Friday, August 31, 2012

Real Braces This Time

There are all kinds of braces:  for you teeth, to hold up your pants, to hold up your clothesline, to hold up your roof, but these are the real thing and, believe it or not, they are responsible, in major part, for the quality of the sound of your guitar.  In concert (pun intended) with the top, neck and back, they shape the sound quality.  Do I understand it all?  NO, but I think this is going to be one awesome guitar.  BTW, not glued on yet...too humid even with AC.

Top and back braces Fir on top, spruce on back

Bending a side
I also started bending one of the sides.  This rosewood is a bit stiffer than Indian Rosewood so it's a slow process.  Cracking a side of this precious stuff would be a disaster!  Not gonna happen though.  Slow and easy does it.

Also practiced spraying lacquer (gloss) today  This is gonna be awesome.

All for today


Monday, August 20, 2012


OK, so you don't really have to brace yourself, but I started the process of making the braces for the top and back.  The top braces will be made of some very straight grained old fir that I obtained from NW Lumber.  It's a nice, rich reddish brown color that will contrast nicely with the white of the top spruce..did I mention how awesome this top is?  More on this momentarily (no, I didn't call anyone a moron)The tentellones will, perhaps be cedar or mahogany that almost matches the firThe reverse-kerf lining for the back will (I think) be mahogany as well.

I've tested the top now several times using Visual Analyzer an think that I am getting some usable results.  The tap tone, as I've thinned the top has shifted frequency toward the bass side.  Problem is, since I have no experience using this method of analysis to predict the outcom. I'll simply keep the records of the testing and when its time to play the guitar, I'll know just how this data predicts the outcome.  Since the top goes on first, this allows some tweaking of the top to adjust the sound up to the point I put the back on.

I also worked on the head plate and a sample of the rosewood today.  I'm experimenting with the rosewood pore filler and haven't quite got it yet.  I'll do a bit of research online to find out what I'm missing.  Here are a couple of shots of the wood from a couple of different lighting perspectives.

Just a couple of coats of satin lacquer

Same piece, different lighting (satin, not Satan)

Some family stuff.  A Mercer Clan reunion (descendants of Arthur Morgan Mercer) is to be held at an unspecified (here, that is) time and place.  We expect about 20 or so people from around the US and Canada.  It's been a long time since I've seen them and I'm really looking forward to the visit.  More on (not moron) this soon.

Thatsallfornowgdevening (sp?)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

TOP O' the mornin'

Working on tops (several, but I think I've narrowed it down to THIS ONE):

Best rosette inlay

Why?  Because I think it is the best rosette inlay I've ever done, AND this piece of wood has awsome sound characteristics as far as I can tell.  Some testing will tell. 

Next steps:  1. Thinning this top to final thickness; 2.  Making sure back and sides are the right thickness; 3.  bending the sides  4.  making and installing braces on top and back; 5,  putting final touches on neck, headpiece and spanish heel;  6, ASSEMBLY and bindings; 7. Attach bridge; 8. PREP AND APPLY FINISH; 9. install frets and nut and STRINGS!!! and final setup 10.  SIT DOWN AND PLAY THIS AWESOME GUITAR.  /Still a bit of time involved, and I want to invest the time to make every step absolutely the finest work I've ever done.  The elements are all here, its just a matter of time.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Quick update

Just a quick update.  With the help of the climate control now possible, I've been joining tops and inlaying rosettes..I now have three candidates, one as yet without a rosette, but a nice top.  If the rosette goes in nice, it is likely to be THE top because I believe it has the best sound characteristics.  Got together with Kevin to discuss finish and provided him with a sample of the rosewood to work with.  Take a look at the pics in the previous post and those below to get a glimpse of just how awesome this rosewood is.  The neck and fretboard (no frets yet) are almost ready to go to the joining process.  The sides are almost ready to be bent and the back is awesome.  See the latest photos below.

Routing the rosette channel.  Note the
relative humidity on the meter

Scraping down the rosette after inlay

The head overlay (Braz. RW) with the head design

The awesome back...look closely at the grain

Side ready to bend

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Laura's photos and HOT, HOT, HOT

Because of the difficulty of manipulating a large number of photos in this blog environment, I've placed the whole batch of pictures of the making of Laura's guitar on Facebook.  I will continue to inform everyone of the progress on C's guitar here in the blog.

Well, as I said, hot hot, hot.  With the temperature and humidity as it is here in the soggy midwest, joinery is pretty much precluded.  So progress on C's guitar is, for the near future restricted to making parts and returning the wood to the dry cabinet.  On the near horizon, however a solution looms.  A major addition to the inventory of tools, gadgets and useful stuff in a brand new portable air conditioner/heater.  This should be a major improvement and the unit is capable of controlling the humidity as well as cooling and heating.  I'm psyched!

In the meantime, parts accumulate and here are some, which with the right climate (artificial or otherwise) will be joined into the magnificent guitar we've planned.  The top and back were joined a while ago when we had a drier period.  The inlays on the fret board are still under consideration and may be omitted.  More about this in the future.  The two globes on the bridge will probably be used, but the earth-rise on the fretboard may be a bit much.  To be decided.

I attended a chip carving class on Saturday to gain some insight into the possibility of the fan motif on the back of the head.  I'll be practicing these methods and if I feel confident that I can do a very professional job,, I'll proceed with it.

That's all for today.  bye.

Fretboard, bridge and a prototype  

Back, sides and a set of east indian sides 

The Back, partially thinned

The parts... may or may not use the top shown here