STEPS IN ERRANT LUTHIERIE: A Journey from Wood to Sound in 13 Steps
Steps in Errant Lutheirie (1):
Flat boards, coming together: Cherry and spruce... It took some time, but a tischler (carpenter) around the corner was finally able to thin these down for me...
- the following days will see the evolution of my new home-made (in the kitchen actually) guitar.
A big thank you to everyone who helped me fund this project late last year when the green pear guitar was lost: it's finally coming together!
Green Pear Guitar Memorial (20017-2015): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbR7kccfVwI
Steps in Errant Luthierie (2)
Bending sides: I had in mind a heat gun that I know is hiding somewhere in my boxes of unsorted things (anyone need an intern position?) - but lacking patience after a day's search, I opted for a modified wood burner - I jammed on what appears to be an aluminum rod. - yeah, that's sometimes how things come together: we bring a Form from the Chaos.
Steps in Errant Luthierie (3)
Some heavy things on wood - heavy things come in handy to keep things down, sometimes that's what you need so they can stick together for long enough to enjoy it of their own...
we see here as well the beginnings of the top side bracing... more soon.
Steps in Errant Luthierie (4):
Thinning the cherry back a bit more; making ready the center seem; gluing on the inside bridge plate; the see-through form as seen through the looking glass...
Steps in Errant Luthierie (5):
The X-Brace unveiled: scalloped splinters in the axis mundi of space and time re-enforced on the underside through cherry slice...
Braces are strength and architecture though also in-forming factors... of the more consideration worthy factors in the process....
Steps in Errant Luthierie (6):
Made a bunch (15?) of these violin clamps from wood, cork, bolts & wingnuts...- they'll come handy when gluing top on sides.
When wet, the side linings bend in to the side's form without much needed coercion - these are 'solid' linings, which give some contact area for the top & back to stick to (they'll need it...)
Steps in Errant Luthierie (7):
A brief moment of guitar building philosophy.
Among the myriad means and methods of building acoustic string instruments there are rather 2 main paths one may traverse: One may use a jig* for the body or one may not use a jig. The second process would be for the formalist-anarcho-outliers and the first for the control-freak-batch-processing-fetishists.... i can empathize in both directions having attempted either way in various circumstances... (I get the impression jigless guitar building is a relative rarity in these times....)
However, I've been more of the jigless persuasion on recent creations, this guitar included. You can see here the body is not bound tight to an outside form for it to keep it's shape - this sometimes means a bit of wresting with the bodily form in trying to get it to do what you want, but it has a bit of choice this way as well - it's not under total thrall to your designated straitjacket, there is some room for woody inclination and a conversation in the process, and so maybe more of a 'folk art' involving some intuition than a calculated execution with entirely predictable results.
Having the luxury to build for oneself, one may accept certain aspects of the unexpected, which can often lend to a beauty and singularity one had not designed entirely oneself...
1. a lively dance with leaping movements.
2. a device that holds a piece of work and guides the tool operating on it.
Steps in Errant Luthierie (8):
The top is glued on - a significant milestone!
Seen here also the side bracing in cohesion process...
Steps in Errant Luthierie (9):
A guitar body needs a bit of bondage now and again - one can see the violin clamps in use, yes, however some further coercion is applied via a spirally cut bicycle inner-tube. The back needs lots of even pressure as the wood is being forced to bend quite a bit to give the convex curvature we're so enamored with....
Catch also here a pastiche of kitchen mess...
Steps in Errant Luthierie (10):
And the body is whole, having the top and back both well conjoined!
The binding on a guitar, being of a hard consistency, protects the edges from incurring too unsightly damage while some amount of collision with the rest of the world is inevitable... It is also protective of the top and back wood at the endgrain where it would be exposed and vulnerable... It adds a nice frame around the form as well. I cut the groove with a dremel fitted with an appropriate mini-router bit - I'm glad I was able to avoid using a full sized router for this as it was less intimidating a procedure.....
Further bondage is required for the binding to glue in it's proper place at the edge.
I was able to cut the binding myself on an old DDR table saw from the flohmark - I used some beach wood cut to 5mm width.
Steps in Errant Luthierie (11):
I desired a wide saddle for the bridge. Among other benefits of a wide saddle, one can fine tune the string lengths via saddle shaping for better intonation.
I was happy to have accomplished widening the saddle slot myself with a homemade jig and the right router bit on the dremel - this a new procedure - I've never attempted it before! (keeping the line perfect straight and at even depth not necessarily easy ...)
The bridge is shaped that rather of a mustachio which should tend to keep the guitar in good cheer...
Even with some leeway available in saddle tuning, bridge placement is critical: I've tested the distance and position using a low and high E string before a coat of shellac (a rather innocuous and quick drying finish that can be added to and repaired easy enough in future (it's non-toxic and edible as well, though not vegan...))
Steps in Errant Luthierie (12):
More finish and gluing on the bridge.
Begins to look rather guitar-like....
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