May 14 2009 Steve and Jay showing off the pieces for the back that will be used for Steve's guitar..
May 14 2009 Here are the top sides and back pieces that we will use to make this guitar.
May 14 2009 I am starting this guitar by using the drum sander to sand the back pieces smooth.
May 14 2009 After the surfaces are smooth I use the edge sander to straighten the edges that are to be joined together.
May 14 2009 A bead of glue goes on each edge and a center strip will go between the two boards.
May 14 2009 And I use my compression fixture to squeeze the boards together while keeping them flat and co planar.
May 14 2009 Here is a close up of the center strip I installed.
May 14 2009 And a view of the joined back pieces with the outline of the guitar drawn on it.
May 14 2009 Here I am dimension the side pieces in the drum sander.
May 14 2009 And the final thickness is just a bit over 100 mils.
May 14 2009 I lay out the side pieces and draw the outline on so I can keep everything in order as I get ready to bend them.
May 14 2009 I place the side piece into the heating sandwich.
May 14 2009 The top layer of the heating sandwich has holes in it so I can squirt water onto the wood as I bend it.
May 14 2009 The heating sandwich goes into the Universal Bendalator and gets clamped in place.
May 14 2009 After the sandwich has heated up and the wood becomes pliable the waist gets pressed into shape.
May 14 2009 Next the roller for the upper bout is installed.
May 14 2009 And the upper bout gets bent by slowly moving the roller over the bend.
May 14 2009 The lower bout roller is installed.
May 14 2009 And the lower bout is rolled into shape.
May 14 2009 The sides are left in the Bendalator with the heat turned down to a moderate temperature until the sides have taken a permanent set.
May 14 2009 The other side goes through the same process.
May 14 2009 And then I clamp the sides into their forms for safe keeping.
OM 1.7.26 Build Pictures
May 14 2009 The two pieces go into the compression jig.
May 14 2009 And here we see the joined pieces with the outline of the body drawn on.
May 28 2009 I manufacture my own kerfing implementing a reversed kerf to provide a gunnel that makes for a very stiff side. Here I am sanding a slight relief to the top side of the kerf. This gives the kerfing a more finished look.
May 28 2009 An end view of the kerfing.
May 28 2009 The kerfing goes into the Universal Bendalator so it is easy to install.
May 28 2009 This is a close up view of the kerfing being installed. The tape is used to prevent the kerfing from being glued to this portion. The heal block will go here after the kerfing is removed.
May 28 2009 This is where all of the clamps I have collected really come into play. The clamps hold the kerfing tightly against the sides and force the side into the mold.
May 28 2009 When the glue is dry the sides take on their final shape and are very stiff.
May 28 2009 The edge profile of the sides is a complex shape and the kerfing that hangs over the edge has to be removed.
May 28 2009 The excess portion of the sides are removed
May 28 2009 In this step I am sanding the sides so they are straight from one edge to the other and I sand the interior surface of the kerfing to make them look nice.
May 28 2009 Now I remove the kerfing where heal block and the end block will go.
May 28 2009 The heal block drops into the slot.
May 28 2009 And the end block drops in.
May 28 2009 The end and heal blocks need to be profiled so they make good contact with the sides.
May 28 2009 I use this handy tool to make sure the profile is correct.
May 28 2009 Now I put everything into the forms to ensure proper alignment and glue everything together.
May 28 2009 When it comes out of the form it is starting to look like a guitar.
May 28 2009 Now I use the top and back forms with a sheet of sandpaper installed to sand the top and bottom edges of the sides to the proper profile. This will ensure a good gluing surface when the top and back are glued on.
May 28 2009 I now route out the channel where the neck is going to be attached.
May 28 2009 Here we can see the final neck channel and the holes where some of the hardware will go.
May 28 2009 The heal graft gets a channel routed out also.
May 28 2009 The heal graft has the same profile as the neck.
May 28 2009 This is a picture of a side reinforcing strap. I install these to provide cross grain reinforcing to the sides. If the guitar should experience a severe shock this will help prevent the sides from splitting. I shape these to give them a pleasing profile.
May 28 2009 Here I am gluing the strips onto the sides.
May 28 2009 A view of the installed reinforcing strips.
June 9 2009 I use these templates to draw the shapes of the braces on the quarters awn spruce.
June 9 2009 The brace blanks are laid out for inspection.
June 9 2009 Each brace blank has the bottom edge sanded so it fits the form perfectly.
June 9 2009 The holes are then drilled into the brace blanks.
June 9 2009 Lots of holes.
June 9 2009 I use the router table with a rasp bit to shape the brace blank into the shape of an I-beam.
June 9 2009 Cool art picture of a finished brace.
June 9 2009 Cool art picture of a finished brace.
June 9 2009 Cool art picture of a finished brace.
June 9 2009 Cool art picture of a finished brace.
June 9 2009 Cool art picture of a finished brace.
June 9 2009 Cool art picture of a finished brace.
June 9 2009 Cool art picture of a finished brace.
June 9 2009 Now I dimension the back plate to 100 mills thickness using the drum sander.
June 9 2009 I use the band saw to cut out the back plate. I over size the back plate by about 1/4 inch so I have a little margin when the back gets glued on to the sides.
June 9 2009 The back plate cut out.
June 9 2009 I use a go box and sticks to force the brace and the back plate into the back form.
June 9 2009 I use lots of go sticks to make sure that the braces are firmly glued into place.
June 9 2009 A look at the back with the braces glued in place. The contra-rosette and the center brace will be glued in later.
June 9 2009 The rosette will have a center circle made from this burled maple.
June 9 2009 The pieces I will use for the rosette and contra-rosette.
June 9 2009 I use this circle cutting tool and the Dremel tool to cut a channel for the rosette ring.
June 9 2009 After the rosette ring is glued in place I sand it flush to the top.
June 9 2009 A close up of the rosette ring.
June 9 2009 Now I use the circle cutter to route a channel for the purfling strip.
June 9 2009 Here I am gluing in the purfling.
June 9 2009 After the purfling is glued in I sand everything flush with the top.
June 9 2009 And once again I use the circle cutter to cut out the sound hole.
June 9 2009 Here I am laying out the top braces for inspection.
June 9 2009 The cross braces have a slot cut into them on the band saw.
June 9 2009 A look at the cross brace intersection.
June 9 2009 And here I am laying out the top braces getting ready to trim them to match the sides.
July 9 2009 Here I am using the go box again to glue in the Contra-Rosette and the reinforcing strips on the back.
July 9 2009 I install buttons like this to fit into a matching hole on the sides to make sure the top and back line up perfectly.
July 9 2009 Here I am using the form to flue the back on to the sides.
July 9 2009 A look inside the body with a spreader to force the sides into place.
July 9 2009 When the guitar comes out of the form I trim the excess off of the bottom.
July 9 2009 Before I glue on the top I have to install the heel graft.
July 9 2009 A look at the heel graft.
July 9 2009 Getting ready to glue the top on.
July 9 2009 The guitar goes back into the form and the top gets glued on.
July 9 2009 And I trip the excess off of the top.
July 9 2009 now that I have a box I sand the sides so they are smooth.
July 9 2009 And here we get a look at the rosette and contra-rosette.
July 23 2009 Now comes the time to start working on the neck. I have made a supply of neck blanks that have had time to equilibrate. The first thing I do is square up all of the sides and sand the top surface to the proper dimension to mount the fretboard.
July 23 2009 I need to have a fretboard template with the frets marked out on it. I use this special fretting machine I built with a set of 24.625" scale length templates to mark the fretboard template.
July 23 2009 I lay out the neck blank with the templates I have made.
July 23 2009 I drill a hole into the side of the neck blank where I will insert a barrel nut that will be used to bolt the neck to the body.
July 23 2009 Drilling the hole into the end of the neck where the bolt will go.
July 23 2009 I use the router table with a 1/4 inch bit to create a channel for the truss rod.
July 23 2009 The truss rod inserted into the channel I just routed out.
July 23 2009 I use the router table with this huge 1/2 inch bit and a template attached to the neck blank to shape the heal of the neck. The black L tube is attached to my dust collector. This process generated a lot of saw dust.
July 23 2009 This heal has the same shape and size as the channel I routed out of the body in picture 43 on Page 2. The heal will penetrate the body channel 0.800 inches. This insures that all of the hardware is not visible when the guitar is assembled.
July 23 2009 Now I trim off most of the excess wood from the neck blank.
OM 1.7.26 Build Pictures
July 23 2009 This picture shows the fretboard blank attached to the bottom of the pendulum spanning bar. I use very strong double stick turners tape to attach the fretboard blank to the spanning bar.
July 23 2009 The router bit can be precisely raised to the proper height.
July 23 2009 And here I am making lots of saw dust.
July 23 2009 In this picture we can see the radius of the fretboard.
July 23 2009 I use the drum sander to dimension the thickness of the fretboard to ~0.250 inches.
July 23 2009 Here I have drawn the outline of the finished fretboard and the fret marks.
July 23 2009 Steve's guitar has a sunflower theme. A sunflower stalk will climb up the fretboard where the leaves coming off of the stalk are used as fret markers.. Here I have laid out the stalk and leaves making sure the leaves fit in between the frets.
July 23 2009 I use this Dremel tool router fixture to create the channel that will accept the wood for the stalk and leaves. The depth of the channel can be neither too deep nor too shallow. This fixture allows me to control the depth with a high degree of precision. Nonetheless this is still a process that requires a steady hand and a patient outlook.
July 23 2009 The stalk fits in pretty well. Any gaps that exist are filled in with cyanoacrylate glue.
July 23 2009 And here the leaves have been installed.
July 23 2009 Now I use the fretting machine to cut the slots for the fret wire.
July 23 2009 You can see in this picture the slots for the fretwire. I have stained the flamed maple inlay green at this point but the stain will get sanded away in subsequent steps. I will re-stain the maple and seal it after I have finished working the neck.
July 23 2009 Now I trim the fretboard to its proper width.
July 23 2009 And the end gets trimmed.
July 23 2009 The guitar body and neck will be bound with ivoroid so the width of the fretboard must accommodate the width of the binding. I use my edge sander to carefully sand the fretboard. I work very slowly during this process because it is very difficult to put the wood back once it removed. I try to dimension the fretboard to within 0.005 inches of the desired width.
July 23 2009 Here I am gluing the binding to the end of the fretboard.
July 23 2009 And binding the edges of the fretboard.
July 23 2009 The binding gets sanded flush to the fretboard.
OM 1.7.26 Build Pictures
July 23 2009 I carefully hammer the fretwire into the slots paying special attention to make sure the fretwire lays flush to the surface. Once I am happy with the lay of the wire I use a little cyanoacrylate glue to fix the fretwire in place and to make sure the ends of the fretwire do not come loose.
July 23 2009 I use the edge sander to sand off the excess fretwire. I won't shape the ends of the fretwire until later.
OM 1.7.26 Build Pictures
July 23 2009 Before the neck can be slid into the neck pocket the heal must be trimmed to size.
July 23 2009 In this picture I am routing out the fretboard cantilever pocket.
July 23 2009 This pocket allows the 1/4 inch piano wire supports to freely move inside the body as the neck is adjusted.
July 23 2009 And here we can see the pieces come together where the neck and body meet.
July 23 2009 I use this safety planner to dimension the thickness of the neck before I start to shape it.
OM 1.7.26 Build Pictures
July 23 2009 Here you can see the buttons glued to the bottom of the fretboard and the head stock veneer.
July 23 2009 Before I glue the fretboard on I drill out a hole in the heal tha will house the neck adjustment bolt.
July 23 2009 The neck adjustment bolt will be held in place with a 7/8 inch ferrule. There will be a significant amount of force on the order of 80 lbf pushing on this ferrule. To ensure that it does not creep under this force I insert a retaining tennon to fix the ferrule in place.
July 23 2009 Finally I use a mess of clamps and cauls and epoxy to glue the fretboard and the headstock veneer to the neck blank.
July 23 2009 The neck is now ready to be shaped.
July 23 2009 The neck fits into the body and it is really starting to look like a guitar at this point.
13 Aug 2009 Now the neck is ready to be shaped. I use a variety of tool but I start out using the idler wheel on my belt sander to get the basic shape defined.
13 Aug 2009 After the belt sander I use a variety of sanding blocks to fine tune the shape.
13 Aug 2009 I work relatively slowly in this process as it is much easier to remove wood from the neck than it is to put it back.
13 Aug 2009 I use a contour gage to check the shape.
13 Aug 2009 In this picture I have drilled a hole in the heal of the neck that will hold the neck angle adjustment bolt. The flange on the left will be glued on top of the bolt to firmly hold it in place.
13 Aug 2009 The bolt plug glued in place.
13 Aug 2009 A hole is drilled in the front of the neck heal to allow an Allen wrench to access the adjustment bolt. I install a bolt insert in the hole for the heal strap button.
13 Aug 2009 A hole is drilled in the heal channel for a bolt insert that will accept the adjustment bolt.
13 Aug 2009 The bolt insert is installed.
13 Aug 2009 Here we see all of the hardware in the heal channel.
13 Aug 2009 The head stock is going to be bound so a channel must be routed out to accept the binding.
13 Aug 2009 A nice clean channel is routed out for the binding.
13 Aug 2009 Installing the binding on the head stock
13 Aug 2009 I use my universal bindalator to rout ou channels in the body to accept the binding and purfling.
13 Aug 2009 Aside from the dust a set of crisp binding channels.
13 Aug 2009 I use a Dremel router to rout out the channels for the heal channel binding.
13 Aug 2009 Pinstripe purfling gets installed first.
13 Aug 2009 And then the binding gets installed.
OM 1.7.26 Build Pictures
13 Aug 2009 Here I am drilling the relief holes for the tuning machines.
13 Aug 2009 Ebony plugs go into the relief holes.
13 Aug 2009 And then the plugs are drilled out to accept the tuning machines. This will result in a crisp black ring that offsets the tuning machine washers.
13 Aug 2009 The tuning machines go in for a look see.
13 Aug 2009 Here I am shaping the fret wire ends smooth and round.
13 Aug 2009 This guitar will have a unique sun flower on the head stock. Here I am cutting out tiny little pieces of veneer.
13 Aug 2009 A nice sun flower to go on the end of the fret board stalk.
13 Aug 2009 The heal cap is formed from the same maple burl as the head stock.
13 Aug 2009 The heal cap.
13 Aug 2009 Now I am set up to apply the finish. I have a spray booth set up and use these fixtures top hold the guitar body and the neck.
13 Aug 2009 I use a balloon in the sound hole as a plug.
13 Aug 2009 The neck is held so the head stock is parallel to the ground. This helps prevent the finish from running.
13 Aug 2009 The body fixture allows me to rotate it in two dimension so I easy access top all of the parts. I will apply many many coats water born polyurethane lacquer sanding them smooth after every second or third coat. Ultimately after the lacquer is cured the final thickness of the finish is about 3 to 5 mils.
13 Aug 2009 This fixture hold the guitar during the spray process so I don't get fatigued.
13 Aug 2009 I have a nice case to hold the guitar and protect it from damage.
13 Aug 2009 Steve's guitar assembled for a look see before it gets lacquered up.
29 Aug 2009 The lacquer has been applied and has had a bit of time to cure. Now I turn my attention to making the bridge. In this image I am using a piece of sandpaper to shape the bottom of the bridge blank to fit the top of the guitar.
29 Aug 2009 I use a special jig and my router to route out the channel for the saddle.
29 Aug 2009 I spend a bit of time at the sanding station and I end up with a well formed bridge.
29 Aug 2009 In this image I have carefully placed the bridge on the top of the guitar and I use a new exacto blade to score the top of the guitar with the outline of the bridge.
29 Aug 2009 I use a very sharp chisel and a small router to remove the finish in the spot where the bridge will go. The finish has to be removed so the bridge will adhere to to top. There are lots of opportunity in this stage to mess things up. I go very slowly and work very carefully to remove just the finish and none of the wood.
29 Aug 2009 Just about the last thing to do is to glue the bridge on to the top and then make the nut saddle and bridge.
29 Aug 2009 And the guitar is finished.

OM 1.7.26 Build Pictures