It took longer than I had hoped, but I finally finished both of the guitar that I have been working on for the past few months. To recap, both guitars are cedar-topped, lattice-braced classical guitars. Guitar No. 024 is a full scale, 650mm instrument with Ziricote back and sides, and Guitar No. 026 is a shorter scale 630mm instrument with Ebony back and sides. They both ended up sounding really nice—strong basses with lots of volume. I don’t think that the 630mm guitar was any quieter that the 650mm—if anything, it seemed louder because I put a sound port in the side of that guitar.
Guitar No. 024
I think that the quilted maple worked well to contrast the dark ziricote, especially on the headstock. I have done this 3 piece headstock veneer on a few guitars now, and I think I might keep this design around for a bit.
Guitar No. 026
This one has quite a fiery look to it with the grain pattern on the ebony back, the red padauk accent wood, and the golden ombre in the rosette. I was really happy with how this rosette turned out, so I think I might do a variation on this rosette again sometime.
Misc Build Notes
The French polishing went fairly smoothly on these two guitars—I have gradually been developing some skill in this area. I still have some difficulty in tight corners, but have learned not to over-work these areas, so they are improving. I am also better at keeping the colour even across surfaces, although there are still imperfections.
In my last post about these guitars, I wrote about my glue choices for various parts of the guitar build. I used yet another glue to attach the bridge—hot hide glue this time. The bridge gluing went very smoothly as a result of this choice as well as a couple of other things. I bought new bridge clamps (these ones from Lee Valley) and made a new caul to keep the pressure even across the bridge.
I also made some changes to the set up of these guitars. When I was building the guitars I altered the mould slightly to angle the neck slightly forward, which allowed for a better break angle over the saddle. Then, when doing the final shaping of the fingerboard on the guitar, I thinned the bass side more than the treble side so that the saddle could be just about perfectly straight, which allows for an even break angle across all 6 strings. I think this might allow for a more even tone/volume.
Now that I have a clear workbench, I will be starting to build myself a guitar! I started this guitar a couple of months ago when I inlayed the rosette, but I have a lot more to do before it will be playable. I also hope to build a ukulele, a steel string guitar, and perhaps a Baroque guitar over the next year. I have wood for all of these projects, so I would like to make some progress with these instruments! Now that I have AC and a dehumidifier running, I should be able to build consistently through the summer. I’ve also reduced my teaching load, so building can take over a bit more of my schedule.
I also have to finish my ceiling project in the workshop in order to continue in my quest to reduce the dust issue in the workshop.
And, finally, I have more luthier interviews planned for the next year, so you should see another one on the blog soon!
Thanks for reading!