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Old 10-18-2014, 02:59 PM
Kent Chasson's Avatar
Kent Chasson Kent Chasson is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bellingham, WA
Posts: 911
Default Chasson #99 Craftsman Guitar

Chasson #99 Concert Model "Craftsman" Guitar

This will be for sale here and on my web site for a limited time for $8,200. Shipping and sales tax for WA state residents not included.
3 day trial period. PM or email me for details.

Concert Body: 15" Lower Bout, 9-3/4" Waist, 12" Upper Bout
Slight Manzer Style Wedge
Sexauer Style Hybrid Cutaway
Engelmann Spruce Top
Wenge Back/Sides, Fingerboard, Headplate
Ebony Bridge and Custom Tuning Pegs
Mahogany Neck
Sapele Binding
Flamed Catalpa Trim

24.9" Scale (Medium or Light Gauge strings)
1-3/4" Nut
2-1/4" Spacing at Saddle

Ameritage Silver Series Case

Build thread for this guitar is here. A thread with a review of this guitar is here.

A (long) summary of the design process is below the photos.



Chasson #99 Craftsman Guitar

The American Craftsman movement grew out of the larger Arts and Crafts movement in England at the end of the 19th century. Socially, it was a movement away from industrialization and factories and back to individual craftsmen. Esthetically, it was a rejection of the showy ornamentation of the Victorian era in favor of clean design that features the inherent beauty and texture of natural materials.

I was familiar with the Craftsman furniture of Gustav Stickley and that became a primary influence for this guitar. In an advertisement for his Morris Chair, Stickley wrote, “This piece shown here is first, last and all the time a chair, and not an imitation of a throne, nor an exhibit of snakes and dragons in a wild riot of misapplied wood-carving. The fundamental purpose in building this chair was to make a piece which should be essentially comfortable, durable, well-proportioned and as soundly put together as the best workmanship, tools and materials make possible.” Substitute "guitar" for "chair", and that pretty well sums up my design philosophy: Handmade objects should be beautiful, but form follows function. Incorporating a Stickley esthetic, however, presented some challenges. The style is planar and rectilinear, not exactly a natural fit on a guitar. The challenge was to complete a design with integrity throughout as opposed to pasting on a few Craftsman details and calling it good.

I decided early on that I didn't want the guitar to be a total departure from my current designs so a contemporary Craftsman interpretation was in order. I started with the headstock and neck. Since my standard headstock has no straight lines, I went with a headstock shape that I use for slotheads. It has an outward taper that gives it a more solid, substantial look and it has two straight edges. I then had the idea to make the truss rod cover mimic the exposed tenon in the arms of a Morris chair. We made it trapezoidal to mirror the headstock shape, a theme that is repeated in the tuner buttons, backstripe, and end graft.

I used a Craftsman font for the logo and decided to do it as an underlay (as opposed to an inlay) in a contrasting wood. The truss rod cover above the surface and the underlay below then became another repeated design element.

The headstock is the only planar surface on the instrument and I wanted to emphasize that aspect. I devised a way to inset the tuner bushings from the back so there is one less interruption in the planar surface.

Squares and groups of squares are another theme in Craftsman design. I used that idea for position markers, which were done as underlays as well.

An idea for the rosette eluded me until the end of the design process after building had started. Even though it's purely ornamental here, the dovetail seemed appropriate for its symbolism: It calls back the sturdy, exposed joinery of Craftsman furniture, and it's synonymous with harmony and a good fit. It also adds a bit of motion and asymmetry to the design which fits the contemporary interpretation. Like many of the design elements, it doesn't scream for attention but rewards a close look.

The traditional wood used in Craftsman furniture is white oak. I considered using it for the back and sides but decided on wenge for tonal reasons. Wenge has the open-pored texture of oak and the strait grain doesn't draw focus from the design highlights. A glossy finish doesn't fit the style so I used an open-pored satin finish to highlight the natural texture in the wood.

More photos in the next post...

Thanks for looking!
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Last edited by Kent Chasson; 10-22-2014 at 12:31 PM.
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