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Old 07-23-2023, 07:32 AM
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srick srick is offline
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Default StewMac OM kit - Finished!

IMG_0523.jpg

For my big birthday this month, my wife and family surprised me with A StewMac OM kit. And I had to smile, because she thought, ďYou already have a lot of guitar and woodworking tools from doing all those repairs, I figured that this would be an easy stretch!Ē

Hah! This $649 kit will turn into a $1649 guitar!

But, I am enjoying the process. I do have the skills, but our delivery people will be busy bringing boxes from StewMac and others over the next few weeks.

And, I am already worrying about cutting the binding channels and finishing the guitar. But weíre still a ways away from both.

Rick

PS - it sure is nice to have a bandsaw, drill press, and belt\disk sander combo ready to roll in my shop.
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Last edited by srick; 10-26-2023 at 01:41 PM.
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Old 07-25-2023, 07:10 PM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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Congratulations! I have the rosewood herringbone dreadnought on my wish list. No luck here, but I just finished a build and already have another in progress. I am curious to see how quickly a kit can come together! Good luck!
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Old 07-26-2023, 03:54 AM
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I am curious to see how quickly a kit can come together! Good luck!
Neil - Iíve read about techniques and builds seemingly forever, but until you do the dive, you never know what youíre in for.

In that above picture, that was so nicely clamped, I ended up with a thin separation between the side and the neck block. I solved it by yet another purchase. - a Wagner heat gun. I heated the joint, clamped it, and voila! Onto the next step.

Each step, even what looks straightforward, has its pitfalls. And this is just one way of building a guitar. (You know there a YouTube video of a Mexican luthier making an entire guitar with essentially a machete, right?).

So for me, each step will end up taking as long as it takes. The box is going together fairly well, but I am discovering some subtleties that Iíve missed during all these years of studying builds.

My bandsaw and my belt/disk sander have proved to be invaluable. Also, my credit card - invaluable!

You might as well buy the kit and dive in. After all, youíll be dead a long time.

Rick

PS - I remember having a chat with Dale Fairbanks about his early builds. He admitted that there were probably a dozen guitars in his parentís basement that will never see the light of day. Each one taught him something new.
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Old 07-26-2023, 05:09 AM
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IMG_3967.jpeg

The inner cardboard mold combined with a waist clamp is really an ingenious method of building without using a mold. But I can easily understand why a mold would be preferred. One thing that was not emphasized in the video or instructions can be seen at the bottom inner corner of the waist clamp: rounding it makes it less likely to cause any issues when placing it.

Also, I made the mistake of temporarily removing the waist clamp in order to reposition the inner cardboard mold. That was not the best idea! One rabbit hole that I intend to pursue today is investigating the residual stresses that are inherent in a guitar build. IOW, the wood wants to return to its original shape, which is straight. I’m almost afraid that once I remove all the clamps, the whole build will go, “BOINGGGGGG!!!!!!”

Fortunately there is no shortage of opinion (informed and uninformed) on the subject! Gotta love the internet. And credit cards. Did I mention the credit card?

If I get really brave, at the completion of the build, I will total up all of the receipts and find the true cost of the completed guitar !
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Old 07-26-2023, 09:55 AM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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Originally Posted by srick View Post
Neil - Iíve read about techniques and builds seemingly forever, but until you do the dive, you never know what youíre in for.

In that above picture, that was so nicely clamped, I ended up with a thin separation between the side and the neck block. I solved it by yet another purchase. - a Wagner heat gun. I heated the joint, clamped it, and voila! Onto the next step.

Each step, even what looks straightforward, has its pitfalls. And this is just one way of building a guitar. (You know there a YouTube video of a Mexican luthier making an entire guitar with essentially a machete, right?).

So for me, each step will end up taking as long as it takes. The box is going together fairly well, but I am discovering some subtleties that Iíve missed during all these years of studying builds.

My bandsaw and my belt/disk sander have proved to be invaluable. Also, my credit card - invaluable!

You might as well buy the kit and dive in. After all, youíll be dead a long time.

Rick

PS - I remember having a chat with Dale Fairbanks about his early builds. He admitted that there were probably a dozen guitars in his parentís basement that will never see the light of day. Each one taught him something new.
Thanks for the answer. I've built 2 so far from scratch (with help) and another one with unserviced tonewoods so I'm really curious about if working with prebent sides and pre-thicknessed plates saves any time. IME the real PITA with my first two builds were the early sanding and setting it all up so that I had good straight surfaces for routing for binding. My third build has a serviced neck (albeit a dovetail) but I've already used serviced bridges and fretboards.

As for that dread idea, I have an old Takamine with no top and a sawed off neck that I may just restore to get some experience with that side of the business. If I were to get a kit I'd probably buy some extras. I'm no fan of plastic binding.
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Old 07-26-2023, 10:21 AM
Fathand Fathand is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil K Walk View Post
Congratulations! I have the rosewood herringbone dreadnought on my wish list. No luck here, but I just finished a build and already have another in progress. I am curious to see how quickly a kit can come together! Good luck!
You may want to compare the LMI prepackaged ready to ship kits. I don't build from kits myself but these look like better value than most in a Dread or OM kit. Nice materials and pretty complete.

https://www.lmii.com/519-kits-kit-wi...iy_guitar_kits
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Old 07-26-2023, 11:20 AM
Treenewt Treenewt is offline
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What a great gift! Enjoy the journey!

I started my first build in June of 2020 (nothing better to do) and learned a LOT through finishing it last year (yes two years!!!). I ended up with a guitar that is my go to right now, so that worked out! I started number two in August of 2020 from a J45 style plan. I finished it at the same time as my first, though I like the one I did sans-plans more. Binding was definitely my worst part, and it shows, but finishing is also a big learning curve. Iím still not there but Iím better than I was.

Iím finalizing setup on #3 now (Carpathian/mahogany OM) and getting ready to finish no 4 (a OO in Carpathian and black Cherry), But 3 and 4 have gone much quicker (and better) than 1 and 2.

I say that because this stuff is ADDICTIVE.

But I think you already know that!
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Old 07-26-2023, 11:22 AM
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One unexpected glitch today is that the pre-bent sides are close, but not perfect. I suspect that if you are building in a mold, you can more easily judge how close they fit the curve. These sides are definitely not in a passive state. Iím probably going to blow some hot air from the heat gun on to them and see if i can improve that. This fancy Wagner heat gun has digital readout and is adjustable in ten degree increments, so hopefully I can achieve this without scorching the wood and setting the cardboard form afire.
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Old 07-26-2023, 02:06 PM
Fathand Fathand is offline
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Originally Posted by srick View Post
One unexpected glitch today is that the pre-bent sides are close, but not perfect. I suspect that if you are building in a mold, you can more easily judge how close they fit the curve. These sides are definitely not in a passive state. Iím probably going to blow some hot air from the heat gun on to them and see if i can improve that. This fancy Wagner heat gun has digital readout and is adjustable in ten degree increments, so hopefully I can achieve this without scorching the wood and setting the cardboard form afire.
Be careful when heating, they could straighten out or get misshapen some how. Maybe call Stew Mac for advice, I understand they are very helpful.

You have stated that you might prefer using a mold and you have a bandsaw, maybe build a mold? Chipboard furniture is sometimes found on the roadside and makes decent mold material. You'll probably have opportunity to use one again.
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Old 07-26-2023, 02:08 PM
BradHall BradHall is offline
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I think you will find that the cardboard form will get to ignition point much quicker than the solid wood sides. An aluminum tube 2 1/2Ē or so in diameter and about a foot long, closed at one end with your heat gun blowing in the other would make a very serviceable bending iron. LMI sells a real nice one at a reasonable price also. Itís what I use and recommend it.
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Old 07-26-2023, 04:14 PM
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Mmmm.... wise words... This will require a little thinking. The Waist clamp\cardboard inner form technique has its shortcomings for sure. And the biggest of which is that you can't really easily judge how close your sides are to the proper shape until you have them glued to the tail and neck block.

And that's where I am right now.

Fun is. Luthiery.
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Old 07-27-2023, 08:59 AM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Treenewt View Post
What a great gift! Enjoy the journey!

I started my first build in June of 2020 (nothing better to do) and learned a LOT through finishing it last year (yes two years!!!). I ended up with a guitar that is my go to right now, so that worked out! I started number two in August of 2020 from a J45 style plan. I finished it at the same time as my first, though I like the one I did sans-plans more. Binding was definitely my worst part, and it shows, but finishing is also a big learning curve. Iím still not there but Iím better than I was.

Iím finalizing setup on #3 now (Carpathian/mahogany OM) and getting ready to finish no 4 (a OO in Carpathian and black Cherry), But 3 and 4 have gone much quicker (and better) than 1 and 2.

I say that because this stuff is ADDICTIVE.

But I think you already know that!
Don't feel bad about taking years to finish a build. My first took 4 years, my second took 11. Life gets in the way.

PS: No. 2 has a Carpathian top. I don't know if it's how long it's taken to build but that guitar rings long and true!
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Old 07-27-2023, 09:09 AM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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Originally Posted by Fathand View Post
Be careful when heating, they could straighten out or get misshapen some how. Maybe call Stew Mac for advice, I understand they are very helpful.

You have stated that you might prefer using a mold and you have a bandsaw, maybe build a mold? Chipboard furniture is sometimes found on the roadside and makes decent mold material. You'll probably have opportunity to use one again.
+1

Jig building is a good part of the process to help wrap your head around geometry. You have to be a little selective about quality of materials though. I've seen particle board used but you have to cherry pick from the big box hardware stores. If I see a decent sheet of birch plywood I jump on it though; I use that stuff for tail blocks too. I'm still getting the feel for band saws and router tables though so you've got two up on me.
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Old 07-27-2023, 10:59 AM
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+1

Jig building is a good part of the process to help wrap your head around geometry. You have to be a little selective about quality of materials though. I've seen particle board used but you have to cherry pick from the big box hardware stores. If I see a decent sheet of birch plywood I jump on it though; I use that stuff for tail blocks too. I'm still getting the feel for band saws and router tables though so you've got two up on me.
Lol! This makes sense to me! Time to pursue another rabbit hole, maybe!

Neil- I adore my bandsaw. It is limited by its twelve inch throat, but its is extremely versatile. And itís a heckuva lot safer than a table saw. Iíve had this Delta for about 35 years.
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Old 07-27-2023, 11:08 AM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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Lol! This makes sense to me! Time to pursue another rabbit hole, maybe!

Neil- I adore my bandsaw. It is limited by its twelve inch throat, but its is extremely versatile. And itís a heckuva lot safer than a table saw. Iíve had this Delta for about 35 years.
FWIW I make molds with a 9" Ryobi. Most of my tools are actually from Harbor Freight. I'm lucky to still have my hands lol!
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