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  #1  
Old 09-25-2013, 10:26 AM
Sam VanLaningham Sam VanLaningham is offline
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Default Build Thread: My first acoustic..00 14-fretter woohoo!

Hello AGF - Im going for it and hope to get help along the way! I moved from Alaska to Oregon recently and now have a garage = enough room for some tools etc.

Anyways, I was given a billet of curly maple years ago and planned on using it for electric tops. But im just too dang passionate about acoustics and so its time to man up.

My target is a L-00 esque guitar, spruce top, maple back and sides, ebony fretboard, ivoroid bindings. I want it to sound like a Kim Walker . Im going to go with a sunburst varnish finish.

My questions for now:
- Is it sacrilege to have a MAHOGANY neck with MAPLE back and sides? I just like mahogany necks better. EDIT found this thread: http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...d.php?t=295910

- Im wondering about tops. I am and old rocker at heart and have moments of thunderous strumming and think I might like an adirondack top. However, I wonder if, with maple back and sides, that will lead to a potentially super bright, rigid tone? Thoughts?

- although Im so far from finishing, I dont seem to see a consensus on varnish. Is Behlens rock hard a good choice?

OK, here's the materials and such I've got so far.

Sam

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Last edited by Sam VanLaningham; 09-25-2013 at 10:39 AM.
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Old 09-25-2013, 11:26 AM
arie arie is offline
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Originally Posted by Left of Sam View Post
Hello AGF - Im going for it and hope to get help along the way! I moved from Alaska to Oregon recently and now have a garage = enough room for some tools etc.

Anyways, I was given a billet of curly maple years ago and planned on using it for electric tops. But im just too dang passionate about acoustics and so its time to man up.

My target is a L-00 esque guitar, spruce top, maple back and sides, ebony fretboard, ivoroid bindings. I want it to sound like a Kim Walker . Im going to go with a sunburst varnish finish.

My questions for now:
- Is it sacrilege to have a MAHOGANY neck with MAPLE back and sides? I just like mahogany necks better. EDIT found this thread: http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...d.php?t=295910

- Im wondering about tops. I am and old rocker at heart and have moments of thunderous strumming and think I might like an adirondack top. However, I wonder if, with maple back and sides, that will lead to a potentially super bright, rigid tone? Thoughts?

- although Im so far from finishing, I dont seem to see a consensus on varnish. Is Behlens rock hard a good choice?

OK, here's the materials and such I've got so far.

Sam
1. no, not sacrilege at all.

2. the L-00 format does not lend itself well to thunderous strumming. choose a larger body style for windmill action.

3. can't comment on varnish -yet
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Old 09-25-2013, 11:38 AM
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Rodger Knox Rodger Knox is offline
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+1 to what arie said.
I'm just finishing up an L-00, there's a build thread here.

http://www.luthiersforum.com/forum/v...177ee68c025265

I'm an amateur, so a lot of my methods were developed around my tools and skills. Some things I follow the crowd, but most of what I do differently might make sense for an amateur, but not so much for a professional. As an example, I don't own a heating blanket, I bend sides on a form heated by light bulbs and a clothes iron. Not very professional, but it works great for me.
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Old 09-25-2013, 11:48 AM
arie arie is offline
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+1 to what arie said.
I'm just finishing up an L-00, there's a build thread here.

http://www.luthiersforum.com/forum/v...177ee68c025265

I'm an amateur, so a lot of my methods were developed around my tools and skills. Some things I follow the crowd, but most of what I do differently might make sense for an amateur, but not so much for a professional. As an example, I don't own a heating blanket, I bend sides on a form heated by light bulbs and a clothes iron. Not very professional, but it works great for me.
nothing wrong about your technique at all. a true professional is open minded and learns from others and incorporates ideas and knowledge into their own skill set.

imo, it's better to interact with an open-minded "amateur" with one year of experience, then with a closed-minded "professional" with one year of experience -30 times over.
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Old 09-25-2013, 01:14 PM
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Rodger Knox Rodger Knox is offline
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I guess the point I was trying to make is that I don't have to turn a profit, so I can do things inefficiently if I prefer. Professionals have to optimize production (at least to some degree), while all I have to optimize is the amount of pleasure I get from building an instrument.

When I started back in '99, I was, like so many beginning builders, on a shoestring budget. Many of my methods were developed to work around financial constraints, and the ones that work well I still use. That's where my build thread might be most useful, methods that don't use expensive specialized tools and produce results of comparable quality.

I'm still looking for a way to cut binding/purfling ledges without a jig, but I'm beginning to think that may be one thing that requires specialized tooling to get professional results without spending a tremendous amount of time on handwork.
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Old 09-25-2013, 01:21 PM
Sam VanLaningham Sam VanLaningham is offline
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Originally Posted by arie View Post
1. no, not sacrilege at all.

2. the L-00 format does not lend itself well to thunderous strumming. choose a larger body style for windmill action.

3. can't comment on varnish -yet
Hi Arie - OK, I just got some honduran mahogany and am glueing it up as we speak.......making a two piece neck (I'm really trying to go cheapish.....although it looks like Rodger really did well that way!).

Ive got plenty of other guitars for windmill action woohoo! (and correct me if im wrong here, I dont think body size is what makes a guitar heavy strummable......I think its mostly scale length, top wood and bracing, right?). Anyways, I already made my side bending jig! But I think I might go long scale with this bad boy. Essentially, Im in love with the ascetic of the L-00 and I will play the guitar (I dream) as it likes to be played, if you know what I mean.

Excellent! Thanks for feedback.
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Old 09-25-2013, 01:22 PM
Sam VanLaningham Sam VanLaningham is offline
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Originally Posted by Rodger Knox View Post
+1 to what arie said.
I'm just finishing up an L-00, there's a build thread here.

http://www.luthiersforum.com/forum/v...177ee68c025265

I'm an amateur, so a lot of my methods were developed around my tools and skills. Some things I follow the crowd, but most of what I do differently might make sense for an amateur, but not so much for a professional. As an example, I don't own a heating blanket, I bend sides on a form heated by light bulbs and a clothes iron. Not very professional, but it works great for me.
Excellent stuff! I just signed up or luthiers forum and I will go through your build with a fine toothed file! Cool. Sam
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Old 09-25-2013, 02:00 PM
arie arie is offline
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Originally Posted by Rodger Knox View Post

I'm still looking for a way to cut binding/purfling ledges without a jig, but I'm beginning to think that may be one thing that requires specialized tooling to get professional results without spending a tremendous amount of time on handwork.
behold the schneider gramil:



@ Lmi for about $50. not for everybody, and has a bit of a learning curve, but you can cut rebates to depth and step with multiple passes or score the features and chisel out the rest -your choice.
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Old 09-25-2013, 02:43 PM
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That's what I was refering to as "a tremendous amount of time on handwork!"
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Old 09-25-2013, 02:59 PM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Originally Posted by Rodger Knox View Post
I'm still looking for a way to cut binding/purfling ledges without a jig, but I'm beginning to think that may be one thing that requires specialized tooling to get professional results without spending a tremendous amount of time on handwork.
The simplest way I know of is to use an off-the-shelf laminate trimmer or a router with a laminate trimmer attachment. What it won't do is keep the width of the rabbet constant as the base tips to follow the curvature of top and back. The trimmer will do 90% of the work, leaving 10% hand work to make them constant width.

You can make a very simple jig to attach to a router that will solve the above problem.

If you want quick, easy, professional results, the best jig I know of is the one created by Larrivee and apprentices, currently sold here as a kit: http://www.canadianluthiersupply.com...ts/binding-jig
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Old 09-25-2013, 11:52 PM
Sam VanLaningham Sam VanLaningham is offline
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Ok unless there's a major issue that I don't know about, I'm going with a two-piece neck. Might start rough cutting tomorrow!

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Old 09-26-2013, 11:03 AM
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Rodger Knox Rodger Knox is offline
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Originally Posted by charles Tauber View Post
The simplest way I know of is to use an off-the-shelf laminate trimmer or a router with a laminate trimmer attachment. What it won't do is keep the width of the rabbet constant as the base tips to follow the curvature of top and back. The trimmer will do 90% of the work, leaving 10% hand work to make them constant width.

You can make a very simple jig to attach to a router that will solve the above problem.

If you want quick, easy, professional results, the best jig I know of is the one created by Larrivee and apprentices, currently sold here as a kit: http://www.canadianluthiersupply.com...ts/binding-jig
You've described the process that has been the quickest and most accurate for me, but it still isn't quick or easy!
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Old 09-26-2013, 11:11 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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You've described the process that has been the quickest and most accurate for me, but it still isn't quick or easy!
"What brings you to Casablanca?"

"I came for the waters."

"Waters? We are in the desert."

"I guess I was misinformed."


from Casablanca


If you came to instrument making for the purposes of a quick or easy project, you were "misinformed". Woodworking doesn't get much more complex or difficult than instrument making. (A close runner-up might be pattern making.)
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Old 09-26-2013, 11:27 AM
Ned Milburn Ned Milburn is offline
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Hiya Left Of Sam,

Regarding an Adirondack top being too bright...

If built the exact same way (thickness, bracing, etc), it is true that certain top woods will have certain characteristic sounds, but the thickness, bracing pattern, and bracing shape & can be altered to modify the sound of the soundboard. I have heard stories about "blind" tests where listeners were not able to identify the top wood of different guitars. Remember, the top doesn't create the sound - the soundboard does. And the soundboard is the combination of top wood, top bracing, bridge, bridge plate, (& finish). It is this combination that is the sound generator.

The sides and back do 2 main things. First, it is an echo chamber and will color the sound created by the top based upon its reflective properties. Get a porous and softer wood, then the brightness of the echo will be sucked away somewhat (think of a room with lots of curtains in it versus just bare walls and windows). Second, the back can be designed to freely vibrate in sympathy with the top to help create a slightly fuller tone and more sustain. The vibrational properties of woods will change the sympathetic response of the back, again coloring, but not "creating" the sound.

I think sitka is a good choice for a first steel string guitar since the wood is workable & forgiving, and not extreme on either side (stiff or soft). Adirondack spruce should be fine to work with, too, however, so you don't have to over think your decision.

Since the discussion turned to preparation of binding channels, here is a link to some photos of my simple, cheap, and effective attachment I made for my bosch colt router.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater
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  #15  
Old 09-26-2013, 02:08 PM
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Rodger Knox Rodger Knox is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charles Tauber View Post
"What brings you to Casablanca?"

"I came for the waters."

"Waters? We are in the desert."

"I guess I was misinformed."


from Casablanca


If you came to instrument making for the purposes of a quick or easy project, you were "misinformed". Woodworking doesn't get much more complex or difficult than instrument making. (A close runner-up might be pattern making.)
Actually, quite the opposite! I like the difficulty, but my first binding was done with a mill ******* file, maybe 20-30 hours for binding and no purfling. Using a gramel cut that in half, and doing the initial cutting with a laminate trimmer half again.
I'm not looking for quick or easy, I'm looking for precision. I DO like quick or easy occasionally.
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