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 Post subject: New El Trovador build
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 12:44 pm 
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Mahogany
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Well I am finally going to try and post a build I am currently involved in. I am building with a buddy who has never built before. I have built a half dozen flat tops and helped a number of people build their first. We are building a National El Trovador. A pair of them. We have had no plans, but have I have cobbled together info from a plethora of sources. The first being a pic from the National website.

I brought it to a photo shop and had them print me a copy using the lower bout size given online. From there I drew up a full drawing and made some patterns


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 1:22 pm 
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Mahogany
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So the back and sides are solid African Mahogany and the top is laminated. The back will have a 25foot radius and the top is flat, but tapers two degrees toward the headblock from just ahead of the cone.


here are a few steps along the way


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 3:28 pm 
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Mahogany
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We purchased original cones, cover plates and tail pieces from National, thru The Twelth Fret guitar shop in Toronto.

The sides are bent and the tail blocks and headlocks installed


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 3:34 pm 
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Mahogany
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we made and glued in kerfed liners,I tried a reverse kerf liner for the first time. Then I worked on a routing template for the F holes. It turned out really good!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 3:58 pm 
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Mahogany
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As I said the back and sides are solid African Mah, but the top is laminated from 1/8" baltic birch ply and two book-matched solid Mahogany veneers on either side. The veneers were joined up as regular tops and then laminated to the ply. Afterwards when dry, they were thickness sanded to about 3/64" each side for equal stability.

The cone wells are two pieces of 1/2" Baltic birch ply laminated with a third piece glued on for the ledge. It was and is still a little uncertain what exact depth the well should be for proper neck angle and biscuit relationship, so I erred on the side of too deep, so that if I need to I can raise the cone for an adjustment. Hopefully its just right!

The F holes were routed and the wells installed


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Last edited by frwilliams on Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:55 am, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 4:54 pm 
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Mahogany
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The tops were fitted to rims and glued on. Then back braces were installed and carved. Then the backs were fitted to the rims and glued on.

Finally the bodies were flush routed in preparation for binding channels.

The bindings are curly maple with bwb edging.

Next step will be the end grafts. Stay tuned.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2016 3:35 pm 
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Mahogany
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Today we were able to install the end grafts. They are made from spalted maple and will compliment the curly maple bindings


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These users thanked the author frwilliams for the post: SteveSmith (Wed Apr 27, 2016 5:43 am)
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2016 11:34 pm 
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Cocobolo
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Looking good.

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These users thanked the author jsmith for the post: frwilliams (Mon Apr 04, 2016 4:34 pm)
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 2:22 am 
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First name: Jay
Last Name: Gordon
City: Port Townsend
State: Washington
Zip/Postal Code: 98368
Country: USA
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Loop ko LPP pl

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 4:33 pm 
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Mahogany
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Well today we routed binding channels, fitted and glued in the curly maple bindings. Tomorrow lots of scraping and sanding. Looking forward to see the girls all dressed up.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 5:00 pm 
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Mahogany
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Well the bindings are all scraped and sanded, and the twins just had to play house and dress up and look in the mirror.

Now for the necks!!


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2016 4:16 pm 
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Mahogany
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I was glad to have this uncarved parlour neck to use with my holding rig to figure out some final thinking as to neck angle and biscuit relationships.

fingerboards bound with curly maple.

Tail blocks glued up.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 12:19 pm 
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Cocobolo
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You're making good progress. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product. Also, I like your idea of putting a two degree angle on the top just ahead of the resonator. Because of the different length upper bout soundholes on my tricones, I have to use a wedge under the fretboard, but in an upcoming single cone, I'll definitely use your idea. Also, an afterthought: Although it's nice to have a reso page, it seems like a lot of OLF'ers don't bother to visit it. When you finish yours, I'd recommend you post photos on the regular guitar building page to give yourself (and the reso page) a bit more exposure. I think I will when my tricones are finished.

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These users thanked the author jsmith for the post: frwilliams (Sun Apr 24, 2016 5:01 pm)
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2016 5:08 pm 
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Mahogany
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Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2008 6:27 pm
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Thanks for the comments Michael. The two degree idea is actually from National. I have made friends thru Instagram and Facebook, with a fellow who works there. He has been invaluable for tech support. That is the method they use. I also noticed not much action on the posts, but I am not posting to be seen, just pay back for all the help I have found on forums like this one. We live in the most wonderful time for building and playing guitars. Sharing builds may help someone just like me. Just a picture sometimes is all that is needed to answer a question and move a build forward. Thx again


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2016 5:26 pm 
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Mahogany
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Well I had to make some new jigs for the slotted headstock. Trying to save some money. Theres a great jig from Luthiers Tools for about $280C thats $210A. Helpp!!!! So I made some and then made a drilling jig for the tuners. My drill press would't cut a perfectly strait hole, its an old thing. so I had a machine shop drill it for me, $43 for three holes. That LT jig started to look good.

Cut the channels for the truss rods, and then glued on the head veneer. 1/8" Wenge veneer. Heel cap will be the same. So its ready to shape and slot. I hope to do that tomorrow. My buddy is not a woodworker, though a great mechanic, so i am tending to do all the careful machining on these two builds. Anyone know a good item to use for side dots on the curly maple fingerboard binding? Need to be black, maybe 3/32" or slightly less. I have walked the isles of many stores, dollar stores, anything and coming up short.

Well looking forward to tomorrow


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:55 am 
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First name: Ed
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On the dots, I have used black (or any color) binding material. I chuck a 3/32 bit in the drill press upside-down, and press the bit through the material which gives you a dot that fits the bit perfectly. I touched the butt end of the bit to a fine wheel on the grinder to give a sharp edge. I drill a slightly bigger hole in a piece of wood and press them into the hole

Ed



These users thanked the author Ruby50 for the post: frwilliams (Tue Apr 26, 2016 7:21 pm)
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 7:23 pm 
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Mahogany
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Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2008 6:27 pm
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Thats an interesting trick. I will give that a go. I bet a leather punch or paper hole cutter might work as well. Good thinking!!

Thanks Ed!!


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 7:31 pm 
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Mahogany
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Well despite the brain fog I was under, we managed to shape and slot the headstocks. Remember its always X2. Next to ramp the slots and finish the fingerboards.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:30 pm 
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Cocobolo
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First name: Jan-Alexis
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Great work!



These users thanked the author Johny for the post: frwilliams (Wed Apr 27, 2016 6:41 pm)
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 6:52 pm 
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Mahogany
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Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2008 6:27 pm
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Well thanks to you Ed Minch for suggesting the side dot technique. It worked great. we used some black plastic drain pipe that I jointed a flat side on and sliced off a less than 1/8" thk. piece. super idea!!

We also installed our MOP position makers. Started cutting fret material for the next step.

We are going to screw the fingerboard extension onto the top, and cover the screws with ebony 5/16" plugs. there is a maple block on the underside of the top to accommodate this. Anyone have any words of wisdom for us in this department??


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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2016 4:54 pm 
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Mahogany
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Well my partner went to Calgary for 3 weeks to take a taxidermist,s course, and then I had my uvula removed and have been off solid foods for 11 days now. So I got a little done while he was away.

Carved the slot ramps on the headstock, recessed the heel block for fitting and installed the metal inserts for the bolt on neck.
The pine strip in the neck is just for centring the neck on the body(removable)

Today we got in the shop and drilled the holes for the FB extension. Stainless steel panheads going into a maple block under the top.
They will be plugged with ebony plugs.

We also glued and pressed the frets on the drill press, for a partial fret job. The final frets will be put in after the FB is screwed down in final assembly.
Then clamped the FB till the glue set up to remove any back bow.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2016 3:17 pm 
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Mahogany
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moving along very slowly, but the fingerboard is now glued on and neck ready to carve


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2016 10:05 pm 
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Cocobolo
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Looking good. I look forward to seeing the end product.

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These users thanked the author jsmith for the post: frwilliams (Mon Jun 06, 2016 2:14 pm)
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 5:28 pm 
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Mahogany
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Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2008 6:27 pm
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Well we are closing in on an El Trovador. Necks are all carved and fitted to body. today we did a trial set up just to see if all my calculations have put us into the ballpark for string height and intonation. Now we will sand fill and finish with Tru oil. Can't wait!!


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 4:37 pm 
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Mahogany
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A little sickness, a little summer and just stuff gets in the way, but we are pressin on as Bob Dylan has said. The end is in sight. The body and necks have been finished with Tru oil. We will see how it holds up.


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