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  #1  
Old 09-29-2016, 04:21 PM
SnowManSnow SnowManSnow is offline
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Default Build Thread #1 (sometimes you just need to jump)

So this is something I want to try. I love playing, I love working little by little on things to get it just right, and I have a great place. What i lack is experience and sometimes common sense

Thus here is a build thread!
What I want to do is not get overwhelmed. I remember when I first started aquaculturing sps stoney corals how insane it all sounded, and now 12 years later its like a second language. Hopefully this will be the same.

I think I want to go about this in a sectional manner. I want to order mats and build the body... then move on to the neck and so forth. I feel like that will keep me from rushing and making more mistakes then I'll make naturally.

So here is a list of mats. I'm choosing fairly common woods as to keep costs reasonable on this learner. Hopefully at the end I'll have a beautiful instrument I can give one of the youth at church who can't afford a guitar and has a passion for leading. OR at least a home invasion club

From Stewmac
TOP Sitka AA : 22.06
Back and Sides : Curly Maple 49.52
Uncarved Braces : Sitka spruce x5 31.45
Kerfing x10 Basswood 24.40
Binding : Bloodwood x 7 23.73

What am i missing for the body mats?

If all goes according to plan I'll build the body and move on from there.
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  #2  
Old 09-29-2016, 06:22 PM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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Good luck! As somebody who took 4 years to build his first guitar and four years and not even halfway into his second I can relate on the whole "taking it slow" thing. The drawback is that if you don't maintain a regular pace or let it languish too long you tend to forget what you learned the first time and can make the same mistakes again.

I see that you plan on using curly maple for your first wood. I'd reconsider.
When I embarked on my first I was told to work with an easy wood. Through poring over threads here and on luthiersforum.com and kitguitarsforum.com I heard how difficult it was to bend highly figured woods like curly maple without cracking it because of reasons I still cannot fully understand. In my case I was told to use mahogany for my first build because it was easy to work with - but I still found it somewhat temperamental because after bending the sides it either wanted to spring back to being flat or was so brittle that it would crack along the grain. OTOH I used rosewood for binding on my first and for the back and sides on my second and it bent easily without much effort. It also covers up mistakes very easily. I highly recommend it.

I'd also reconsider bloodwood for the binding. I've heard that unless you seal the spruce with a spit coat of shellac the color will bleed into the lighter adjacent wood. It probably wouldn't hurt to seal the maple too. FWIW rosewood provides a nice contrast to maple and sitka if you would consider an alternative.

Finally, I would recommend purchasing your materials for your neck woods and letting them acclimate to your workshop's environment for several months to a year. The thicker the wood the longer it takes to acclimate. I used 3/4" mahogany stock and 1/8" maple and walnut stock to build laminated necks and let it sit for over a year. Even then, my first attempt ended up curving slightly. Not too much, but enough that I was concerned that even adding a truss rod would help. It became my practice blank for making a tenon.

I'm sorry if this response came across as being negative. I'm just trying to provide some perspective from a not so noob POV. At the end of the build you will feel a measure of fulfillment but what you're really going to gain is experience through making and solving mistakes along with a strong desire to do it again so that you can do better next time.

Not to say that your first build is guaranteed to be bad but - contrary to how many parents feel about their kids - you will be looking at it with a biased sense of seeing every flaw. If you're expecting planning to prevent errors and frustration and giving yourself more time to pay attention to fine details you may find that you're going to be frustrated nonetheless.

I certainly felt that way because I chose to work with a cedar top instead of spruce. Even though cedar smells wonderful while you're working with it and the tone is wonderfully warm and mellow, it is also notorious for picking up scratches and dings despite every precaution I tried. Some experienced builders shy away from the stuff for that very reason.
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  #3  
Old 09-29-2016, 06:48 PM
SnowManSnow SnowManSnow is offline
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not negative at all!
i appreciate the feedback. I can't hope to succeed as a noob if i start out with really difficult materials.
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Old 09-29-2016, 07:25 PM
SnowManSnow SnowManSnow is offline
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My first project won't be building a guitar at all though. If I have time tomorrow I plan on starting a go-bar deck.
By the way is there a cheaper alternative to the go bar brand bars? Will the fiberglass rods used for driveway markers work if cut to length?


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Old 09-29-2016, 08:14 PM
printer2 printer2 is offline
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I have some of the fiberglass marker rods. Also bought some clear pine boards with clear even grain (hey, might have made good guitar wood) and cut some strips to use as rods.
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Old 09-29-2016, 08:45 PM
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Halcyon/Tinker Halcyon/Tinker is offline
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I'm with kwakatak on this.

The easiest wood to bend is rosewood. Since in another post you've said it'll be on a hot pipe, I'd go with that. It also is a great tonewood.

Same with the bloodwood bindings. They're jerks.

I don't know if you've considered it, but a kit might be a good way to begin...
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Old 09-29-2016, 09:07 PM
SnowManSnow SnowManSnow is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Halcyon/Tinker View Post
I'm with kwakatak on this.

The easiest wood to bend is rosewood. Since in another post you've said it'll be on a hot pipe, I'd go with that. It also is a great tonewood.

Same with the bloodwood bindings. They're jerks.

I don't know if you've considered it, but a kit might be a good way to begin...


I have considered it.
Still in the consternation phase


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Old 09-29-2016, 09:34 PM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowManSnow View Post
My first project won't be building a guitar at all though. If I have time tomorrow I plan on starting a go-bar deck.
By the way is there a cheaper alternative to the go bar brand bars? Will the fiberglass rods used for driveway markers work if cut to length?


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I understand. I spent the first 6 months building a mold, bending forms for a Fox bender, tried making cam clamps and made a fixed-height go bar deck out of MDF and steel pipe. I'd recommend using threaded rods instead of steel pipe so that you can adjust the height of you gobar deck.

Driveway markers should work, provided they're short enough. Just be sure to cut them in half and put caps on the cut ends. If you can, wrap them in tape or some sort of protective coating. If you get a splinter from a splt casing it will be impossible to see and hurt like the dickens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by printer2 View Post
I have some of the fiberglass marker rods. Also bought some clear pine boards with clear even grain (hey, might have made good guitar wood) and cut some strips to use as rods.
I've used pine firring strips from the hardware section of one of the big box hardware chains. When they fail is can be "spectacular." I was looking at the driveway markers today but could only find ones 48" long for $3 apiece.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Halcyon/Tinker View Post
I'm with kwakatak on this.

The easiest wood to bend is rosewood. Since in another post you've said it'll be on a hot pipe, I'd go with that. It also is a great tonewood.

Same with the bloodwood bindings. They're jerks.

I don't know if you've considered it, but a kit might be a good way to begin...
I disagree on the last. Even as a stark noob who hadn't used woodworking tools since junior high shop class in 1982 I found the process of working with raw materials to be "transformative" and educational.
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Old 09-29-2016, 10:23 PM
BradHall BradHall is offline
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I'll add my opinion to this. I found walnut very easy to bend. It is not oily like rosewood and pore filling is a snap. I used bloodwood binding on my last build and won't be using it again. Looks great but breaks too easily, even with great care. I built a thickness sander following plans either here or over at OLF. A very useful tool that will serve you well for many years.i like the idea of a go bar deck and it will be the next tool I build. A Parrot vice is a great asset. My first was a kit and it was a good learning experience. Take a look at KMG and Blues Creek. Both reputable kits that approach from different directions. I'm using a bending iron from LMI and a propane tank for side and trim bending. I find it a rewarding way to build. If I were going to make more than a couple guitars a year I would probably make a Fox style bending jig. It's expensive even if you build it yourself. I've got some real good deals on lightly used tuners through the classified on this site. I wish I could afford a bigger and better band saw.i have yet to get a handle on dust control. Something to consider early on. Guitar finishing is an entirely different and for me difficult side of building. Enjoy the journey.
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  #10  
Old 09-30-2016, 02:50 AM
emmsone emmsone is offline
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I don't think you need to build from a kit. I'm building my first guitar now (see the I hope it doesn't sound like a cardboard box thread) completely from scratch and other than correcting mistakes here and there i'm not finding it too difficult, in fact i would say ALL the difficulty i'm having is actually fixing mistakes. I'm up to about 58 hours of building time and at least 15 of that if not more has been fixing mistakes, but thats 15 hours of learning I guess.

I'm also going to add to the "stay away from bloodwood bindings" brigade, if I hadn't already glued in some bloodwood pieces I would have switched away to something else, its been very annoying to work with so far, i'm waiting for 8 more bindings to arrive because I have no confidence that they won't break when bending them.

Dave
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Old 09-30-2016, 07:42 AM
SnowManSnow SnowManSnow is offline
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thoughts on buying mats from eBay? there are a LOT of listings for back and sides
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Old 09-30-2016, 08:01 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowManSnow View Post
From Stewmac
TOP Sitka AA : 22.06
Back and Sides : Curly Maple 49.52
Uncarved Braces : Sitka spruce x5 31.45
Kerfing x10 Basswood 24.40
Binding : Bloodwood x 7 23.73

What am i missing for the body mats?
neck block, end block, rosette of some kind, purfling, if you are going to use it.

I recommend that you already determine all of the design details prior to starting the body, particularly truss rod and neck attachment method, since both of these can have implications for the making of the body.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowManSnow View Post
thoughts on buying mats from eBay? there are a LOT of listings for back and sides
For a first build, anyway, I'd suggest buying from reputable instrument making supply houses. Once you know more about wood, you can buy it anywhere you can find what you are looking for.

I also recommend walnut for a first build: it is easy to work, easier to bend, easier to repair and finish.
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  #13  
Old 09-30-2016, 08:11 AM
JonWint JonWint is offline
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You said you don't want to be overwhelmed. To that end, a kit is a better choice. Buy a kit with bent sides and a rough-shaped neck. Also, use plastic binding for the first try.

A kit will give you a taste of most building tasks and give a greater chance of success. Complete one kit and decide if you want to continue building guitars. Then you can bend sides.

If you shop around you will find that a Martin kit is a relative bargain. Also, if you are a member of the MOC, you get 20% off. Savings are greater if you buy during a 15 to 20% sale.

My first build is a rosewood/Sitka 000 for about $300. That experience gave me enough confidence to build from plans. I'm on my 4th and 5th builds now. I sell some guitars to friends or relatives for cost, just for the experience.
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  #14  
Old 09-30-2016, 10:07 AM
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WaddyT WaddyT is offline
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Just do what you are comfortable with relative to kit or not. I never bought a kit for my first guitar. Spent the first month learning to sharpen tools correctly! I had a plane, but it was so dull it wouldn't cut anything. Never even thought about sharpening it! Sharp tools are your friend when guitar building. You don't need a lot, or new ones, but a few good sharp chisels and a sharp plane or two are pretty necessary.
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Old 09-30-2016, 10:59 AM
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Rodger Knox Rodger Knox is offline
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You need to build the first one following an established method, if you haven't read Cumpiano's book, you should. There are numerous methods and sequences of construction, and they are not all compatible with each other. You can't build the box using one method and the neck using a different method and expect them to fit together. They may, but they may not.

Curly maple isn't that hard to bend, just get it thin enough (0.070"), use plenty of heat, and not much water. It's also not that expensive, and can look great under finish. I'd stay away from bloodwood for your first, it can be difficult to bend and finish. It bleeds color into any lighter wood if you don't take extreme precautions. I've built two guitars with bloodwood back and sides, and I really like using it, but it isn't easy.
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