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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:20 pm 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:00 pm
Posts: 37
First name: Jon
Last Name: Woodall
City: Suwanee
State: GA
Zip/Postal Code: 30024
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Ok, so I am new here. I am a member over at the AGF and so many people have mentioned this site so here I am. So far I've been reading and have gotten years and years of advise in a matter of minutes. I'm really looking forward to getting to know you guys.

So to the questions. I have never built a kit before and have a real eager desire to build my first guitar. I'm thinking about an OM kit from Blue Ridge Guitars. I've heard lots of good things about them. I have a little experience with wood working. I am a painter by trade so I have worked with wood a good bit. As far as working in a shop, I have little to no experience. I have very few tools, so I now I will have to purchase some.
Questions
1. Can you build a guitar in a garage? I don't really have a way to regulate temperature and humidity level. Can I build in the garage and then leave my build parts in my house where humidity and temp are more controlled.
2. What major power tools will I need?
3. I have ordered Jonathan Kinceads book; what other books would be useful?
4. How much can I expect to spend the first time around?

Lastly, I live about 25 minutes north of Atlanta and was wondering if there is someone that builds around this area that would like a free helper. I would love to meet some other builders and maybe help out in exchange for learning from someone who knows what they are doing. Thanks a bunch for all of your help!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:33 am 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm
Posts: 899
First name: Freeman
Last Name: Keller
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
jlwoodall wrote:
Ok, so I am new here. I am a member over at the AGF and so many people have mentioned this site so here I am. So far I've been reading and have gotten years and years of advise in a matter of minutes. I'm really looking forward to getting to know you guys.

So to the questions. I have never built a kit before and have a real eager desire to build my first guitar. I'm thinking about an OM kit from Blue Ridge Guitars. I've heard lots of good things about them. I have a little experience with wood working. I am a painter by trade so I have worked with wood a good bit. As far as working in a shop, I have little to no experience. I have very few tools, so I now I will have to purchase some.
Questions
1. Can you build a guitar in a garage? I don't really have a way to regulate temperature and humidity level. Can I build in the garage and then leave my build parts in my house where humidity and temp are more controlled.
2. What major power tools will I need?
3. I have ordered Jonathan Kinceads book; what other books would be useful?
4. How much can I expect to spend the first time around?

Lastly, I live about 25 minutes north of Atlanta and was wondering if there is someone that builds around this area that would like a free helper. I would love to meet some other builders and maybe help out in exchange for learning from someone who knows what they are doing. Thanks a bunch for all of your help!


Welcome to the wonderful world of building guitars. My disclaimer and credentials - I'm an amature, have built 9 total, mostly kits but each time do more and more scratch. The big advantage of a kit of course is the the really hard parts or things that require special tools are done for you. That said, here is my experience.

0 - I'm not familiar with Blue Ridge, but John Hall at Blues Creek sells some wonderful kits and is a sponsor of this forum as well as one devoted just to kits. Good guy and very helpful.

http://www.kitguitarsforum.com/board/

There are many other sources of quality kits - LMI, StewMac and several others.

1 - You can build in a garage (I do) but at least buy a good hydrometer so you have some idea of humidity swings. Ideally it will be between 40 and 50% RH. I did have a guitar crack when I took it from my relatively moist garage into a very dry house - violating all the rules. When you get your kit let it sabilize to your shop for several weeks. Seriously consider a bolt on neck for your first - one of the hardest parts for a new builder is fitting a dovetail neck joint.

2 - I did a little tongue in cheek article about the minimum shop for another forum

http://www.kitguitarsforum.com/archives ... 46_0_5_0_C

The only power tools that I think are essential are a drill motor and a small router (which you can rent at Home Depot or Lowes). I use a band saw a fair amount, particularly to make the molds but you can either buy a mold or use a saber saw. I find a bench belt sander very handy and added a buffing wheel. A dremel is necessary if you are going to try any inlay.

3 - Kincead is very good. People will recommend Cumpiano but much of what you will do is somewhat different. Download the free pdf from StewMac's kit section. Bill Cory's book won't tell you how to do it but has a lot of good background information. The booklet that comes with Martin kits is pretty worthless (supliment with Kincead and the pdf).

4 - It won't be as cheap as you think. $4-500 for the kit. Another 100 for finish and the same for tuners, etc unless they are included. You'll need fret files, nut files, a pin hole reamer, stepped router bits for binding, clamps and clamps, some MDF for a mold and various cauls. A couple of really good chisels (google "scary sharp"). Even the case will cost you a hundred bucks. I probably spent a bit over a grand on my first and each time I build one I add one major tool to the quiver.

5 - Being a painter, you'll have less trouble with finish than most of us. There are several options for a home builder - French Polish (lots of work), brushed finishes (acceptable) and sprayed. I did two with rattle cans of nitro (dangerous, explosive, hazardous to health) and have shifted to water based lacquers which I spray in a cardboard booth.

With all of that said, I'll add that my home made guitars are my daily players - my two Martins and my Taylor mostly sit in the closet. I'd love to help lead you astray, er, answer any questions. Unfortunately I'm up in the PNW but with luck someone in your area will chime in. Good luck and have fun.

http://www.kitguitarsforum.com/archives ... 25_0_6_0_C


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:21 pm 
Offline
Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:00 pm
Posts: 37
First name: Jon
Last Name: Woodall
City: Suwanee
State: GA
Zip/Postal Code: 30024
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Wow, thanks for all the info! I did mean Blues Creek and not Blue Ridge. Everyone keeps saying John has the best kits and mostly the best advise. Thanks for letting me know I can build in a garage. That make me feel more confident about doing this. I am definitely going to start with a bolt on neck... as you do, I think it would be best. I have a dremel and plan on buying a router sometime soon. I can't wait to get up the courage and go ahead and order the kit. For someone who makes about 35k a year, a $500 purchase is a big deal, so I want to make sure it's something I'm going to finish once I start.

Any recommendation of where to purchase hand tools, chisels and such, at a reasonable price?


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 11:21 am 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm
Posts: 899
First name: Freeman
Last Name: Keller
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Just a couple of quick additions. Don't buy a full sized router, get a laminate trimmer instead (1/4" collet) - I have a Ryobi that I got at Home Depot. You will use it mostly for trimming the top and back and for routing the binding channels (you could get by just renting one for the binding but I find it handy in general). Get StewMac's binding bit with the different sizes of bearings - unfortunately it is pretty expensive but I don't know of a better way to do the binding

http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Speci ... t_Set.html

StewMac has good instructions for using this (both in their free info section and the kit pdf)

http://www.stewmac.com/freeinfo.html

I buy a lot of my special lutherie tools - nut and fret files, reamer, etc from StewMac. I buy most of my wood working tools (chisels, planes, etc) from either local hardware stores or Grizzle Tools. Over the years I've picked up some planes and chisels at yard sales and learned how to sharpen them. You really don't need much here - two good chisels and one little plane should do the trick.

I have been making my molds from MDF using a band saw, but John also sells them. It might be possible to mark the shape you want from your plans and take it to a cabinet shop to be cut out or if you are lucky enough to hook up with a luthier in your area they can probably help you. StewMac shows how to make a cardboard mold - that would work for one guitar.

As you buy tools think about your commitment to building and working on instruments. You need to decide if you think you will only build the one and stop, or if there are more out there in the future (trust me, this is addictive). Don't build a guitar just to save money (you will, but not as much as you think) and your first one will be far from perfect. I like to think that you can build something close to, say a OM-21, for about half the price, but you can also buy a used on for similar money. However the satisfaction of both the journey and making music on a guitar that you built is priceless.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:30 pm 
Offline
Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:00 pm
Posts: 37
First name: Jon
Last Name: Woodall
City: Suwanee
State: GA
Zip/Postal Code: 30024
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Freeman,

Thanks for all the info. I allready know 10 times as much about guitar building as I did before I joined the Forum. I can't wait to order my kit.


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