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Showing posts from January, 2014

Making a Copy of a Hernandez y Aguado Guitar: Laminating the Sides

I will now rest a while to write about the Dalbergia Latifolia (Indian Rosewood), whose unquestionable beauty, like the rest of the Dalbergias, is more serene and demur than her explosive Brazilian sister, and offers much greater reliability.

Jose Ramirez III, Things About the Guitar, 1990



Last year I took the plunge and made several outsides molds to laminate guitar sides, one was for a smaller bodied Hernandez y Aguado guitar and the other for the famous FE 19 of Antonio Torres.

I bought Alaska yellow cedar veneer and thin strips of hard board from JS Bogdanovich Guitars, the cedar is to be laminated to the side and the hard board is for the glueing cauls. (You can read about laminating guitar sides in Mr. Bogdanovich's book, Classical Guitar Making).

The real world and a seasonal job called me away from the work shop last April so the cedar, molds and hard board sat quietly in a corner of the studio until just a few weeks ago.



I've been wanting to make another guitar base…

A Blonde Guitar - Making a Copy of the FE 19 Guitar by Antonio Torres: Shaping the Neck

Wilson, the necks on your guitars are perfect!

Alex Komodore, Coordinator of Guitar Studies, Associate Professor at Metropolitan State University, Denver, Colorado




This is the one time a guitar maker gets to do anything close to carving a piece of wood - the neck.



The profile of the heel is carved nearly to completion when I attach the guitar's top to it, now that the guitar is assembled I need to blend the curves of the heel to the rest of the neck. I also need to shape the profile of the neck to a flat "D" shape. I find this shape the most comfortable for playing, though some like a more rounded neck, I think this is the best shape for a classical guitar, even Alex Komodore thinks so!




Knives, spokeshaves, card scrapers, round and flat rasps and files are the tools used for shaping the neck.




I use this gauge to check the progress of the neck's shape.



The best judge for a neck's surface and shape is my thumb and hand. As a player I know the importance of a good…

A New Chisel, A New Handle

The use of the chisel and that concomitant tool of chisels, the mallet is quite a simple elementary exercise in principle, requiring little explanation and learned quickly through a minimum of experience.

Alex W. Bealer, Old Ways of Working Wood, 1980

I haven't bought a brand spanking new chisel for proper wood working since, um, let me think here, 1993?

That was a set of Stanley, made in England, blue handle chisels that hold a scary sharp edge. The new Marples chisels have nothing on those chisels.

My other chisels are vintage James Swan, Keen Cutter, Stiletto, etc., that I found in flea markets or bought from tool dealers through the Internet.

I wanted a nice chisel to help clean out the binding rabbets on guitars, so I splurged and bought a 10mm chisel from Luthiers Mercantile International. Click here to see their chisels. I remember when LMI offered a 1mm wide chisel!



The handle that came with it is tintul and it's not as well shaped as the LMI handles were 20 years ag…

A Blonde Guitar - Making a Copy of Guitar FE 19 by Antonio Torres: Installing Frets

One of the main problems that confronts all makers is how to increase the volume, strength and sustain of the treble notes, so that they hold up well against the bass.

Roy Courtnall, Making Master Guitars, 1993



The winds have subsided, gusts of 84 mph were recorded yesterday near Nederland, Colorado, which is just down the road from me. When the winds pick up the humidity drops, was 30 percent in my studio yesterday and the humidifier quit working. Time to buy a new one.



Installing frets isn't bad, you just have to be careful that you don't set the fret tang into the slot crooked and make sure you set it deep enough.

The frets over the sound board need to be backed with a piece of metal as you hammer them home, my clinching block (left over from my horseshoeing days) was too tall to use on this guitar. Fortunately, I had a 1 inch diameter steel rod in the workshop, I cut a piece off of it and ground a flat spot on the piece with my angle grinder. Works like a charm.


All most …

1816 Martinez "Salon" Guitar: Gluing on a New Bridge

Everyone seeks in the guitar his own twin soul...

Oscar Ghigilia, classical guitarist






We got about 8 inches of snow here in Allen's Park with the last storm and the temperature dropped down only to -1 degree Fahrenheit yesterday. Today, the wind is howling, I can't keep the walk clear because of the blowing snow and worse, the humidity in my shop has dropped to 30 percent. I do need to refill the humidifier and hope that I can get the humidity back to at least 35 percent. Oh, well...




This little beauty is a copy of an 1816 Martinez "Salon" guitar originally made by Jose Martinez. You can find the plans for it by clicking here.

I deviated a little from the original plans, the peg head is contacted with a scarf joint, not a V-joint; the back and sides are maple; the top is Douglas fir and has a Honduran rosewood fingerboard. In this photo I am gluing on a "modern" bridge, not the original lute-style chordal block bridge. I did put that kind of bridge on it wh…