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  #101  
Old 08-05-2011, 10:16 PM
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Kwak Kwak is offline
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Was he stress-testing an Esteban?

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  #102  
Old 08-18-2011, 01:12 PM
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I spent 3 hours tonight sanding the kerfing on the top rim to a 28' radius. Yeah, that's a big old drill bit straight into an old post office table. The sanding dish slips on it and then (as John Hall of Blues Creek Guitars puts it) you "drive the bus." Note the side slats. I used some walnut my friend had laying around.



It made a LOT of sawdust. I was surprised at how much but the waist was the last area to get sanded down so everything else got sanded down pretty far.



Then I sanded the radius to the gluing side of the new X braces.



Plans for next time:
1: check the angle of the top of the neck block extension. It should be 91.5. If it's not then I'm going to re-sand the entire upper bout with a flat sanding stick so that the angle is correct. I don't want the dreaded 14th fret hump when the neck goes on.
2: flip the mold over and (using the 20' radius dish with sanding disc) sand the back rim.
3: start gluing the braces to the cedar top again.
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  #103  
Old 09-01-2011, 02:04 AM
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http://www.npr.org/blogs/therecord/2...nt?sc=fb&cc=fp

How does the Gibson raid impact the smaller guitar makers? Are they worried or is it something that just impacts the big guys?

I can relate to how they feel. When the JD takes your business down because they think you did something, the worst part is waiting for them to charge you. They can decide not to, but that doesn't get anything back and puts a lot of people out of work.
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  #104  
Old 09-02-2011, 04:46 PM
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I ahve to admit that I'm not completely up to speed on this issue. From what I know about the first incident with Gibson, they were getting a species of wood indigenous to Madagascar through questionable means. I don't know how scarce the wood is but I'd heard that there was some sort of coup in the government and they pretty much sealed the borders.

As for the status of woods in general for instrument-making, the most famous wood that is under the microscope is rosewood from Brazil. It's been under protection from export under the CITES treaty for 40 years now, though you can still give stuff that's been out of Brazil from before that time. Most builders have long since switched to rosewood that comes out of farms in eastern India. If I ever get around to building another guitar, I'll probably get some of that because word is that that stuff is starting to get scarce.

Most recently even mahogany has become endangered. Up until just a couple of years ago you could get a guitar with solid mahogany from Honduras or elsewhere in central America. It too has recently gone under CITES protection so many builders have switched to alternative woods out of Africa, such as sapale or khaya.

Another wood that used to be mainstream but is now rare is Macassar Ebony. Builders use it to make fretboards and bridges among other things. The stuff is usually all black but most of what I've seen lately has light grain streaks in it - which is OK. It's still a pretty hard wood.

The other 2 big builders in the US are Martin (in Nazareth, PA) and Taylor (in SoCal.) Each have taken steps to use "alternatives" to these hard to get (and thus more expensive) woods. Taylor was one of the first to switch to woods out of Africa, substituting sapele for mahogany and ovangkul for rosewood - though limited editions using hog and rose still come about. They're pretty famous for their use of automation and pride themselves on the process that allows them to churn out 70,000 guitars a year.

Martin OTOH has cut production and is looking to use "alternative" materials. They switched to sapele but also cherry as a "smart wood" alternative. They even done a lot of research in using higher quality laminated materials. Their factory in Mexico puts out the X series which is made with a material that is little different than formica. They've started using necks made with a material called Stratabond which was originally used to make gunstocks and is basically about 50 strips of wood laminated together. They use automated CNC machines to carve the necks out of the stuff. As for ebony, they've started replacing it with a material they call "Richlite" which is basically the same stuff they build the X series guitars out of.

I don't own a Taylor but I bought a Martin recently that's kind of a mixture of their low-end and the traditional series. The model is a D-16GT which has solid south American mahogany back and sides and a solid Sitka spruce top (which is what they traditionally use) but for the neck they use Spanish cedar (which smells nice but very strong.) They use Richlite for the fingerboard and the bridge and I'm not sold on the stuff. I'd rather have ebony but would settle for rosewood. It's a good guitar otherwise. It's got the signature Martin bass and it rings like a bell and it cost me less than $1000.

Getting back to Gibson though, they're not the same company they used to be. There are stories out there saying how disgruntled the workers are and I'm inclined to believe that this may have been the result of a whistleblower within the company. I've also heard that their workmanship is sliding as well and the stuff they contract out of China for might actually be better now. If anything, they're a black eye for the whole "made in America" campaign.

As for me, I'd just curious about the process and figure that if I want another guitar what better way to justify it than by building it yourself? It'll probably have flaws that a factory-built guitar wouldn't but I don't intend on subjecting it to much wear and tear; I'll mostly just play it at home. I'm not looking to go pro as a builder, though I do see a demand locally for those skilled with repair. That's why I was beating the crap out of one of my old guitars in another thread.
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  #105  
Old 09-06-2011, 12:09 PM
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I went over to my friend's place last night and flipped the mold over so that I could sand the back rim. I tried making an end graft inlay out of rosewood but after an hour I was too mentally fried to finish it. I'll put it off until later once I "close the box" where the top and back get glued on to the sides.

Next time by God I'm moving on to the bracing. I've been practicing on scrap wood with my band saw, block plane and 3/4" chisel.

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  #106  
Old 09-06-2011, 12:58 PM
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Looking good ...I haven't been in this thread in a while ...
Can't imagine all the work your doing on itJust hope it sounds good too
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  #107  
Old 09-06-2011, 06:05 PM
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I was wondering if anybody even cared. I have a friend out in the PNW who's taking a guided class with a luthier that started last month and he's already in the home stretch. I'm guessing that he doesn't have 14 hour days with 2 hyperactive kids though. Pro luthiers claim that they can knock out a guitar in 40 hours. I must 4X that time invested - easy.

As for how it will sound, that's actually something that you can't predict but is not out of your control. I could go on a long-winded lecture about the voicing process but I figure I'll save that for when I actually do the process so you all can see what I'm trying to do. Suffice it to say that I'll be doing a lot of chiseling of those braces into funny organic-looking shapes that are strong enough to do their structural job without out being too heavy to keep the soundboard from vibrating.

Even then, the guitar's sound will not reach its full potential. Most guitars undergo a sort of aging process where the wood acclimates to being a guitar down at a cellular level. It's called "opening" up and it begins as soon as the guitar first receives its strings and is played for the first time and may take several months to a year to reach the point where its potential is fully realized. With this one, that process should be short because I chose to use cedar instead of spruce for the soundboard.
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  #108  
Old 09-06-2011, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
I was wondering if anybody even cared.
I care! I must admit I had no idea how much work and time it took. I knew it was a lot but this is way more than I imagined. And now you drop the bomb about not being quite ready when you are finished building it. You are starting to sound like my wife when we buy a house.

"You don't have to change a thing....Let's redo the kitchen and all the bathrooms...Honey, we are moving, again."

Keep it up Kwak.
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  #109  
Old 09-06-2011, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark B. View Post
I care! I must admit I had no idea how much work and time it took. I knew it was a lot but this is way more than I imagined. And now you drop the bomb about not being quite ready when you are finished building it. You are starting to sound like my wife when we buy a house.



Keep it up Kwak.
+1 ,,definitely impressive and no worries about the time it takes...Thats half the fun right??
Maybe when its done you'll post a vid of you playing a little something on it..
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  #110  
Old 09-06-2011, 09:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark B. View Post
I care! I must admit I had no idea how much work and time it took. I knew it was a lot but this is way more than I imagined. And now you drop the bomb about not being quite ready when you are finished building it. You are starting to sound like my wife when we buy a house.

"You don't have to change a thing....Let's redo the kitchen and all the bathrooms...Honey, we are moving, again."

Keep it up Kwak.
Don't get me wrong, I'm loving this. I guess my frustration at the slow progress is showing but I'm not gonna quit. In fact, I'm looking forward to giving it another go and simplifying the process. A lot of my setbacks have either been me over analyzing each step and losing momentum or rushing through a step only to have to do it all over again. Now that I've been through some of the process and have decided that I want to do a more "traditional" guitar design.

FTM, they do make kits where a lot of the harder steps have been done for you. You still have to worry about humidity in your workspace - at least a little - and have to spend a few hundred $$$ on tools but all the big sanding, carving and bending have been done for you. I ask you though: Where's the fun in that? ;o)

BTW, today's project was making a go-bar deck that is intended for gluing up braces, but it also make a nice little free-standing work table and also can be used as a shelving unit to clean up some clutter. My lil Joe helped me and I had him hand me screws as I put it together. H can be a PITA a lot of the time but he really seems to want to help.
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