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Seven String Classical Guitar: Bending Curly Maple and Attaching the Sides to the Top

Bending wood by hand to the gentle curves of a guitar silhouette is an unusual skill, one that the guitar builder shares with few other wood workers.

Charles Fox, guitar maker, 1998



Some days it seems that no matter how hard you work you just can't get ahead. That was my experience last week.



Gluing one side to the heel block

Sorry, no photos of bending the curly maple. I will say that this curly big leaf maple that I purchased from The Wood Well, click here for the website, bent like a dream. Bad simile, but I have never had a wood bend so easily, it was even easier than California laurel!

Click here for a great discussion on bending sides.

When I started out in this thing called lutherie twenty years ago, every person and book that I consulted on bending wood said to steer away from curly maple. This is the third guitar that I have made from curly maple, this is great wood to work with, though a little difficult to plane well.

I have yet to work with curly rock maple, but something tells me it will be easier to bend than mahogany. Of course, I have read that mahogany is relatively easy to bend, I got some stuff once that was almost impossible to bend.



Using cloths pins to attached kerfed lining for the guitar back to the sides

I like to attach the sides to the top with individual tentellones, little triangular blocks of wood, instead of a kerfing strip. It takes a while to attach both sides this way (all day!), but I feel that offers a more rigid connection of the top to the sides (read "rim") of the guitar. I have seen guitars from the Jose Ramirez III shop made this way, also guitars by Santos Hernandez, Domingo Esteso, so I figure if the masters did it so can I!

Another option is to laminate strips into a solid lining. I just haven't gotten around to doing that, probably because it means using more power tools, something I want to stay away from.




The guitar is almost ready to receive the back.

All I need to adjust the angle of the "foot" of the heel and do a final clean up of the inside.

I hope I can start installing the bindings by Wednesday, hopefully I won't spin any wheels.


Comments

  1. That Bagatelle is so incredible.

    Keep soldiering on. This instrument is going to make some great music, for sure.

    ReplyDelete

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