Sunday, April 29, 2012

All bound up

All bound up

Derik putting on binding

BR head piece (what will appear here?)

Looking good, but not glued on


Matching inlay on tie block

Sunday morning after a long day in the shop yesterday.  Deryk DeZahr, a luthier and maker of guitars and violin-family instruments, helped me install the top bindings.  Some scraping and sanding will bring the top to near finish-ready condition and the bridge and fretboard can be glued into place.  These pictures show the status at the moment and a few details that, when scraped and sanded will be pretty much complete.  I've also drilled the pilot holes for the tuning pegs and cut the fret slots.  So here's a series of pictures which show the details.  

Detail of mitre where binding meets butt inlay
We received news that Dmitry's grandfather passed away and his hand in helping to care for him has caused a delay in the receipt of our rosettes for C's guitar.  They will arrive sometime soon however and we'll be ready to go when they do.  I've begun jointing the back plates and have the sander set up to thin the back, sides and top plates when needed.  The neck scarf joint and heel block are close behind.  I'll be posting some pics soon showing the early stages of making a very special instrument.

Keep watching.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Bindind your binding

BR head plate

Derik DeZahr helped with binding

Treble side binding on
Just a quick note on this one.  Derik helped me put on the binding.  Four hands are better than me.  The head plate is on...will a surprise appear? 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Strip your butt

Brazilian Rosewood Butt strip

I ended up making two of these, since I routed the channel a bit too big.  But that's OK, cause I'll simply use the other one on C's guitar.  I haven't decided if I'm going to inlay anything into this strip or not....we'll see.  Next:  slot the fretboard.  Review John Gilbert's method of slotting to compensate for string stretch.  Gotta run.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Bondage and Dominance

So, last night, after having cut the binding channel, I fitted the binding and purfling by bending it on my side bender, to fit the channel.  It has to fit perfectly, in order not to leave a bunch of little gaps to be filled.  The binding is rosewood with a white accent stripe on the bottom and the purfling is black, white, black, white, black, made up of colored veneers.  These will be glued into place with hot hide glue, a very tricky process that needs about six hands, but I'll manage with two.

I'll post more later today.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Really s~c~a~r~r~r~y Part

Where I take a machine running at 32,000 rpm to the beautiful box I've created

This is the scary part

This is the result

This is the binding and purfling that goes into the channel

 Well, I did it.  Tonight was the night that I routed the binding/purfling channel.  That means taking a machine with a sharp bit, running at 32,000 rpm and cutting away a portion of the top and side to accomodate the binding (rosewood, with a white accent strip) and purfling (black and white alternating veneers).  One slip and the whole thing is toast!  I was shaking when I finished and it wasn't PD.  Anyway that part is done for the top.  I'll repeat it when I put the back on and it's even more finished than now.  There's some trimming of the little "feathers" that the router causes and a cutout for the part that goes into the neck.  Then the binding and purfling can be glued in place.  Next, the fretboard will be slotted, glued into place and the frets installed.  The bridge will be glued in place as will a head plate.  The tuning pegs installed and then the final testing and voicing will take place.  That's why we leave the back off until last.  We can test the response frequencies and adjust by removing or adding mass to the top, with the back taped on.  When we're satisfied, the back goes on and the final action is set.  Back binding put in place and the final touches on the neck, head, accents, and preparation for finishing.  Whether I do it or IndyCraft, it will be a satin nitrocellulose finish, which should make a very striking guitar.  Really tired, so that's all for today.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fits and Frets

Fitting the fretboard (no frets yet)

Fitting the bridge

I was thinking about some of the terminology used in guitar making and how odd it can be:  One who makes guitars is called a luthier in spite of the fact that he/she may never have touched a lute; you thickness a top, back or side panel by making it thinner; we usually fret about the frets, because their placement is crucial to the intonation; you tune the instrument, although rarely by playing a tune.  Okay. I'm sure that there are lots of other jargon that could be added (in fact, if you're inclined, e.g., head up, feet down; add your ideas of strange terms associated with instruments and their music.

Anyway, I fitted the bridge, fretboard, armrest, back and back braces, bent the binding and purfling for the top and will add the fret slots, rout the channel for the bindings, put the final touches on the neck, add a head piece and drill the complex holes for the tuning pegs, make a nut, align everything and get ready for a glue-fest, all except the back and back binding.. there are probably several other steps that I've left out, but you get the idea.  We're on the backstretch, headed for the last turn. 

Finishing is a bit up in the air, but it will be finished in fine shape.  This should be a very responsive guitar and some testing in the final stages and tweaking, if necessary, will assure that it will sound really terrific (as always, there is a bit of uncertainty here, but it should be minimized by the methods I'm using.

I fret about how Dmitry is doing on the Rosettes for C's guitar.

Civil War stuff:  I was pondering my great grandfather's role during the Civil War and know that, except for a period of illness in Corinth, MS, he served throughout the entire war.  This included Sherman's march to the sea and the incredible distances these troops put under thier boots, assuming they had boots.  Which led me to thinking of Morgan's assignment.  He was part of the - what I think now would be the Quartermaster Corps attached to the 10th Michigan Infantry.  What a herculean task it must have been to provide food and equipment, weapons and ammo to the massive number of troops under Sherman's command.  From what I've read, there are mixed reviews as to the behavior of the troops responsible for commandeering supplies from the local populations on the periphery of the main contingent of troops marching across the South.  I looked up what was designated as standard equipment and rations that the troops were officially entitled to, and it is enormous.  I doubt very seriously if anything near that was actually provided.  I'll find the reference again and plug it in here.  Logistics must have been next to impossible.  More research is in order here. 

Here is a list of official rations and supplies:

According to army regulations for camp rations, a Union soldier was entitled to receive daily
12 oz of pork or bacon or 1 lb. 4 oz of fresh or salt beef; 1 lb. 6 oz of soft bread or flour, 1 lb. of hard bread, or 1 lb. 4 oz of cornmeal. Per every 100 rations there was issued 1 peck of beans or peas; 10 lb. of rice or hominy; 10 lb. of green coffee, 8 lb. of roasted and ground coffee, or 1 lb. 8 oz of tea; 15 lb. of sugar; 1 lb. 4 oz of candles, 4 lb. of soap; 1 qt of molasses. In addition to or as substitutes for other items, desiccated vegetables, dried fruit, pickles, or pickled cabbage might be issued.The marching ration consisted of 1 lb. of hard bread, 3/4 lb. of salt pork or 1 1/4 lb. of fresh meat, plus the sugar, coffee, and salt.

Thinking about this would surely cause one to fret and would give you fits!!!!

Here's a list of some of the actions the 10th MI Infantry was part of:

I know there were more early in the war, in Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi.

The regiment suffered 7 officers and 95 enlisted men who were killed in action or motally wounded and 2 officers and 223 enlisted men who died of disease, for a total of 327 fatalities.
Battle of Missionary Ridge
Battle of Kennesaw Mountain
Siege of Atlanta
Battle of Jonesboro
March to the Sea
Battle of Bentonville

Monday, April 9, 2012

Braces in places, back on back

Back on back (where else?)
braces in place (orthodontia?)
inside center strip (a stripper?)

Startin' to look like a guitar

OK , so I'm just too corny.  Progress on L's guitar proceeds apace.  The back braces were fitted and glued in, the center strip inside the guitar was glued in place and the size of the back was trimmed to near the final size.  The back can now be taped on for sound testing, but the bridge and fretboard need to be in place, as well as the head piece needs to be installed and the tuning pegs installed.  So there's still a bit to do before the binding goes on.  The binding will go on the top perimeter along with some purfling, but the back doesn't go on until the final testing and adjustment of the back.  I did a spectrum on the top as it is now, with the back taped on .  There seem to be peaks in the right region, but there's a way to go before we can tell how well it matches up with Brian Burns's guitars.  There's also some more carving to do on the neck to prepare for the fretboard and I need L to provide me with the width at the nut and the 12th fret as well as an approximate profile of the neck that's most comfortable for her.

Meanwhile, I'll be continuing the preparation of the back for joining the two halves and at least a couple of tops as candidates for C's guitar.  I'll be testing these for stiffness in the next day or so and preparing them for joining the book matched halves.  I will then thickness the plates to near thier final thickness.  A neck scarf joint will need to be prepared and the neck joined along with a heel stack.  Sides will be bent as soon as they can be sanded to final thickness.  I don't want to start running any rosewood through the sander until after the tops have been sanded and this can't happen until we get the rosettes.

That's the short version of where we are.  Looks like a lot to do, but things will move pretty fast because now what I've practiced on one guitar, the next one will go smoother.  That was the whole idea of a campaign.  I'm getting things in order so that things go where they belong and I can find what I need when I need it.

Off to be a curtain.  No, really, apparently it was quite dramatic.

Here's a pic of my handsome grandson ready to be a curtain in a program at church.  Apparently, he made a very good curtain

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Got some pictures

L's guitar.  Tentellones glued in
L's guitar from top.  Bridge is just sitting.
Here are some pictures I think you'll find interesting:

L's guitar, armrest prototype
A lot of prep work and then a long day on my feet planting tentellones, one-by-one around the perimeter of the top and sides joint.  Tentellones are the little individual lining pieces you see in the shot of the inside.  This is the traditional way of attaching the top to the sides.  I use hot animal hide glue to attach each one, holding it in place for about 10 seconds while the glue gels.  The neck was also glued onto the top and will be trimmed and sanded to shape later,  The armrest prototype is made of brazilian rosewood, as is the bridge.  I spoke with Richard (the guy to measured and drew the plan for this guitar ) about the armrest and he said the best way to make and attach this is to shape it to the curve of the lower bout where the arm normally rests on the edge of the guitar.  After shaping and smoothing it to produce a more comfortable rest for the forearm, it is attached ( believe it or not) with double sided tape.  Now, this is guy who gets $20,000 for one of his guitars, so who am I to argue?  He said that it has the least affect on the sound of the guitar and is removable (very carefully) and modifiable.  He cautioned me not to try to build it in because it would most likely be difficult and would affect the sound and put unwanted stress on the top.  Remember, this is a flamenco guitar.  I brought it home and everyone was amazed at how light it is.

Next steps (in no particular order, mostly):

Make and fit the fretboard ( I must decide on the width of the neck at the nut and the bridge to make it the most comfortable to play.  I'll discuss this off-line.

Cut fret slots, install frets.  I haven't decided whether to put the frets on before gluing on the fretboard or after.  I've seen people do both ways.  Dress and polish frets.

Install head plate and perhaps a back plate.  TBD

Install lining for back.  Fit back and braces in place.  Sand with braces in place without back to produce spherical back shape (very subtle).  Glue back to braces, but not to linings.  Once this is done, the back will be trimmed to size and can be taped in place to allow testing and voicing of the top.  This is what I've been working up to with all of the sound testing of tops etc.  This will be done with the back taped on, and after it is glued on to assure that the sound does not change.

The tuning pegs, which look like regular cello pegs, are actually geared.  These will be installed very carefully.
In addition to a bunch of sanding and prep work,  the guitar will be ready for finish.  This will be discussed with my new acquaintance from Indy Craft and we'll decide on the best finish for each the top and the rest of the guitar.  It is possible that I will french polish the top.  This is TBD. 

Embellishments may be added beyond the usual binding and purfling TBD  As a flamenco guitar, el golpeador is tradicional, do we install one?  (secret:  this is the tap plate that flamencos use to protect the top).

Sounds like a lot?  It is, but it will prodeed apace.  No predictions on completion yet, but it will be a box pretty soon.

And, Oh Yeah, Strings...imagine that.  I'm gonna ask a friend to play and record a few pieces on it.

Meanwhile, back at the bench, the BRW for C's guitar was cut to the appropriate size for jointing, which is going on now.  I'll glue the two bookmatched halves together soon, install a back strip and cut to approximate size for thinning.  Thinning to be done by hand and by Grizzley.  Same with the sides, which when thinned, will be bent to shape.  The neck scarf joint and heel stack is being prepared for glue-up...almost as painstaking as joining the two halves of the top and back.

Being as opposite from a neatnik as is humanly possible, every horizontal surface in the shop is covered with tools, gadgets, stuff and more stuff.  Next on the agenda:  CLEAN THE BLOODY PLACE UP.  Any volunteers?

All for tonite,