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About This Club

All sorts of musical instrument making discussion whether stringed, blown, or percussion.

  1. What's new in this club
  2. If it's the same one that's on YouTube it's a very good video. I'll check it out on Prime 'cause it would be good to watch it again. David
  3. There is a fantastic 60 minute movie on Amazon Prime that makes my attempts at making string instruments look very basic IMHO. Michael Greenfield is a musician turned luthier who began tuning, repairing, restoring and making guitars in the 1970s. He has since become a seasoned luthier and makes bespoke guitars. As Michael says a guitar still thinks that it is a tree until it receives its first set of strings at which point it becomes an instrument. The documentary shows how a string string guitar is made from start to finish. I have watched this movie and it is fantastic. Michael shows the fixtures he uses to hold the parts of the guitar whilst working them. Much use of handtools, Lee Nielsen tools abound, along with Stanley planes, Porter Cable power tools, general woodworking power tools like jointers, table saws, StewMac specialist luthier tools and the all important drum sander. He also describes the use of animal hot hide glues, some use of Aliphatic resins (Titebond) and the use of epoxy for critical parts like the neck that should not move due to the presence of water (water is found in hide and Titebond for instance). He has a lifetime supply of Honduran mahogany and when he shows the massive 10/4 boards he has left it made me severely jealous! The video also shows the finishing process he employs but it was not clear whether he was using waterbourne, nitrocellulose lacquer based or oil bases finishes. If you have Amazon Prime then search for “Making A Guitar” - it is in movies. I learnt a great deal from it and it has inspired me to improve my guitar making techniques.
  4. If you have Amazon Prime there is a season of 24 minute long shows under the title "A Craftsman's Legacy" The host of the show is Eric Gorges and there are a couple of shows in Season 1 related to woodworking. There is one in particular of interest to you budding luthiers. Brian Galloup builds guitars and runs a school to teach others the craft of guitar making. Host Eric Gorges visits the school and learns what it takes to build a guitar from scratch. They discuss topics such as the tonal properties of wood, steam bending and key steps of guitar building. I've watched this and Brian shows a few of his jigs and fixtures (some made from 2x4s) that speed up the process. He also expertly hand carves a neck profile with a chisel, spokeshave and a mini flexible draw knife. Look for episode 3. The Guitar Maker on season 1. On episode 1 The Woodworker - John Wilson is a writer, a teacher and a woodworker. Host Eric Gorges visits John at his home shop and learns how to make a shoulder plane. Eric learns the history of shop made tools, how to home temper tool-steel and the importance of salt in the wood shop. (Don't ask me what that is about as I've not watched that one yet) If you have Prime the entire season is free to watch.
  5. I'm not a musician so I'm way out in the deep end here. I was mainly interested in playing with the form of it, as they are usually just boring boxes. The time has come to tune it and I went through a lot of experimentation on how to size the bars to actually get a decent note out of it. I have somewhat of a handle on that now but I know next to nothing about music theory. I have 16 bars to work with. I tuned one side to D3 (D E F# G A B C#), skipping the short bar between D and E. It would have been better to have the higher notes at this end but the shape of the bars only allowed for the opposite. I could tune that short bar to D4 but I don't know if that makes any sense. What do I do with the other side? I can go a little higher than the C# but not too much. It's easier to bring them down than up. I was thinking about just going up a major third to make it easy to play a chord by playing the two sides together but that's kind of a waste as it would just repeat most of the same notes. G minor doesn't have too much overlap with D major and I think i can get high enough for that so that's my fall back plan.
  6. There are some specialist tools required but of course general conventional woodworking tools are required. Here are a few but it is by no means an extensive list. Conventional tools A decent bench - it doesn't have to be massive but a quite modest one will suffice Clamps - you cannot survive without clamps Vise - there are some specialist pattern makers vices that are ideal for guitar making but a normal woodworking vise will suffice Bench planes - a #4, #5 and #7 are useful Block plane - if you have a low angle block plane is will get a lot of use Shoulder plane - use this tool with its nose removed when planing the back of a head-stock to thickness Chisels - I prefer bevel edged chisels and a range from 1/8", 3/16", 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 3/4" and the one I use the most 1" Gouges - not essential but useful when carving neck volutes and truss-rod access in head-stocks Knives - a marking knife is indispensable as are X-acto knifes or scalpels. Cabinet scrapers - an incredibly useful tool and is used a lot in lutherie. There are several types and the swan necked one is very useful on the back of necks. Don't forget a burnisher to apply a hook. Rasps - I like the Auriou and Liogier hand-stitched rasps - expensive but will last a lifetime Files - engineering files are useful Coping saw - great for cutting curved edges in thin materials Straight edges and rules - a 24" straight edge is an essential piece of equipment - a selection of steel engineering rules are prerequisites for accurate measurement Square and sliding bevel - woodworking or engineering squares, a combination square and a sliding bevel are great tools to have Sharpening stones and honing guides - whatever type you use make sure you keep all tool edges sharp Selection of good screwdrivers Set of nut spinners or 1/4" square drive socket set Machine Tools A workshop of general woodworking machinery is not essential but helps if you convert rough sawn lumber into square edged boards. Tablesaw Planer/Thicknesser Jointer Drill press Router - both handheld and in a table Oscillating spindle sander Disk sander Drum sander - not essential but good to have - wish I had one! and one of the most used tools - a bandsaw for cutting all those curves Other hand held power tools Battery drill and drill bits (bradpoints, long series drills and regular twist drills) Random orbit sander Specialist Tools Gents saw also known as a fret slot cutting saw (not a fret saw bizarrely) - used to cut fret slots Dial gauge or digital calipers - used to measure thicknesses of flat stock Hygrometer - used to keep tab on the humidity levels in the workshop Circle cutting tools - consists of a blade that rotates in a compass - used to cut the trench for rosette inlaying Bending iron - a solid metal former heated internally by an electrical element. Used to bend guitar or violin sides Fretting hammer or fret press - used to press frets into their slots Fret snippers - used to cut off excess metal from the ends of the fret once installed Fret stone - a coarse and fine sided sharpening tool used to dress frets Fretting files - there are a few used to clean up frets; a triangular miniature file, a curved file and also a set of files used to cut nut slots Reamer - several tapered hand reamers used to make taper holes in guitar bridge for bridge pins and in violin family instruments for tapered tuning pegs. Fret slot mitre box - not strictly used for cutting mitres but for accurately guiding the saw when cutting fret slots in a finger board Soldering iron Piercing saw or jewellers saw - used to cut mother of pearl Diamond files - used to clean up the edges of mother of pearl Digital multimeter - used to test your wiring - you may already have one of these in your household tools. Bridge clamp - used to clamp a bridge in place through the soundhole. These can be expensive and have a deep throat but are fairly shallow in height Shop amplifier - any old guitar amp will do. I use a solid state cheapo amp Electronic tuner - musical instrument tuners are very cheap these days - you can even use an app on your smarphone Tools you can make in the shop Wooden cam clamp - many plans are available on the internet Calipers - bought lutherie calipers can be expensive so you can actually make your own Sanding sticks - a small piece of wood with an abrasive glued on - make several with different grits Tools you don't need A Festool Domino - I have never seen one used in luthiery but if you can demonstrate one being used them post below As you see there are many tools you probably already have. If you want to get into luthiery whether repairing a buddies guitar or making full blown instruments you only need a few more specialist tools that you can buy as and when you need them.