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Assemble the guitar


It's really been a quite a while since I last posted.
I have been busy with my day job.
There has been a major reorg in my company and I am tasked a lot more things to do.
So end up I didn't have much time for building guitars.
Nonetheless I managed to do a couple of repairs and some guitar building.

Here I prepared for the assembly by cutting the rebate on the guitar heel block.
The easiest way is probably to use a router, but for me I use hand tools mainly and for this job I use the router plane and block plane.
I measure the thickness of the top at that point and cut the rebate.
Usually I cut a little deeper, and patch up the upper bout with a piece of horizontal grain spruce to protect it against cracks cause by the fingerboard.
This portion is very prone to cracks due to the expansion of the ebony fingerboard.
With dual protection from the extended heel block and spruce patch, this part is secured.
Of course it has the additional advantage of lending weight to the top notes

Cutting the rebate

Check with the top

Preparing the spruce patch

After preparing the patch, I finally glue the patch to the the top.

Gluing the patch to the top.

I aligned the top to the neck.
Then I drill some pilot hole thru' the top and the neck.
Then I shave some 3mm dowels for alignment.
Finally I glued the top to the neck, ensuring the centre line is aligned.

Aligning the top to the neck and drill the pilot holes for a 3mm dowel.

Glue the top to the neck.

Glued, and start of assembly

After the glue dried substantially, I release the clamp and put the entire assembly into the solera.
This is the start of the assembly.
I has to aligned the top and neck carefully in the solera to ensure the fitting is good.
Next I glued in the end block.
The end block has be pre-shaped to fit the end part of the guitar previously.

Put the top neck and sides into the solera

Gluing the end block.

Next I started to glue in the peones or the lining block.
I was thinking to use ABW for the lining blocks but thought against it.
I was pondering to make this guitar a ultralight guitar of one with a heavy sides.
Meanwhile I can use my normal peones first and decide later.

Clamp the sides to the side mould and clamp it down to the top.

Start gluing the peones

The entire rim done (in 2 sessions)

After the glued dried. Now for the wedges and side struts.

I shape the wedges for fitting neck with the sides in place.
As the wedge is not thick enough, I added a piece of maple to the sides in the same grain direction as the sides.
After that I glued in the wedges.

Next I began to shape the rim of the sides.
I use my radius stick as reference and use the block plane (normal block since my LA block is out of action...) to shape the rim accordingly.

Finally I began to glue the back lining.
I leave a little protruding to allow for the sanding / planing of the lining to the radius.

Checking the wedge fitting.

Wedges glued.

Shaping the rim according to the radius stick.

Gluing the back linings

Preparing the side braces

Doing the side support struts for the LTB and UTB.
The support struts is a bit complicated due to the slanted angles by the curving sides in the LTB.


I finally finished shaping the 2 back brace after taking some time to decide how to go about doing it.
I did a joint on the 1st back brace and foot.
The foot will extend 1/2 into the width of the brace thus supporting one another.
The problem arose because the foot wasn't thick enough to accommodate the brace entirely and I don't wish to shave off too much of the back brace.
Thus by doing this way I can retain the strength and still support one another.

Two back brace done.

The 1st back brace forms a joint with the foot.

Next I began to work on the side braces.
I have to notch the lining in order to fit the side braces.
This is to prevent stress risers on the sides if they are butted against the lining.
After which I began to glue the side braces, starting with the side braces supporting the traverse braces.

Notching the side brace inlet in the lining and test fitting.

Gluing the side braces

Gluing the side braces at the lower bout

Finally I managed to glued all the side braces for the lower bout.
I weigh the braces it ends up about 450g.
Think I wont be adding more braces.

Clamping the other side

Gluing the end block area side braces

Lower bout's side struts all done.

I patched up the lining to close the gaps between the back braces and the back lining.
After which I began to glue the decoration piece for the LTB and UTB side supports.
It's has the same grain direction as the sides and hence it doesn't offer any much support; it's really for decoration.
Also I glue in the 1st back brace to the heel and rims.
Before that I weigh the back brace to see it's weight.

Gluing up the lining to close the gap between the braces

Weighing the back brace 20g

Gluing the 1st back brace to the heel and rims

Without the LTB.

Internal view

Another view


Repairing my block plane

I had dropped my low angle block plane on the ground and the cap screw which holds the cap level broke.
Now I need to try find the spare part or it will become a white elephant.

The broken cap lever screw after I dropped the block plane.

I didnt manage to find any spare part for it.
So I turned to use normal threaded bolts instead.
As it's an imperial threaded screw I had to guess the nearest size.
I measure the width of the thread and it's about less than 5mm.
The nearest imperial thread unit I can find is 3/16"and so I ordered some from eBay.
When the item arrived I cut to length and tried.
Voila it works great!
Now I am back in business.

I replaced it with a normal bolt and it worked perfectly.


Bracing the guitar

I am preparing the bracing for this guitar.
Finally I have decided to use Falcate bracing (by Trevor Gore) for this guitar.
However, I did a variation of the bracing.
His falcate is without the centre brace (6 braces) whereas I prefer to reinforce the centre seam and with a 7 brace variation.
But essentially the idea is the same; the bracing will allow more monopole movement.

To prepare the bracing I had to cut up the spruce, plane to thickness and bent them and finally glue them together.
For the main brace, I use 2 parts and for the most bent brace, I use 3 parts.
Bending spruce is rather easy.

The only problem now I have is whether to use carbon fibre tow or not.
Trevor's design calls for the use of CF, but I rather not use it if possible.
I prefer hide glue especially for bracing but for this case if CF is used, epoxy or CA glue will be used instead.

Gluing up the main brace.

Drawing the layout of the brace

Main brace done

I then bend and glue up the 2nd bent brace.
This one required 3 layers instead but the process is essentially the same as the 1st

Preparing to bend the brace

Braces bent

Glued together and clamped

After it dried I then cut into 2 pieces for the left and right side.

Falcate bracing.