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"The Shed" guitar - Trevor Gore
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Author:  Trevor Gore [ Mon Jan 30, 2012 7:41 am ]
Post subject:  "The Shed" guitar - Trevor Gore

WudWerkr has already disqualified me from entry due to a false start (or OCS for those who know what that means!), but I started this in October 2011 and my build schedule means I’m not up for another for a while. Anyway, I thought others may gain a little inspiration from this build.

My “rules” were slightly different from WudWerkr’s. Rather than using indigenous wood, I used only wood and materials that came out of “The Shed” (an old fisherman’s cottage) that I moved into about 12 years ago and rescued while doing the renovations. As it turned out, because of the age of the place, most of the wood is a least local to the region, so ultimately the brief is not too different, but the wood choices are very constrained. Most of the wood you’d have to pay to dump, so in that sense, the value of the wood is probably negative $!

I kept the bits and pieces that came out of the place, thinking some day it would be a nice personal challenge to make a guitar out of them. Then came "The Book" and the "Wood for Guitars" paper for the ASA, then Lacey then an order for a classical guitar with a steel string top, which I built and enjoyed playing before delivering it to its new owner. So with all those influences, I though it was about time to build "The Shed" guitar, built using only bits of wood and stuff salvaged from the reno's. Also, I had an inkling that the radiata pine I was going to use for the top might be a bit on the heavy side, so I thought a small body size (using less of it and so keeping the top mass down) might work out better.

Whilst waiting the 12 years for this build, most of the wood was stored in open shelving in a structure that could best be described a “car port” and so would have been at ~12-15% EMC.

Here’s a pic. of the inside of “The Shed” as I started work. These older pics are scanned from 35mm, so are a bit fuzzy. I’ll try to explain where the various bits of wood came from.
Bunk bed removal.jpg

Don't you love that faux pine panelling!!

The top is 5 pieces of radiata pine dissected from pieces of the four fold-out bunk beds at the far end of the room, one of which has been already removed from its mountings. By using 5 pieces I got everything pretty much on the quarter.

The back, sides and neck wood came from the tall kitchen cabinet in the corner on the right. I used this stuff for the linings, too, and also the bridge.
Corner cupboard.jpg

The Oregon pine (not exactly indigenous!) came from one of the rails from the door of the old outside dunny.
Dunny door.jpg

The fretboard wood came from the bottom plate of the stud wall (bottom right in the pic). The species is brush box, a very hard wood, but with quite poor dimensional stability.
Stud wall.jpg

The head plate came from the end of an old spice rack, the trim (bindings, back stripe, heel cap) from an old jarrah fence paling and the rosette from a piece of firewood that had some figure in it, but I don’t have pics of all that. The black lines around the rosette were made from some black card found in a draw and the fret edge markers were made from some 3mm knitting needles found in the bottom of a wardrobe.
Fret edge markers.jpg

For those wanting to know how the renos ended up, well, here's a pic.

That was ~12 years ago. Almost ready for another go-around!

More to come.

Author:  Trevor Gore [ Mon Jan 30, 2012 7:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Shed" guitar - Trevor Gore

Here’s pics of the various pieces of wood as I sorted through them trying to find the best ones to build with. Having weathered, I originally thought the two large boards were the same species, (light red meranti) but as I cleaned them up it was apparent that the longer board was something else. I’m guessing at dark red meranti. Whatever, it’s pretty good stuff! The light red meranti was used for the back and the dark red for the sides, neck, linings and bridge. I also set myself another “rule”, which was to use only the basic tool set described in “The Book”. However, this does include a 14” bandsaw, but with only a 6” rise. So that meant that the top and back had to be at least 4 pieces, even though the original back board was wide enough to do a two piece back if re-sawn on a larger bandsaw.
Back board. Neck, sides, linings etc board.jpg

Here's that top rail from the dunny door, once I'd hacked some of the paint off it with my trusty Stanley #5 in scrub plane mode.
Oregon from the dunny door - braces.jpg

...and the bottom plate of that stud wall ready for dissection...
Looking for a fretboard.jpg

No shortage of fret boards from here. Brush box is very hard and dense, but like a lot of Aussie wood, is not real stable.
Fretboards found!.jpg

More to come...

Author:  Trevor Gore [ Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Shed" guitar - Trevor Gore

After the tens of thousands of photos I shot for the book, I'm sort of over taking pics for the moment. That's why there's a few gaps in this story board. I've almost developed an allergy to cameras! I'm sure I'll get over it! Anyway, here's some pics of the build process:
Front of top.jpg

The top is 5 pieces (so it's interesting not to have a centre join and also I oriented all the pieces so that the (minor) run-out was all in the same direction. The two rosette rings were cut from a piece of firewood (red gum, I think) roughed out on the band saw and sized with hand planes. The black purfling lines were strips of that black cardboard. I wasn't going to invest a lot of time in a fancy rosette for this one!

Here's the back, joined as a pseudo two piece, having just been planed to thickness and then cut to profile on the band saw. It gets a bit "slabby" out at the edges, but light red meranti is pretty stable, so no worries with it moving around too much:
Four piece back.jpg

A neck blank is a neck blank is a neck blank... A minor difference on this one was that I couldn't dissect a piece of wood without nails holes in it and I thought that look had been over-done. So this one is made from a shorter neck shaft that has the scarf joint the other way round (end grain on the neck shaft rather than the more usual end grain on the head stock), so winning back the lost length. The heel is a five piece stack, but I was able to match the grain reasonably.
Neck blank.jpg

Linings aren't too exciting either! Here's some reverse kerf stuff I used for top linings, made on a K-sled (a better option in my shop than the table saw method when doing one-off runs). The blank was cut from the same piece of wood as the sides and neck (the dark red meranti).
Reverse kerf lining.jpg

Right! Enough for tonight.

Author:  WudWerkr [ Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Shed" guitar - Trevor Gore

Man I wish this had fell into the catagory , sounds like an exciting build . Keep going on it It . I am sure everyone would love to see the end results and hear her played It can still be submitted , however it will be dq'd from winning . UNLESS . the other members of the challenge agree to let it slide . ;)

Author:  Beth Mayer [ Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Shed" guitar - Trevor Gore

Nice looking build! What book are you calling "The Book"? Also, sounds like you're working on a book of your own (with lots of pictures)....what are you up to there?


Author:  Trevor Gore [ Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Shed" guitar - Trevor Gore

Beth Mayer wrote:
Nice looking build! What book are you calling "The Book"? Also, sounds like you're working on a book of your own (with lots of pictures)....what are you up to there?


Thanks, Beth.
There's a bit more about "the book" here:
Also, if you Google "Trevor Gore Guitars", you'll find plenty more!

Author:  alan stassforth [ Mon Jan 30, 2012 7:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Shed" guitar - Trevor Gore

WAY too cool, Trevor!

Author:  Trevor Gore [ Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Shed" guitar - Trevor Gore

One of the (many) reasons for going to a classical body shape, even though it is a steel string guitar, was that I was anticipating sides out of light red meranti, which can be a real pain to bend. I guess many of the repair guys will have seen necks on cheap guitars made out of that stuff and it snaps like a carrot. However, the dark red meranti, although still shorea spp. is a different beast altogether. It bent quite easily in my old-style double side bender which still uses old-style electric globes. Most incandescent globes are off the market here, but it is still possible to get heat lamps, PAR 38s etc. which is what my bender uses. It's hard (and expensive) to get double width heat blankets rated at 240v with an appropriate power controller.
Double bender.jpg

Here's the sides in the mould with the linings clipped in. The dark marks in the linings (and one in the side) are old nail holes that I couldn't avoid.
Fitting the linings.jpg

The braces came from the old dunny door, but first the rail needed to be sawn at an angle to straighten up the grain onto the quarter. That was just a matter of tilting the band saw table.
Sawing onto the quarter.jpg

After the blanks had been sawn out, they were cleaned up to 10x20mm using hand planes. With Oregon pine, the flat sawn surface is easy to tear as you pass over the early and late wood boundaries. I can always find a way around this as I have a good selection of planes, but I can't remember whether I used a very sharp finely set high angle plane or an equivalent low angle plane. Usually, it's the low angle on softwoods and the high angle on hardwoods, but that's not a universal rule (not much in lutherie is!). I just swap between them and see which works best for that piece of wood and that particular grain orientation.
Brace blank.jpg

The falcate braces for the top were made from Oregon again, fabricated from laminations 1.7mm thick. I have no construction pics of that stage, though, due to my current, aforementioned allergy to cameras!

The Oregon had a density of 456 kg/m^3 and a Young's modulus of 9.5GPa; quite dense and low stiffness compared to the spruces which typically (in good brace wood) come out at ~400kg/m^3 and >12.0 GPa.

More to come later.

Author:  Trevor Gore [ Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Shed" guitar - Trevor Gore

Here's the braced back.
Braced back.jpg

All the braces start at the same 10mm x 20mm rectangular section then are gabled using a holding fixture and a bevel cutter on the router table to yield uniform section gabled braces. I dropped the cutter a little lower than usual to leave a little more wood in the braces to compensate for the lower Young's modulus. I usually select very stiff spruce brace wood and I don't bother making compensations like this for brace stiffness. I do it later in the build process. Individual braces are then cut to length and have their bottoms radiused using the router table and another simple fixture. As I build in a spherical dish, gluing braces on with go-bars, I only need the brace bases curved to one radius to fit anywhere and at any angle on the back in the dish. I've tried pre-scalloping braces before gluing them down, but it is pretty much as easy to do it afterwards. One of the really nice things about using this arrangement of braces and sizes is that it is easy to tune the back to the chosen frequency relative to the top by just carving the lower bout brace, through the sound hole if necessary. The light red meranti back panel measured up at 570 kg/m^3 with a long grain Young's modulus of 15GPa. Pretty stiff! Using my usual formulae, for this size of instrument the appropriate back thickness was 2.2mm.

The centre "marriage strip" is more of that radiata pine of course, just the off-cut from the top of the joined panel.

The top bracing is more interesting, especially if you haven't seen falcate bracing before...
Top with K&Ks.jpg

The bridge plate is some of that brush box as used for the fret board, the falcates more of that Oregon, laminated to achieve the curves. Carbon fibre above and below, as usual. This radiata pine has a density of 480 kg/m^3 and a long grain Young's modulus of 8 GPa, i.e. heavy and floppy compared to the spruces. I shifted my normal parameters around a bit to produce a slightly thinner top (to loose some mass) and left the braces slightly higher than normal to compensate for the lost stiffness. Still, the top thickness was over 3mm, so already doomed not to be a truly responsive guitar having to carry that amount of top mass. Not too much of an issue, though, with the K&Ks! This guitar will have a monopole mobility (a measure of responsiveness) more suited to a stage gutiar. Make a stage guitar too sensitive and all you've built is a big microphone! The K&Ks might have put me over WudWerkr's budget....maybe...

Author:  Bobc [ Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Shed" guitar - Trevor Gore

I like what I see so far. Too bad it doesn't qualify. [xx(]

Author:  Trevor Gore [ Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Shed" guitar - Trevor Gore

One of the benefits of living in an old fisherman's cottage is that you occasionally get to see these guys from the workshop window - a pod of dolphins heading back out to the ocean. Not a real good shot. I only had a "short" lens on that camera at the time...

Back to guitars...

The back is now glued on and the top linings have been prepared to accept the top. The side stiffeners and side mass blocks are cut from that same board of dark red meranti. Otherwise nothing real special going on here...
Back on.jpg

There follows a big hole in the photographic record. Must be that allergy playing up again... Anyway, by the time I got to this shot, the top is on, all the binding is done and the mortices for the bolt-on, bolt-off neck have been cut. There's no purfling (no suitable material, really. Well, that's my excuse...) and the binding is figured jarrah cut from the old fence paling I mentioned previously. The figured jarrah isn't the easiest to bend. It has a tendency to just fall apart where the grain goes vertical through the piece. The bending has to be really accurate because without purflings you have nothing to help disguise any glue-lines that fall short of perfection.
Boxed and bound.jpg

More to follow...

Author:  Trevor Gore [ Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Shed" guitar - Trevor Gore

Bobc wrote:
I like what I see so far. Too bad it doesn't qualify. [xx(]

No worries Bob!

I hope you're supplying better wood than this stuff...

Author:  WudWerkr [ Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Shed" guitar - Trevor Gore

Love the bracing patterns you have . Its gonna be a beautiful build no matter what . Great work !

Author:  Trevor Gore [ Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Shed" guitar - Trevor Gore

Well, I'm rapidly running out of build photos now. Looking at the timing, it was about when I had to start the next "formal" build. This last build shot is of the fretboard going onto the neck.
Fretboard glued.jpg

There are heaps of ways of approaching this task, depending on your neck joint type, general build philosophy etc. etc. Part of the reasoning behind the bolt-on, bolt-off neck was to be able to fret the board with it un-attached to the neck with such precision that fret dressing afterwards became redundant. And part of the reason for heading that way was that I didn't want to be dressing stainless steel frets. So, I slot then crown the board, glue on any fretboard binding (essential in this case to avoid fret-end poke because the fretboard material is relatively unstable) fret the board, dress the ends then glue the finished board to the neck blank. Essential in getting this right is using a very stiff castellated caul to keep everything straight during the glue-up. The neck is nowhere near stiff enough to act as its own caul. The bits of light wood on the neck blank are there to laterally locate the fretboard. They are set up with the neck bolted to the guitar to get the board alignment exactly right and then glued down with a drop of Titebond. The neck can then be un-bolted from the guitar and the fretboad glued down knowing it will remain precisely aligned. The axial registration is provided by butting the fretboard up against the head plate. The nut sits on a ledge on the end of the fretboard so its not a case of having to leave, or afterwards cut, a precision slot for the nut. When the glue is cured, the waste wood is trimmed off using a band saw and neck shaping takes its normal course.

Author:  Trevor Gore [ Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Shed" guitar - Trevor Gore

This set of pics is of details of the finished guitar, but I'll go through them pointing out a few of the more interesting (maybe!) things. Here's the back of the guitar:
Guitar back.jpg

It's grown a centre strip since I last showed it. Mostly, I don't bother with a decorative centre strip, but this back just looked too plain without it. It might have been a reaction to the fact that the faux pine panelling shown in the very first pic had a light red meranti backing veneer which just looked too nasty. So the back stripe was inlaid after the guitar was boxed. Not the recommended way of doing it, but no big deal. I just stuck a fence down with double-sided tape, routed the groove and dropped in a piece of the figured jarrah.

Here's the bridge, photographed whilst setting up, so looking a little dusty...

It's made from the dark red meranti and that black line is a layer of carbon fibre. Bridge mass is 15 grms, which is probably half the mass of a typical bridge. It compensates a little for the density (and subsequent mass) of the radiata pine top. The saddle, yet to be compensated, is Tusq.

Here's the headstock, showing the compensated nut, which is standard on my guitars. The facing is Huon pine from that old spice rack. A white headstock gives a completely different look to a guitar - very Leo. I used Gotoh 301 tuners, 18:1 ratio, and probably the best value tuners around. There's a very similar set produced out of Taiwan, they look identical, work as smoothly, but 12:1 ratio and only ~$15 a set. If I'd used those, the K&Ks would definitely have been in-budget!
Huon pine head plate.jpg

As for those knitting needles, a few thin slices turned into (rather oversize) fret edge markers. No excuses for missing those...
Fret markers.jpg

One of the problems with some of the Aus. figured woods is that the figure tends to diminish under a finish whereas for most woods, the finish accentuates the figure. It might have been worth using a grain fill on the jarrah trim to dye the pores a bit and get some more contrast...

Here's a closer shot of that heel.

Maybe you can count the five layers...

And finally, for this post, the heel cap, which is more of the jarrah.
Heel cap detail.jpg

Author:  Trevor Gore [ Wed Feb 01, 2012 4:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Shed" guitar - Trevor Gore

Here's the finished article in all its pyjama grade pinus radiata glory!

Full frontal.jpg

The back, sides and neck are finished in nitro over an epoxy fill.
French polished top.jpg

The top is French polished using hard shellac. I tried the product first when I did the renovations. The island work bench separating the "kitchen" from the living area in the 6th pic (Finished renovations) was finished with this product. It's now been on for over ten years, without any refinishing and is still looking good despite all the typical use a kitchen bench gets. Plenty good enough for a guitar!

As for the sound, you'll have to wait a bit for that! (until I can negotiate a bit of studio time...)

Author:  truckjohn [ Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Shed" guitar - Trevor Gore


I really love seeing (And building with) "Alternative" tonewoods... I think so many times, we get so used to seeing Spruce or Cedar on Rosewood or Mahogany... and there's just no room for anything else...

It looks like living in the "Shed" sure does pay off! I grew up near the ocean - and I miss it.....

Every time I work on the River oak that is becoming my guitar's body- I can smell the tidal lagoon near where I grew up... and it takes me back home for a little while...


Author:  William Bustard [ Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Shed" guitar - Trevor Gore

Beautifully designed and executed build.
I really like the recycle aspect of this Guitar and its subtle elegant stylings.
Well done!

Author:  Trevor Gore [ Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Shed" guitar - Trevor Gore

Thanks for the kind words, John and William.

Here's my first shot at costings:

If I'd tried to sell the wood it was made from, I would not have got more than $10, if that. The tuners and strings cost ~$60. I make my own truss rods, material ~$2, carbon fibre maybe $5, finishing materials ~$30. Glue etc. ~$10. Nut, saddle, bridge pins, ~$10. Fret wire, $8.

That lot totals to $135.

Now we could look at a low budget costing:

Wood $0, it was all junk wood which would have cost me $ to dump. I could have used the Taiwan tuners at $15 per set instead of the Gotohs and $10 strings. Knock off the cost of glue etc. (Wud's rules) and the rest is the rest. This knocks $55 off the above costings and takes it down to $80. I could knock off the string cost (Wud says "wood, hardware and finish") which brings me down to $70, which means I still can't quite cost in the K&Ks at $86.10, but it only puts me $6.10 over budget! With some creative accounting I could charge the wood in at $-25, which is what it would have cost to dump at the local recycling centre, then I'm home (but still DSQ'd).

Anyway, it at least shows that it's possible to do for less than $150.

On the other hand, a completely finished (and fully functional) plywood Dread, FOB Guangzhou China is $28. Think about that!

Author:  Beth Mayer [ Sat Feb 04, 2012 10:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Shed" guitar - Trevor Gore

Really nice, Trevor! I love the look of that top, especially. Thanks for taking the time to show the build.

Author:  Trevor Gore [ Tue Feb 07, 2012 5:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Shed" guitar - Trevor Gore

Thanks, Beth.

The pyjama stripes are fairly polarising - people tend to love 'em or hate 'em! However, it does mean you can grow a top in your own lifetime. This sample of radiata wasn't real flash from the mechanical properties viewpoint (dense and floppy compared to good spruce), but there was no selection. I used the scraps that came out of the renovations. It may well be possible to find radiata pine with properties comparable to spruce and then we'd not have to wait the 200-300 years.

Author:  George L [ Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Shed" guitar - Trevor Gore

Love your old cottage and the new guitar. A great idea and a wonderful story to boot!

Author:  Corky Long [ Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Shed" guitar - Trevor Gore

Trevor -

I love it - very inspirational. You've proved that using "recycled" woods can provide a basis for aesthetic creativity rather than something to apologize for or compensate for. Really cool build.

Author:  WudWerkr [ Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Shed" guitar - Trevor Gore

I would love to see a pic of the neck shaped and how it looks proir to going into the pocket . Is it basically the same Idea as an Electric with a heel ? And are the holes for mounting bolts or guide pins ?

It is an Absolutely beautifull build . [clap] [:Y:]

Author:  Mike Baker [ Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Shed" guitar - Trevor Gore

Great job! Beautiful guitar!
I have a soft spot for instruments built with reclaimed wood. My first scratch build was built from reclaimed wood, and I have a P bass build on this forum that was built with 100 year old pine reclaimed from an old sideboard. Love taking old wood and giving it new life.
In this case, you took something that would normally have been scrapped, and turned it into something really beautiful. Nice job!
[clap] [clap] [clap] [:Y:]

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