guitar building workshop this summer?

Discussion in 'Guitar Building' started by TrailBoundCo, May 26, 2015.

  1. TrailBoundCo

    TrailBoundCo New Member

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    Hey guys,

    Lately i've been really into woodworking and have experimented with making a*couple of simple mountain banjos as well. I'm hoping to find a 2-4 week class this summer around building a guitar, mandolin, violin, banjo ect. I'm really just trying to better understand tone wood and similar luthier topics so any instrument would be fine.*

    I live in Santa Cruz, Ca but am open to traveling around the country (or out of the country) if the class or location sounded inspiring!
    It would be a bonus if I could find a class that was in a location where the tone wood was harvested locally like this video of Ron Sharp in Virginia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_s9b3VZyig (haven’t been able to find Ron’s contact info).


    Let me know if you know of anything or have thoughts of where to look.

    thanks,
    -chris
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2015
  2. NTGuitars

    NTGuitars New Member

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    I really don't know if a 2-4 week class could even touch building those instruments. maybe if you were to just pick one. Violin to me, would be the most involved, then mandolin, guitar, and banjo in that order of complexity. to me it would seem more ideal to take some classes on general woodworking first; like how to use hand tools, planes, chisels, scrapers, gauges, and learn about types of wood, grain, density, structure.

    I would like to see where you're at as far as your banjos. luthiery is a very devoted hobby, and requires a TON of tools, and machines. I would like to encourage you to proceed in your endeavors, for there is no greater joy than to see some pieces of wood become an instrument.
     
  3. TrailBoundCo

    TrailBoundCo New Member

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    Totally, what I meant is that I'm open to finding a class on any of those instruments as they would all lend themselves in learning basics (except the banjo, that seems simpler). I've been woodworking for awhile and have taken a furniture class with my personal interest being around hand tools and learning sharpening, that seems to be the trickiest part!

    Luthiery does seem to have a number of specialized tools which is why I think taking a class would help me better understand what tools i'll need and what tools I can get by without or by making myself.
     
  4. otterhound

    otterhound New Member

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    I took a class with John Hall at Blues Creek Guitars here in Pa.
    In 1 week , you will build an acoustic .
    The caveat is that you will not be building your own neck .
    I used my wood except for the German Spruce top .
    Currently , I have catalpa that can easily be used for tops , but could use walnut as well . It is very similar to mahogany .
    If you are interested in local , domestic wood for building , I can help you out even to the point of telling you where the tree stood .
     
  5. Duplex Dave

    Duplex Dave Active Member

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    The O-Hound has some good wood, I should be building be the end of this year with some of his maple, walnut and cherry.
     
  6. NTGuitars

    NTGuitars New Member

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    I'll try to give a quick list of tools needed to build a standard solid body guitar. you can sort of do a checklist, and compare to what you already have. I will try to list these in order of importance.

    clamps, clamps, clamps. and then some more clamps.
    bandsaw - I have a rikon 14", and it does just fine
    router - at least 1 hp, plunge base is a bonus too
    hand planes - I have a lie nielsen 62, a 60 1/2, and 2 ibex thumb planes
    jointer - I have an old jet 6", works great
    thickness sander - I use a dewalt 12.5", this is soo good for taking pieces down to thickness
    drill press - this can be used a lot actually, hogging out wood, pressing frets.....
    random orbit sander - i have a 3" metabo with variable speed. awesome
    fretting saw - a good japanese pull saw with a kerf of .060 for fret tang
    rasps, and files - i have a good assortment of files, and they are a life saver
    spokeshave - you get what you pay for, i have a lie nielsen round bottom spokeshave
    table saw - you probably already have one, but its good for rough cutting large pieces
    jigsaw - this is not necessary, but can be useful
    oscillating drum sander - I have the ridgid version that can be converted to a belt too
    radius jig - you can build this, and it will save time for radiusing the fretboard

    Some tools
    [​IMG]

    Files, and my spokeshave. this is what i use to shape necks.
    [​IMG]

    My no.62 flatening a top
    [​IMG]

    Clamps, clamps, clamps!!
    [​IMG]

    drill press about to murder poor little guitar. jk, removing bulk material for routing pickups
    [​IMG]

    spokeshave working a carved top
    [​IMG]


    I hope this helps you wrap your head around some of the tools needed in these examples.
     
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  7. TrailBoundCo

    TrailBoundCo New Member

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    Thank you NT, I have most of the hand tools listed and know I could make due without or go to my friends shop for some the larger power tools. However I think i'm most intimidated by the body construction with it's thin wood and bending. In building videos I keep seeing these special jigs to heat and bend the wood and special clamping systems to glue it together.
     
  8. TrailBoundCo

    TrailBoundCo New Member

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    Awesome Otter, I'll be in touch with you once I get a better understanding of the build process. I have my dreams of reclaiming fallen old growth redwoods in my woods and venturing up to the pacific north west to find spruce and western red cedar. Will need to better understand splitting out pieces according to directions, sawing to the thin boards and the drying process. Lots to learn, that's probably the best part.
     
  9. DRF

    DRF Member

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    I think it's pretty intensive:

    Timeless Instruments' School of Luthiery

    Nothing to do with the above but I once bought a book on how to make Violins as I thought it would pertain to my love of guitar making and general woodworking (I used to love watching New Yankee Workshop) and would it expand my knowledge...wrong. Not really the knowledge thing but the interest thing, seriously it's drier than a popcorn fart. It was around this time that I fully developed a mental state of "I just need to know what I need to know to get where I want to go".
     
  10. otterhound

    otterhound New Member

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    There are numerous books and , of course , build tutorials on you tube and elsewhere .
    This is only my opinion . Especially with acoustic guitars , it is worth the price of admission to do a supervised course for the first one simply because you should not end up with having to unlearn some things later on .
    Bending wood with a machine is a rather straightforward process .
    Using a free hand and bending iron is an acquired skill .
    Drying spruce and likely cedar is very simple compared to hardwoods .
    They dry quickly and lack the tendency to warp , deform and twist . They also benefit from being cut thin for drying .
    Exactly , the opposite of hardwoods .
     
  11. HEADKNOCKER

    HEADKNOCKER Active Member

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    Love this thread!!:yesway:
    I'm just starting to get into guitar building, finishing, repairs etc.& the pics of the tools are what interest me the most.. Nice Reply NTGuitars..
    Here's a few of Great Grandpaw & Grandpaw Gatterers Planes & Spoke Shaves that I'm gonna be using in my quest.. Bailey, Stanley & ??
    Grandpaw Gs Tablesaw hasn't seen action in 30 years & I just got it cleaned up adjusted, leveled & ready to ROCK!! :bowdown:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  12. NTGuitars

    NTGuitars New Member

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    Oh man, look at those planes! Nice collection, looks like you have a good assortment there. have you tuned up the planes yet? need to get ya a piece of flat granite, or thick glass and some 400 grit 3m stikit sandpaper and flatten the soles of those planes. that coupled with a good blade sharpening session, and you will be taking those nice thin smooth shavings! there's nothing more satisfying than hearing that "ssssst" sound a good sharp plane makes across a piece of wood. check out "hock" blades if you need to replace a worn blade, they are serious blades, and hold a razor edge for a long time. they are simply better, thicker steel. looks like your off to a good start man! :D
     
  13. NTGuitars

    NTGuitars New Member

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    Headknocker: it looks like the largest plane you have there is a stanley #7 or a 62. that would be a jointer plane. you have an old marking gauge too. I really do like that collection. I'm excited for you! :)
     
  14. HEADKNOCKER

    HEADKNOCKER Active Member

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    I haven't sharpened any of the Irons yet, some are sharp as hell, others are worn dull, The ones lying out of the planes are extras I found in Granpaw Gs old tool chests, Lots of scrapers too.. Note Orb in first pic.. The spirit of a master wood worker :bowdown:
    Then there's Files & Squares, Lots of Chisels, hand drills, saws, gouges, etc.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  15. TrailBoundCo

    TrailBoundCo New Member

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  16. NTGuitars

    NTGuitars New Member

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  17. NTGuitars

    NTGuitars New Member

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    whoa! $3250 that shit is expensive! I could teach you how to make one from scratch for that much. maybe even grow the damn trees. :rofl: It looks like a cool experience though, as long as they don't post your picture with those old dudes on their website. It looks like they listen to john denver while making guitars. I should stop, I'm being ugly. :D
     
  18. otterhound

    otterhound New Member

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    Not ugly .
    Just ignorant .
    When did you ever learn a skill from a child other than whining and crying ?
    Concerning your previous post , this is the rare case when a thousand words are worth one picture .
    Some of these instructors have likely forgotten things about luthery that you may never know .
    Just curious . How many acoustic and arch top guitars have you built ?
     
  19. TrailBoundCo

    TrailBoundCo New Member

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    Expensive indeed but exciting as well. With my love for carving and shaping (spoons and bowls) I'm really interested to learn the process of archtop building. I didn't really see any classes specialized in archtop also most of the flat top acoustic workshops i found were booked till next year so i think this one is going to work out well.

    If you guys have any suggestions on how to get the most out of the experience let me know, already have a list of questions going haha
     

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