Martin D-28 in progress

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Project by Texasgaloot posted 04-22-2008 05:29 AM 2585 views 2 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well, not exactly a Martin, but…
I decided that it was about time to try my hand at making an acoustic steel-string guitar, and being a bluegrasser from way back, I immediately thought, “Martin.” I called the factory and found out they offered “kits,” which are really packages of wood, binding, and fretwire, not to much more that you can get out of a luthier’s supply catalog, so I ordered one. Except, my “kit” isn’t one of their “kits.” It contains certain upgrades, such as the abalone inlay purfling and rosettes. As one might expect, the body literally flew together, and then come the details… each length of abalone needs to be mitered by hand (file and sandpaper) to the next length. Making the tight corners is the real chore, where a single length needs to be mitered several times to make the radius. Right now I’m working up the nerve to do some peghead inlay work, but I’m not really sure what it is I want up there.
I did get Martin to pre-bend the sides for me, but in retrospect I wish I would have bit the bullet and come up with some sort of bending iron to do the job. It would have saved me money. Incidentally, the top is Sitka Spuce, the back, sides, and peghead veneer are Indian Rosewood, and the neck mahogany. All hand tools except for the binding and rosette routing, which was done with a Dremel. Any suggestions for the peghead inlay?

-- There's no tool like an old tool...

17 comments so far

View TomK 's profile


504 posts in 4417 days

#1 posted 04-22-2008 05:48 AM

The fretboard inlay looks great! Just go for it. This is something I want to tackle soon. An acoustic for myself and a Les Paul clone for my daughter.

-- If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until it's free! PJ O'Rourke

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 4358 days

#2 posted 04-22-2008 06:11 AM

That’s sweet! Is the fretboard ebony? I’ve been contemplating shell inlay on a greene piece. Been doing some research.

-- Scott - Chico California

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4417 days

#3 posted 04-22-2008 10:27 AM

Looking good so far.

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 4342 days

#4 posted 04-22-2008 11:38 AM

how cool. looks good

-- making sawdust....

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4365 days

#5 posted 04-22-2008 12:07 PM

This looks pretty good. My musical abilities are in tune with my artistic ones- both being non-existent but I do appreciate the woodworking efforts.

This is a beautiful piece. Thanks for sharing.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 4482 days

#6 posted 04-22-2008 12:18 PM

Nice work. I admire the detail that goes into a project like this. Very impressive.

-- Working at Woodworking

View Alex Lane's profile

Alex Lane

552 posts in 4433 days

#7 posted 04-22-2008 01:38 PM

Nice job!! I’m not bold enough to try acoustic instruments yet…
One day I’ll tackle an acoustic double bass, but I’m sticking to solid body instruments for now.
As for the headstock maybe try using the Dremel to inlay your initials or something like that. That’s a classy way to make someone wonder “wow, who made THAT ??”

-- Alex...builder of wooden wings for vintage sport biplanes...I'm your wingman :)

View Duckarrowtypes's profile


68 posts in 4447 days

#8 posted 04-22-2008 02:46 PM

Awesome! I JUST bought Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology by Cumpiano/Natelson and I’m really enjoying it so far. I told myself that I’d read that book and then decide if I wanted to drop the coin on a kit from Luthier’s Mercantile or not.

I’ve only been playing guitar for a few months now and I enjoy it very much. As soon as I discovered that it was possible to make my guitar sing I decided that I wanted to build one. I doubt that I’ll be able to build a prettier one than mine though; it’s solid quilted mahogany! DROOOOOL.

Your D-28 is looking great! Keep us updated!

View CharlieM1958's profile


16284 posts in 4761 days

#9 posted 04-22-2008 03:53 PM

Looks great so far! This is definitely on my “one day” list.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 4423 days

#10 posted 04-22-2008 04:31 PM

a fine looking flat top . ive looked thru martins kits on several occasions but never had the courage to take it on . you did a great job

View Hersh's profile


106 posts in 4258 days

#11 posted 04-22-2008 05:05 PM

Wow! Great job on this D. I have a D size under construction as well. But right now I’m very heavily buried in building a new shop, so will not be working on the next guitar for awhile. Keep up the great work and let us know how it’s going.

-- Hersh from Port Angeles, WA - Gotta Complete That Project!

View bilsborough's profile


44 posts in 4238 days

#12 posted 04-27-2008 02:52 PM

Awesome guitar, inspiring, I need to take on inlay work.

-- What do you learn from being right?

View tat2grl's profile


61 posts in 4344 days

#13 posted 04-29-2008 04:32 PM

Fantastic job on the inlays! I’m in the processing of getting the book by Cumpiano/Natelson and am really looking forward to learning all about this art.

-- "Creativity is...seeing something that doesn't exist already. You need to find out how you can bring it into being and that way be a playmate with God."

View Chardt's profile


169 posts in 4144 days

#14 posted 07-26-2008 01:11 AM

Looks terrific. Once I get my shop finished, I’ll finally get to finish the guitars I’m working on.

I really need to learn inlay work as well.

-- When my wife ask's what I have to show for my wood working hobby, I just show her the splinters.

View Bothus's profile


442 posts in 3719 days

#15 posted 10-07-2009 01:17 AM

Wow. That looks great so far. I didn’t know Martin sold kits.

I have toyed with the idea of making a guitar but it looks like to takes talent and time. I’m low on both.

I can’t wait to see yours when you get done. Keep us updated.

Thanks for posting that.


-- Jerry Boshear, Professional Kitchen Designer, amature woodworker.

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