Progress! Fingerboard is glued, fully fretted, neck is carved, and the body bound. Home stretch! Tomorrow I’ll level and dress the frets, and finish sand the whole deal. I’m excited to put the new Festool sander into action, and I’ll need to do some sunburst tests before I commit dye to spruce. This guitar will get a circa-1934 sunburst. Stay tuned!
In a burst of activity, I’ve made some basswood side braces in the Gibson style. The side braces serve to stop any split in the side, in case it gets bashed in or otherwise abused. I’ve let them in to the kerfing, so there is no weak space between for cracks to propagate. The originals used a bit of linen soaked in hide glue, but the basswood will add stiffness and looks nice, as well.
The blocks and kerfing are left proud of the ribs, so they can be angled to match the 20′ radius of the soundboards.
My radius dish is lined with sandpaper, so a fair amount of elbow grease is required to spin the ribs and mold in a sanding motion.
Now, everything is nicely radiused and ready for the brace ends to be let in.
Finally, the top is glued on, using clamps and bungee cord in an awesome way.
This weekend I had the pleasure of meeting an exception 1934 Gibson. This one a 14 fret-to-body L-OO model, belonging to John Greven of Greven Guitars.
Power, pop, and a quick decay-great examples of mid-thirties Gibson guitars are wonderful old-time machines. This one is very light, the top looks like a potato chip, and you couldn’t possibly hate it, no matter how hard you tried. Of course, it’s not for sale.
More info here:
go-bar deck: cheque!
Radius dish: cheque!
Brace arching jig: cheque!
Monica’s guitar! Today, the x-braces were notched, glued, and rough-shaped; upper transverse and Popsicle brace as well. The back has its spruce reinforcement strip glued, radiused, notched for braces, and the braces glued. All bracing is glued with fresh hot hide glue, warmed under a heat lamp, and clamped in the handy-dandy go-bar deck (or decque?). 20′ radius for all, and fun, fun, fun. Now, there is a pile of spruce shavings under the bench.
Next up will be fitting lower transverse braces, finger braces, and voicing the top/back! Also on the que is making a sled to complete my inca table saw fret-slotting setup; fitting neck and end blocks to the ribs; and…KERFING! Now, for the photos:
I’ve begun on the first Portland-made Miller guitar! It’ll be Adirondack Spruce top and bracing, with Claro Walnut neck, back and sides. The fingerboard and bridge will be a very Brazilian-esque Palisander Rosewood, and the headstock will be very 1930s: black lacquered rather than veneered, tapered, and possibly with a stenciled logo. It’ll be very close to 1937 specs, with fresh hot hide glue, a through-saddle, and celluloid galore. Stay tuned!
This past weekend, Joanna and I performed and taught at the Olympia Old Time Festival. Plenty of fun, music, and guitar-geeking was achieved. You can check us out at http://www.facebook.com/coupe.duet
Because the spruce has beautifully ambered, I figured that I would post some updated photos of the Roy Smeck Dreadnought. I’ve received a commission to build another one this spring; this will be a (late 20s) hand-rubbed sunburst with maple back and sides. Exciting!