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Old 09-02-2020, 06:51 AM
MC5C MC5C is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Tatamagouche Nova Scotia
Posts: 1,044
Default Hand carved vs copy-router?

I looked at the L-4 that Steve linked to in the "Next best thing to an L-5" thread, and the first thing that leapt off the page was "hand carved spruce top". Gibson and every other factory making archtops used copy routers, they didn't hand carve anything. Maybe in the very early days they did, and maybe pre-war they finished them with hand carving, tuning, graduating, but by the 1940's they were doing all the rough carving on machines, and probably just doing finish sanding by hand. I have nothing against machines doing grunt work (when I toured the Benedetto shop in 2018, the first thing I saw was the CNC machines and the now semi-retired old hand-made copy router). I just wonder if describing every solid top instrument as "hand carved" isn't getting a little romantic and deliberately evoking some fictitious image of a worker with a top on a bench surrounded by shavings knee deep on the floor as he "hand carves" a top (or a back, which is around 10 times harder), which when I do it involves several power tools, and at least three or four days of actual hand and arm numbing bench time with planes and scrapers. The reality was wood clamped on machine, carved top ready for finish work in 30 minutes, next one please.
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Brian Evans
1935 Dobro model 25 resonator
1943 Paramount (made by Kay) mandolin
1946 Epiphone Zephyr electric archtop
1957 Hofner Senator archtop
1962 Gibson Melody Maker electric
1963 National Dynamic lap steel
1996 Landola jumbo
1998 Godin Artisan TC electric
1998 Epiphone SG electric
2010 GoldTone PBR-CA resonator
2015 Evans electric archtop
2016 Evans archtop

Last edited by MC5C; 10-09-2020 at 09:53 AM.
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