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  #1  
Old 02-15-2016, 04:06 PM
CaffeinatedOne CaffeinatedOne is offline
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Default Guitar One: Plunging ahead

. . . with my eyes closed and my foot mashed to the gas pedal.

I've wanted to build a guitar for ages and am finally getting some splinters. The idea is to build something based on a Gibson LG2 body style, simple ornamentation, just basic stuff that woodbutcher can aspire to build. Top will be old sitka spruce; sides and back are maritime rosewood; neck is honduras mahogany; fingerboard and bridge, indian rosewood. I have a block of old straight grain adirondack spruce that I'll use for the braces. We'll see what this old procrastinator can come up with for Guitar One.
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Stacks of mahogany, spruce, maritime rosewood, western red cedar
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Last edited by CaffeinatedOne; 04-10-2016 at 11:32 AM.
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  #2  
Old 04-10-2016, 11:41 AM
CaffeinatedOne CaffeinatedOne is offline
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Puttering along with some slow progress. I built a shooting board and jointed the top and back plates; they glued up well with very clean seams.

I built a steaming box that I'll try out by having it sit on a stock pot full of boiling water, accessing the steam through a 2" hole. The box is long and narrow to accept a side to heat up for bending. When it is warmed up, it will go on a side bending form I built (similar to the Fox type form, but without its own heating source) and the side will be clamped in place to cool.

I've been thicknessing the sides - this rosewood is very tough; slow going. At present it's about 0.1" thick - still a little heavy. I'm hoping to shoot for .08 or so. But so far, so good.
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Taylor 815C
'59 Gibson LG2
Washburn J4 jazz box, ebony tailpiece
Cort ES 335 clone
Gold Tone open back banjo
Anon. mountain dulcimer
Stacks of mahogany, spruce, maritime rosewood, western red cedar
Expensive sawdust

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  #3  
Old 04-10-2016, 01:53 PM
Ned Milburn Ned Milburn is offline
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Photos... Where are the photos...?? ;-)
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  #4  
Old 04-10-2016, 03:28 PM
Truckjohn Truckjohn is offline
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Just a little piece of unsolicited advice.

I am not going to tell you what to do... Just share the state of the universe. Nobody bends sides using steam boxes... There are a bunch of other methods used but not that one.... Lots of people have tried. Perhaps your method will work where nobody else's did... So don't let me stop you from experimenting.

That said - lots of folks try it and it never comes out right unless the wood is real thin and super compliant. Get the hang of side bending and test out your experimental apparatus on cheap, available, easy to bend wood like maple, cherry, ash, poplar, etc... Then - verify it works on cheap low grade Indian Rosewood before you experiment with your $600+ back and sides set.

Maritime rosewood is expensive unobtanium these days. Don't use it for your learning experiences or testing out ideas.

Thanks
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Old 04-10-2016, 05:40 PM
CaffeinatedOne CaffeinatedOne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Truckjohn View Post
Get the hang of side bending and test out your experimental apparatus on cheap, available, easy to bend wood like maple, cherry, ash, poplar, etc... Then - verify it works on cheap low grade Indian Rosewood before you experiment with your $600+ back and sides set.

Maritime rosewood is expensive unobtanium these days. Don't use it for your learning experiences or testing out ideas.

Thanks
Actually, I've thought about this quite a bit and am of two minds about it. If I were a bit brighter, I'd be building with Honduras Mahogany, particularly as I have a pretty good stock of it. But the rosewood has a history with me and I'm itching to use it.

As to the steaming box, I realize that it is not a popular method, but it is simple and inexpensive. I've bent sides on a hot pipe and am not inclined to do much more of that if I have a more precise way. The alternative involves either setting up light bulbs in the bending form, which tends to char the inside of the form, or buying silicone heating blankets which is expensive. So I'm inclined at least to experiment with the steam box.

I might bend a set of mahogany sides first anyway, as once bent they can await assembly. So maybe I can take your advice and stick with my plan at the same time.
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Taylor 815C
'59 Gibson LG2
Washburn J4 jazz box, ebony tailpiece
Cort ES 335 clone
Gold Tone open back banjo
Anon. mountain dulcimer
Stacks of mahogany, spruce, maritime rosewood, western red cedar
Expensive sawdust

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  #6  
Old 04-10-2016, 06:18 PM
rogthefrog rogthefrog is offline
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Looking forward to the pictures!
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  #7  
Old 04-10-2016, 06:33 PM
LouieAtienza LouieAtienza is offline
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Well, I'd heard stories about Honduran mahogany having it's own challenges as far as bending. Though I did help a friend once with a set that I thought bent pretty darn easy. I did a set that was rift to flat a while back and had some difficulty with the figure, but I was laminating the sides anyway.

On the other hand, I've found most all rosewoods I had bent pretty easily. I've never bent any older stuff however.

As to bending sides with steam? Closest I've seen is maybe the Irving Sloan frying pan method. Seagull puts their sides in steam before bending them, but they're pre-laminated sides, and it's in a steam chamber.
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Old 04-10-2016, 08:28 PM
Truckjohn Truckjohn is offline
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I would just hate to see you crack a side with material that isn't even commercially available. If you were able to replace the sides - it would cost a fortune if it was available at any price.
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  #9  
Old 04-11-2016, 03:22 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaffeinatedOne View Post
The alternative involves either setting up light bulbs in the bending form, which tends to char the inside of the form....
.
Gluing aluminum foil to the interior surfaces will eliminate the charring.
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  #10  
Old 04-11-2016, 05:30 AM
dlowry dlowry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charles Tauber View Post
Gluing aluminum foil to the interior surfaces will eliminate the charring.
This + 1. I use aluminium tape of the sort used for sealing ducting etc. No charring, and also makes the heating more efficient.
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  #11  
Old 04-11-2016, 06:10 AM
CaffeinatedOne CaffeinatedOne is offline
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Here are a few pics.

The shooting board:



The top (sitka spruce) after jointing and gluing:



The back, just after being cleaned up a bit. Still needs more thicknessing:



The sides; pic taken of the bandsawn sides prior to thicknessing. That's a lot of rosewood; there's more stickered in the garage. It's been seasoning for the 20 years or so that I've had it, and of unknown age prior to that. It was sold to me in the early '80s as two planks of bois de rose; research turned up the Dalbergia maritima nomenclature - maritime rosewood. Apparently some think of this as Madagascar rosewood, but I think that is a different species, Dalbergia baronii. I may track down a botany student at UVM to put a slice under a microscope and see if it can be further identified at a molecular level. Whatever it is, it is beautiful, stiff and strong as the dickens with a ringing tap tone.

__________________
Taylor 815C
'59 Gibson LG2
Washburn J4 jazz box, ebony tailpiece
Cort ES 335 clone
Gold Tone open back banjo
Anon. mountain dulcimer
Stacks of mahogany, spruce, maritime rosewood, western red cedar
Expensive sawdust


Last edited by CaffeinatedOne; 04-11-2016 at 09:43 AM.
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  #12  
Old 04-11-2016, 09:30 AM
CaffeinatedOne CaffeinatedOne is offline
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I spoke with a local luthier friend this morning who has some silicone heating blankets he is willing to lend me if needed.

So I have a good backup plan to address Truckjohn's concern in his very wise advice; if the sides give me any resistance at all, they won't get bent further until after being the filling in a heat sandwich. I also believe that if there is to be an issue, it will show up right off when I'm bending the waist. So I expect I'll know before getting far into the process whether it's a good idea or troublesome.

I might find that steam bending is better suited to thicker woods and gentler curves, such as in building chairs and so forth. Because I've seen this done with guitar sides, I'd like to try it. But I am not wedded to any particular method and intend to heed the fantastic advice I'm getting here.
__________________
Taylor 815C
'59 Gibson LG2
Washburn J4 jazz box, ebony tailpiece
Cort ES 335 clone
Gold Tone open back banjo
Anon. mountain dulcimer
Stacks of mahogany, spruce, maritime rosewood, western red cedar
Expensive sawdust

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  #13  
Old 04-11-2016, 12:05 PM
rogthefrog rogthefrog is offline
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That's some very pretty rosewood there.
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  #14  
Old 04-11-2016, 04:45 PM
CaffeinatedOne CaffeinatedOne is offline
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This is what the rosewood may look like when finished. I've thinned the sides quite a bit and the last sanding was with 180 grit, which took some of the ridges out of it. More to go, but I took an opportunity and swabbed a piece with denatured alcohol, snapping a photo quickly before it evaporated. I expect it should respond well to finishing.

__________________
Taylor 815C
'59 Gibson LG2
Washburn J4 jazz box, ebony tailpiece
Cort ES 335 clone
Gold Tone open back banjo
Anon. mountain dulcimer
Stacks of mahogany, spruce, maritime rosewood, western red cedar
Expensive sawdust

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  #15  
Old 04-14-2016, 11:03 AM
CaffeinatedOne CaffeinatedOne is offline
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Spent another hour and a half late last night on a friend's Performax sander - the sides are now just about right - 0.8 - 0.9" and ready for orbital sanding. They feel ready to bend.

The back plates at about 0.11" still have a ways to go, and I think it's all going to be slow hand work. Two hundredths of an inch can translate into two hours of work with this stuff. It is really tough rosewood and is teaching me patience.

I'm also beginning to understand why I need a better micrometer than the cheapo one I have, and also that when the wood is ready to bend or to assemble, its best thickness is no longer an issue of measurement but one of feel and sound. I can tell that with the back I'm approaching a critical thickness - not yet there, but the feel of the wood seems to be suggesting that there is such a thing and I'm close to it.
__________________
Taylor 815C
'59 Gibson LG2
Washburn J4 jazz box, ebony tailpiece
Cort ES 335 clone
Gold Tone open back banjo
Anon. mountain dulcimer
Stacks of mahogany, spruce, maritime rosewood, western red cedar
Expensive sawdust


Last edited by CaffeinatedOne; 04-14-2016 at 05:27 PM.
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