Skip to main content

Seven String Classical Guitar: Using a Veneer Scraper and Installing Curly Maple Bindings

I was oblivious to the classical guitar until age twenty three.

Jose Oribe, The Fine Guitar, 1985


Dial caliper, gramil, veneer and veneer cutting board

If there is one part of making a guitar that really can frustrate me it is making and installing the bindings.

Some of the tasks/problems involved are-
*bringing the bindings down to .05 of an inch thick without breaking anything
*thin pieces ebony break easily and have nasty little splinters
*routing a consistent channel without blowing out any piece of wood or letting the router bit/chisel wander

This task/act/duty is where any little mistake you make will show for the life of the guitar, unless you know how to fix that mistake.

The great Spanish luthier, Jose Ramirez II once said,

In all human work, the wise look for virtues and fools look for flaws.




Shop made veneer scraper

Two months ago, when I was working on the dimensional copy of Torres' FE 19, I discovered I was going to run out of maple veneer, but I figured I could get by with what I had on hand.

It was a poor quality veneer that I had purchased from LMI (I am sure LMI thought it was good enough!), grain runout was terrible, I would cut a 6mm wide strip and it would break into several pieces just lifting it off the work bench.

This past Friday I took a drive down the hill to Loveland, Colorado to The Wood Emporium, (sorry, Loren, the owner doesn't have a website) and thankfully Loren had some very nice maple veneer on hand. Where would we wood workers be without independent wood suppliers? Loren's shop is a much shorter trip than the Loveland Woodcraft Store and he remembers me.

A few passes through the veneer scraper put the veneer to where I wanted it, .018 of an inch thick. This is for the BWB purfling that will go on the guitar's top.




Binding rabbets after routing


I swore I wouldn't use a router on this guitar, but a router will make a consistent rabbet for depth and it doesn't take all day to do the work.

Once the router work is done I still have to go back and clean up the rabbet by hand using files, chisels, X-Acto knives, emory boards (the kind for doing your fingernails) and anything else that will do the work.

Many of the books on guitar building pretty much tell you that once you rout the channels with a router you are done, go ahead and pop the binding right in!

It's not that easy.

And as I said earlier, this is the time when you can make the mistake that will be seen forever.

No gaps is the goal, but it does happen. What do I do to remedy the problem?

I use hide glue and sawdust, CA glue and sawdust, lacquer stick, "pine, fir or larch resin, with red pigments" and a whole lot of prayer.




Curly maple binding with ebony purfling


One quarter of the binding is complete! Three more strips to install and then I can glue on the fret board! I could've glued on most of the binding today, but I didn't see the reason to, it is the weekend after all!




I just "discovered" this wonderful young guitarist (playing an eight string guitar) the other day while surfing the Internet, he is absolutely amazing! Very clear musical ideas with a wonderful technique and best of all, he does not suffer from the dreaded "guitar face"! No facial grimaces or contortions, a player worthy of the School of Andres Segovia! I'd pay money to see this kid!

Enjoy!

Comments

  1. So.... Does this mean you're a "fool" AND you're giving away your secrets too? :)

    It looks fabulous!

    I visit for the woodworking and stay for the performances; a woodworker but only a guitar plunker.

    (BTW, also absolutely despise CAPTCHAs, but make a few rare exceptions. You can turn them off, you know?)

    ReplyDelete
  2. What's a CAPTCHA? Captain Crunch?

    Yes, I am a fool to make guitars, Bob and I didn't know I was giving away secrets! Maybe I should post a video that shows the classical guitar makers' secret hand shake!

    Thanks for the compliment !

    ReplyDelete
  3. The reference to "fool" was about pointing out mistakes, which we all do too often.

    It's not at all foolish to build guitars. Yours are beautiful and the world needs them.

    CAPTCHAs?
    Formal definition: Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart

    My sort rant about CAPTCHAs:
    The problem is they don't work, are easily broken or bypassed, are a total block for people with some sorts of disabilities (mostly visual) and have a 20% fail rate for people with normal abilities. Instead of blocking spam, they annoy real people. There are far better ways to avoid spam, but Blogger/Google won't do the right thing and take responsibility for good spam filtering, Instead they shift the responsibility to you, and your visitors.

    There's an option in your blog's control panel to turn them off, and since you moderate all comments anyway....

    ReplyDelete
  4. How do you prevent your binding tape from pulling up the grain or tearing out the top or back wood?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You remove the tape by pulling it off with the grain and you be very careful. It doesn't always work but I have never pulled up a big chunk of wood.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Off the Bench and For Sale: Miguel Rodriguez Style Guitar

This guitar has a Western Red Cedar top, Claro walnut back and sides, Royal ebony fretboard, Indian rosewood bridge and a 650mm string length.

This guitar has a beautiful voice and is loud! I was amazed at how loud it is as soon as I got the strings on and tuned to concert pitch. It is easy to play and I am blown away by the musical nuances that can be created with this guitar.

Please click on Guitars Currently Available or Studio Model to read more about this wonderful guitar!



1961 Hernandez y Aguado Style Classical Guitar, Redwood/Indian Rosewood, For Sale

The partnership of Manuel Hernandez and Victoriano Aguado was one of the most successful in guitar making history.

Roy Courtnall, Making Master Guitars, 1993

Please note that this guitar is currently for sale at Savage Classical Guitar. Please click here to see this guitar!

I made this guitar several years ago, but because of custom orders, I had to set it aside. I put strings on it two weeks ago and it is a most magnificent sounding guitar! It has good, clear separation string to string, wonderful sustain with evenness and balance throughout with a very lyrical voice. I originally made this guitar for myself, but someone with a good strong technique and a good understanding of musical interpretation should own this guitar and play it on a regular basis.



This guitar is a fairly close copy of a guitar made by Hernandez y Aguado in 1961. The body length is 480mm, most of the HyA guitars had a body length of 490mm; string length is 650mm, many were 655mm and longer; other than that I trie…

How to Make a Traditional Froe Mallet

What holds the Holy of the Holies, what did Brahma become? Wood. Why will aspen always tremble? For the nails driven into the cross. What makes the color of wood? The soil it tastes. Cradle, fiddle, coffin, bed: wood is a column of earth made ambitious by light, and made of beauty by the rain.

Kim R. Stafford, Having Everything Right, 1986.

Rive, verb, to split
Shake, noun, a split in a piece wood. (Heart shake, ring shake)
Shake, verb, (Middle English), to split.

I know I should have been in the studio working on my back log of guitars, but the day was so nice and warm with a tall blue canopy, I couldn't stay inside. I decided that I needed to make a proper froe mallet. This style of mallet is traditional to northeastern California, primarily Tehama (where I'm from), Butte, Shasta and Plumas counties where making shingles by hand from sugar pines was an industry. I don't know if it was used in any other region along the Pacific Rim, other parts of the United States or even o…