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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 12:38 am 
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Walnut
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Location: Eastern Oregon
First name: Zach
State: Oregon
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Status: Amateur
This is a restart of my build thread for the local woods challenge. It has taken a while to build forms and things so I've really only kicked off the actual building part over the past couple of weeks (mid-October).

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"What I cannot create, I do not understand." Richard P. Feynamn


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 12:39 am 
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Walnut
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Location: Eastern Oregon
First name: Zach
State: Oregon
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Molds, Dishes, Tools, Templates

It took me a while to make the radius dishes. I used a long compass to draw the curves on a template, then used the template to make rails that I ran my router along as I spun double-layered MDF around a center point. Worked okay. It was messy, but doing it outside helped reduce the nastiness.
[Image

After looking at the prices of deep-throat gauges wow7-eyes I decided to make this with a $25 gauge I bought on Amazon. I could have spent $15 but this one seemed a little more durable. Glued up some scrap plywood, sanded on a spindle sander and voila! Seems to work pretty well as I used it, some hand planes, and a scraper to thickness my back and sides. I'm not satisfied with my little wood spacer I used on the bottom of the jaws. I originally was going to use a round bolt head there, but it was too difficult to get it perfectly centered using my hand drill.
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I made a shooting board not pictured. The white mold pictured in a photo below is borrowed from my dad.

I initially decided to try to follow the free http://www.grellier.fr OM plans. This meant I'd have to build another mold, but after looking at my dad's, I decided to just roll with it. There is some variation in the waist (marked in red over the grellier plans), but the rest of it is very close. I think the mold is built off a template he got from his luthier buddy.
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If I get around to taking photos of my tools, I'll post them here.

UPDATE (4/15/2015):

The mold that I referred to before didn't work. It was too tall, and I didn't want to mod a mold that wasn't mine. So I made one. Looking back, it wasn't that difficult and was definitely worth it. Some things I included in this mold was shorter sides, more relevant outside angles for clamping, latches for opening the mold, and dowel for registers to make the mold seat accurately.

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It seems to work well. I kinda wish I had a taller one as well. :) Having access to the sides while kerfing was essential, but at one point I left a set of wet sides in them overnight to hopefully "lock-in" the shape, but the neck day the part of the sides not supported by the mold had warped a little. Not too significantly, but enough to be annoying.

I also made a go-bar deck using some plywood and threaded rod. I used a junk oak board that was warped for the clamping rods, and the natural curve in them seems to lend itself to easy bending. The oak is a little hard and leaves little imprints in the spruce, but that is easily sanded out.

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Update (4/21/2015)
Binding tools seem to be quite an industry, and I'm sure I'm about to find out why as I start the binding process. I looked at lmi's gramil and decided to try out an alternative before I went down that route. Here's a circle cutter for a drill press converted in to a purfling cutter. I just epoxied a drill bit in to a section of dowel for a less abrasive register. The great thing about this is that I can switch it back to normal by putting in the old bit, or add on a different register I want to cut rosettes by hand.

Image

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Zach Grammon

"What I cannot create, I do not understand." Richard P. Feynamn


Last edited by eigenwood on Thu Apr 30, 2015 11:56 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 12:48 am 
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Walnut
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Location: Eastern Oregon
First name: Zach
State: Oregon
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The Wood
My back and sides are from a downed black walnut tree from a nearby town.
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I've order most everything else off of LMI, including brace wood, a fingerboard, mahogany for a neck blank, purfling, kerfing, etc. I originally bought a cheaper top there as well but after thicknessing it, I proceeded to knock it off a bench and it snapped in two. The good news is my father traded some of his dimensioned black walnut back & sides for some "master grade" spruce tops. Whether or not they're master grade, I don't know. They seem leagues better than what I got from LMI. I'll post a photo of the top I use when I get to that point in the build.

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Zach Grammon

"What I cannot create, I do not understand." Richard P. Feynamn


Last edited by eigenwood on Mon Apr 20, 2015 1:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 12:57 am 
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Walnut
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Location: Eastern Oregon
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Bending & Assembling Sides/Back
I used a pipe and 500w charcoal lighter to bend the sides. It was my first attempt at bending and I ended up getting some pretty charred spots. At one point I thought I might have to throw in the towel and start some new sides, but I got the burn marks off the outsides and left some residual on the inside. It got down to about .07" in one spot near the waist (with the rest at ~.08"). From what I've seen around the forums, this seems non-ideal but acceptable. This being my first guitar, my instinct is to roll with it.
Image

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Zach Grammon

"What I cannot create, I do not understand." Richard P. Feynamn


Last edited by eigenwood on Mon Apr 20, 2015 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 12:09 pm 
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Looking good so far Zach.

You'll be fine with 0.070" at the waist but make sure you don't over sand after you get the binding in and prior to finishing. Mark in pencil on the side that is thinner "DON'T OVER SAND" or something like that. It will remind you :)

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2015 10:27 pm 
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Will you tell me the scale length of the Grellier plan please? I could assume 25.34 but we all know about assumption.

Thanks,

-j


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2015 11:37 pm 
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That all looks pretty cool to me. You wouldn't believe some of the jigs and fixtures I've cobbled up for one time use....that wind up getting used again and again. Regarding your thickness caliper: Just sand that hardwood "anvil" to a gentle, rounded curve on top. No big problem there.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 4:45 pm 
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eigenwood wrote:
This is a restart of my build thread for the local woods challenge. It has taken a while to build forms and things so I've really only kicked off the actual building part over the past couple of weeks (mid-October).

Hi eigenwood

Will be watching your project with interest. . I am also starting a grelier om from scratch. . My first scratch build so should be challenging (already is !!) Might take me a while to do though.. hope yours goes well and keep posting progress photos please

Cheers :)


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 7:22 pm 
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Walnut
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Location: Eastern Oregon
First name: Zach
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Hey all. For anyone interested, the scale length on the Grellier OM plans is marked 645mm, or 25.394".

So, it's been a long time since I last updated. Not long after I posted pictures of my bent sides, a block of wood fell off my overhead storage and on to a clamp, notching the side out about 3/4".

Image

I went and made another set set of sides and ended up with these:

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(For anyone following, I ended up not using this set of sides in this build.) The wood is pretty cool, and definitely appears to have some curl.

I made the kerfing using a ultra-thin kerf Freud table saw blade and a register block clamped to my Ryobi tablesaw's sliding mitre gauge thing. It worked okay, but the dept of cut was a little variable towards the end of the strips, which made it really tough to bend the kerfing consistently. Also, I think a blade that was ground for a flat cut would work better, as the blade I had left the sides of the cut deeper than the middle. This seemed to promote breaking as well.

Since I was still in side/kerfing mode, I came back to my earlier set and started rethinking things. I decided I'm going to try to pull off an arm bevel and make than notch a non-issue. For the second set of sides, I decided to try the laminated "solid kerfing" (<- oxymoron?). I just finished making the bevel support structure. Rather than using a single piece for the bevel support, I laminated a bunch of spruce strips on top of each other, then shaped them in to something arm bevel like. Note to all, I play lefty, so everything will look a little weird.

Image

The advantage to me of using laminated strips instead of a block was that I could just go over the top of my kerfing and still be solid. It looks a little odd, but seems pretty solid.

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Zach Grammon

"What I cannot create, I do not understand." Richard P. Feynamn


Last edited by eigenwood on Thu Apr 30, 2015 11:49 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 7:45 pm 
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Walnut
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I also started on the top. The color is a little...unique, but it seems pretty decent otherwise. I used herringbone+bloodwood strips for the rosette. I cut the bloodwood on my little Ryobi and had to use a handplane to get the cut somewhat consistent. It varied in width more than I liked and left some gaps to fill in the final rosette. It's most noticeable at bottom of the rosette.

Image

Next up is to brace the top. The Grellier plans are supposedly "forward-shifted" bracing. Earlier in the build I was making the end block and the general consensus from comments was that "we" had moved on from the large, bulky and now use more of the laminated, thin. Is there any general consensus about bracing patterns?

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Zach Grammon

"What I cannot create, I do not understand." Richard P. Feynamn


Last edited by eigenwood on Mon Apr 20, 2015 3:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 1:21 pm 
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Walnut
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Braced the top and closed the box. Now it's a guitar-like object.

Image

Image

The sound port was a last minute decision.

Image

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Zach Grammon

"What I cannot create, I do not understand." Richard P. Feynamn


Last edited by eigenwood on Mon Apr 20, 2015 3:23 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 2:08 pm 
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Nice work. Looking at the sound port I'm thinking this is a left-handed guitar?

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 3:31 pm 
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Walnut
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Thanks Steve! Yep, it's gonna be a lefty. I'm actually right-hand dominant, but did some damage on my left hand when I was young that makes it tough to play right-handed.

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Zach Grammon

"What I cannot create, I do not understand." Richard P. Feynamn


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:04 am 
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Walnut
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Binding

I was hoping to be done with binding by now, but...

I attempted to hand cut binding/purfling channels with my circle cutter/purfling cutter and a chisel. I was about three days and a nice case of early-onset arthritis in to the channels when my chisel blew through the back. It cracked up a flap about two inches wide. I put some ca glue on it, then clamped it back down, sanded, and it doesn't see too noticeable.

Looking back on the incident, I think was exercising a reasonable about of hand tool skill the first day, but it got progressively sloppier as time went on. A lot this was just hand cramping/fatigue, but also frustration at cutting across the grain of black walnut. I sharpened the cutter head to 2000 grit, but it didn't change much. I tried edging in on the final shelf, starting narrow, then getting wider as I removed material. Not a big difference. I even cut off a piece of a retired block plane blade and ground a narrower angle (20 degrees) thinking that the steep angle (45ish) on the circle cutter might be the issue. It was still ridiculously difficult for me to cut.

So, I'll be ordering a router bit set from stewmac sometime in the next couple of days. I have a laminate trimmmer, but will probably need to devise a jig to hold the thing. I like the simplicity of a parallelogram or drawer slide for vertical motion, and a mount board for moving the guitar in to the bit.

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Zach Grammon

"What I cannot create, I do not understand." Richard P. Feynamn


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 6:32 am 
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When cutting channels by hand, first focus on getting through the plate. Score, chisel, score, chisel, until you're down to the sides/linings. Then you don't have any changing grain direction messing with you while you clear away the side material. Carefully chiseling away side/lining material and squaring up the channel is the time consuming part for me, and is indeed pretty hard on the fingers.

Probably says something that I've gotten too lazy to do back binding on my last several instruments :P Although I think I hate the bending even more than the channel cutting. Maybe someday I'll switch to the heating blanket bender and router based channel cutter like everyone else...


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 11:42 pm 
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Walnut
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Dennis, I applaud your endurance. I didn't even last a single instrument by hand.

The bit and bearings from Stewmac are supposed to arrive Saturday, so I threw this together today.

Image

Overall it seems like it will work well enough. I figure I can handle a body depth up to about three feet. :D The drawer slides I bought were a little long, but they were heavier duty than the alternatives. I initially wanted to use a pulley/counterweight, but I have this spring on hand that seems to handle the load well enough. I'm only borrowing a laminate trimmer right now, so I was hoping to build the thing with this plunge router. I'll probably turn a donut for the rim to ride on sometime tomorrow.

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Zach Grammon

"What I cannot create, I do not understand." Richard P. Feynamn


Last edited by eigenwood on Thu May 07, 2015 10:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 10:46 am 
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I've been using Robbie O'Brien's course to guide me in this build. It's been pretty helpful, and one of the things he uses is this neck jig. I used the plans to build this yesterday.

Image

I think the main feature is the utility of the pivot board to hold the neck at the correct angle when routing the tenon. I guess I'll find out for sure when I use it.

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Zach Grammon

"What I cannot create, I do not understand." Richard P. Feynamn


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PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 5:30 pm 
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Finally finished the binding. After making the binding jig, I had to extend the purfling on both sides of the binding to clean up my "by-hand" binding attempt, so it ended up being a lot busier than I originally was thinking. I used made a maple/bloodwood/maple purfling for the sides and used a b/w/b I got from LMI on the top and back. The binding is indian ebony, and the heel graft more bloodwood.

Image

Image

Image

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Zach Grammon

"What I cannot create, I do not understand." Richard P. Feynamn


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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 2:45 am 
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Since the last time I posted I've glued up the neck, cut the mortise/tenon and bolted neck, cut/tapered the fretboard, bound the fretboard, glued the fretboard, cut and bound the headstock/peghead, drilled the tuner peg holes, and started carving the neck.

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Image

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Zach Grammon

"What I cannot create, I do not understand." Richard P. Feynamn


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 1:58 pm 
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Finished in June.

Image

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Image

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Zach Grammon

"What I cannot create, I do not understand." Richard P. Feynamn



These users thanked the author eigenwood for the post (total 2): ChrisRL (Thu May 26, 2016 2:06 am) • Johny (Sun Nov 15, 2015 9:11 pm)
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