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  #11  
Old 08-23-2010, 03:39 AM
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Kwak Kwak is offline
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Originally Posted by Will'sdad View Post
Cool! You taking pictures?
Not many yet, but here are a couple:

This is me hunching over the blueprints and the woods I just selected. The boards on the bottom right are cedar, the rest are mahogany.


Next is a photo taken last night of the joined back.
[IMG][/IMG]

The process is pretty simple: just use a plane to make the adjoining edges completely flat. After each pass through a planing table press the two board together and hold them up to the light. If there's no light there's no gap and they're ready to be glued. It took me about 6 passes and another set of eyes to make sure.

Once that was done you get the jig ready. Put the two boards together and pound some nails up against either side. Then you take the wood out, lay a straight edge down on the jig, put a bead of Tite Bond on the edge of the wood and spread it in. I used too much but that's just nerves. I hope to get better as the ball really gets rolling. Then you press the boards together and lay them on the jig with the straight edge under the joint. Once everything's snug pull out the straight edge, wipe off any excess glue and then put some weight on the joint. You're supposed to use 3 big clamps but we couldn't figure out why they were need so we just grabbed anything that weighed a lot and let it sit. I don't know if it's right so we'll see. At worst I just have to use a little steam to take it apart and do the process all over again. It barely took a half hour.
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  #12  
Old 08-25-2010, 01:18 PM
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Man, but I love the smell of cedar! Last night I planed the edges and did the light test and did much better this time: I was rewarded with a wonderful smell and a perfectly tight joint after only 6 passes on the table planer. I also used a little less glue when joining the two book matched halves of the soundboard. THe only hang up was when I clamped it down; I put a dink in the soft cedar. Oh well - it's close to the center and that's where the fretboard extension can go.

Meanwhile, we had some issues with the band saw and I only got one of my 4 mold sections cut out. I suppose it was partly user error because I haven't used a band saw before and I found myself fighting the thing around the curves. Still, I have one done, another halfway through and the other 2 ready to go.

Meanwhile my friend has his guitar's body halfway done and was just sanding the rim of the sides as they sat clamped in their mold. He'd been having difficulty with the block where the neck fits in but the third time was the charm. Then it was a matter of mounting a hug radiused dish with a sandpaper disc on it and "driving the bus" until everything was the same height.

After he was done we looked through his box of rosewood scrap and found the joined rosewood backs of 3 failed attempts - cosmetic issues only (grain irregularities.) We're going to cut one up into 1/4" strips to use as the centerline on my mahogany back and the body/fretboard binding. Then I'm going to line it on either side with thin black/white/black purfling. The idea is to get something that looks like this:
http://i1015.photobucket.com/albums/...8RTSt1Nik9.jpg
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  #13  
Old 09-01-2010, 03:22 PM
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Here's a little progress report that's going into my journal:

9/1/2010:

I got a little bit done last night but am still learning to use the band saw and now thickness sander.

One bit of bad news - there was a weak spot in my top and it split and not at the joint. When my friend took it out of the jig he held it up to give it a look to see if the join was perfect and free of gaps he gave it a tap for tone and it split. He managed to save it though and reglued it for me; there were no loose fibers. Kinda sucks but that's first builds for you I guess.

He's probably getting back at me for messing up his band saw. I have trouble making the turn when cutting the waist in my molds.

BTW, there's been blood shed - his not mine though. He cut his finger on the metal housing of his band saw when I got my mold hung up halfway through a cut. I feel terrible about it but he brushed it off. He looked a little peeved though.

After throwing the band saw out of alignment for the 3rd time we moved on to the thickness sander and got to work on the cedar top. The board started at around .199 and the target range is .110-.120 but it was pretty slow going. His sander is a smaller 10" drum type which only sands the top and half of the joined board at a time so it takes 4 passes. Then I'd crank the height down very slightly so as not to mark the boards or gum up the sandpaper but of course I messed it up. Luckily it should sand out eventually, but it was getting late and the sandpaper roll was getting gummed up so I had to quit. After about a dozen passes I only got the board down to .169 but my "oops" is getting noticeably lighter and the glue joints are getting less and less visible.

On the bright side, I got 3 of my 4 molds cut and have 2 sides which should be enough to put my sides in once I bend them. The cutouts will make suitable forms for the bender. They'll all need to be sanded smooth and level but not by much.

It's still not looking like a guitar yet but I feel like I've made significant strides in the setup phase, despite the setbacks and slow going.

Lastly I just uploaded some pics from last week:

Top being joined (the first time):


The molds being cut (in progress):


Close up of the cutout to be used as a form for the bending process:


Top being joined the second time (this time the right way?):
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  #14  
Old 09-06-2010, 01:57 AM
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I'm itching to get back to it but in the meantime I'm doing a lot of reading and planning. I need to pick up some hand tools here and there and bring back some things here to work on.

The other day Joey and I were hanging out when I decided it'd be a good time to trace some more templates off my blueprints. Before I did so I talked to my 3 year-old about what I was doing and to my surprise he actually seemed somewhat interested saying things over and over like "you makin' a geeTAR, Daddee?" so I opened up the book I've been studying to show him what I wanted to do every step of the way in full color. Like him unless it's fully illustrated my attention starts to wander. I've read him the little flip book "Daddy and Me" where a dad and his little boy build a doghouse so he knows what tools are and that projects like this have steps so I did something similar as I flipped through the pages of the guitar building book.

With a little fanfare I pulled out my HUGE blueprints and showed him the drawings. I pointed to the ones I was gonna trace and then pointed to what I was going to do with them in the book. I doubt he grasped that but he seemed excited that I was including him in my little project.

OK, so he wasn't actively involved but I had him help me tape a huge freaking sheet of my plans on the front glass storm door to use as a light table to trace an outline on a piece of poster board. After that I cleaned up the lines on the poster board (tracing upright is HARD people!) and we were done.

Now I'm thinking that it might be OK to bring some light work home to do. Nothing too dangerous; sanding and scraping mostly- maybe some filing, planing and chiseling too but I'll save that for when they're in bed because it involves REALLY sharp stuff - at least before it gets cold. I have to work in a pretty tight range of relative humidity and once the furnace kicks on and sucks all the moisture out of the air and the wood will get too brittle and crack.

BTW, I also frequent a few guitar boards one of which is run by and frequented by amateur and professional luthiers. A couple chimed in and told me that they too were once stay at home dads and did a lot of their early stuff with their kids at their sides. One even shared pictures of his 3 year-old daughter helping him build her a ukelele. There were a cute series of pics where he let her do the gluing and then basically let her put stickers on the unfinished wood and then he lacquered right over them, making them part of the guitar's design.

Well, Joey's a pretty bright kid but he's very distractable and he likes to get in other peoples' business like it's nobody's business. I'm thinking that I'm going to have to involve him in something that is similar to what I'm doing. Doing the bracing should be fun. I'm imagining him gluing popsicle sticks on a piece of foam board shaped like a guitar top or something then have him use clothespins as clamps to keep them in place as the glue dries. What do you guys think?
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  #15  
Old 09-07-2010, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
Well, Joey's a pretty bright kid but he's very distractable and he likes to get in other peoples' business like it's nobody's business. I'm thinking that I'm going to have to involve him in something that is similar to what I'm doing. Doing the bracing should be fun. I'm imagining him gluing popsicle sticks on a piece of foam board shaped like a guitar top or something then have him use clothespins as clamps to keep them in place as the glue dries. What do you guys think?
Just caught up on this thread, looks like you are making good progress. I would totally involve Joey to the extent you can - you get the added benefit of doing something that you enjoy as well - only issue might be if he is easily distracted the attention span may wane quickly if he is not interested in what he is doing, so am not really sure what the best "tasks" are that you can both be involved in that will hold that attention...
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  #16  
Old 09-10-2010, 12:39 AM
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Uh oh - things just got a little complicated. I've just acquired my first table tool. My friend was trying to liquidate some of his stuff (a couple old guitars and some tools and such) but couldn't sell his smaller band saw - so he gave it to me. He didn't include the table guides or even the instructions and also let me know that he couldn't get the blade to stay tight but he told me if I could get it to work it's mine. As if he even wanted it back though.

FYI, it's a Ryobi (cheapo Home Depot brand) 9" band saw that retailed for about $100 but the model appears to have been discontinued. It's probably too small for me to cut out the outline of the soundboard (which is 16"x24"x.125" once it's sanded down to the target thickness) but if I can get it to work it should be good enough to cut some 10"x24"x3/4" boards of birch plywood into molds. I should also be able to use it to cut spruce billets into blanks for the bracing.

But again I'm getting ahead of myself. I am not very mechanically-inclined at all. I've been getting some good advice from some other amateur but more-experienced and professional luthiers though and I'm learning what I've done wrong and what to do the next time I try. For example, I learned that the curve in the middle of the guitar shape was too tight for the blade on my friend's band saw and that I need to do a technique called relief cutting where I cut a series of lines perpendicular to the final line I need to follow so that the blade doesn't bend and bind up in my stock.

I'm looking forward to my next attempt though.
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  #17  
Old 09-16-2010, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by One-Third View Post
Just caught up on this thread, looks like you are making good progress. I would totally involve Joey to the extent you can - you get the added benefit of doing something that you enjoy as well - only issue might be if he is easily distracted the attention span may wane quickly if he is not interested in what he is doing, so am not really sure what the best "tasks" are that you can both be involved in that will hold that attention...
I have to be a little more careful with Joey around. He has no fear in him whatsoever and I'm worried he's gonna tinker with the band saw. I tried running it while he was in the room and he was just a little too curious so I'm going to start keeping/running it in the garage. That's OK though because it's messy to work with.

That being said, I checked out a new video for Joey to watch and I snuck away to the garage for about 45 minutes (being sure to check on him every now and then of course) so that I could finish all the cuts I need to do with the band saw. Now I just need to do some sanding.
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  #18  
Old 09-17-2010, 01:30 AM
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Kwak this looks like a very cool project. I have to give credit to a guy who "is not very mechanically inclined" ,according to himself, taking on a project like this. Good luck the rest of the way and keep the pics coming. How many clamps do you own?
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  #19  
Old 09-17-2010, 01:55 AM
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How many clamps do you own?
The answer to that is always "never enough."
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  #20  
Old 09-17-2010, 03:48 AM
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Thanks, Mark and wolfmanyoda!

FYI: I don't have any clamps - yet. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

All I know is that I could've bought a kit or at least decided on an easier model which my friend already has the molds and templates for but I'd be building a guitar similar to one I just bought in January. What'd be the point there? When I'm done with this one it'll be sufficiently different from my other guitars that I'll feel justified and worthy of it.

BTW, have any of you guys ever seen some of the ornate inlay that go into so of those "high end" guitars? I saw pics of a beautiful fretboard inlay of a lion that make me want to learn how to do that kind of stuff. Apparently there's a demand for it. It's very intricate work from what I understand, though. I'm having a hard enough time accurately following/transferring my blueprints for the guitar.
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