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-   -   First Build: Western Red Cedar & White Oak Grand Concert (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=300747)

Viking 06-27-2013 01:49 AM

First Build: Western Red Cedar & White Oak Grand Concert
 
So my first build will be a Grand Concert. The best sounding guitar I've personally ever played was a Taylor GC3. That in itself is kind of a sad statement, but, with time I'm sure I'll have my hands on something nicer.

The top will be western red cedar, the sides and back will be quarter sawn white oak. The stuff I've got has a very nice looking light colored sap wood strip. Not too much figure, considering it's quarter sawn white oak, but it will still be pretty. I'll probably also build the neck, fret board & bridge out of oak. Mostly because it's what I've got laying around.

It will have a 24 3/4 inch scale length and 1 3/4 inch nut width.

I bought and devoured Cumpiano's book. Then Kinkead's book. I've also purchased Somogyi's books. So all of that in addition to being an information hound, I love to research whatever has caught my fancy.

I've started acquiring tools. I'm already set up to fashion nuts and saddles. I've replaced the nut and saddle on my Yamaha FG730S. I also replaced the nut and saddle on my Epiphone J200. But being predominantly a finger style player, it's super thick top really needs a pick to drive it sufficiently, so I sold it to a guy who just likes to strum some chords.

I would like to have my first instrument completed before the end of summer, though that might be a tad ambitious. In addition to building the actual guitar, I'll also be way laid in the coming weeks by the need to build jigs and infrastructure.

I'm captivated by simple lines and earthy colors and tones. I'll probably end up building plenty with spruce, but I love the darker looks of the cedars and redwoods.

I'm also devoted to the idea that a fine guitar is as much a piece of art as it is a musical instrument. And for better or worse, I think the judgment of most musicians is influenced by how a guitar looks. If it doesn't sound good first and foremost, then it doesn't matter what it looks like(lipstick on a pig and all that), but all else being equal, folks will opt for a beautiful instrument over an ordinary looking one. So I hope to achieve this level of beauty with learned precision and complimentary contrasting colors of woods, simple lines and interesting but minimalist inlay.

On finishes, I want to learn how to French polish. From what Iíve read, a French polish finish will have the smallest impact on tone of the various finishes one can use. Though I suppose Iím open to someone trying to convince me otherwise if they feel the need. I do understand that it is a complicated and difficult skill to master.

I know for a fact though, that I will have a very hard time finishing my first guitar. I took a wood shop class in high school. I built a stool and a box(still have the stool, gave the box to momÖ). I was so enamored with the look and feel of naked wood, I didnít "finish" those pieces. Not because I was lazy, but because I just loved the look and feel of the wood all by itself. I know Iíll have to finish the guitar to help protect it, but I also know I will definitely not want to.

Anyway. This thread will actually be as much a thread about my building infrastructure & jigs to perform the various tasks related to building the guitar.

Viking 06-27-2013 02:12 AM

This was my first attempt at a top. But the material was not very well quarter sawn and it's really floppy when bent laterally. Not sure if it should feel that way. It's .13" thick too, so it's still pretty thick.

Sorry for the poor photo quality. My wife took her decent camera with her to Wyoming for her friends wedding. How dare she!

http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z...30627-0057.jpg

Here is an end grain shot, though you can't see much.

http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z...30627-0057.jpg

Viking 06-27-2013 02:17 AM

This was my next attempt. This wood is finer grained, and more closely quarter sawn. Though it has some pretty dramatic color variations, it is actually pretty close grain. At least, much closer than my first attempt.

http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z...30627-0058.jpg

I had attempted to thickness my first top with my plane, and that was going okay. But it's not very consistent. And it seems to me that the thickness of the top is one of the primary sources of tone in the guitar. So it should be consistent. Given that, I'm going to be building a drum sander. I've got the shaft, pillow block bearings, and pulleys on the way. Building the sander will be my primary activity this coming weekend.

Also, this is 6 individual pieces I jointed with my plane and glued together. I'll plunk down more serious money for better wood for my second build.

Viking 06-27-2013 02:20 AM

This is a sketch of the outlines of the guitar I am trying to build. I'm actually uncertain if I want to include the florentine cutaway or not. It doesn't seem to me that it would be that much harder to do with the cutaway. So... I'll see when I get to bending the sides.

http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z...30627-0059.jpg

Viking 06-27-2013 02:22 AM

And these are the general plans I'm using to build the guitar. I'm using the OO plans at the bottom.

http://www.grellier.fr/plans.php?lang=en

And, here is a Pinterest board that contains some of my inspirations for the various design concepts and elements that are guiding my vision for my guitar.

Guitar Design Concepts

KingCavalier 06-27-2013 06:48 AM

Looking good Viking, this is going to be a lot of fun to watch. Keep the pics coming.

Neil K Walk 06-27-2013 08:25 AM

So far so good, Viking. Using oak and incorporating a Florentine cutaway is a bit ambitious so give yourself time. I'm only on my first too, though, but followed a similar path so I've been through a few pitfalls.

redir 06-27-2013 10:30 AM

I just built a guitar with white oak and I absolutely love the stuff. I French Polished it and I can tell ya it will take forever to fill the pores. You may want to consider an epoxy pore filler. I used egg whites and pumice. It worked but it was not easy. This guitar was also a parlor guitar and you may find that a floppy top works well on a small body guitar.

printer2 06-27-2013 11:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redir (Post 3525197)
I just built a guitar with white oak and I absolutely love the stuff. I French Polished it and I can tell ya it will take forever to fill the pores. You may want to consider an epoxy pore filler. I used egg whites and pumice. It worked but it was not easy. This guitar was also a parlor guitar and you may find that a floppy top works well on a small body guitar.

Any pictures anywhere or maybe a build thread? After my practice build I will be using oak on my small guitar. Since this is my first kick at the can I love to see what others have done.

Viking 06-27-2013 08:26 PM

Thanks fellas.

Quote:

Originally Posted by redir (Post 3525197)
I just built a guitar with white oak and I absolutely love the stuff. I French Polished it and I can tell ya it will take forever to fill the pores. You may want to consider an epoxy pore filler. I used egg whites and pumice. It worked but it was not easy. This guitar was also a parlor guitar and you may find that a floppy top works well on a small body guitar.

Yes, you certainly can't post something like that and not provide a link to pictures! :mad:

Yeah, I've noticed the pores on the oak. Like tiny little straws that have been cut in half length-wise.

redir 06-28-2013 07:46 AM

Yes sure I have a build thread on another luthiers forum. It was part of a challenge competition so it's not your usual build but it really is an outstanding sounding guitar and I definitely plan on building more with oak and possibly pine top if I can find more of it.

http://luthiersforum.com/forum/viewt...=10133&t=37566

IDK if you have to be a member to see pics if so let me know and I'll just post a few.

printer2 06-28-2013 09:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redir (Post 3526364)
Yes sure I have a build thread on another luthiers forum. It was part of a challenge competition so it's not your usual build but it really is an outstanding sounding guitar and I definitely plan on building more with oak and possibly pine top if I can find more of it.

http://luthiersforum.com/forum/viewt...=10133&t=37566

IDK if you have to be a member to see pics if so let me know and I'll just post a few.

I loved that guitar. It looks amazing and sounds great. It would thrill me to pieces to end up with something as nice.

Neil K Walk 06-28-2013 09:26 AM

All talk of finishing aside: oak is a hard wood to work with if you're new to woodworking. I tried making cam clamps out of red oak and it really made my little bandsaw strain - the wood was literally burning as the blade was cutting through it. Obviously I needed a better blade. I can only assume that I'd have to be diligent about keeping my planes sharp and use a lot of sandpaper and elbow grease to work with it as well. As for pore filling, I'd assume that Z Poxy resin might work great with it. Do a search on Youtube for "Todd Stock pore filling". For his demonstration he was working with maple which is also a very dense wood.

charles Tauber 06-28-2013 09:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kwakatak (Post 3526501)
I tried making cam clamps out of red oak and it really made my little bandsaw strain - the wood was literally burning as the blade was cutting through it. Obviously I needed a better blade.

In my experience, it's no worse than hard maple. Yes, you need a better blade.


Quote:

Do a search on Youtube for "Todd Stock pore filling". For his demonstration he was working with maple which is also a very dense wood.
Uhm, maple is a "closed pore" wood and doesn't require pore filling.

An old-fashioned paste pore filler works well on oak, as it does on rosewoods and other open-pored woods.

Viking 06-28-2013 11:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redir (Post 3526364)
Yes sure I have a build thread on another luthiers forum. It was part of a challenge competition so it's not your usual build but it really is an outstanding sounding guitar and I definitely plan on building more with oak and possibly pine top if I can find more of it.

http://luthiersforum.com/forum/viewt...=10133&t=37566

IDK if you have to be a member to see pics if so let me know and I'll just post a few.

Wow. I'm speechless. That's a beautiful guitar. The bar's been set pretty high.


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