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  #1  
Old 08-23-2019, 07:35 AM
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Mbroady Mbroady is offline
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Default Woodworking basics?

There is a guitar building class being offered at my local community college. Below is the description

“This course is open to students with a comfortable understanding of woodworking. Students will learn all the skills necessary to design and construct an acoustic guitar. Students will complete at least one instrument of their own creation....”

Though I do have a basic shop in my garage and have made some very basic items such as chest with draws, crates and stairs and I have a basic understanding of wood working joints, I do not have a lot of practical experience with Dovetail, Tongue-and-Groove, Mortise-and-Tenon Tongue-and-Groove,
Butt Joint...etc


What wood (pun intended) you consider “a comfortable understanding of woodworking”. What techniques and skill set should I prioritize, research, and what resources should I look into to help bring me up to speed

Though my time is limited (have a 2 year old rug rat) the course starts in November so I have a few months to brush up on the basics


Thanks
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Old 08-23-2019, 07:52 AM
Paddy1951 Paddy1951 is offline
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The description of the class is kind of vague. For instance, many good wood workers today can build things using modern and powered tools. How many of them could hand chisel and form a dovetail joint? Modern tools have eliminated the need to do many things by hand. Those kind of skills have been lost to many.

Call the school or the instructor to get more information.
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Old 08-23-2019, 08:29 AM
coldfingers coldfingers is offline
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I think if you're comfortable around tools, have some basic experience working with wood, and are motivated to learn, you'll be fine. Guitar making is such a highly specialized form of woodworking that the more experienced cabinet makers, finish carpenters, etc. will all have to learn most of the same stuff you'll have to learn. The biggest hurdle is usually the tool requirements, which can be a significant up-front investment.
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Old 08-23-2019, 08:32 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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The first question that comes to my mind is what do you want from having attended the course? For example, is the purpose of the course for you to make a single guitar during the course, or is it to learn how to make guitars so that you can make more of them on your own, in your own shop?

Most guitar-making courses will teach what skills are needed to assemble a guitar. How long/intensive the course is will determine how much of the guitar making steps have been done for you. For example, will you be hand planing tops, backs and sides, or will they already be thicknesses for you? Or will there be a thickness sander available at the course, negating the need to learn how to hand plane them?

What you "need" to know depends on your purpose in attending the course - first paragraph, above. Presumably, the course will provide all tools necessary to complete the course: everything is setup for you, you just have to show up and do the work. After the course, you'll return to your "basic shop in my garage", which is not all setup for you to make guitars.

If your intention is to make more guitars after the course - a bridge that you can cross after you've attended the course and decided if you actually do want to make more guitars - you'll need to setup an adequate shop. That'll include chisels, planes, sharpening methods, suitable bench...

One of the most basic skills is how to setup and sharpen tools so that they are SHARP. That is a skill you can work on prior to the course. Ditto for the use of a cabinet scraper. You can learn about basic aspects of wood structure: grain direction and runout, for example. They might cover that during the course, or not, depending upon the duration of the course.

LMII.com has some articles on aspects of tool usage. robcosman.com has lots of information on plane and chisel setup and sharpening.

It is unlikely that you will be cutting neck joints using hand tools. Your current knowledge level is probably adequate to attend the course. However, if you intend to build more instruments after the course, you'll need to fill in gaps in skills and knowledge at some point: it is unlikely the course is of sufficient duration to teach you everything there is to know about woodworking and its subspecialty, guitar making.
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Old 08-23-2019, 09:15 AM
mirwa mirwa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mbroady View Post
“This course is open to students with a comfortable understanding of woodworking. Students will learn all the skills necessary to design and construct an acoustic guitar. Students will complete at least one instrument of their own creation....
I feel the implied knowledge needed would be comfortable around wood and tools, powered and hand. If you were someone that programmed computers or say a musician for example, then you may find it challenging to stay with the class as it progresses through the build if you did not possess these basics.

A structured course is a great start for anyone wanting to learn.

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Old 08-23-2019, 09:25 AM
mercy mercy is offline
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based on the things you have made you have plenty "basics", do it.
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Old 08-23-2019, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charles Tauber View Post
The first question that comes to my mind is what do you want from having attended the course? For example, is the purpose of the course for you to make a single guitar during the course, or is it to learn how to make guitars so that you can make more of them on your own, in your own shop?

Most guitar-making courses will teach what skills are needed to assemble a guitar. How long/intensive the course is will determine how much of the guitar making steps have been done for you. For example, will you be hand planing tops, backs and sides, or will they already be thicknesses for you? Or will there be a thickness sander available at the course, negating the need to learn how to hand plane them?

What you "need" to know depends on your purpose in attending the course - first paragraph, above. Presumably, the course will provide all tools necessary to complete the course: everything is setup for you, you just have to show up and do the work. After the course, you'll return to your "basic shop in my garage", which is not all setup for you to make guitars.

If your intention is to make more guitars after the course - a bridge that you can cross after you've attended the course and decided if you actually do want to make more guitars - you'll need to setup an adequate shop. That'll include chisels, planes, sharpening methods, suitable bench...

One of the most basic skills is how to setup and sharpen tools so that they are SHARP. That is a skill you can work on prior to the course. Ditto for the use of a cabinet scraper. You can learn about basic aspects of wood structure: grain direction and runout, for example. They might cover that during the course, or not, depending upon the duration of the course.

LMII.com has some articles on aspects of tool usage. robcosman.com has lots of information on plane and chisel setup and sharpening.

It is unlikely that you will be cutting neck joints using hand tools. Your current knowledge level is probably adequate to attend the course. However, if you intend to build more instruments after the course, you'll need to fill in gaps in skills and knowledge at some point: it is unlikely the course is of sufficient duration to teach you everything there is to know about woodworking and its subspecialty, guitar making.
As I see it now, the purpose is to just build one Guitar, something I could scratch off my bucket list. I have no intention of re-tooling my limited workspace in order to continue making guitars. I would much rather play em then build them.


The course description says “design and build” so I would assume I have some Input in regards to the style and maybe even type of woods used. However the fee is $200, so I think there would be major limitations in regards to wood choices as well as the extent to which a guitar will be made from “scratch”. It could be more of a kit type of build.

I will contact the instructor to get a better grasp of expectations as well as the depth of knowledge needed to take the class. Regardless, I think it could be a fun and educational project, and perhaps I’ll come out of it with a good sounding and playing instrument. Nothing ventured nothing gained. But at the very least I hope to have a somewhat better understanding of what goes into making an acoustic guitar.
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Last edited by Mbroady; 08-23-2019 at 05:12 PM.
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Old 08-23-2019, 12:24 PM
redir redir is offline
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Being that it is a college course I would expect it to be more involved then jsut building a guitar. As an example, I took an elective course called "fishing." SOme days you had to actually gout out in the filed and fish, how cool is that? I barely passed the **** course with a C because it included all kinds of things like Identifying fish species, biology, chemistry and so on. It was not what I was expecting.

If I was a professor giving a course on guitar building then Trevor Gores book would be the text book and you would HATE me

But anyway, I think you will be fine. I never picked up a chisel before I built my first guitar in 1990 and I still play that guitar today.
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Old 08-23-2019, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by redir View Post
Being that it is a college course I would expect it to be more involved then jsut building a guitar. As an example, I took an elective course called "fishing." SOme days you had to actually gout out in the filed and fish, how cool is that? I barely passed the **** course with a C because it included all kinds of things like Identifying fish species, biology, chemistry and so on. It was not what I was expecting.

If I was a professor giving a course on guitar building then Trevor Gores book would be the text book and you would HATE me

But anyway, I think you will be fine. I never picked up a chisel before I built my first guitar in 1990 and I still play that guitar today.
It’s a continuing education course which runs for 6 weeks, 1 night a week, 4 hours per night. So in total 24 hours. So how much can get done in 24 hours of hands on labor? That’s a Question for the experienced professional and/or hobby builder. I’m going to going out on a limb here and say that a finish will not be part of the build process. . But going under the assumption that all the equipment is ready go, and all the jigs are made, and perhaps the back, top and sides are pre prepared, and maybe even the bracing is cut, then 30 hours is ample time.
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Last edited by Mbroady; 08-23-2019 at 05:21 PM.
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Old 08-23-2019, 04:52 PM
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rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mbroady View Post
It’s a continuing education course which runs for 5 weeks, 1 night a week, 4 hours per night. So in total 30 hours. So how much can get done in 30 hours of hands on labor? That’s a Question for the experienced professional and/or hobby builder. I’m going to going out on a limb here and say that a finish will not be part of the build process. . But going under the assumption that all the equipment is ready go, and all the jigs are made, and perhaps the back, top and sides are pre prepared, and maybe even the bracing is cut, then 30 hours is ample time.
That's twenty hours. That's very, very, little time. Like you mentioned, there must be a fair amount of prepared items.
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Old 08-23-2019, 05:20 PM
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That's twenty hours. That's very, very, little time. Like you mentioned, there must be a fair amount of prepared items.
Thanks. Actually, my numbers are off on 2 counts, which I corrected above. It’s 6 weeks at 4 hours per week. So 24 hours total. Still not much time.
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