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Archtop Build - First guitar and first forum post
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Author:  solaris72 [ Wed Mar 23, 2022 1:09 am ]
Post subject:  Archtop Build - First guitar and first forum post

Hello OLFers. To anyone reading this who posts regularly here, thank you for all the wisdom you're putting out there. I know it may not have been easy to come by.

I'm a 13 months into my first guitar build. I chose an archtop because I'm studying jazz and its the guitar I wanted to have. I'm using the Bendetto book and templates.

Here are some photos.


Most of my time seems to be spent building jigs. But I consider it an investment. The latest one is the body/neck mortise and tenon cutting jig. For this first build I used a table saw to cut the neck tenon. Eventually I will finish the jig so I can cut the neck tenon with a router.


I have yet to cut the body mortise but I have a practice piece set up in the jig. I had to order a longer router bit since there is a gap of around 1.5 inches between the guitar and the bottom of the router template.

I have the neck roughed out but questions are piling up as to how to proceed. I will probably make a more specific post later to get some second and third opinions.


I'm excited to see this project through, and I've been dedicating more time to it so it is advancing. I'm happy to have found this community and appreciate everyone's comments, feedback, and critiques.


Author:  Chris Pile [ Wed Mar 23, 2022 1:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Archtop Build - First guitar and first forum post

Welcome to the OLF. You jumped into the deep end of the pool with your choice of archtops. Good luck, I'll be watching.

Author:  Hesh [ Wed Mar 23, 2022 3:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Archtop Build - First guitar and first forum post

Welcome to the OLF Taylor.

Author:  solaris72 [ Sun Dec 25, 2022 4:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Archtop Build - First guitar and first forum post

It's been a long time since I first posted about this build but I'm still making progress even if it's at a snail's pace. Anyway here is an update of how things are going.

Body binding is near complete. I kind of wish I hadn't gone down this path as it probably added months to the build. I really only have 2-3 hours a week to give to this project and this was very time consuming. But I know it will be a valuable lesson and it's nice to get all the the first time mistakes out on the the first guitar.

I make the channel by hand using a marking gauge and chisels. It is quite crude and there are a lot of places where the soft wood on the sides tore away leaving me with the challenge of filling gaps. Before I bind the next guitar I will absolutely make a routing tower similar to the one available on stewmac. For now however I am left with the task of filling the areas that chipped and tore out. I have glued in the patches but to do this for every little gap would take a very long time so I am considering mixing sawdust with epoxy and pouring it in. I also have mohawk wood filler that I may use to color the epoxy. I am going to finish the guitar with a sunburst effect so this part of the guitar will be rather dark, hopefully hiding these mistakes.



I veneered the front and back of the headstock with some figured claro walnut.


The fingerboard has been slotted and the interior binding glued to the side.


I finally got the Bendetto dvds (should have bought them when I got the book) and I've been gleaning a great deal of valuable information from them. He mentioned duco cement which I ordered to do the binding and found it easier then using straight acetone to glue layers of binding together and attach it to the body and fingerboard (previously I'd used superglue for gluing binding to wood and I wasn't terribly successful).

Next steps are to drill the slots for the tuning pegs in the headstock. I'll need to modify my template for this so that it can sit flush on the back of the headstock. I'll also need to recut the fret slots through the interior binding to their final depth. I'll have to grind the teeth off a length of fret material so I can check the depth. Or maybe find some other thin material that can serve as a depth gauge.

So that's where the project is at. I keep hoping that I will find a full day to set aside to dedicate to this. It would certainly help speed things along. But in the meantime I'll keep chipping away at it.

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