Making a guitar with Roy Courtnall

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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Beowulf
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Re: Making a guitar with Roy Courtnall

Post by Beowulf » Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:19 pm

With respect to the effect of added mass (magnets/armrest) on the sound/body resonances, this paper by Trevor Gore may be of interest: www.goreguitars.com.au/attachments/POMA_paper.pdf.
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SteveL123
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Re: Making a guitar with Roy Courtnall

Post by SteveL123 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:54 pm

Joss, thanks for the info and link. If you had to start over again, would you make the armrest permanent or magnetic?

The first time I tried using magnets was to attach a guitar rest made out of glue stacked cardboard to my Takemine C132S (picture a Dynarette made out of cardboard). I glued the magnets set into the guitar rest first, then I positioned the guitar rest onto the guitar with bungee cord, then put Franklin liquid hide glue (ready to use) on the inside magnets, one by one, reached into the sound hole and they position themselves into perfect alignment. After the glue has set, I learned the magnets I used were not strong enough and I did not use enough of them so the guitar rest would fall off sometimes.

Now it comes the challenge of removing the inside magnets. I tried to reach in and pry them off with my fingers... they would not come off. I tried with a small screw driver... that didn't work either. Next I tried a wet sponge placed over the magnet attempting to soften the hide glue.... that didn't work either. Then I had a ha ha moment to try heat. I took a 3/8" lag bolt and filed the head flat (for better thermal contact), wrapped a one foot length of 12 gauge solid copper house wiring around the lag bolt threads. Heated the bolt on the gas stove, reached in and the bolt self guides itself to the magnet and stuck together to transfer heat and within a few seconds the magnet came loose and I lifted the assembly out the sound hole. It was so easy compared to previous failed attempts, I had a chuckle on my face. :mrgreen:

I knew about the 3M Command strips but didn't have any on hand at the time. Liquid hide glue is easier to position those inside magnets than Command strips IMO. I still have to redo the guitar rest using bigger magnets. I may make a magnetic armrest at some point and will most likely use liquid hide glue again now that I have an easy way to remove them.

Jose Marques
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Re: Making a guitar with Roy Courtnall

Post by Jose Marques » Mon Nov 27, 2017 6:51 pm

You are using this kind of carbon fibre, where do you get this? i I bought some carbon fiber tow but is very thin, is a 6k tow




josswinn wrote:
Sat Nov 04, 2017 8:19 pm
Day 13: (Courtnall book pp.214-7; 237-9) Over the last couple of weeks at home, I finished gluing all the struts of the lattice to the soundboard.

ImageLattice ready for carbon fibre top by Joss Winn, on Flickr

ImageLattice illuminated through the soundboard by Joss Winn, on Flickr

Today, with Roy, I reinforced the spruce struts with carbon fibre, glued kerfed linings to the ribs and made a caul for when clamping the bridge to the soundboard.

First, I prepared the lattice for the carbon fibre. I ensured each strut was cut to the finished length (in hindsight, I should have done this more accurately when actually making the lattice!), and then I scalloped the ends of each strut before rubbing a sanding bar across the whole lattice to ensure that the struts were sufficiently flat to take the carbon fibre strips.

I began by cutting the 1mmx3mm pultruded carbon fibre strips to the correct length for each strut. Then, I masked off two or three struts, mixed a little Araldite Rapid (epoxy adhesive), smeared it on the struts and pushed the strips down, repeatedly checking that they didn't lift away from the spruce:

ImageGluing the carbon fibre with epoxy by Joss Winn, on Flickr

The whole process went well, masking and gluing three struts at a time because I was using a fast setting glue (5 mins). I changed gloves regularly so as not to get epoxy everywhere. Here's the finished lattice:

ImageThe finished lattice with carbon fibre by Joss Winn, on Flickr

Throughout this, I was talking to Roy about the different approaches Luthiers take to making the lattice: balsa or spruce struts; carbon fibre tow or pultruded strips; a carbon fibre/wood sandwich or just a carbon fibre on top, etc. etc. Roy thinks that this design of lattice using spruce and carbon fibre in only one direction, with a 1 to 1.3mm spruce soundboard, produces the "optimum sound" that he and guitarist, Rob Johns, are looking for. To demonstrate this, he played two of his recent guitars at lunch time. They have good strong bass, mid range and treble. As with all guitars, the quest for that little bit extra from the trebles is always ongoing.

Next, I glued the kerfed linings to the soundboard side of each rib, taking care to ensure they were level with the edge of the ribs. Lots of clamps as usual:

ImageClamping the kerfed lining by Joss Winn, on Flickr

Next, I cut and glued the harmonic bars (the end-block in this image is not glued in place):

ImageClamping the harmonic bars by Joss Winn, on Flickr

I will shape the bars next week. Finally, I made a caul for when gluing the bridge to the soundboard. The lattice pattern and the dome of the soundboard meant that this was probably the most difficult thing to undertake this week. I had to shape the piece of wood to the dome of the soundboard and then cut it to fit the lattice. Thankfully, I shouldn't have to make another until I use a different type of strutting design.

ImageMaking a caul for clamping the bridge by Joss Winn, on Flickr

I bought the soundboard home on the solera to cut it more accurate to size with a scalpel and will begin to piece everything together next weekend (the neck is not yet glued to the soundboard in this photo but clamped to the solera for convenient storage and transport home in my car).

ImageSoundboard and neck by Joss Winn, on Flickr

When I'm not in the workshop, I'm trying to learn about the physics of guitar construction. Working at a university, I have access to all of the peer-reviewed scientific literature, although the most useful sources so far have been:

Bader, Rolf (2006) Computational Mechanics of the Classical Guitar
Friederich, Daniel (2013) The classical guitar soundboards and their bracing.
Inta, Ra (2007) The Acoustics of the Steel String Guitar.
Rossing, Thomas (ed.) (2010) The Science of String Instruments (Ch.3 with Graham Caldersmith - also published in Fletcher and Rossing's 'The Physics of Musical Instruments').

I've not yet read Janssen's work, but see that it is summarised in Rossing and Caldersmith's chapter above.
I'm a Luthier living in Bury st Edmunds UK

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josswinn
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Re: Making a guitar with Roy Courtnall

Post by josswinn » Mon Nov 27, 2017 7:24 pm

I don't think we're supposed to link directly to commercial sites, but if you search for 'Carbon Fibre Strip 1mm x 3mm - 1m Length' you'll find them for about £3 each.
Joss Winn

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Re: Making a guitar with Roy Courtnall

Post by josswinn » Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:15 pm

SteveL123 wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:54 pm
Joss, thanks for the info and link. If you had to start over again, would you make the armrest permanent or magnetic?

The first time I tried using magnets was to attach a guitar rest made out of glue stacked cardboard to my Takemine C132S (picture a Dynarette made out of cardboard). I glued the magnets set into the guitar rest first, then I positioned the guitar rest onto the guitar with bungee cord, then put Franklin liquid hide glue (ready to use) on the inside magnets, one by one, reached into the sound hole and they position themselves into perfect alignment. After the glue has set, I learned the magnets I used were not strong enough and I did not use enough of them so the guitar rest would fall off sometimes.

Now it comes the challenge of removing the inside magnets. I tried to reach in and pry them off with my fingers... they would not come off. I tried with a small screw driver... that didn't work either. Next I tried a wet sponge placed over the magnet attempting to soften the hide glue.... that didn't work either. Then I had a ha ha moment to try heat. I took a 3/8" lag bolt and filed the head flat (for better thermal contact), wrapped a one foot length of 12 gauge solid copper house wiring around the lag bolt threads. Heated the bolt on the gas stove, reached in and the bolt self guides itself to the magnet and stuck together to transfer heat and within a few seconds the magnet came loose and I lifted the assembly out the sound hole. It was so easy compared to previous failed attempts, I had a chuckle on my face. :mrgreen:

I knew about the 3M Command strips but didn't have any on hand at the time. Liquid hide glue is easier to position those inside magnets than Command strips IMO. I still have to redo the guitar rest using bigger magnets. I may make a magnetic armrest at some point and will most likely use liquid hide glue again now that I have an easy way to remove them.
That sounds fun, Steve. A nice little trick, too. Getting the right strength and number of magnets is something I'm still thinking about. What size magnets did you use? How many? I've yet to glue any of the magnets into the lining and am thinking that 8 pairs is too many. With the armrest and all 16 magnets paired up, it's a struggle to take off. Roy felt that four pairs of 12x3mm magnets was adequate but more would be better. If we assume a 3mm gap between the magnets, this site says that the pull force of four pairs of 12x3mm magnets is 3.88lbs, whereas the pull force for my eight pairs of 15x3mm would be 11.44lbs. This guy is pairing five 10x3mm magnets on his armrest (3.4lbs) and thinks it's maybe too much. James Lister used three pairs of 10x6mm magnets giving a pull force of 4.44lbs. I'm inclined to halve the number of magnets I use. I've asked the player of James' guitar to let us know what he thinks.

As for your first question, I think I'll need to finish the current magnetic armrest before I decide whether I would do it all again :-) On my first guitar, I'm pleased to be making a magnetic arm rest as an exercise in design and problem-solving. I don't have much experience of them as a player, only the 'Abel Armrest', which you'll find if you search for it. Large, plastic and removable. Pretty comfortable and functional but not as elegant as a bespoke wooden one.
Joss Winn

Jose Marques
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Re: Making a guitar with Roy Courtnall

Post by Jose Marques » Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:21 pm

josswinn wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 7:24 pm
I don't think we're supposed to link directly to commercial sites, but if you search for 'Carbon Fibre Strip 1mm x 3mm - 1m Length' you'll find them for about £3 each.
thank you :)
I'm a Luthier living in Bury st Edmunds UK

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josswinn
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Re: Making a guitar with Roy Courtnall

Post by josswinn » Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:46 pm

Beowulf wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:19 pm
With respect to the effect of added mass (magnets/armrest) on the sound/body resonances, this paper by Trevor Gore may be of interest: www.goreguitars.com.au/attachments/POMA_paper.pdf.
Thanks. Yes, it's a really interesting paper. Trevor made me aware of it recently on another thread. It seems that more mass on the ribs audibly 'enhances' the lower mid-range.
Joss Winn

SteveL123
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Re: Making a guitar with Roy Courtnall

Post by SteveL123 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:56 pm

josswinn wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:15 pm
SteveL123 wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:54 pm
Joss, thanks for the info and link. If you had to start over again, would you make the armrest permanent or magnetic?

The first time I tried using magnets was to attach a guitar rest made out of glue stacked cardboard to my Takemine C132S (picture a Dynarette made out of cardboard). I glued the magnets set into the guitar rest first, then I positioned the guitar rest onto the guitar with bungee cord, then put Franklin liquid hide glue (ready to use) on the inside magnets, one by one, reached into the sound hole and they position themselves into perfect alignment. After the glue has set, I learned the magnets I used were not strong enough and I did not use enough of them so the guitar rest would fall off sometimes.

Now it comes the challenge of removing the inside magnets. I tried to reach in and pry them off with my fingers... they would not come off. I tried with a small screw driver... that didn't work either. Next I tried a wet sponge placed over the magnet attempting to soften the hide glue.... that didn't work either. Then I had a ha ha moment to try heat. I took a 3/8" lag bolt and filed the head flat (for better thermal contact), wrapped a one foot length of 12 gauge solid copper house wiring around the lag bolt threads. Heated the bolt on the gas stove, reached in and the bolt self guides itself to the magnet and stuck together to transfer heat and within a few seconds the magnet came loose and I lifted the assembly out the sound hole. It was so easy compared to previous failed attempts, I had a chuckle on my face. :mrgreen:

I knew about the 3M Command strips but didn't have any on hand at the time. Liquid hide glue is easier to position those inside magnets than Command strips IMO. I still have to redo the guitar rest using bigger magnets. I may make a magnetic armrest at some point and will most likely use liquid hide glue again now that I have an easy way to remove them.
That sounds fun, Steve. A nice little trick, too. Getting the right strength and number of magnets is something I'm still thinking about. What size magnets did you use? How many? I've yet to glue any of the magnets into the lining and am thinking that 8 pairs is too many. With the armrest and all 16 magnets paired up, it's a struggle to take off. Roy felt that four pairs of 12x3mm magnets was adequate but more would be better. If we assume a 3mm gap between the magnets, this site says that the pull force of four pairs of 12x3mm magnets is 3.88lbs, whereas the pull force for my eight pairs of 15x3mm would be 11.44lbs. This guy is pairing five 10x3mm magnets on his armrest (3.4lbs) and thinks it's maybe too much. James Lister used three pairs of 10x6mm magnets giving a pull force of 4.44lbs. I'm inclined to halve the number of magnets I use. I've asked the player of James' guitar to let us know what he thinks.

As for your first question, I think I'll need to finish the current magnetic armrest before I decide whether I would do it all again :-) On my first guitar, I'm pleased to be making a magnetic arm rest as an exercise in design and problem-solving. I don't have much experience of them as a player, only the 'Abel Armrest', which you'll find if you search for it. Large, plastic and removable. Pretty comfortable and functional but not as elegant as a bespoke wooden one.
Joss,

The magnets I used were 10 mm x 2.75 donut. I don't know their strength as I bought like 30 of them for general use a long time ago and had them laying around. My guess is they are N35. I used only 3 pairs of magnets in a triangle layout, figuring it was enough but it was barely sufficient and would sometimes start to separate from the single magnet end if I lift up the guitar from my legs and it falls off. My guitar sides are about 2.9 mm thick (I built a Hacklinger gauge). You know that magnetic force obeys the inverse square law with distance? I think if I used 4 pairs of the 10 mm x 2.75 magnets, it would've stayed on. If I decide to install new magnets in the Takemine, I'd use bigger magnets and use 4 pairs.

My guitar rest weighs 124 grams and is fighting gravity, your armrest does not and its magnetic strength required for it to stay put is less.

You can simulate removal force by making a "test side" with veneer strips that match your guitar side thickness, bent to the shape of your arm rest. Glue on more and more magnets to the "test side" to customize removal force desired. I am going to guess you do not need 6 pairs of magnets. Maybe 3 or 4 pairs.

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Trevor Gore
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Re: Making a guitar with Roy Courtnall

Post by Trevor Gore » Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:36 pm

As a rough "rule of thumb" I like to have sufficient magnetic attraction between rest and guitar to be able to pick up the guitar by the rest without it detaching. Not that anyone should be routinely doing that, of course, but it seems to be sufficient to prevent accidental detachment whilst not having such a violent attraction that the magnets will tear the rest from your grip when attaching it. There are lots of permutations of magnet size, number and separation that allow that. That's for more-or-less conventionally built guitars, rather than the high mass Smallman method of construction.
Trevor Gore: Classical Guitar Design and Build

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josswinn
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Re: Making a guitar with Roy Courtnall

Post by josswinn » Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:01 pm

I was playing around with the arm rest earlier and was thinking that if I could comfortably pick the guitar up with the arm rest that would be sufficient. Three pairs of 15x3mm magnets would easily do it. Four feels really well fixed but both the 'violent attraction' and pulling it off worries me, so I think I will go with three pairs. According to the calculator, that would be about the strength that James Lister achieved with three 10x6mm pairs.
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Re: Making a guitar with Roy Courtnall

Post by josswinn » Sun Dec 10, 2017 8:58 pm

Days 18 & 19: (Courtnall book pp.255-267) Progress with the magnetic arm rest; gluing the back on; finishing the bridge; gluing and pinning the purfling.

It's been a great couple of days and the end of the build is now in sight. Yesterday, we started with the arm rest and despite what I said in my last post, I opted for four pairs of 15x3mm magnets in the end. After gluing on the Padauk to the Walnut and roughly cutting the Padauk to shape, I could put the arm rest in place and feel how effective the magnets would be. I still have to shape it and reduce the overhang of the Padauk but you get the idea:

ImageThe magnetic arm rest roughly shaped - more to do. by Joss Winn, on Flickr

I will glue three pieces of felt to the arm rest that sit on the soundboard above the lining.

ImageThe arm rest sits about 2mm off the soundboard. by Joss Winn, on Flickr

Next, I cleaned up the inside of the guitar and sealed the foot with a coat of shellac:

ImageCleaning up before gluing on the back. Sealing the foot with shellac. by Joss Winn, on Flickr

I also gave the inside of the back a coat of shellac to bring out the burr of the walnut veneer, which can be seen through the soundhole and soundport:

ImageTwo coats of shellac to bring out the grain of the inside back. by Joss Winn, on Flickr

I took care not to apply shellac where I will be gluing.

The back was then clamped on using the spool clamps I made from rolling pins, except the clamp for the foot:

ImageThe back is clamped on. by Joss Winn, on Flickr

While that was drying, I turned to the bridge. As I said previously, I've been making two bridges: one out of Madagascan Rosewood and another out of Padauk. I settled on using the Padauk for this guitar and so started to do the final shaping:

ImageThe Padauk bridge is shaped. by Joss Winn, on Flickr

After chiselling, filing, scraping and sanding (with different grades up to 1800 micromesh), I applied a coat of shellac. It weights 15g.

I finished the day trimming the back and soundboard flush with the ribs so that the purfling cutter could be taken around it effectively:

ImageThe back and soundboard and trimmed flush with the ribs. by Joss Winn, on Flickr

Today, I began by finely sanding the body of the guitar and coating the front, back and sides with shellac to protect it before starting to work on the purfling and binding:

ImageThe whole body is given a coat of shellac for protection (except the unglued bridge area) by Joss Winn, on Flickr

The bridge in the picture above is not glued onto the soundboard but just there to remind me not to apply shellac to the area where it will glued.

ImageWalnut before and after shellac. by Joss Winn, on Flickr

Amazing what one coat can do to the wood.

Next, Roy rigged up some clamps to hold the guitar while I worked on the end inlay. Simple and effective:

ImageSupporting the guitar while fitting the end inlay. by Joss Winn, on Flickr

I then carefully marked out and chiselled a slot for the inlay:

ImageChiselling out for the end inlay. by Joss Winn, on Flickr

Once that was glued in place, we turned to cutting out the rebate for the purfling and binding. I am using a single veneer of walnut for the purfling and then a 2x7mm binding of Padauk. Roy showed me how he always sets up the depth of the purfling cutter using a piece of wood to ensure that the depth he has set it to is actually accurate when the purfling and binding are glued into place. You can see in this image that the test rebate has been cut and the purfling and binding fits flush:

ImageSetting up the purfling cutter to the required thickness. by Joss Winn, on Flickr

So, cutting begins:

ImageMarking around the body for the purfling and binding. by Joss Winn, on Flickr

Actually, the purfling cutter only really marks out the line, which is then made deeper with a scalpel (note the end inlay glued and sanded!):

ImageCutting into the line for the purfling and binding. by Joss Winn, on Flickr

Once I'd cut the line with the scalpel, I then went around the body of the guitar with a chisel, using the scalpel cut as a guide for the edge of my chisel:

ImageChiselling out for the purfling and binding. by Joss Winn, on Flickr

I repeated this process a couple of times all the way around the body until I'd reached the required depth for the purfling to be glued in place. I cleaned up the rebate with a chisel to ensure that it was square:

ImageCleaning up the rebate for the purfling and binding. by Joss Winn, on Flickr

The last thing I did today was glue and pin the purfling:

ImageGluing and pinning the walnut purfling. by Joss Winn, on Flickr

Lots of little map pins pushing the purfling into the rebate. Painful on the fingers after pushing a few of them in:

ImageThe purfling is pinned. by Joss Winn, on Flickr

Next weekend will be the last workshop session before the new year, then we reckon on 4 or 5 days to get to the point of french polishing the finished guitar.
Last edited by josswinn on Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Joss Winn

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Re: Making a guitar with Roy Courtnall

Post by astro64 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:55 pm

I am not a luthier but I am surprised that with such tall lattice braces you still need to reinforce them with carbon fiber. I have a guitar with carbon fiber reinforced braces (radial brace design), the braces are much less tall and rather minuscule by comparison. Is the top extremely thin?

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Re: Making a guitar with Roy Courtnall

Post by josswinn » Sun Dec 10, 2017 10:28 pm

Yes, the top is currently less than 1.5mm thin and will be finished about 1.3mm at the lower bout. I guess this is thinner than your radial. The lattice struts are about 6mm high so maybe not as high as you are thinking. Maybe the spruce lattice would be strong enough without the carbon - I know some makers just use wood but I don't know the dimensions of their top and struts. I'm following Roy's design. More info here.
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Re: Making a guitar with Roy Courtnall

Post by josswinn » Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:25 pm

Day 20: (Courtnall book pp. 264-274) Purfling and Binding.

Today we continued to work on the purfling and binding. During the week, at home, I chiselled the rebate down to the 7mm height of the binding, resulting in a 2mmx7mm rebate. One thing I hadn't done by the time I arrived at Roy's today was make room for the binding to pass across the heel of the neck, so that's the first thing I did, first scribing a line with a scalpel and then using a 2mm chisel:

ImageCreating the rebate for the binding behind the heel by Joss Winn, on Flickr

Next, I made sure the rebate was clean and square and that the binding fitted correctly. After bending the padauk binding on the iron I rubbed the inside down to provide a key for the glue as the iron tends to leave a hard, polished finish:

ImageSanding the bent binding prior to applying glue by Joss Winn, on Flickr

I then glued and taped it into place, one side at a time:

ImageClamping the binding on with strong tape by Joss Winn, on Flickr

We used two types of tape. The blue tape is pretty strong, but the transparent mesh tape is very strong and allowed me to exert quite a bit of clamping pressure on the binding. I won't use it on the soundboard side because of the danger of tearing the wood when trying to remove it.

Once that was done, I then repeated the whole purfling and binding process on the soundboard side, taking extra care not to slip with the scalpel or chisel. All went well. The lattice-braced soundboard varies in thickness from upper to lower bout which meant that especially around the lower bout, I had to remove some of the laminated walnut rib in order to get the depth I needed for the purfling:

ImageChiselling the rebate for the purfling by Joss Winn, on Flickr

I finished the day much like last Sunday, by gluing and pinning in the purfling; the only difference is that I'm using three veneer strips (walnut/sycamore/walnut) for the purfling on the soundboard side, making it a bit trickier to install. First I cut the purfling strips from the veneers, then glued all three into a single strip, before gluing and pinning them to the body:

ImagePinning the soundboard side purfling by Joss Winn, on Flickr

At home over the Christmas holiday, I'll install the soundboard side binding, cap the heel, and sand the body of the guitar ready for eventual French polishing.

On a different note, one thing Roy reminded me of today was the significance of this photo, which was taken on Day 18:

ImageThe solera and a straight edge. No angle on the neck and a 2mm dome on the soundboard. by Joss Winn, on Flickr

What it shows is that the neck is completely flat against the straight edge (it also shows the dome of the soundboard). Prior to gluing the back on, we checked the neck angle of the solera, which had been made to be flat (i.e. zero degree angle). Had the solera bent or twisted in any way since it was made, we'd have to reshape it prior to gluing the back on. Fortunately, it hadn't moved and the back was glued on with no angle to the neck.
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Re: Making a guitar with Roy Courtnall

Post by Malto069 » Mon Dec 18, 2017 6:12 am

You weren't tempted to use the reverse side of the walnut back - interesting pattern - never to see the light of day?

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