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  1. #1

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    Hi all - Been meaning to start this thread to document my debut guitar build. I entered the general wood working world about a year ago, and decided to take a plunge off of the lutherie ledge. My main sources of reference have been using the 2nd ed. Benedetto bible as the guide along with 3 or 4 online amateur build diaries of sorts. I also subscribe to Tom Bills' Luthiers Edge site and use other random online info, as well.

    I've decided to use the Moffa Mithra as my general shape template and will be incorporating my own mods throughout the process. Lower bout width began as 14"; however, after cleaning up the mold is more like 14 7/8". Side width approximately 2 3/8" not including top and back. 24 3/4" scale with body at 15th fret.

    *Ponders: Which is the order of importance for tone... with defined scale: keeping bridge at mid f-hole point vs fret where neck meets the body...

    First drew general template on paper:
    Attached Images Attached Images First-timer Archtop Build-img_1929-jpg First-timer Archtop Build-img_1932-jpg 

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Followed Benedetto instructions (cauls made from inner mold pieces and turnbuckles):
    Attached Images Attached Images First-timer Archtop Build-57202599977__569d13bc-3ae5-47b5-ac0e-ca3beeaa1215-jpg First-timer Archtop Build-img_1980-jpg First-timer Archtop Build-img_1981-jpg First-timer Archtop Build-img_2016-jpg First-timer Archtop Build-img_2036-jpg 

  4. #3

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    Ordered a cool piece of ultralight Sitka spruce that had been cut in the 1980s that was used as a stringer in a log bridge in Alaska:
    Attached Images Attached Images First-timer Archtop Build-img_1925-jpg 

  5. #4

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    Purchased these pieces of hard maple from the local hardwood lumber shop because of the nice figure, not knowing I'd decide to make a guitar.

    Piece on top with the black circle to become the back plate (yet to be milled) and piece below that (with the split at the right end) became the sides:
    Attached Images Attached Images First-timer Archtop Build-img_1927-jpg First-timer Archtop Build-57263497870__09fe52c6-c7c7-4506-93f5-b9197e55ff14-jpg 

  6. #5

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    I used a homemade bending iron copied from a YouTube video from a piece of 2" EMT tubing (thanks Dad) stuffed with aluminum foil with a 3/8" hole drilled through to accommodate a 300W heater cartridge purchased from Grainger. The pipe is held in a piece of wood with a hole cut with a jigsaw. The heater cartridge is wired to a light switch with dimmer to control the temperature. This took some trial and error on practice pieces to determine a nice temperature and worked well.

    Overall, with some practice and getting a feel for what's too much/too little pressure, too long/or not in one position, etc. it's not as tricky as one might think..

    I milled the sides and got them to final thickness 3/32" in the drum sander. You'll see in the pic with the calipers I focally sanded the cutaway to 0.88" to minimize the chance for any cracking. The bent cutaway side is shown on a Lexan plexiglass shape template I had made:
    Attached Images Attached Images First-timer Archtop Build-57334147145__15d3ce60-1278-48b3-8a61-8cfd9357483e-jpg First-timer Archtop Build-57514011512__c23302e9-710e-4b82-b798-5b83552c3404-jpg First-timer Archtop Build-img_2167-jpg First-timer Archtop Build-img_2183-jpg First-timer Archtop Build-img_2187-jpg 
    Last edited by sbeishline; 05-11-2019 at 04:52 PM.

  7. #6

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    Milled the neck and tail blocks per Benedetto guidelines although I altered the measurements using proportions from a 17" body to 15" body.

    Because my sides/mold at the neck block weren't at a perfect 90 degrees, it took quite a bit of fussing with custom sanding on a spindle sander to conform nicely to the sides. Similar deal with the tail block, although I double-sided taped some sandpaper to the sides in the mold and fit it that way.

    I cut the non-cutaway tail end side first using a Dozuki saw in the mold to a near 90 degree, luckily! I then cut the cutaway tail side longer and trimmed it on a shooting board with Lie-Nielsen #62 planer- going back and forth to the mold to try and get it right.. As you can see from the pic, I ended up with a minimal gap. I think that most people would probably hide it with a wedge insert or binding, although is pretty acceptable being my first try, IMO.
    Attached Images Attached Images First-timer Archtop Build-img_2223-jpg First-timer Archtop Build-img_2225-jpg First-timer Archtop Build-img_2215-jpg First-timer Archtop Build-img_2216-jpg First-timer Archtop Build-img_2219-jpg First-timer Archtop Build-img_2239-jpg First-timer Archtop Build-57611382800__3279ba66-97b4-4283-8935-104f2ba49099-jpg First-timer Archtop Build-img_2383-jpg 
    Last edited by sbeishline; 04-18-2019 at 09:46 PM.

  8. #7

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    Wow!

  9. #8

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    First, I made some new cauls to use with the turnbuckles to fit between top and back kerfing.

    If you've attempted guitar construction before, you probably realize the challenge of kerfing application order. Benedetto says glue 2 short pieces of kerfing on top and bottom of sides, then glue piece of side brace, to ensure it will be at 90 degrees. However, when you actually get a shell in front of you, you realize it's incredibly tedious to glue a piece on the top with a clamp, let it dry?, flip the other side up in the mold, etc. That's a lot of in-and-out of the mold and flipping, with wet glue... still boggles me.

    So I decided to determine where the braces would be and mark that area on the mold. Then I glued a piece of kerfing, followed by marking 90 to edge of the side at the end of the kerfing with 4" double square, and then glued the brace. So at the end of the gluing, I had glued in the kerfing around the entire top side including the side braces. I left that to dry for 24+ hours..

    At the next session, I measured the length needed to fit tightly between the braces and cut the kerfing to those lengths. Again, I left that to dry for 24+ hours.

    Finally, I glued the 2-kerf pieces to fit over the side braces and after the dried, I chiseled them down to match the other kerfing and sanded it flush.

    Overall, that method seemed to work for me. I only injured a couple half pieces of kerf during the flush sanding, so I'll prolly fix those before I close the box..

    Would love to hear commends and advice- these are all uncharted waters for me.

    Next up is prepping to joint and carve the top and back! Stay tuned...
    Attached Images Attached Images First-timer Archtop Build-img_2264-jpg First-timer Archtop Build-img_2267-jpg First-timer Archtop Build-img_2286-jpg First-timer Archtop Build-img_2287-jpg First-timer Archtop Build-img_2359-jpg First-timer Archtop Build-img_2365-jpg First-timer Archtop Build-img_2392-jpg First-timer Archtop Build-img_2385-jpg First-timer Archtop Build-img_2394-jpg First-timer Archtop Build-img_2393-jpg First-timer Archtop Build-img_2391-jpg 

  10. #9

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    PS- I decided at the beginning of this process to use hot hide glue for the build. I'm using the BTC 251g strength and use a 2:1 ratio of water:hide glue and prolly add a tad more water after its warmed to get it like runny maple syrup. I am using the Hot Heet glue pot, and I have used online resources to learn how to do it properly.

    I do like using it, but the open time is EXTREMELY SHORT. Meaning this stuff gets tacky in about 1 minute. Not sure how I'll get glue on the rim plus the top/back in 1 minute.

    I'm open to suggestions on that, too.

    Cheers.
    Last edited by sbeishline; 04-19-2019 at 11:16 AM.

  11. #10

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    Wonderful work, keep the posts coming!

  12. #11

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    She's looking good sbeishline. With 24.3/4" scale length the bridge will be about 10 1/2 inches from the 15th fret. You want to have a fret above the neck body joint in the unlikely event that you ever need to remove the neck from the body. That way you will have access to the joint by going through the fret slot. Good luck with the rest of your build.

  13. #12

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    I abandoned Benedetto’s plans for thickness calipers as I didn’t like the idea of making my own marks for accurate measuring, but am too cheap to spend the $160 on StewMac. I found someone’s homemade calipers on one of the MIMF forum pages that used pulleys and string a la Benedetto, but used a analog dial, and I used this as my model. Made from ash and cut out on the band saw, grip cut with forstner bits, and the entire thing cleaned up on the spindle sander and edges rounded over on the router table. Seems like it will do the job:
    Attached Images Attached Images First-timer Archtop Build-cff3f5da-0226-4f2c-af15-b66be88bb86b-jpg First-timer Archtop Build-66ca8b8c-e532-4751-861a-a300a4ed16e9-jpg 

  14. #13

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    Very nice. You might consider putting a plastic or wood cap on that lower bolt so it doesn't scrape up the outside of the plate as you take measurements.
    Jay

    'boobadoobadoobaooababop!'

  15. #14

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    Great thread!
    Best regards, k

  16. #15

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    Just wanted to post an update on the thickness caliper. As jehu mentioned, I added a cap to the lower bolt that was an eraser cap, which came from one of those high-quality engineer's lead pencil:

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2504-jpg

  17. #16

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    Wanted to ensure I had a full gluing surface for closing the box, and needed to fix some kerf issues. I had two areas of 3 consecutive kerf pieces and one 1-piece kerf that I didn't glue to the sides straight and were about 1/16" below the edge of the side. I figured I should raise those areas up to be flush as I didn't want two areas of a 3-piece stretch to have a top plate glue surface of only 3/32". A couple got chipped somehow during the flush sanding process, and figured I'd repair those as well.

    I cut the pieces and used a chisel to get them just above the level of the side. The pieces were tiny and light, and were a bit elusive, but I was able to glue them in with a tiny amount of glue in a little syringe injector. Once they dried, I chiseled them down again to be flush with the sides:

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2447-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2490-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2488-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2491-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2489-jpg

  18. #17

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    Made the carving cradle/clamping cauls today, and it took a bit longer than I would've liked.. almost 5 hours. I didn't exactly use Benedetto method, but probably close. Again, used a hybrid of that with some others' ideas from online build journals. I used 6 24" x 24" sheets of plywood- 2 were 3/4" and 4 were 1/2" thick.

    I first traced the guitar shell onto one of the 3/4" pieces of plywood (blue). Then I traced around the inside and outside of the shell (red) using a random, plastic sliding door pulley wheel. Not sure why the red wasn't traced even on both sides (probably had my pencil angled). I used that because we didn't have a washer that was thick enough to get about 1/2" on both sides of the line, and this happened to be the right radius. At any rate, it gave us about a 1" lip width. I wasn't sure exactly how much room I'd need for the belly of the carved top/back plate, and decided to stack a 3/4" piece with a 1/2" piece, and that would be safe to have enough room. I did this process on the 2 3/4" pieces and 2 of the 1/2" pieces.

    After that, I used a 3/16" roundover bit on a handheld router to round over the edges for the top (3/4") pieces to make it gentler on the top and back plates when clamped in there.

    Finally, I traced one with a piece of wood to extend for the clamp mechanism. I glued these the same way as the guitar mold using Titebond II. *I should note- I nearly glued them both the same you can see from the 4th photo); however, I realized in time (flipped the one) and was able to avert disaster. I redid the roundover on one of the pieces, so that I could glue them up as mirror images of each other. An easy mistake to make!

    They're currently still in the clamps drying, so I haven't finalized them with the pieces of wood/bolt for the actual mechanism on the protruding ends, but will update in the near future.

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2492-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2495-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2496-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2497-jpg


    First-timer Archtop Build-57808053976__92d9c894-055c-4592-8f5c-ac9c393fc38d-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-57808052760__2832afe1-86ed-423d-8ae2-ef33d75a3659-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-57808110824__f6083f61-93a3-4764-b797-69435d47a0c9-jpg
    Last edited by sbeishline; 04-27-2019 at 06:35 PM.

  19. #18

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    As shown in one of the previous posts, I used a piece of hard maple for the back and milled it up. It ain't the highest grade, but it'll be pretty nonetheless. As you can see from the pic, I ended up choosing to move the tracing down to avoid that darker brown area on the top left of the guitar. Benedetto and other sources say to mill it to 1" thick, and I think mine is between 15/16" and 1". My guitar measures 14 7/8" at the lower bout and I plan to attempt having the violin/cello-style protruding edges on the top and back. Unfortunately, during the milling process, I didn't give myself a significant margin for error... see for yourself. I'm thinking give or take 1/8" overhang would be fine. I'd better end up being pretty accurate when band sawing the shape!

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2446-jpg

  20. #19

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    Top plate is a Sitka spruce wedge from Alaska as mentioned above. I ran this through the jointer once on each half to remove 1/16" and it seemed to give a result that's basically glue-up ready. If needed, I'll give the edges a few passes with the hand plane.

    Will glue up the top and back plate halves once the carving/clamping cauls are dry and can use the clamps again!

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2449-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2448-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2450-jpg

  21. #20

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    FWIW you probably can’t rely on your chisel for flat level rims. The least equipment intensive method is to glue sand paper to a flat surface and rotate the rim back and forth. People call it “driving the bus”, so that should give you a reasonable visual of what’s involved.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett View Post
    FWIW you probably can’t rely on your chisel for flat level rims. The least equipment intensive method is to glue sand paper to a flat surface and rotate the rim back and forth. People call it “driving the bus”, so that should give you a reasonable visual of what’s involved.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Thanks, rlrhett. Performed a final flush sanding post-chisel.

    First-timer Archtop Build-ce5d6cea-b0b8-48b7-af61-a53d4c0e1cd4-jpg

  23. #22

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    Looking good! Thanks for all the photos and details - really appreciated
    Ray

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by sbeishline View Post
    PS- I decided at the beginning of this process to use hot hide glue for the build. I'm using the BTC 251g strength and use a 2:1 ratio of water:hide glue and prolly add a tad more water after its warmed to get it like runny maple syrup. I am using the Hot Heet glue pot, and I have used online resources to learn how to do it properly.

    I do like using it, but the open time is EXTREMELY SHORT. Meaning this stuff gets tacky in about 1 minute. Not sure how I'll get glue on the rim plus the top/back in 1 minute.

    I'm open to suggestions on that, too.

    Cheers.
    It looks like your making good progress. Here is a thread on gluing up plates with HHG you may want to check out.This will only take a minute. Closing the box with hot hide glue.

  25. #24

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    This looks awesome, cannot wait the "next episode"

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Cushman View Post
    It looks like your making good progress. Here is a thread on gluing up plates with HHG you may want to check out.This will only take a minute. Closing the box with hot hide glue.
    Thank you, Matt- that post is gold! Just what I need. Once I get the top/back carving done, I'll add the locator pin/hole.

  27. #26

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    Got the carving cradle/clamp cauls out of the clamps yesterday and got the top and back plate wedges glued up.

    The Sitka spruce top came in the standard wedge form. The bottom (inside) when laying on the table wasn't flat, and the edges I jointed didn't come together well because it wasn't jointed. The wedges measured approximately 8 1/2" each, and the jointer max is 8". This made me nervous to cut down to near minimum to run a pass on the jointer, but I decided that it was necessary to do in order to have a super-tight glue surface. So, I took the plunge and was super careful to cut at exactly 8" on the table saw. I ran through one pass (1/16") on the jointer to flatten the bottom surface, and then re-jointed with one pass the edge to 90 degrees. This helped significantly. However, I still refined the glue surface with a Lie-Nielsen #4 hand plane. These are the dry-fit tests of the top plate:

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2508-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2506-jpg

    The maple back plate was entire milled square to just over 15/16", so I didn't need to do much tweaking. I took a few passes with the hand plane to refine the seam, but otherwise was ready for glue-up after milling.

    Remainder pix are post-gluing of top plate, back plate, and in the clamps:

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2511-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2512-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2509-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2513-jpg
    Last edited by sbeishline; 05-11-2019 at 05:00 PM.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by sbeishline View Post
    I entered the general wood working world about a year ago...
    In a pretty big way, it appears!
    Jay

    'boobadoobadoobaooababop!'

  29. #28

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    Welp, Benedetto’s contour map templates are great if you’re making a 17” instrument. However, it’s not straightforward for other sizes.

    For anyone who needs to transpose for other body sizes, the X-value is 6.8. You get that by using his known values with the equation: 17” = X x .25 (250% enlargement of his included template), and solving for X. So basically you multiply 6.8 by whatever percentage you need to get to the desired lower bout width. So for mine, I determined by trial and error 6.8 x 2.1875 = 14.875, or 14 7/8 (my guitar lower bout width). Because Kinko’s big printer doesn’t have an option for decimals, I went with 219% and it came purdy close:

    First-timer Archtop Build-1c222643-be57-449c-ba76-87ba215b1739-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-409af764-5ca3-4330-83ac-874d5a204e8f-jpg

    Similarly, I had to scale DOWN the arching templates, which come full size for a 17” body. For this, the employee at Kinko’s had an old school proportional scale, which resulted in downsizing came to about 86.5% from original size and they look pretty good, too.

    First-timer Archtop Build-ed444726-dbf7-4593-acff-9a48113d00fd-jpg

    I will probably create some Masonite templates from the printed arching shapes to use when carving.

  30. #29

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    Welp. Anyone notice what I did wrong in one of the photos of the maple back plate up there?

  31. #30

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    First derailment. For the side I selected as the outside of the back plate, I traced and cut out the shape backwards. Which leaves 3 options for that piece:

    A. Use the other side as the outside (asymmetric color and not nearly as pretty):

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2570-jpg

    B. Save the pieces for another instrument with a maple top.

    C. Use the piece as a back for a lefty for my buddy, Mezlo.

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2571-jpg

    At any rate, don't be sad - that just means more wood working! I milled up an extra piece I had from the maple I used for the sides, and turns out the figure is much nicer on that one anyways. Will glue that up and retrace with the guitar cutaway on the OTHER side. As I said before, it's an easy mistake to make!

    PS - I just set the shell on top for the photo - I'll flip it before I trace it on!!!!

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2572-jpg

  32. #31

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    I hadn't yet realized I had cut the back plate out backwards when I did the spruce top plate, which was probably a good thing because I didn't want to mess up the top.

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2557-jpg

    First-timer Archtop Build-57844658850__13f2031b-25e2-4a09-bcc5-6cc179ed9108-jpg

    I had just started to band saw out the shape, when...... SNAP:

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2564-jpg

    Ugh - not sure why that happened as I had been using this previously. Anyways, I had to audible to the 1/2" blade. Because the blade was a bit wider, I had to make a bunch of relief cuts; however, overall it came out okay. The graphite pencil lines you see are for the 16" guitar that came on the piece from Alaska. I cut to blue lines that are harder to see in these pics.

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2569-jpg


    Next steps for the top plate will be to refine the rough band saw cut on the spindle sander and then mark the top with the contour map.

    First-timer Archtop Build-57844405842__cc53f6e1-ce69-4c58-bdc1-eee0e067c1eb-jpg

    Overall, it's sort of starting to come together to look like a box!

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2568-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2566-jpg

  33. #32

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    After you carve your back plate the appearance of the grain lines will change to some extent anyway. After carving you will see the same grain lines in the center of the plate and the outside of the plate will show more of the grain lines from the other side of the plate. So predicting the final look of your grain lines will change after carving is completed no matter which side you use. It is important only if your plate halves are well book matched.

  34. #33

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    I second Matt. You have no idea how much you carve away. Maybe 80%-90% ends up as chips on the floor. In fact, if you did have a beautiful book matched face before carving you probably would be deeply disappointed when you are done. The only plates that are perfectly book matched when done are laminated.

    If you have good wood, carve away. Let the wood speak for itself.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett View Post
    I second Matt. You have no idea how much you carve away. Maybe 80%-90% ends up as chips on the floor. In fact, if you did have a beautiful book matched face before carving you probably would be deeply disappointed when you are done. The only plates that are perfectly book matched when done are laminated.

    If you have good wood, carve away. Let the wood speak for itself.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Cushman View Post
    After you carve your back plate the appearance of the grain lines will change to some extent anyway. After carving you will see the same grain lines in the center of the plate and the outside of the plate will show more of the grain lines from the other side of the plate. So predicting the final look of your grain lines will change after carving is completed no matter which side you use. It is important only if your plate halves are well book matched.

    Really appreciate your direction guys.

  36. #35

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  37. #36

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    Sbeishline,
    It’s coming along very nice - thanks for sharing your build. I’m looking forward to following this until completion.

  38. #37

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    So, I decided to go with the Safe-T-Planer (STP) from StewMac instead of the drill hole map for the outsides of the top and back plates. Being that I had band-sawed a new back plate out of a maple after I figured I screwed up the first tracing, I decided to use the "lefty" piece as a practice piece to get some experience.

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2581-jpg
    First, I first cut out the enlarged Benedetto contour guide into its various map lines.
    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2607-jpg


    I then traced the central-most contour and used the STP to cut down to the indicated depth. Back and forth I went to tracing the next level down and STP'ing that level using the Infinity set-up blocks (seen above) for the particular height level. As you can see from the photo of the ziggurat below, I learned a few things:

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2612-jpg

    The first couple of levels were minimal removal and the STP seemed to work pretty well. The cuts were fairly clean. As I got down to the 3rd and 4th levels, the drops were thicker and the cutting became quite a bit more difficult and the overall cut surface didn't seemed to be as tidy as expected. Because I was cutting such a thick amount, I decided to take it over 2 depths. Despite this, it was pretty slow going, and the STP became very hot and was scorching the wood. Eventually, I decided to call it quits for the night and walked away wishing it could've gone a bit easier and chalking it up to the hardness of the maple. Fortunately, I had the peace of mind knowing that piece was able to be used as practice.

    When I got back to the bench, I wanted to inspect the STP cutters to see if the work/heat caused any sort of damage to the blade temper. The cutters have 2 blades, so you can flip when the one wears out, breaks, or whatnot. Welp, good news bad news. It turns out that one of the cutters was turned so that neither of the blades was exposed, so I ultimately cut the practice piece with only 2 of 3 functional blades!

    I also learned that it's probably better to take more passes with less cut thickness, which makes for more back and forth, but likely saving a lot of physical effort, strain on the STP, better cuts, and overall time. I think this equates to a general life lesson: don't try to take too much at one time.

    The other general woodworking lesson that was reinforced is: make sure your tools are in good working order before you use them.

    At any rate, knowing the cutter was hidden, I fixed it and decided to see what happened when I went back to the practice piece. Needless to say, the cutter was MUCH smoother, cut better, and was nearly effortless to spin around each level and saved a ton of time. You can easily appreciate this in the few extra levels I cut where the wood scorch was located.

    Finally, I should note Benedetto's contour guide (although it's instructed to be just that, a guide), only includes 5 levels for the contouring. Using the STP, I'm feeling like it may be advantageous to make more contour levels to ease out the contour gradations (assuming that's the goal for your desired arch, of course).

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2621-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2622-jpg

    Next up, I'll be starting to practice planing this piece with various planes. I bought 3 luthier-specific planes for this project, although I am thankful my woodworking coach and good friend has Lie-Nielsen general woodworking planes (low-angle block, #4, #62, etc- Thanks Steve!):

    1. D'Angelico -Lg
    2. Veritas detail palm plane (equates to Ibex 10mm except has palm handle)
    3. Lie-Nielsen 101 violin maker's plane
    Last edited by sbeishline; 05-11-2019 at 05:05 PM.

  39. #38

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    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2640-jpgFirst thing I did today was take a pass with the STP to bring the edge of the practice piece to 1/4". I didn't do this to a uniform width from the edge:

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2632-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2633-jpg

    As mentioned in a previous post, I am using these 3 handy little planes:

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2634-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2635-jpg

    I started off on the outer lower tiers using the Lie-Nielsen 101 plane and that thing is fantastic. Really nice blade and if the surface is agreeable, it shaves down quickly, easily, and smoothly. Once the areas get a bit too curvy, the D'Angelico plane works nicely. I read some unhappy reviews on this and hesitated a while before I deciding on which one to get, but it's solid. Strangely, as I had read from a "this thing doesn't work review," lmii sends this thing out with the bevel up in the plane and it is meant to be a bevel-down plane.

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2636-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2637-jpg

    Additionally, I am using some gouges to assist the carving process: 3/8" #7 sweep, 5/8" #6 sweep, and 1" #5 sweep, as well as a smaller sized fairly old german curved gouge (seen in pic below), which was my grandfather, Sam's.

    First-timer Archtop Build-57928557621__62408c6b-e002-4153-9069-8a3c02b4e76b-jpg

    I'd say the groove I found was, maximize area first with LN 101, blend with D'A and gouges, and when the ledges from tier were close, I'd smooth it close with the Veritas.

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2640-jpg

    At the very end of the session, I gave it a smoothing with an orbital sander (limited time wise from getting it finished). Took some pics with the lights off to illustrate the curvature:

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2645-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2643-jpg

    Overall, I'm pretty happy with my first carving/planing experience. Also, I think that I cut the 1/4" tier too wide as the arch doesn't blend equally all the way towards where the recurve will be. I think on the real pieces, I'll make more tiers with shorter distances to make the hand work less tedious and more nicely arched. Likely, easier said than done.

    Next up... practicing drilling the inside contour and carving the inside arch.

    PS - I still need to get some scrapers.
    Last edited by sbeishline; 05-21-2019 at 07:22 AM.

  40. #39

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    She's looking good from here. When you remove wood from the inside area, it is possible to see some movment at the outside edge of your plates. Some plates stay flat as you carve them and some don't. So it is best to leave the edge a little thick and then after you carve the inside most of the way. Then go back and thin down your outer edges leaving the recurve until final carving.

  41. #40

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    Attempted to make the practice piece back plate outside arch transition a bit better near the recurve area:


    First-timer Archtop Build-57948943839__c5fd2291-f9ca-4c81-910e-ee7a771289fa-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-57948941006__a1d2524a-9316-4b12-bc07-ddf045228892-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-57948945885__27161ee2-eab7-4cd5-913b-92385ce58087-jpg

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by sbeishline View Post
    Attempted to make the practice piece back plate outside arch transition a bit better near the recurve area:
    Looks really nice. Good job.

    The transition from recurve to arch is abrupt by American standards, but reminiscent of German carves. That’s can be a good thing.

    Google german carve to see what I mean. If you don’t like it, you can always soften that curve before you carve the inside.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  43. #42

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    I decided to make a depth stop as instructed in the Benedetto book for drilling out the wood waste of the inside arch. For the first removal, I used a 3/4" Forstner bit. Then to remove the remainder of the wood between the 3/4" holes, I used a larger, ?2" Forstner bit. This went pretty quickly overall.

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2650-jpg

    I then got out the carving gouges and mallet and had at it. This requires a lot of physical energy and hacking away. Unfortunately, the Forster bits left lots of uneven surfaces, making for tedious gouging and difficulty getting a decent surface to run the D'A hand plane through:

    First-timer Archtop Build-57948947210__399f1b2f-a079-4e0e-8487-daa5cd5ca0b6-1-jpg

    Next session I got to continue to gouge and plane a bit more and have started to use the Veritas 10mm detail palm plane, as well. This is where it stands currently... still needs a bit of work to get the transition.

    In one spot, the calipers say 0.15 near the recurve, which is a bit thin (goal of 3/16'") if not in the recurve area.

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2667-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2666-jpg

    I decided to cheat a little bit for the real piece and bought the King Arthur Tools Lancelot wood carving disc (AKA small 4.5" chainsaw wheel) to use on an angle grinder in order to remove wood waste in a more even manor; hopefully, leading to a smoother transition from gross wood removal to gouge/hand planes.

  44. #43

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    FYI - as seen by my practice carve - and Rhett's observation - it's a pretty aggressive arch from the recurve. Because of this, the piece has not fit flat on the carving caul lip, and wouldn't work when it comes time to "close the box." Because of this, I used a router and basically cut a 3/8" rabbit in the caul lip, which solved the problem of the pregnant arch belly:

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2663-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2665-jpg

    On the official back plate, I'll plan to make a smoother arch.

  45. #44

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    Since my last post, I made a lot of progress with the inside of back plate with the gouge, but mostly hand planes.. and eventually the orbital sander:

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2678-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-57988989394__123297a1-e488-4f03-aa03-8383bc9bc0cd-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2680-jpg

    As seen, I also finalized the clamping/carving caul with the addition of a bolt/washer/nut with metal plate to hold the top/back plate in place. I just cut a scrap block to use as the leverage point. Also, I put some felt padding on the underside of that metal plate to protect the end of the wood.

  46. #45

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    As seen above in "Spoiler Alert" post, I had the replacement piece of maple for the back plate. Here it is in the ziggurat planning stage:

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2690-jpg

    This was just to get an idea, as all but the lines and markings are erased when STP'ing that inner-most 1" contour. Then the paper template needs to go back on to trace the next outer level.

    Continued STP progress:

    First-timer Archtop Build-58001059757__0144370b-1953-4603-8093-020ac01e7e30-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2692-jpg

    You can see the 2 circular marks in the bottom of the last photo - for some reason the STP cut a little bit deeper than the 0.25" (to about 3/16"!).... fortunately, it didn't go deeper because that's the goal thickness.

    Here's my current progress with the hand planes (LN 101 and D'A):

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2699-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2700-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2701-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2702-jpg

  47. #46

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    Continued planing with the aforementioned hand planes, and added in the Lee Valley Detail palm plane for the more abrupt controls on the lateral (treble/bass) sides:

    First-timer Archtop Build-6cc7eb25-1a80-47fd-86e1-b2315d3049c3-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-f1a82d6b-ccc1-42c0-bda4-ad51fe7d25bd-jpg

    At this point, I’ll probably do a little bit of orbital sander on the outside and then drill the inside holes using a regular 3/8” drill bit. Although the Fortstner bit removes more wood than the drill holes, I probably wouldn’t recommend it if you’re going to do most of the wood waste removal with a mallet/gouge.

  48. #47

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    Took the plate right from the previous photos to the orbital sander to smooth things out:

    First-timer Archtop Build-58034377333__f7d0e8fd-8235-4b37-91aa-520190dedc87-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-58034376457__f73f85be-f387-49eb-bdd3-4b0d38e3885d-jpg

    Then back to the orbital sander. Oh. And back to the planes again..

    Funny, you find out that despite making it look pretty, you are often going back to the planes to continue easing the contour transitions.

    Current state of affairs:

    First-timer Archtop Build-58035038948__80b17eef-3753-4f89-a6ab-1a84ae1f6d6f-jpg

    Added pencil marks where the contour still needs to be refined:

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2734-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2735-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2733-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2732-jpg

  49. #48

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    With a bit more of the D'A and LN planes, I was able to continue to smooth the arch.. Smartly, my woodworking compadre suggested I try the contour gauge we bought for a previous stool project may come in handy. This was a good idea to help speed the refinement.

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2755-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2757-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2756-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2758-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2754-jpg

  50. #49

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    I realized from the previous maple practice piece that it's easy to end up removing wood and getting too close to the flat glue zone because of a lack of planning a good transition zone.

    So for the real piece, I lined up the back plate centerline with the guitar shell centerline and traced the inside of the kerfing and neck/tail blocks. Additionally, I used the 1/4" washer and traced a primary buffer and then free-handed a second 1/4" transition zone (labed T):

    First-timer Archtop Build-img_2761-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2760-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2759-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2762-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-img_2763-jpg

  51. #50

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    wow
    White belt
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