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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:20 pm 
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Location: Southeastern Kentucky
First name: Andy
Last Name: Miranda
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
I started this guitar initially back in September of '12. I put it down for a couple of months and then started back again in about mid-December. Being that I hadn't gotten too far in the build, I thought it would be okay to enter this challenge. I hope no one minds.

This is my first-ever build. I had started this post in the Doc-U-Build forum, but had it moved to here once I entered the challenge.




Previous discussions about this build can be found here:

http://www.luthiersforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10101&t=37499&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

As stated there, I'm building this guitar for my 7 year old daughter who has taken an interest in the instrument. My plan is to build this guitar with the following materials:

Soundboard: Englemann Spruce
Back/Sides: Either Cherry or Purpleheart
Neck: Cherry
Bridge: Purpleheart
Faceplate: Purpleheart
Fretboard: Purpleheart
Back Bracing: Cherry
Top Bracing: Spruce

I bought the plans from LMI (PL59). They were drawn by Roy Courtnall.

I have a billet of cherry that is approximately 3" by 6" by 54". I cut this wood myself from a fallen Cherry tree on my in-laws' property.

Attachment:
P1110034.JPG

Attachment:
P1110036.JPG


I cut the billet in half. Each half is capable of making 2 necks/heel blocks as a solid piece.

Attachment:
P1110053.JPG


The neck wood is the only material I currently have, but will purchase/produce the other materials as I progress. More to come...


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Last edited by miramadar on Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:59 am 
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Location: Southeastern Kentucky
First name: Andy
Last Name: Miranda
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Using a circular saw, a jig saw, and a jeweler's saw, I roughly cut out 2 necks/heel blocks from one of the billets.

Attachment:
P1110054.JPG


Here's a shot of the rough neck and the little girl who will receive the guitar once built:

Attachment:
P1110057.JPG


While planing on the headstock, I got some tear-out in the area where the nut will go. I hope this won't be an issue down the road [headinwall].

Attachment:
P1110058.JPG


Cutting away some waste material from the neck...

Attachment:
P1110060.JPG


Attachment:
P1110065.JPG


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:19 am 
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Location: Southeastern Kentucky
First name: Andy
Last Name: Miranda
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Okay...issues thus far...

First, I have some tear-out right where the nut will be (see pic above). Not sure if that's going to be a game changer or not. What do you guys think? I think I was being a little too agressive with the hand planer and my blade probably wasn't sharp enough.

Next, it was pretty hard to get the top of the neck dead flat. I worked on it for a few hours. I'm not sure about the best way to accomplish this. I put hash marks in pencil all over the surface of the neck and used my sanding block with 60 grit get it all pretty much even. Then I put a 2' level on the neck and shined a flashlight behind it to see the gaps. I marked the location of the high spots on the neck and then sanded in those areas. Finally, I laid the level on the neck and tried to slide a very thin piece of paper under the level. When I could no longer get the paper between them I called it finished.

The plan calls for the headstock to be 76mm wide at the end, tapering down to 47mm at the nut. My neck has ended up being 72mm wide. To me, it seems that the difference is negligible. I don't see the point in gluing wings onto the headstock to make it 4mm wider. What do you guys think?

Finally, the neck isn't absolutely square. I think there's an issue with my planer causing this. I noticed it when I put a square on the heel block. But since most of that material has to be carved away anyway, I don't think it's a show-stopper. I'll just have to make sure that I "get" it square.

Oh, one more thing...I started carving out the foot last night and made a mess of things. It looks pretty rough. I tried using a chisel and ended up taking too much material away. [headinwall] [headinwall] [headinwall]

Will upload pics soon...


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:43 pm 
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First name: Andy
Last Name: Miranda
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Here's a pic of the heel that I butchered...

Attachment:
P1110354.JPG


I hope it's salvagable...Looking for some input on this though.

Here are some pics of me removing some waste material around the heel...

Attachment:
P1110349.JPG


Attachment:
P1110350.JPG


Attachment:
P1110351.JPG


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:51 pm 
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Location: Southeastern Kentucky
First name: Andy
Last Name: Miranda
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Status: Amateur
Here are some more pics of the sanding I did on the neck...

Attachment:
P1110344.JPG


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P1110347.JPG


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P1110348.JPG


I've drawn the neck on the top and the headstock, and I've started carving away the waste from the headstock.

Attachment:
P1110352.JPG


...and one of the lines drawn on the neck. I've located the position of the 12th fret 302mm from the front of the nut...

Attachment:
P1110353.JPG


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:53 pm 
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Location: Southeastern Kentucky
First name: Andy
Last Name: Miranda
Focus: Build
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I bought a small billet of purpleheart...

Attachment:
P1110345.JPG


From this, I cut this bridge blank...

Attachment:
P1110346.JPG


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:08 pm 
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Purpleheart for the bridge? That'll make it looks like a GIRL's guitar!
Oh wait, it IS a girl's guitar. Nevermind... bliss

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:11 pm 
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Looks good so far. If you cant sand out the damage in the nut area (I got chills writing that) then you could put a veneer on your peg head that goes all the way to the fret board and put the nut ON the veneer. Do ya feel me? The veneer will cover the damaged area just fine. Plus you learned something. Now you know what not to do next time! laughing6-hehe
Keep posting pics!

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 2:18 pm 
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Location: Southeastern Kentucky
First name: Andy
Last Name: Miranda
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I'm feeling ya Tony! Thanks for the advice. But let me ask...the tear-out actually extends from the end of the fretboard, under the nut, and then onto the faceplate a little. I wouldn't need to worry about that under the fretboard? I was going to put a purpleheart veneer on the faceplate anyway, so that will work out well.

Thanks much for the advice! [clap]


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 2:28 pm 
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Location: Southeastern Kentucky
First name: Andy
Last Name: Miranda
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Wooo-Hooo...got a shipment from LMI today. Delivered were:

- Englemann Spruce Top
- Purpleheart Fretboard
- 2 Englemann billets for bracing
- Cedar Kerfing
- Englemann Sound Hole Reinforcing
- Fretwire
- Bone Nut
- Bone Saddle

All the items look great to me...but I'm a novice. I'll post pics soon.

I don't think I got enough kerfing for the guitar...I'll have to order more.

The fretwire I got was LMI's FW72, which is for nylon-string guitars. Very soft stuff! Should work out well.

Jeez, I just hope I don't butcher this stuff up... :?

I haven't located a purpleheart back/side set yet. I've got an add in the classified here on OLF. Someone mentioned Gilmer's on that post. Might go that route.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:18 am 
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Okay, so it's been a couple of weeks since my last update. I'm still working on the neck and the bridge. I have received some materials from LMI: soundboard, fretboard, bracewood, etc...

Attachment:
013.JPG


Attachment:
014.JPG


I'd never seen spruce before, except on a finished guitar. This is some amazing stuff...so light yet so rigid along the grain. It's almost like holding a piece of styrofoam!

Attachment:
015.JPG


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016.JPG


I like the looks of this fretboard.

Attachment:
011.JPG


Attachment:
012.JPG


I also received the cedar kerfing material, bone nut and saddle and a length of fretwire (not pictured).


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:37 am 
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First name: Andy
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So, I've been working on the neck...and here's where I am so far.

Attachment:
006.JPG


Attachment:
007.JPG


I've put on the headplate. I made it by cutting 2 thin pieces of purpleheart from the billet I have. I cut them on my mitre saw, and didn't do a very good job. I wish I had a bandsaw idunno . The billet was only about 3 inches wide, so I had to cut 2 pieces and glue them together. It was hard to get them square on the mitre saw, so I ended up cutting them overly thick and then planing/sanding them to around a consistent thickness (about 4mm). Unfortunately, I didn't get them exact and I ended up with a little bit of a gap between the faceplate and the headstock. I tried to fix this by taking some purpleheart sawdust, filling the gap, and then applying some super glue. Did okay, but the sawdust is a little bit darker than the rest and it stands out some. Maybe once I apply a finish it will blend in better. The gap is around where the D tuning key will be, near the end of the headstock, so it's in a somewhat inconspicuous place. [headinwall]

As I posted earlier, I really made a mess of the heel block. I've made some templates from some thin plywood I had laying around and got to drawing the profile of the heel on the neck (along with the headstock).

Attachment:
005.JPG


When I put the heel block profile template on the heel block, I realized that I had really messed up. My heel block was way too tall, and when I removed material to shape the heel inside the guitar body, I had taken away too much material. Since it was cobbled up anyway I took a drastic measure...I sawed off the heel block a little beyond the 12th fret and glued on a new piece of cherry. :shock: Not sure how that's going to play out... I carved it down to make it square and flush with the original heel block, redrew the heel profile on the new piece and got to sawing.

Attachment:
008.JPG


Oh well, another lesson learned...measure twice (or maybe 10 times!) and cut once.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:40 am 
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First name: Andy
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The bridge is going pretty well. I've got it mostly done except for making the saddle slot and drilling holes for the strings. I've worked it down to within about 1mm of the target thickness. I'm going to wait until I have the top domed before I proceed so I can sand the proper radius onto the bottom of the bridge.

Attachment:
009.JPG


Attachment:
010.JPG


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:48 am 
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Location: Southeastern Kentucky
First name: Andy
Last Name: Miranda
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Oh, and I've acquired a few new tools to help me along...

Attachment:
017.JPG


I got these fiberglass go-bars (24 of them) for less than $20 shipped from a kite parts supplier. Awesome deal!

Attachment:
018.JPG


A rasp from Rockler.

Attachment:
019.JPG


Curved chisel for clearing glue squeeze-out and carving the braces.

Attachment:
020.JPG


I found these scrapers on Ebay for like $10.

Attachment:
021.JPG


...and I picked up this thin saw from Lowes. Works much better than a coping saw on a lot of things.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:35 am 
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good to see you are making progress... measure the thickness of your saw - I believe that is the one you want to use to cut your fret slots.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:56 am 
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i suggest gluing sandpaper along the length of the level and using that to get the neck surface flat and straight...
also i bought that same saw awhile ago and the teeth busted out on a piece of rosewood...nice little saw but save it for reasonably soft woods !


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:32 pm 
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Quote:
measure the thickness of your saw - I believe that is the one you want to use to cut your fret slots.


It is super thin. I would think too thin for fret slotting.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:26 pm 
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i just compared the saw with my stew mac fretsaw, using my crude calipers....the stew mac fret saw is about 0.020 and the "lowes" saw is about 0.013....it might work for laying slots in a softer fingerboard wood like maple...? not sure what equates too thin. i do know the blade is very flexible, so that might add problems too


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:04 pm 
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Been a while since I checked in...

Haven't done a lot on the guitar in the past few weeks...been busy on other "house" projects. But I did get the purpleheart back and sides from AHix on Ebay. The wood looks really good.

I'm still working on the neck. Currently, I'm trimming around on the heelblock and cutting the slots to receive the sides. I figured that cutting the slots would be pretty hard to get right, but I did one side last night and it went pretty dang well, I must say. I'll do the other side tonight. Pics to come...


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:08 pm 
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Well, I've been doing some more work on the neck the past few days. I've gotten the heel carving roughly done.

Attachment:
IMG_0470.JPG


Attachment:
IMG_0469.JPG


Attachment:
IMG_0468.JPG


Attachment:
IMG_0467.JPG


I had never tried to carve a heel before, so it was a real learning process. The Cumpiano book that I'm going by said to use a chisel to start the cut, then turn the chisel over to continue the sweep making the primary facet. It also recommended the use of a violin-maker's knife or "skew" knife. I don't have one of those, so I used a regular 1"-wide chisel. This didn't work out so well for me. My chisel, though very sharp, kept jumping out of the wood. I got one side of the heel done. But when I turned the neck over to do the other side, I made a serious and very bloody mistake :oops:

Attachment:
IMG_0463.JPG


I was trying to support the neck with my left hand while carving with my right. The chisel slipped and slammed into my left index finger. It bled very badly, and I thought I would pass out. It was quite a deep cut, maybe to the bone...I didn't look at it whole lot. I was just concentrating on stopping the bleeding. But my dear wife doctored me up. I didn't go to the doctor and it looks like it will heal just fine. But it was scarry for a moment. There's blood all over my shop. Luckily, the chisel hit my finger squarely and didn't peel back any skin. Lesson learned.

I had such an awkward time using the chisel on the heel that I started using a scraper blade instead. That method seemed to work out a lot better for me...and I lost no blood!

Next for me is to join the plates of the soundboard and the back. More to follow...


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:09 pm 
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I've begun the process of jointing the plates for the soundboard. It doesn't seem to be going very well as I can't seem to get the plates to pass the "candle" test.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:33 pm 
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I use a carpenters rasp to carve the necks. I use it with a sweeping, not a sawing motion. The wood comes off cleanly and controlled. By using a sweeping or carving motion you will end up with smooth curves. The rasp is less dangerous when you slip.

I am not the best with a plane and a shooting board. I can get the plates very close but not perfect. I use a adhesive backed strip of 120 grit sandpaper on a very flat surface to clean the plates. I have used the top of a cast table saw, I then found a 4" by 24" piece of plate glass at a salvage store. I also use it with some stick on 120 grit sandpaper. If I find after sanding I get a gap on the ends. I place a couple of layers of tape under the middle plate glass and sand a little more. Maybe not the purest way to do it but I have joined 20 or so plates this way.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:26 pm 
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Andy, I'm real sorry you hurt yourself. I've done it, too--a couple of different ways and both times were a long time ago. I think it's good for lurkers who have not worked too much with tools to see a gruesome photo like this once in a while. Actually, it's probably good for ALL of us to be reminded: Never allow any part of one's body to stray into the path of a tool. Even the most benign-looking tools can mess us up big time, and when it happens, it happens FAST.

Meanwhile, I applaud you for doing a nice thing for that pretty little guitarist. She's a lucky girl.
Patrick


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:35 pm 
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Andy sorry to see that you have hurt yourself :(

I remember many years ago when I was an apprentice cabinetmaker another lad at college was cutting the shoulder of a tenon and to get the shoulder square he used a chisel he used his left hand to back up the wood and with his right hand he guided the chisel, after a few passes he pushed as hard as he could and the chisel went straight through the palm of his left hand - there was lots of blood and it was a gory sight to see the chisel buried in the middle of his palm :( still makes me shudder today and this was nearly 30 years ago! :( I've seen many more over the years and its never a nice thing to see :(

I hope your hand heals really quickly and it doesn't hold up your build to much :)

All the best
Dave

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:20 pm 
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Thanks for the kind words regarding my injury. Actually, it's healing quite nicely now. I can flex my finger fully with very little pain. It didn't set up infection thankfully. I was fearful that a tiny piece of wood would have gotten imbedded. But apparently it didn't. I'm lucky. The injury didn't impede my progress on the guitar at all. I finished the rough-carve of the heal 2 days later with the scraper blade. I kept the splint on my left index finger to protect it and keep it straight. Thanks again for the concern.

Regarding the plate jointing...I worked on it for a couple hours last night. I'm still not satisfied with my results. I'm either getting a gap on the ends or in the middle. It seems reasonable to expect them to line up eventually ;) . I'm using a brand new Bailey plane that my wife got me for my birthday...

http://www.lowes.com/pd_97169-355-97169_0__?productId=1210167&Ntt=bailey+plane&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNtt%3Dbailey%2Bplane&facetInfo=

Its only 6.25 inches long, and I thought that maybe it was too short for this application. So, I started using a bigger, much older plane that was my grandfather's. I think its a Stanley...one of the 2-handed jobs. It was working okay, but I kept getting the same results, so I went back to the Bailey because it was easier to handle.

I might try the sandpaper idea, even though Cumpiano advises against it. I've got a cast jointer that is probably big enough to accommodate the plates. Luckily this is a very small-bodied guitar and I don't have to worry about planing away too much. I'd say I've planed away 1/2" from the width of each plate thus far.


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