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  #1  
Old 06-20-2018, 03:05 PM
emmsone emmsone is offline
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Default A Redwood/Leopardwood OM build thread.

Welcome all to another build thread. I haven't had a chance to build anything new yet this year. Luckily that has now changed.

I started building an OM, a new shape for me, last week. Its an OM shape i have come up with myself, and hopefully it looks nice at the end, I quite like the shape in my mould anyway, thats a good start!!

After the recent thread from Mark Hatcher talking about Redwood for tops, seeing as using Redwood was something I had been thinking about, it convinced me to go that direction this time and I managed to acquire a Redwood top from a supplier he knows. Its one of the Oregon "tunnel redwood" tops, cut from the support beam of a tunnel build in I think 1880, meaning the wood was cut about 150 years ago!! Its a beautiful piece of wood and has a very bell like ring to it, i'm very impressed with it and as long I don't make a hash of the build i'm optimistic its going to be a good one.

The Leopardwood came from a local classical builder who has had it for a long time but has never had a customer interested in it and hasn't had a chance to work with it, I thought it looked pretty awesome so I decided to take it off his hands. It has turned out to be very very tricky to bend but more on that shortly.

The neck will be a 5 piece flame maple/mahogany/maple/mahogany/flame maple block from which I will hopefully get 2 necks from. I much prefer one piece necks (ie no stacked heel, its too hard to hide the join) so this is the direction i'm going in to allow myself to do that.

So to the building of the guitar itself, after first deciding I wanted a different shape, I decided that I would go in an OM direction. Several hours in CAD later a shape I liked emerged on my screen. I then had it plotted full size onto A1 paper and having recently met someone with a CNC contact, i utilised him to make my new mould. I now think my mould might be a little narrow/low at 60mm, but not a lot i can do about that at the moment. I guess i'll just see how it goes.

Another new thing this guitar will be incorporating will be a bolt on neck. I'm 95% sure how I will be doing that, its the extension bit that incorporates the vertical bolts i'm not sure how to rout accurately yet, thats not to be done for a while though, I still have time to work that out.

In March I was in California and met up with Kevin Ryan, he mentioned his process of deflection testing every top and now can see on a spreadsheet graph years later which values worked best and what to aim for. Kevin along with several other builders I have met and talked to recently, several of whom were at the Holy Grail Guitar show such as Peggy White, encouraged me to do the same. I built a deflection testing jig and tested my top. For that I thicknessed the top to 3mm and tested with the weight directly in the centre of the board. Because the workshop I go to only has very large bandsaws and its difficult to get an accurate cutout a constant amount outside the template outline, i decided to test the board only after being joined and thicknessed to a what will be 'standard' for testing purposes 3mm.
Obviously the results that came out mean nothing for this guitar, nor for anybody else, but hopefully several down the line i'll have a my own chart and will know what i'm doing right and/or wrong.

I have now cut out the top and back to approximate guitar shapes and that process makes it all seem more like i'm building an actual guitar now!
I followed that up by bending the sides. The Leopardwood is a mission to bend. Its very hard, very dense and very resinous. It took nearly 3 hours maybe more per side to bend, it was weird, at no point did I feel the wood 'submit' and allow itself to be bent easily, I got there in the end, but that wasn't fun. I don't think they were too thick, they were the same 2mm i've used in the past.

Now the obligatory pictures. Enjoy.

My new OM mould shape
Untitled by David Emm, on Flickr

The Redwood top in the deflection testing jig. Temporarily using my mahogany neck block as a zero block for the micrometer and without the actual weight applied to the jig yet.
Untitled by David Emm, on Flickr

My tasty Redwood top
Untitled by David Emm, on Flickr

The Leopardwood back
Untitled by David Emm, on Flickr

Leopardwood sides being bent
Untitled by David Emm, on Flickr

One of the bent Leopardwood sides, will probably need quite a bit of sanding to get rid of the resin that has come out from the heat.
Untitled by David Emm, on Flickr
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Old 06-20-2018, 04:45 PM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Looks like it's coming along well.

On the last guitar I built, it had lacewood neck and bindings. (Lacewood and Lepoardwood are often sold interchangeably.) I found it very unpleasant to work with due to the large differential in density between the figure and the background. The differential resulted in a washboard texture where the softer, less dense wood abraded faster than the harder, denser wood. I found sanding beyond 120, maybe 180, produced the washboard texture. I'd never use it again for neck or bindings. Although I have a set of back and sides, I haven't tried it for anything other than neck and bindings. At least it finished easily.
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Old 06-22-2018, 02:40 AM
emmsone emmsone is offline
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Thanks Charles
Thanks for the heads up, that's good to know. I haven't had a chance to sand it past 100 yet, I'll mess around with some scraps and see what happens.
The leopardwood is also quite crack prone but nevertheless the build seems to be progressing fairly well so far.
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Old 06-22-2018, 07:10 AM
redir redir is offline
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I love lacewood and think it makes a fine guitar. It certainly does look incredible too. THta's gonna look great with that redwood top too. Very nice selection of wood there. Deflection testing has definitely improved my guitar building. IT's a fantastic tool for maintaining consistency.
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Old 06-22-2018, 04:33 PM
emmsone emmsone is offline
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Thanks Redir, yea Leopardwood/Lacewood really has something about its look, i'm looking forward to seeing that how that Redwood comes out under finish too.
I can't see how the way i'm using the deflection testing is going to do anything but help me out in the long run, unfortunately its one of those things that you don't see any gain from in the short term so building that jig felt like it was time I would rather have been putting into the guitar. But its done now so i'm happy.


In the meantime i've made some further progress both yesterday and today. One thing i've learnt is that I now have a good idea of how long most of the individual processes run, what the order of the processes are and in particular how long gluing time takes. That means i can multitask significantly better and as such i'm definitely seeing this build progress much faster that the previous ones.

Clamped the end and tail blocks into position
Untitled by David Emm, on Flickr

Glued some liners in, i don't care how good the 'proper' liner clamp devices are, they've all missed a trick by not making them multi coloured!
Untitled by David Emm, on Flickr

i'm using the Ryan guitars A5 liners here. After seeing some in person when I visited him recently I definitely thought they were worth a try. Love them so far!
Untitled by David Emm, on Flickr

Because this Leopardwood seems quite prone to splitting it was even more important to make sure I put some side splints/braces in this guitar.
Untitled by David Emm, on Flickr

The side splints/braces are in, but they still need to be cleaned up to make it a little tidier
Untitled by David Emm, on Flickr

Started shaping the back braces but ran out of time to finish them this evening.
Untitled by David Emm, on Flickr
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Old 06-23-2018, 09:12 AM
redir redir is offline
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Deflection is a data collection process for sure.
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Old 06-25-2018, 04:25 AM
Quickstep192 Quickstep192 is offline
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That redwood is beautiful.

Be careful when working on or storing the redwood top. Even just setting it on top of a small chunk of sawdust can make a dent in it.
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Old 06-25-2018, 09:56 AM
Joel Teel Joel Teel is offline
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Hi David,

I find the shape of your OM to be very pleasing. Is that a "Tunnel 14" Redwood soundboard, or the original "Tunnel 13" .......?

Joel
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Old 06-25-2018, 02:14 PM
emmsone emmsone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quickstep192 View Post
That redwood is beautiful.

Be careful when working on or storing the redwood top. Even just setting it on top of a small chunk of sawdust can make a dent in it.
Thanks for letting me know, but i'm aware of that, its been pointed out to me already and i have noticed from scraps that it is easily dented. I'm being careful and hopefully it will be ok and survive for the entirety of the build....


Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Teel View Post
Hi David,

I find the shape of your OM to be very pleasing. Is that a "Tunnel 14" Redwood soundboard, or the original "Tunnel 13" .......?

Joel
Thanks very much! its actually 'Tunnel 14' Redwood. Tunnel 13 Redwood was available but the historical aspects of Tunnel 13 don't concern me so I went for '14' wood which is pretty similar from what I was told and I just hope it comes out as well as it can as it has bucketloads of tone potential and I don't want to end up with a dud. Luckily I think it's so good, i don't think i can go that far wrong!
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Old 06-25-2018, 03:23 PM
Joel Teel Joel Teel is offline
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We have both of them here at the shop...though the back-story on the Tunnel13 is much more interesting. We all know that the T13 work splendidly as a soundboard... but we haven't yet used a T14 on a guitar here at the shop, so we'll have to wait and see if it produces sonically at the level of its better-known brother...though I do agree with you that the potential is there. I'll be interested to see what your assessment is when your done.

Good luck,
Joel

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Originally Posted by emmsone View Post
Thanks very much! its actually 'Tunnel 14' Redwood. Tunnel 13 Redwood was available but the historical aspects of Tunnel 13 don't concern me so I went for '14' wood which is pretty similar from what I was told and I just hope it comes out as well as it can as it has bucketloads of tone potential and I don't want to end up with a dud. Luckily I think it's so good, i don't think i can go that far wrong!
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2017 Two Hands Guitar Co.
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1995 Taylor Limited Edition GAWS (that I traded my Gibson J-200 for in 1995)
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Old 06-26-2018, 01:56 PM
emmsone emmsone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Teel View Post
We have both of them here at the shop...though the back-story on the Tunnel13 is much more interesting. We all know that the T13 work splendidly as a soundboard... but we haven't yet used a T14 on a guitar here at the shop, so we'll have to wait and see if it produces sonically at the level of its better-known brother...though I do agree with you that the potential is there. I'll be interested to see what your assessment is when your done.

Good luck,
Joel
Thanks Joel, its my first time building with redwood at all so its a bit of an unknown hence the nervousness that I won't fulfil the potential the top clearly has.
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Old 06-26-2018, 02:12 PM
emmsone emmsone is offline
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More updates,
I glued the back on, using my now favoured method of a tube that follows the outline of the back. Means constant pressure and only 2 main clamps instead of 35, and I added 2 more to keep it all level. I do need to find a better way of doing the pockets for the brace ends, i still haven't managed to find a way to do them cleanly.
Then made and installed my rosette. I acquired some stabilised maple burl that was dyed blue and was convinced it would make a cool rosette in redwood. I think i was right. It took a while to put together as it was hard work to keep the small blocks level but was worth it in the end.

Liners glued in and brace pockets cut
Untitled by David Emm, on Flickr

gluing the back on
Untitled by David Emm, on Flickr

My 22.5 degree wedge that I follow with a japanese saw to give me 16 identical pieces for the rosette
Untitled by David Emm, on Flickr

Rosette pieces roughly in place before superglue
Untitled by David Emm, on Flickr

rosette after being superglued and circle cut
Untitled by David Emm, on Flickr

rosette installed and levelled but before the soundhole was cut out
Untitled by David Emm, on Flickr

rosette installed, levelled and soundhole cut out
Untitled by David Emm, on Flickr
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Old 06-30-2018, 06:20 AM
emmsone emmsone is offline
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A quick update

Not as much done this week as I would have liked but I do now have 2 necks, this is one of the reasons I like to use the multi-laminate neck blocks, getting 2 necks out of 1 block is convenient. And keeps wood waste down.
I don't think i'll add the second neck to this guitar though. A dual neck guitar can come sometime later down the years....

I also started the soundboard bracing process, i'm going for putting a 25' radius in the top this time. I don't have a go bar deck but there are several ways to skin a cat.

dual necks off the bandsaw. Maple / mahogany / maple / mahogany / maple
Untitled by David Emm, on Flickr

you can see a bit more of the intense figuring in this view of the necks
Untitled by David Emm, on Flickr

bracing process, X going on. who needs go bars. It worked successfully.
Untitled by David Emm, on Flickr

also here is the back now attached to the sides but not cleaned up yet
Untitled by David Emm, on Flickr
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Old 06-30-2018, 04:05 PM
Quickstep192 Quickstep192 is offline
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“I do now have 2 necks, this is one of the reasons I like to use the multi-laminate neck blocks, getting 2 necks out of 1 block is convenient. And keeps wood waste down”

Plus, they just look so darn nice!

Really nice work; please keep the pictures coming.
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Old 07-01-2018, 02:37 PM
emmsone emmsone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quickstep192 View Post
“I do now have 2 necks, this is one of the reasons I like to use the multi-laminate neck blocks, getting 2 necks out of 1 block is convenient. And keeps wood waste down”

Plus, they just look so darn nice!

Really nice work; please keep the pictures coming.
Thanks! More pictures coming as soon as i can get some more time in the workshop

Other reasons for my multi-laminate neck preference include,
1) i'm not a fan of the stacked heel look, i don't have the wood to allow grain matching between the neck and the heel block and if you don't do that the obvious joins annoy me a bit.
2) i'm definitely not from the "everything needs to be traditional" camp, especially aesthetically, which leads me to the next point
3) yes they do look great
4) stability - if the guitar eventually needs a neck reset, its very unlikely to be from the neck warping, still a possibility but a reduced one.
5) as previously mentioned, I find getting 2 necks from 1 block advantageous, this is much less likely to be an option when using 1 piece necks
6) i'm sure there are more reasons but none come to mind right at this moment.
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