Sunday, April 27, 2008

Wow, has it really been over a month....

It is hard to believe that it has been over a month since my last update. As I have mentioned in previous posts things have been quite busy around here and something needed to give. Unfortunately that has been guitar work as well as practicing. I feel quite guilty whenever I look at my guitars and my shop knowing that all of my wood is sitting there collecting dust, and all of my hard work practicing is slowly going down the tubes. Fortunately, it looks like things are beginning to get under control and I might just get to spend more time building and practicing before long. Spring has sprung around here and the shop isn't cold anymore so I can now get up there and work during any free time I get without having to get temp's up to a comfortable working level. I have also been able to run the de-humidifier for the last two weeks which was able to get the RH back down to a workable level. When I got up there yesterday the RH was 44% which is almost perfect. Today it was a bit lower because I forgot to turn the air conditioner off last night and it ran all night sucking water out of the air. It was 39% this morning but that is okay. I would rather it be a bit too dry than too humid.

I was checking some other blogs and noticed that my buddy Ted has come off of his building vacation and is starting a new guitar by creating a lot of dust building radius dishes. Ted, I know all about that dust mate. I was covered from head to toe in dust when I made mine! Anyways I figured that seeing Ted get started again was the kick in the pants I needed to get going on mine.

So, where to start. That is exactly what I was thinking when I went up there yesterday to pick up where I had left off. I had rough cut the top braces several weeks ago so I figured that was as good a place to begin as any. I am doing a couple of things different on this one as an experiment. First, I am using a modified 'A' brace under the fingerboard extension instead of the popsicle brace that is typical, or the A braces I used on the Twins. I spread the 'splay' of the braces a bit so they don't hit the truss rod access hole and I put two diagonal braces across from the A brace to the transverse brace to provide more support to the extension. I am a bit concerned that the redwood top could possibly split along the edge of the extension so I wanted to provide just a bit more support there. Since the stiffness of the top above the soundhole doesn't affect the sound much I figure these two pieces of wood shouldn't make much of a difference in tone. The other thing I am doing different is that I am trying to keep the top above the soundhole flat instead of radiused. On all of my other builds I have radiused the entire top via the braces. It makes for a nice looking top, but it also introduces a bit of complications to the neck set particularly the fingerboard extension. I am attempting to keep the radius of the top to below the soundhole so the extension will sit more flat on the top. Martin does this and I figure that if they do it, there must be something to be learned from the technique.

I got all of the braces ready and glued the upper braces using my go bar deck and kept the top flat. Once those were dry, I put the top on my radius dish and glued the X braces on. Once those are dry I will glue the finger braces and tone bar.

I have had some good reviews on the Twin guitars. My daughters have played them a lot and shown them to friends and other players. All of them have raved about how good they sound and a couple have inquired about me building guitars for them and what the cost would be. One player asked my daughter how much I would charge to build and she guessed a price quite a bit higher than I was thinking and the response was "It is worth every penny". I have two people who are very interested even after hearing what I would charge for one like the twins. Who knows, I may get my first commissioned build this year!

Here is the 'new and improved' A brace design. Note that I put the intersecting point of the A just outside the neck block. On the Twins I put that point just inside the block. This was a little problem as it interfered with the truss rod adjustment hole. I added the two angled piece to give a little more support for the fingerboard extension.

Just another angle of the braces. All of the pieces are notches into the transverse brace and the angled pieces are also notched into the A braces.

All of the braces sitting on the top. Remember this is a parlor sized guitar so I am going with a single tone bar.

I cut out the sound hole with my dremel and circle cutter.

Here the top braces are glued and clamped in place on a flat surface.

The X brace was glued on the radius dish.

I also cut and radiused the back braces. I am use a typical ladder brace pattern on the back.

Hopefully my activities in the shop will increase as will my blog updates.