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Building A Cuttaway Acoustic Guitar #1: Part 1- Beginning Steps of Building an Acoustic Guitar

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Blog entry by DMiller posted 05-08-2018 04:17 AM 2268 reads 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Building A Cuttaway Acoustic Guitar series Part 2: Part 2: Gluing the Sides »

Over the course of my life I have been interested in building a stringed instrument- this last December I began collecting the supplies needed to accomplish what looked like and and still at times feels like a giant of a project. In December, I planned on trying to keep the costs within the budget of $200; since then I have found that is not a possible sum to stay within! (: I did happen to have most of the wood I needed for this project, which greatly cuts the cost down. Now to get to the actual building!

The few things that I first purchased were: 1. Pre-slotted Rosewood fretboard 2. Tuners 3. Saddle and bridge 4. Fretwire
I probably shouldn’t have purchased this stuff till I actually get around to needing it, but it is nice to have that added cost out of the way.

The first thing I attempted in building was to bend the sides, my first of which failed because the center was bent too high and did not leave enough room to finish bending. For bending, I am using a 2”x8” metal pipe and a ceramic cone heating element for bending the sides. http://lumberjocks.com/projects/364057

Before I go any further, I would like to say a big thank you to two individuals who have greatly helped me:

Mr. Ira Matheny, (aka rustfever on LJ’s) for his graciousness in helping me resaw the wood I had for the back and sides and then drum sand it to the final thickness: Mr. Matheny, thank you very much for your help!

Mr. Ervin Somogyi, a professional guitar maker in San Jose who has given me much advice and also very graciously donated a very nice Sitka Spruce guitar top for my project. I am also following much of the methods layed out in his book ”Making The Responsive Guitar.” Mr. Somogyi, thank you very much for your help! (http://www.esomogyi.com/)

Next, I glued up the mahogany neck but forgot to take proper length into consideration: hence, a new neck following Mr. Somogyi’s method. The one on the left is the messed up one.

This last Saturday I finally had some time to work on gluing the bookmatched halves together using Titebond hide glue. Mr. Matheny, thanks for helping me join the two pieces flush.

This evening I was able to attempt to successfully bend my second mahogany practice side- I placed an old tee-shirt around the bending iron so as to not burn the side. This time I soaked the side with water about an hour before I bent it- this greatly relaxed the fibers.
My “helper” in the background:



Thank you all for viewing and I will try to keep you all informed as I continue to build! Dale

-- Dale Miller Modesto, CA "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13. "Woodworking minus patience equals firewood."



5 comments so far

View Texcaster's profile

Texcaster

1286 posts in 2005 days


#1 posted 05-09-2018 01:41 AM

You can’t do better than having Ervin on board! Did you take his classes?

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View DMiller's profile

DMiller

490 posts in 804 days


#2 posted 05-09-2018 02:02 AM

I wish! This is the first guitar I have attempted to build; someday once I have built a few I would really like to take them. Have you ever took any? Thanks!

-- Dale Miller Modesto, CA "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13. "Woodworking minus patience equals firewood."

View Texcaster's profile

Texcaster

1286 posts in 2005 days


#3 posted 05-09-2018 12:33 PM

Good idea, if you build a guitar first you’ll have better questions. I refer to Robbie O’Brian’s Luthier Tips du Jour when I have a question. All the best.

https://www.youtube.com/user/OBrienGuitars

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View PPK's profile

PPK

1349 posts in 1141 days


#4 posted 05-09-2018 02:57 PM

Great work, Dale! I really enjoy steam bending wood. I’ve never tried the hot pipe method. Building instruments has always fascinated me, and I’m watching! Keep the posts coming.

-- Pete

View NormG's profile

NormG

6428 posts in 3335 days


#5 posted 05-11-2018 08:08 PM

Wonderful piece thank you for sharing

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

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