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Old 11-30-2020, 09:46 PM
BEJ BEJ is offline
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Default Journey from woodworker to instrument maker???

Been on the forum for awhile guess it's time to post some content. Been a long time woodworker got interested in guitar building after reading a 3 part article by Grit Laskin in Fine Woodworking magazine in the late '80s. Should have done something then but didn't, got interested again about 2010 or so after reading J Kincades book.

Made my 1st attempt soon after ward and it came out so so, after a 2nd build I put things on the back burner for a few years. The second build had some baked in screw ups and I think I will toss it in my fireplace some time soon, should be liberating to let one of your creations go. The 3rd build came out ok but still some mistakes that are hard to ignore. Seems like there are some things you can't correct in guitar building that would be somewhat easy to repair/rework in most woodworking projects.

After building a backyard shop that is heated and has A/C I started building again. But some health issues caused a long break and I didn't pick things up again until the Covd lockdowns started, seemed like a good excuse to spend a lot of time in the shop. One thing I always hated in building anything is the set up time and clean up and more so when it is a small project, might not have built some things because of this.

After starting to build again I liked the idea of building more than 1 guitar at a time and thus started on building 3. This made a big difference and seemed to work out ok. As each step progressed though the 3 builds I think I got better at the woodworking aspect. Doing something you liked seemed to go better as you progressed but conversely the stuff you hate to do is x3. And while most of guitar building is fun there are some really hard and nasty things that have to be done.

Thus I built 3 guitars this past few months and this has got my interest to do it again. I have used as much as possible materials from local hardwood lumberyards and have milled up everything if I could before buying anything premade. Have been able to get bubinga, jatoba, makore, ovangkol, ebony , spanish cedar, and some others.

Have started on my second 3 pack and have been doing final set/fine tuning on the first 3 pk.

My plan on what to do with the guitars I've built is to give them to a group like Guitars For Kids or Guitars For Vets, but with the current Covd situation haven't been able to do anything yet. Also I need to get a good instrument to give to someone, still working on this. a few pics....
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File Type: jpg 3 semi finished0003.jpg (37.8 KB, 312 views)
File Type: jpg 3 semi finished0012.jpg (30.0 KB, 311 views)
File Type: jpg 3 semi finished0006.jpg (36.6 KB, 308 views)

Last edited by BEJ; 12-01-2020 at 01:36 AM. Reason: spelling-what else
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  #2  
Old 11-30-2020, 09:52 PM
BEJ BEJ is offline
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And a few pics on the new build. I'm using the plans from Grit Laskin's build in the Fine Woodworking articles he wrote. A larger guitar than the ones I've built so far.
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File Type: jpg 3 new ones0003.jpg (40.0 KB, 311 views)
File Type: jpg 3 new ones0005.jpg (38.2 KB, 308 views)
File Type: jpg 3 new ones0001.jpg (32.6 KB, 304 views)
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Old 12-01-2020, 05:29 AM
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srick srick is offline
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That is so great! Fine Woodworking was my ‘entry drug’ also. Their siren song almost lured me in, but more pressing matters (like raising a family) helped keep those impulses in check. I hope that when I retire that I will be able to build a few guitars myself. But I too will have to figure out (and get used to the idea) of parting with the early ones, otherwise, we’ll be up to our eyeballs in instruments!

I think your post help re-light the spark!

Best,

Rick
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Last edited by srick; 12-01-2020 at 06:19 AM.
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Old 12-01-2020, 06:52 AM
Kerbie Kerbie is offline
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Great post... thanks for sharing! They look very nice. I wish I had your skills, but I'm glad I can benefit from someone else's. I like what you're doing and wish you the best. Keep us apprised.
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Old 12-01-2020, 08:20 AM
redir redir is offline
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Nice! I'm sure those will make someone very happy some day.

I think having wood working skills prior to going into this is a big help. I never picked up a chisel before I built my first and believe me you can tell Now after 70 or so later it's a bit better.
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Old 12-01-2020, 03:07 PM
Talldad Talldad is offline
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Those three sisters look great, well done. I still love my first builds and have finally got over the point where all I can see are the mistakes and instead I see the journey I’ve been on.

Have you thought much about the size of your bridge on your design?

A larger bridge is typically heavier and a heavy bridge makes it more difficult for the soundboard to vibrate up and down, left and right when excited by the strings.
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Old 12-01-2020, 03:55 PM
BEJ BEJ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talldad View Post
Those three sisters look great, well done. I still love my first builds and have finally got over the point where all I can see are the mistakes and instead I see the journey I’ve been on.

Have you thought much about the size of your bridge on your design?

A larger bridge is typically heavier and a heavy bridge makes it more difficult for the soundboard to vibrate up and down, left and right when excited by the strings.
Thanks to all for the comments.

You maybe right about the bridge size, plan to go a little thinner on the new build. After looking at some pics on what I've done so far my bridge plates also may be bigger than if optimal, might have to rethink again. Always seems like 2 steps forward and 1 back, guess that just the way it is for me thus far.

Bruce,
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Old 12-01-2020, 06:36 PM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BEJ View Post
.....Made my 1st attempt soon after ward and it came out so-so.... and I think I will toss it in my fireplace some time soon...
Please don't burn it! Before you trash #1 or #2 remember that to some young or disadvantaged player your "mistake" could be more precious than an unobtainable Martin. If it is like most of my wood projects, no one else ever notices the flaws that are so obvious to me. Nice work, BTW.
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Old 12-03-2020, 03:59 AM
BEJ BEJ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl49 View Post
Please don't burn it! Before you trash #1 or #2 remember that to some young or disadvantaged player your "mistake" could be more precious than an unobtainable Martin. If it is like most of my wood projects, no one else ever notices the flaws that are so obvious to me. Nice work, BTW.
Thanks for your concern, but in this case I think giving up on #2 is the right thing to do. I've redone the binding once and have cut through the kerfing in a few places, it would take major work to correct/redo. Some times it's better to move on the the next build, I think the time will be better spent on new builds what with my increased skill and knowledge gained.

I've let less time elapse between builds this time and shouldn't have to remember the things I said I wouldn't do again but forgot because it was awhile ago. I feel now I'm getting the woodworking aspect down and these next builds will be a big step up. Still going to be very basic featured, but I feel like I should nail the basics before adding the blingy things.

On giving a guitar to a player or starting out student, one thing I don't want to do it give out something that isn't a tunable/playable instrument. I'm not a player and will need to have someone check out what I've produced and pass on it before I let it out. Have been working on this but 2 things have slowed this process. One I haven't get to the point anything is ready to check out and Covid status. I've talked to some players in my church music group but things are still up in the air so to speak around here.

Bruce,
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Old 12-03-2020, 07:43 AM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BEJ View Post
Thanks for your concern, but in this case I think giving up on #2 is the right thing to do. I've redone the binding once and have cut through the kerfing in a few places, it would take major work to correct/redo. Some times it's better to move on the the next build, I think the time will be better spent on new builds what with my increased skill and knowledge gained.

I've let less time elapse between builds this time and shouldn't have to remember the things I said I wouldn't do again but forgot because it was awhile ago. I feel now I'm getting the woodworking aspect down and these next builds will be a big step up. Still going to be very basic featured, but I feel like I should nail the basics before adding the blingy things.

On giving a guitar to a player or starting out student, one thing I don't want to do it give out something that isn't a tunable/playable instrument. I'm not a player and will need to have someone check out what I've produced and pass on it before I let it out. Have been working on this but 2 things have slowed this process. One I haven't get to the point anything is ready to check out and Covid status. I've talked to some players in my church music group but things are still up in the air so to speak around here.

Bruce,
The first guitar construction book I purchased was David Russell Young's steel string acoustic construction book and he included a paragraph that has stuck with me all these years.

Basically he said that it's a good thing to have the integrity to know when something is too far off to be saved and it's far better for the soul to accept that and destroy that failed attempt rather than suffer with the knowledge that it's out there somewhere in the world.

Follow your ideals.
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Old 12-04-2020, 03:43 AM
BEJ BEJ is offline
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Have been working on different ways to make rosettes, this is one way I've tried...bought a small band saw for things like this and it has turned out to be a good addition, a few pics..
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File Type: jpg rosette sawing0001.jpg (34.1 KB, 189 views)
File Type: jpg rosette sawing0004.jpg (30.3 KB, 188 views)
File Type: jpg rosette sawing0002.jpg (28.7 KB, 186 views)
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  #12  
Old 12-04-2020, 03:45 AM
BEJ BEJ is offline
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A few more....
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File Type: jpg rosette sawing0005.jpg (26.7 KB, 185 views)
File Type: jpg rosette sawing0006.jpg (25.3 KB, 185 views)
File Type: jpg rosette sawing0008.jpg (28.3 KB, 186 views)
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Old 12-04-2020, 03:54 AM
BEJ BEJ is offline
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1 of the finished products, still at rough sanded stage with a rough shellac coat. Not sure how the brown stripe got into the center of the mix, another unintended screw, up guess it will be part of the build.....
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File Type: jpg new 30007.jpg (21.1 KB, 188 views)
File Type: jpg new 30010.jpg (29.9 KB, 185 views)
File Type: jpg new 30014.jpg (34.3 KB, 187 views)
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Old 12-05-2020, 10:00 PM
BEJ BEJ is offline
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Got a little more done the past few days this (pics) and reworking some of my tools. A redo on my light bulb side bender machine ?, what I had put together could be used as an example of a kludge, the redo is still kludgy but less so.

2 backs bubinga , 1 shedula, tops sitka spruce. Should start side bending this week.
Looking at the tops again maybe I made the bridge plates to big, too late now. Might have to be another lesson learned.

Bruce,
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File Type: jpg new 30002.jpg (38.5 KB, 173 views)
File Type: jpg new 30005.jpg (31.8 KB, 176 views)
File Type: jpg new 30006.jpg (23.7 KB, 173 views)
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Old 12-06-2020, 03:31 PM
BradHall BradHall is offline
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I’m an old woodworker that has gone down the path building guitars also. I found very little that really translated into lutherie. I have enjoyed the learning process and have improved with each successive build. Seeing other builders ideas is always interesting. I haven’t seen a top braced like yours before. Especially the very large bridge plate and the lower braces running horizontally. What is your thinking on this design? Nice clean work by the way. How do they sound?
Brad
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Last edited by BradHall; 12-12-2020 at 10:14 AM.
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