Cabinet maker to Luthier

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
Miguel
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Location: National Capital Region

Cabinet maker to Luthier

Post by Miguel » Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:41 pm

Good day all

Hope I'm posting this at the right place :x

I'm new to this forum and I'm hoping that I will be able to rely on some of your experiences in building my first classical guitar. :D
First off I'm no stranger to woodworking as was previously in the cabinet and furniture building. Now considering my diminish physical capacity, and still having a passion for woodworking, I decided to explore a different avenue and start building guitar.

Now I've been reading a lot on the subject and can only admire the skill set and quality of work of luthiers. At present, I'm all about instructing myself and doing long term planing. As of now I have managed to purchase some material, such as planks of mahogany and small equipment. I'm hoping that in the next month I'll be buying a band saw and maybe some common hand tools.

Therefore what I need to know is the general cuts of woods and wood type commonly used for the neck, cross braces and body. I know that for the soundboard I'll be using quarter saw western red cedar but for the rest, such as the neck and fret board, does it really matters if the pieces of wood are not quarter saw?

Bit by bit I hope to have all material that I need to start tackling this new passion of mine. As of now I was able to put my hand on two big pieces of African Mahogany. One being 22 in. wide X 1.25 thick X 6.5 feet long. The other is 2.5 in. thick X 12 wide and 8 foot long.

Thank you all

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Erik Zurcher
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Re: Cabinet maker to Luthier

Post by Erik Zurcher » Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:44 pm

Hello Miguel and welcome to Delcamp forum! Enjoy yourself and see you around!

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Reedition Domingo Esteso by Conde Hermanos 2004; Kenny Hill, model Barcelona 2001
"While you try to master classical guitar, prepare for a slave's life: the guitar will forever be your master and you its slave".

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Justfun
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Re: Cabinet maker to Luthier

Post by Justfun » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:41 pm

John Price
Was a Cabinet Maker
Richard Reynoso, Cypress \ Spruce 2016
Ramirez 4NE, IRW \ Cedar 2011
Yamaha CG192S

RichardUno
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Re: Cabinet maker to Luthier

Post by RichardUno » Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:38 am

Many Spanish luthiers started out as cabinet makers. The most famous ones I've found so far are Francisco Simplicio and Manuel Contreras.

printer2
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Re: Cabinet maker to Luthier

Post by printer2 » Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:46 pm

Therefore what I need to know is the general cuts of woods and wood type commonly used for the neck, cross braces and body. I know that for the soundboard I'll be using quarter saw western red cedar but for the rest, such as the neck and fret board, does it really matters if the pieces of wood are not quarter saw?
You want to use quartered woods for the top back and sides as the wood swells and shrinks with changes in humidity to limit cracking. The neck wood needs to be straight grained wood, mahogany and Spanish cedar are two traditional woods. Due to less good wood being available many others are being looked at. Check out luthier supply houses to see the types of wood being sold for an idea of what is common. Braces are mainly spruce.
Fred

Sequoia
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Re: Cabinet maker to Luthier

Post by Sequoia » Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:39 pm

For neck woods, you can keep your cost down by using wood such as Q-Sawn black walnut, cherry, sapele, African mahogany, and other available species that are high in quality without the high price, as long as it is a stable specie of wood and cut. Some say they are heavy, but most don't notice it until you tell them. Being a woodworker, you already have a head-start. Use rosewood fret board instead of ebony for heavier and high damping property to balance out the weight of the neck.

simonm
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Re: Cabinet maker to Luthier

Post by simonm » Thu Nov 08, 2018 7:52 pm

Sequoia wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:39 pm
.... Use rosewood fret board instead of ebony for heavier and high damping property to balance out the weight of the neck.
All rosewood I have seen is lighter (lower density) than any ebony I have seen.

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CG-phile
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Re: Cabinet maker to Luthier

Post by CG-phile » Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:32 am

Good luck! As RichardUno mentioned, you're in good company!
"Classical guitar... my escape from everyday technocentrism!"

Miguel
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Location: National Capital Region

Re: Cabinet maker to Luthier

Post by Miguel » Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:09 pm

Thank you all.

As I already have mahogany I think I will use this wood for the neck. For the rest of the material, I will keep on doing some searching. Would anyone know of good wood supplier in the National Capital Region (Canada)?

Also, I got myself a heat blanket for bending the sides of the guitar but was wondering what type of steel is being used as bending plates and where I buy some?

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geoff-bristol
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Re: Cabinet maker to Luthier

Post by geoff-bristol » Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:11 am

Remember - no legs, no drawers :D

I did have a friend way back who had a guitar with a door in the back. He cut it out himself as he used it for busking around Portugal in the summer months - and decided it would double up as a suitcase !
He was an extremely good player - and the guitar was cheap. His good ones he left at home.

You will enjoy making a guitar - they have more soul than a cupboard !

baxialby
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Location: Italy

Re: Cabinet maker to Luthier

Post by baxialby » Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:54 pm

Dear Miguel

I think you are in a very lucky position to start , because profession of cabinet maker already gave you the opportunity to become skilled with tools and woods.

But you need to choose the right Literature and books to read...

I can give you some suggestions, some technical documents that shows how to build a true classical guitar:

1. Making Masters Guitar by Roy Courtnall (only in English) - can be found used
2. Note di Tecnologia costruttiva su la chitarra by Ugo Baldini (only in italian, 1957) - very rare, difficult to find
3. Una innovazione nella costruzione della chitarra classica by Ugo Baldini (only in italian, 1957) - extremely rare, hard to find

mlau
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Re: Cabinet maker to Luthier

Post by mlau » Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:40 pm

Dear Miguel,

Lee Valley now supplies luthier wood.
There's also Luthiers Mercantile (California), Allied Lutherie (California), StewMac (Ohio), Alaskan Tonewoods; Old World Tonewoods (my personal fave for Euro spruce tops).

Personally, I recommend spending the money for an A or AA-grade top from Old World Tonewood.
The back and sides you can resaw, same for the neck blank, bridge blank, etc.

Welcome to the addiction!

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tateharmann
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Re: Cabinet maker to Luthier

Post by tateharmann » Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:41 am

Another carpenter turned builder was Guillermo del Pilar - he built some exquisite guitars.
"One should always eat muffins quite calmly. It is the only way to eat them."

ernandez R
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Re: Cabinet maker to Luthier

Post by ernandez R » Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:12 pm

I found This website really informative and worth a few re-reads.
https://www.designofaclassicalguitar.com/home

Also,wondering what others think of Eriks ideas about classical guitar construction.

HR
I hate sanding wood or anything else for that matter I just happen to be good at it...

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