

And voila! She is a beaut!

And little protective material and she goes back under the weight to dry overnight.

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