View Poll Results: 1st Build Floater Suggestions

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  • KA Handwound 12-pole PAF humbucker

    15 60.00%
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    5 20.00%
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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 

  2.  

    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:
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  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.
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    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...
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  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.

  15. #14

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    Great thread!

  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


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    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
    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
    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
    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.