Friday, February 26, 2010

Marshwood Acoustic, Chapter 3, The Top

The x-brace provides some of the main strength for the top of the steel string. Two pieces of quarter sawn spruce are joined together to form the X. These pieces were sanded on a radius dish prior to joining. The photos show before and after sequences:
1st-The layout of the braces. 2nd - Notching where the other brace will connect. 3rd - Inspecting the joint. 4th - Clamping and gluing the x-brace to the top. More braces will be added to the guitar's top. This bracework will be a large contributer to the voice of this instrument.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Marshwood Acoustic, Chapter 3, The Top

The Douglas Fir top has been joined and sanded. This piece of wood has lots of personality. It is not the traditional choice for this application but it has all of the characteristics which make it a good sounding board. The rosette is the decorative circle which surrounds the sound hole of the acoustic. I have chosen a traditional and simple approach by using a pre-made herringbone rosette.

After lining up the rosette in position and marking its location on the top it was time to route the cavity. Using a Port-a-Cable laminate trimmer and a rosette cutting jig the channel was routed. Once the fit was good and tight it was glued in.

After the glue was dried the rosette was scraped and sanded flush with the top. The fit is really tight and is seamless. I am happy with that.

After the rosette was sanded flush the top was thicknessed with a drum sander to approximately 2.6 mm. Then using the same jigs and router I cut out the sound hole.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Rufus, Fretwork

In this series of photos a much abridged overview of fretwork is discussed. The first step is to radius the ebony board across the its length. The radius block has sand paper on the underside and it takes some time to get it done.

Even after sanding with the blocks the fret board can still be not perfectly level. In this picture I am using a level steel beam with sandpaper glued to one side to make sure the board is level. The more level the board is the less fret dressing I will have to do later.

After the board was level it was sanded to 400 grit and then buffed on the wheel in preparation for the frets. All of the needed tools and fret wire are where I need them.

In order to hide the ends of these frets (unlike a Strat for example) the fretboard was bound with a piece of ebony binding. This look does add a lot of time in preparing the frets to be installed. The frets have to be trimmed and filed before hammering them in. It does look clean though and is worth the time. You can see this detail in the first photo.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Marshwood Acoustic, Chapter 2, The Back

The maple back of this guitar was glued on today. Before this could take place small notches on the sides of the guitar had to be cut to accept the back braces (pictures). This was done with a fine saw and files. Then the back was glued and clamped using the Go-Bar-Deck (picture). This is a stressful time but everything went OK (picture). Tomorrow I will look to joining the Douglas Fir top and create a rosette.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Marshwood Acoustic, Chapter 2, The Back

With the braces glued in it was time to shape the braces. Acoustic guitar bracing is complex and many guitars have differing patterns. This being my first attempt at a steel string guitar I am applying my experience with spruce to these braces. The truth is I will not find out if the way I have shaped these braces was successful until the first chord is played. The general locations are taken from plans. The material width, height, taper and shape are up to me. Personally, music is a round force, melodies are played, musicians improvise, then return to the root melody. This train of thought has influenced how these braces have been shaped. The back and side braces have rounded features. Many builders use triangular shaped braces. We'll hear many months from now if this was the right track.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Marshwood Acoustic, Chapter 2, The Back

Installing Spruce Braces to the Back:

1.I set out the radius dish, the back and the OM plans. The placement of the spruce braces are measured (locations taken from plans).

2.The spruce braces are sanded to a 15 foot radius using the dish. I used a bandsaw and hand plane to remove the bulk of the wood until the brace fit roughly to the dish.

3.The placement of the spruce braces are transfered to the center strip on the guitar's back. Using a square, I held each brace perpendicular to the center strip and scored the outline of the brace with a razor onto the center strip. Using a saw the back strip was cut with a small saw then chiseled the rest to the scored line. This small channel will allow the brace to lay flush against the maple back.

4.Using the "Go Bar Deck", a clamping devise, I glued in each brace while cleaning up all glue squeeze-out along the way. The next step will be to shape the braces.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Marshwood Acoustic, Chapter 2, The Back

The back of this guitar is a subtlety flamed piece of maple. I re-sawed a board creating two book-matched pieces and then joined them together. They were then sanded to a thickness of 2.5mm. The glue was scraped away and then a spruce back-strip was glued in using a clamping device called a "Go Bar Deck." The strip was glued in while the back plate is in a 15 foot radius dish. This will help top maintain the radius as we move forward.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Marshwood Acoustic, Chapter 1, The Sides

Traditionally, many acoustic guitars have a feature called an "end-wedge" at the butt-end of the instrument. This also is practical because it is difficult and time consuming to get a very clean butt-joint with the guitar sides. A butt-joint is when two pieces of wood create a perfect seam when joined together end-to-end. An end-wedge good alternative to the butt-joint. Plus it can add an accent to your piece. I have made this one out of a scrap piece of rosewood. Basically, the wedge was made, the shape was traced onto the guitar, the side wood was cut, then the wedge was glued in and sanded flush. This process sounds easy but it took a couple hours. This chapter is about finished. The sides are have the correct radius, the kerfing is in, the braces and end-wedge are also in. Time to work on the back.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Marshwood Acoustic, Chapter 1, The Sides

The sides have been sanded to the appropriate radius. The kerfed linings have now been glued in. These linings support the top and back of the acoustic. The series of pictures shows the basic process. The glue is applied to the kerfing, then clamped into position. After about twenty minutes the clamps are removed and the linings are checked for glue squeeze-out and cleaned. Once the linings were all in I made up some side support braces out of spruce and glue them in. These give extra protection to the sides of the guitar.