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 Post subject: Kit Advice
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:03 pm 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:12 pm
Posts: 5
First name: Andrew
Last Name: Pajela
City: Frisco
State: Texas
Zip/Postal Code: 75035
Country: United States
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Hello,


Just some background information:
I'm new at building guitars but I'm fairly handy around power tools. My Father is also good around wood and I will not be doing this project alone.

Heres what I want the end product to be:
I want to build a Martin OM or 000 sized guitar or a Martin D sized guitar. I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations on a specific kit (quality and fairly inexpensive) and any advice (books, etc) that they have for me. I'm really in no hurry to start, and I've been doing my research.

1) Solid East Indian Rosewood back and sides (any suggestions on the grades?)
2) Solid Sitka Spruce top (any suggestions on the grades?)
3) Binding around the body and neck (only if its going to be fairly easy)
4) 1 3/4" Neck
5) Gold Tuners =]

I'm not too familiar with the materials of bridges and saddles but I like the ebony fretboard and bridge on my Taylor over my rosewood one on my Larrivee.

Preparation:
I have a lot of tools in my garage, but what other types of tools do yo suggest? What types of sandpaper?
I will be purchasing a mold off of Ebay pretty soon.

Let me know what you guys think.


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 Post subject: Re: Kit Advice
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:15 pm 
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Cocobolo
Cocobolo
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Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 10:22 am
Posts: 392
First name: Martin
Last Name: Lane
City: Grand Rapids
State: Michigan
Focus: Build
making a mold is not hard. i got a piece of 2' x 4' birch plywood. I traced a friend's Martin OM onto a piece of poster board. trace the shape onto the wood. cut out shapes for your sides. screw it together with other scrap. took about an hour, plus you wind up having scrap pieces in the shape of a guitar, which are handy for other things.

I built my first kit guitar with borrowed clamps, a chisel, a homemade go bar deck, two 2"x2"s with radii cut into them, a router with special bits from stew mac, a few files, an xacto razor saw, a bike inner tube, and not a whole lot else.

sandpaper is sandpaper? 150 grit for cleaning up surfaces. and then whatever finish method you use will require different things, I imagine.

there is a guy that goes by "ASAA" on ebay, that sells kits. he has a few auctions per week. you could watch his auctions until a kit you like becomes available. or contact him thru his site, and ask him to assemble your dream kit. http://guitar-repair.com/

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"...you have to get over your strict adherence to your largely imagined notion of absolute perfection..."


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 Post subject: Re: Kit Advice
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:36 pm 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:12 pm
Posts: 5
First name: Andrew
Last Name: Pajela
City: Frisco
State: Texas
Zip/Postal Code: 75035
Country: United States
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Thanks for your input. What are routers and wood with radii in them? And what are they used for? I like your idea of making a mold as it would be a lot cheaper.
Do you have any suggestions on finish application?


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 Post subject: Re: Kit Advice
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:09 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm
Posts: 906
First name: Freeman
Last Name: Keller
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
APTaylor wrote:
Hello,


Just some background information:
I'm new at building guitars but I'm fairly handy around power tools. My Father is also good around wood and I will not be doing this project alone.

Heres what I want the end product to be:
I want to build a Martin OM or 000 sized guitar or a Martin D sized guitar. I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations on a specific kit (quality and fairly inexpensive) and any advice (books, etc) that they have for me. I'm really in no hurry to start, and I've been doing my research.

1) Solid East Indian Rosewood back and sides (any suggestions on the grades?)
2) Solid Sitka Spruce top (any suggestions on the grades?)
3) Binding around the body and neck (only if its going to be fairly easy)
4) 1 3/4" Neck
5) Gold Tuners =]

I'm not too familiar with the materials of bridges and saddles but I like the ebony fretboard and bridge on my Taylor over my rosewood one on my Larrivee.

Preparation:
I have a lot of tools in my garage, but what other types of tools do yo suggest? What types of sandpaper?
I will be purchasing a mold off of Ebay pretty soon.

Let me know what you guys think.


Hi AP. OK, you have a lot more research to do. Start by reading as many threads on the OLF kit subforum as you can. I had just posted answers to a lot of your questions in the thread right next to yours

viewtopic.php?f=10122&t=31543

Next, go to the kit forum and read everything about kits

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

and finally, go to the original kit forum and read there too. If you type my name "freeman" into the search box you will see threads on all the kits I built, one on my suggestions for a minimum shop, etc.

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

Next, more reading material. Get Bill Cory's book (second or third link above) - it will give you a lot of background. Go to the StewMac kit section and download their free pdf instruction on buildin their kits. Consider Kincead's book. Cumpiano is good background but not too helpful for kits.

Then, figure out what you want to build. An OM is very different from a dread, a 000 is slightly different from an OM. Good sources for kits are StewMac (dread and 000, you won't be able to customize), LMI (with their kit wizard you can customize as much as you are willing to spend). John Hall (Blues Creek, a sponsor here) is a great source, Steve Kovacik and even Martin have kits. Stay away from dovetail neck joints, build a bolt on. Stay away from Grizzle Tools unless you want to build an absolute bottom end guitar.

Rosewood and spruce are normal choices from any of the suppliers. Let them choose the wood.

You will want to bind your guitar. It is one of the harder parts of kit building, but we all get thru it. You will need a small router (laminate trimmer) and some special bits. It is possible to rent one from Lowes if you don't have it available.

1-3/4 inch neck is pretty rare on a dread and on a 14 fret 000. It is common on an OM or 12 fret 000. You can probably special order the neck if you insist on a wide neck on the dread. If you go to a wider nut consider wider bridge spacing too.

Some kit will come with tuners included, many will not. In that case just chose the ones the fit your budget.

Most kits have ebony fretboard and bridge, rosewood would be a substitute.

For tools, see my minimum shop thread. A router and drill motor are necessary, I use a band saw to make the molds (but there are other ways). Normal hand tools - sharp chisels and planes, lots of clamps, some special lutherie tools that you can buy at StewMac (fretting tools, nut files, pin reamer, the binding router bits).

Finish is always a problem for the home builder - there are separate sub forums at the kit forums - I'll let you do the research. You seem a little concerned about price - let me warn you that you do not do this to save a lot of money. Let me also warn you that you will make mistakes. I figure $4-500 for the kit, another 100 for finish, 100 for tuners and stuff, another 100 for a case. Tools will probably run $3-500 depending what you already have. So it is easy to put more than a grand it this project.

I promise it will be worth it.


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 Post subject: Re: Kit Advice
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:28 pm 
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Cocobolo
Cocobolo
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 10:22 am
Posts: 392
First name: Martin
Last Name: Lane
City: Grand Rapids
State: Michigan
Focus: Build
APTaylor wrote:
Thanks for your input. What are routers and wood with radii in them? And what are they used for? I like your idea of making a mold as it would be a lot cheaper.
Do you have any suggestions on finish application?

Freeman's post is excellent. Nearly all of your questions will be answered in Bill Cory's Martin Kit book. It was my guide during my first.

The top and the back of the guitar are often built with a slight dome or radius. it holds up better against fluctuations due to humidity changes. a 2" x 2" with a radius cut into it can be used when gluing braces to the top or back. it's not the best way but it works. I used em on my first, now I have dishes. (I made those too).

A router is a power tool, often used for cutting binding channels. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Router_%28woodworking%29

My first finish was french polish. it wasn't easy, but i don't mind redoing things or going slow. it took me 3 months to get it right. and I still have much to learn.

Get Bill's book.

_________________
"...you have to get over your strict adherence to your largely imagined notion of absolute perfection..."


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 Post subject: Re: Kit Advice
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:51 pm 
Offline
Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:12 pm
Posts: 5
First name: Andrew
Last Name: Pajela
City: Frisco
State: Texas
Zip/Postal Code: 75035
Country: United States
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Thanks for your input!

After reading over some material I've decided to go with the StewMac Dread Kit #5294. I love the fact that they have instructions and everything and I feel that the price is right.
Plus I love my dread way more than my OM.

I won't be ordering it anytime soon though, probably in a few months after saving up for this project.
Also I was wondering as to what tools are absolutely necessary. I am concerned about money as I don't want to spend a lot of money on a guitar and have it sound like garbage, what do have a lot of is time. I would rather take my time and save some money.
That being said, here is the list of tools that Stew Mac suggests: (I edited the list for things I already have/can easily buy)
If anyone who has built before can tell me which tools were absolutely necessary it would be great.

1/2" chisel

File set

Mini-rasp set


These two things are deemed special as they are made especially for luthiers, has anyone purchased any of these two? I have normal files, can I just use those?

Nut-slotting files (#4541, 4542, 4543, and 4544 are suggested for this kit)

Fret Leveler

Dressing stick

Fret cutter

Radius gauge set

Scraper blade

Bridge pin reamer with 3-degree angle

Standard-size reamer (to enlarge pegholes for bushings)

Cam clamps — Small (at least 4) and Large (2)






Has anyone substituted anything for these?


How difficult is it to make a mold? I'd like to make one myself in order to save $90 dollars.


Just a thought:

How difficult is it to bind a fretboard?


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 Post subject: Re: Kit Advice
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:04 pm 
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Koa
Koa
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jul 01, 2006 5:55 am
Posts: 1387
Location: United States
First name: James
Last Name: Bolan
City: Nashville
State: Tennessee
Country: USA
With a kit from LMI you`ll get a free DVD ,by Robbie O`Brien."How to build a steel string guitar." In the DVD he builds an OM with IRW back and sides and Sitka top.IN The DVD,Robbie walks you thru the entire process.He is a master Luthier and the this is a very valuable addittion to the kit.
James

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Nashville Tennessee


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 Post subject: Re: Kit Advice
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 7:21 pm 
Offline
Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:12 pm
Posts: 5
First name: Andrew
Last Name: Pajela
City: Frisco
State: Texas
Zip/Postal Code: 75035
Country: United States
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
I was looking at LMI and they're expensive. I'm going for the cheapest kit possible.


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 Post subject: Re: Kit Advice
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 7:40 pm 
Offline
Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:12 pm
Posts: 5
First name: Andrew
Last Name: Pajela
City: Frisco
State: Texas
Zip/Postal Code: 75035
Country: United States
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
I have two more questions, what are the inlays that are located at the back and go down the middle called? And what is the official name for the guitar tailpiece (the white or black piece that the strap nut is drilled through)


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 Post subject: Re: Kit Advice
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 11:16 am 
Offline
Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm
Posts: 906
First name: Freeman
Last Name: Keller
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
APTaylor wrote:
I was looking at LMI and they're expensive. I'm going for the cheapest kit possible.


That would be Grizzly Tools. You get what you pay for http://www.grizzly.com/products/categor ... key=235040

"backstrips" http://www.lmii.com/CartTwo/thirdproduc ... Backstrips

and "end graft" http://www.lmii.com/CartTwo/thirdproduc ... p+Material


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 Post subject: Re: Kit Advice
PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 4:39 pm 
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Contributing Member
Contributing Member

Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:10 pm
Posts: 2764
First name: Tom
Last Name: West
State: Nova Scotia
Country: Canada
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
John Hall, Blues Creek Guitars,very knowledgeable about Martins. Will provide lots of help and a good guy to deal with,well worth talking to him first.
Tom

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A person who has never made a mistake has never made anything!!!


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 Post subject: Kit Advice
PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 6:27 pm 
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Contributing Member
Contributing Member
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Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 9:31 pm
Posts: 1877
First name: Darryl
Last Name: Young
State: AR
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Agree, call and talk to John Hall before you buy a kit. Having an experienced builder like John to call for help is a huge plus going through this process. I'm not aware of anyone at LMI or StewMac to call when you need help.

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 Post subject: Re: Kit Advice
PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 10:25 am 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:16 pm
Posts: 17
First name: William
Last Name: Rieselbach
City: Milwaukee
State: WI
Zip/Postal Code: 53211
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Get both of Bill Cory's books... the martin kit book and the general kit book. Lot's of good info in both!


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 Post subject: Re: Kit Advice
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:47 pm 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:25 am
Posts: 3
First name: janny
Last Name: pan
City: Sealttle
State: Washtington
Zip/Postal Code: 96801
Country: USA
I like your idea of making a mold as it would be a lot cheaper.

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