June 15 2009 The first task was to design the shape of the guitar. I drew out the shape on the poster board and transfered the shape to a sheet of Plexiglass. I am starting out by building the side forms so I cut out the right and left sides profile from a sheet of plywood.
June 15 2009 I estimated the shape of the sides and cut it out of a piece of wiggle wood. Wiggle wood can be obtained from the very rare and valuable Wigglewood tree which only grows on the north side of very crooked streams.
June 15 2009 I press the first piece of wiggle wood into the side form and screw it into place.
June 15 2009 I do this to both sides.
June 15 2009 Before I can continue I have to cut some angle iron that will be used to join the right and left sides of the form together.
June 15 2009 Drilling holes for the bolts. The angle iron firmly holds the sides together and keeps The two halves straight. I cut slots into the iron so I can get it on and off without having to fully unscrew the nuts. I use wing nuts so I can assemble everything by hand.
June 15 2009 The two halves now are joined together with the angle iron.
June 15 2009 At this point the sides are only approximately in the right shape. To get them into their final shape I use the top and back forms with a sheet of sandpaper to sand the sides to the proper profile.
June 15 2009 To build up the sides to their final one inch thickness I cut strips of wiggle wood to be glued onto the existing pieces.
June 15 2009 All of the side strips get glued together at once.
June 15 2009 And here is where the one with the most clamps wins.
June 15 2009 After the glue dries over night a little bit of sanding brings all of the pieces into the same profile.
June 15 2009 And here we see the side form in its final shape.
June 15 2009 I will use the piece of plywood that I cut for the side forms to make the form for the Universal Bendalator. I have to trim the plywood down by 3/4 of an inch first.
June 15 2009 I use the bandsaw to trim the the pieces. I will use the trim from this operation to make a spacer for the side mold. I try to use every piece of wood for something useful.
9 July 2009 Now I am starting to build the guitar. The first thing to do is to dimension the back pieces to about 115 mils thick using a drum sander.
9 July 2009 I do the same for the side pieces.
9 July 2009 To bend the side pieces I will use a bending machine. The sides are sandwiched into this heating blanket. made of a heating element and aluminum flashing.
9 July 2009 The holes in the top let me squirt water on the wood as it is heated. This prevents the wood from burning and helps with heat transfer.
9 July 2009 The sandwich goes into the press.
9 July 2009 The first operation presses the waist into shape.
9 July 2009 Then the upper bout is formed.
9 July 2009 And then the lower bout.
9 July 2009 After the sides are cooked in the press for a while they are taken out and placeed into the side forms I built.
9 July 2009 Previously I have made up my kerfing material and in this operation I am putting a bevel on the top edge to improve its appearance.
9 July 2009 A look at the beveled kerfing. I use a reverse kerfing design i.e. solid strip on the out side that makes for a very stiff set of sides.
9 July 2009 The kerfing needs to be formed into the shape of the sides so they go into the heating blanket.
9 July 2009 And the kerfing is shaped in the Universal Bendalator.
9 July 2009 Her I am trimming the side pieces to a rough approximation of the side shape.
9 July 2009 Glue goes on the inside part of the kerfing.
9 July 2009 And the kerfing is clamped onto the side in the mold. This technique insures that the side takes on the shape of the form and is fixed in that shape by the kerfing. I have many clamps.
9 July 2009 Here we se e the sides after they are dried.
9 July 2009 The bottom and top are in the shape of a bowl so th the sides are not straight . The kerfing is straight though so there is some overhang that needs to be trimmed off.
9 July 2009 I sand the sides smooth at this point removing any waviness that the wood has taken on in the bending process.
9 July 2009 The ends of the sides get trimmed off.
9 July 2009 And the sides fit into the mold.
BM1.1.27.1 Build Pictures
29 July 2009 After the glue dries the back is taken out of the jointing rig.
29 July 2009 This is a close up of the center strip that runs down the center of the back.
BM1.1.27.1 Build Pictures
29 July 2009 I spread a thin film of glue on the edges and press the two together by hand. Little beads of glue get forced out when I do this letting be know I applied the right amount of glue.
29 July 2009 I clean up the squeeze out and put this pieces into the jointing machine. This tool lets me apply a significant force to squezze the pieces togethe and hold the pieces flat while I do this.
29 July 2009 This is a close up of the joint line with a little bit more of squeeze out.
29 July 2009 When the glue dries and the top comes out of the jointer you would be hard pressed to find the joint line.
29 July 2009 Now I am making the heal block that will hold the sides together at the neck.l A lot of hardware will go into this block. Here I am drilling a hole for the bolt that will hold the neck on.
29 July 2009 I cut a slice out of the top piece.
29 July 2009 I drill two additional holes for access to the yaw set screws.
29 July 2009 Ad the pieces get glued together. I am making three heel blocks at once so i will be ready to make the next bass guitar.
29 July 2009 I mark the kerfing where the heel block will go.
29 July 2009 And carefully remove the kerfing.
29 July 2009 I do the same thing for the tail block.
29 July 2009 And then I glue the two side pieces together with the heel and tail block. The side form insures that the sides are glued together in the proper orientation.
29 July 2009 The sides come out of the form and now you can imagine what the guitar might look like.
29 July 2009 The top and bottom edge of the sides need to sanded so they conform to the shape of the bowls that the top and bottom are shaped to. I do this by placing a sheet of sandpaper over the top and bottom forms and than sand the edges unitl I get a good match. A lot of elbow grease can go into this opperation.
29 July 2009 Before I can make the braces for the top and back I make templates for the braces. This lets me make sure I will efficiently cut the braces and prepares me for making the next bass.
29 July 2009 Using the templates I cut out the brace blanks.
29 July 2009 The bottom of the braces need to conform to the shape of the bowl so I use the sandpaper in the bowl technique to insure a good fit.
29 July 2009 I do the same thing for the top braces.
29 July 2009 Next I drill the holes into the side of the braces.
29 July 2009 They are starting to look like cool aircraft braces.
29 July 2009 Next I use the routing table to rout out the side channels that will create the I beam shape I am after.
29 July 2009 And finally I shape the braces with graceful curves using the sanding wheel.
29 July 2009 I trace out the shape of the body on the back.
29 July 2009 And my handy band saw - I love my band saw I really do - is used to to cut out the back. I am very careful to leave about 1/4 inch extra on the back .
29 July 2009 Here I am using my go box to glue the back braces onto the back. The go box allows me to use these spruce sticks to force the braces into the back. The back is places in the back mold and since the back braces have been shaped to fit into the bowl mold the final shape of the back will be the same shape as the mold.
29 July 2009 The back is starting to take shape.
13 Aug 2009 In this picture I am cutting out a disk from a piece of maple burl that will be used for the bacground of the contra-rosette.
13 Aug 2009 The contra-rosette goes between the first and second back brace and will be visible through the sound hole.
13 Aug 2009 I neglected to document the construction of the contra-rosette but nonetheless it is a triskle with a triskel in a triskle.
13 Aug 2009 Here I am gluing in the contra-rosette and the center strip reinforcements.
13 Aug 2009 I am using a veneer of Brazilian rosewood to create the rosette.
13 Aug 2009 First I drill a hole in the center of the sound hole to act as a pivot for the routing tool.
13 Aug 2009 I use my circle router to create a channel for the rosette.
13 Aug 2009 The rosette gets set in the channel.
13 Aug 2009 And then a set of pinstripes are used to frame the rosette.
13 Aug 2009 Finally I cut out the sound hole.
13 Aug 2009 Now I use the band saw to cut out the top. I leave about a quarter inch of excess to allow some tolerance.
13 Aug 2009 I am starting to lay out the bracing in the side rim. The fit of the braces to to sides and the heal block is very important for the structural integrity of the top.
13 Aug 2009 A look at the braces before they get glued in place.
13 Aug 2009 I use the go-box to glue the braces to the top while it sits in the top form.
13 Aug 2009 A look at the top braces after they are glued in place
13 Aug 2009 Another view.
13 Aug 2009 Before the top and bottom get glued on to the sides a few reinforcing strips get installed. Even though no one will ever see them I like to give these braces some graceful curves.
13 Aug 2009 These strips help hold the side together should the guitar ever get a short sharp shock.
13 Aug 2009 I also install the tail graft before the top an bottom get glued on.
13 Aug 2009 A perfect fit.
13 Aug 2009 I sand the tail graft flush with the sides.
13 Aug 2009 And now I get ready to glue the bottom on to the sides. Glue goes around the rim.
13 Aug 2009 A picture of the side forms with the bottom flange in action.
13 Aug 2009 Her we see just a little bit of squeeze out that get cleaned up before it dries.
13 Aug 2009 I try to avoid using too much glue. This is just the right amount of squeeze out.
13 Aug 2009 The back is glued on.
13 Aug 2009 A picture of the inside of the guitar.
13 Aug 2009 In this picture I am preparing to trim off the excess portion of the back using my trim router.
13 Aug 2009 Now I follow the same procedure I used to glue the back on to glue the top on to the sides.
13 Aug 2009 A picture of the over lap. I leave this excess on the top and back because wood has a tendency to wander a bit. The excess insures that I always get a good match of the back and top to the sides.
13 Aug 2009 Preparing to trim off the excess from the top.
13 Aug 2009 In this picture I am using a routing jig to create a channel in the top of the guitar between the sound hole and the front of the guitar to accommodate the hardware that supports the cantilevered section of the fretboard. There are two quarter inch steel rods that support the fretboard that need to have space.
BM1.1.27.1 Build Pictures
13 Aug 2009 And here we get a picture of the body of the guitar.
11-Sept-09 Now I turn my attention to installing the binding and purfling. In this picture I am using my Universal Bindalator a machine of my own invention to route out the channels for the binding and purfling. The universal bindalator is an overhead router with five degrees of freedom. It allows me to easily create a channel that is parallel to the sides even though the top is curved.
11-Sept-09 Here we see the resultant channel. The internal kerfing has been exposed.
11-Sept-09 In this picture I am installing the binding. I install one strip of binding at a time to insure that it seats properly i.e. without any gaps. This is a time consuming process but it gives me the best results.
11-Sept-09 After the binding is installed I fit the neck into the channel. I work to get a snug even but not tight fit. The neck will move around in the channel so the sides can't actuall touch the neck. I am constantly working to make this fit more perfect.
11-Sept-09 Here is a picture of the Tilt Action Neck Adjustment bolt.
11-Sept-09 Here I am drilling the hole in the body that will house a nut insert.
11-Sept-09 And here we see all of the neck attachment hardware.
11-Sept-09 I fit everything together and it looks like a guitar.
11-Sept-09 Next I need to route a channel in the headstock to accept the headstock binding.
11-Sept-09 The headstock channel.
11-Sept-09 I have steam bent the wings and glued them in place.
11-Sept-09 And then the end piece.
11-Sept-09 And finally the side pieces.
11-Sept-09 A bit of sanding to level everything off and here we have the final results.
BM1.1.27.1 Build Pictures
BM1.1.27.1 Build Pictures
05-Oct-2009 After I shape the crowns of the frets I file the ends into smooth and rounded little nubbins.
05-Oct-2009 Then I polish the frets to eliminate any scratches and we end up with a row of beautiful jewels.
05-Oct-2009 An art picture of the fretboard.
05-Oct-2009 And another.
BM1.1.27.1 Build Pictures
05-Oct-2009 Catching the light just right Portland Guitar's "Jasmine Rose". Several years ago I asked my daughter whose name is Jasmine Rose to design a stylized rose for me ergo Portland Guitars's Jasmine Rose.
05-Oct-2009. Here I am installing the heal cap on the neck. I am using the same burled maple I used for the headstock veneer and the end graft.
BM1.1.27.1 Build Pictures
05-Oct-2009 To compliment the fretboard I am using purpleheart for the bridge. In this image I am using a piece of sandpaper laid on the top of the guitar so I can sand the bottom of the bridge until it conforms to the shape of the top. This will help ensure a good bond between the bridge and the top.
05-Oct-2009 Now I am getting prepared to apply the finish. One of the things that needs to be done is to fill in all of the pores that are inherent with a hardwood like Jacaranda. I use a filler and force it into the pores and then sand the surface smooth. This is an iterative process and each area must be individually checked to make sure that all of the pores have been filled.
05-Oct-2009 Once I am satisfied that all of the pores are filled I level the surface.
BM1.1.27.1 Build Pictures
BM1.1.27.1 Build Pictures
16-Oct-2009 I use a fixture that holds the guitar and allows me to move it around giving me access to all of the parts.
16-Oct-2009 A view of the back after a layer of the lacquer has been applied.
16-Oct-2009 A closer view.
BM1.1.27.1 Build Pictures
BM1.1.27.1 Build Pictures
16-Oct-2009 Since this is the first time building a base guitar I felt is was important to experimentally determine the amount of compensation that would be necessary for each string to be well intonated i.e. remain in tune as notes are played up the fretboard. To do this I have constructed a dummy guitar body that will accommodate the guitar neck and allow me to string it up.
16-Oct-2009 Once the dummy guitar is strung up I can move the saddle blocks until the octave is in tune with the fundamental. I can then measure the scale length for each string.
16-Oct-2009 Just a picture of the assembled guitar after the final polish has been applied.
BM1.1.27.1 Build Pictures
16-Oct-2009 Here is a picture of the saddle block in its channel.
16-Oct-2009 I have to route a channel for each saddle block.
16-Oct-2009 And then I drill the holes for the bridge pins.
16-Oct-2009 Once all of the important holes and channels are installed in the bridge blank all I have to do is sand away everything that doesn't look like a bridge.
16-Oct-2009 In this picture I have applied a decorative face plate that compliments the headstock veneer. I have laid out the bridge assembly on the top of the guitar to see how it will look.
16-Oct-2009 Another view of the bridge assembly.
16-Oct-2009 Another view of the bridge assembly.
BM1.1.27.1 Build Pictures
15-Dec-2009 I carefully mark out where the bridge goes.
15-Dec-2009 I use a very sharp new exacto blade to mark the bridge position.
15-Dec-2009 The bridge position.
15-Dec-2009 I use my dremel router base to remove the finish from where the bridge goes. I want a a wood to wood connection between the bridge and the top. This will help insure the bridge doesn't pull off during its life.
15-Dec-2009 I use a chisel to remove the finish around the edges.
15-Dec-2009 And then I glue the bridge on to the top.
15-Dec-2009 Will A. and his new bass guitar.
15-Dec-2009 Will A. and his new bass guitar.
15-Dec-2009 Will A. and his new bass guitar.
15-Dec-2009 Will A. and his new bass guitar.
15-Dec-2009 Will A. and his new bass guitar.
15-Dec-2009 Will A. and his new bass guitar.
15-Dec-2009 Will A. and his new bass guitar.
BM1.1.27.1 Build Pictures

BM1.1.27.1 Build Pictures

These pictures document the acoustic guitar that was built as the 27th guitar of Portland Guitar.