Monday, September 19, 2011

get back

 The timber for the steel string guitar back is from Tasmania- Acacia Melanoxylon (I must check that spelling), anyway it is better known here as Blackwood. I have some from the Otways here in Victoria too. The pic above is of the beginnings of the scraping to check the centre joint. These colours are quite raw in these shots, and are more mellow in reality, and will be much more homogenous when the finish goes on.
 This is the book matched joint, above. The wood under it is for the sides of the instrument. There is plenty of much better commentary on the web about the actual jointing process than I can give here, so I won't spell it all out. Suffice to say that the edges were jointed with a number 7 hand plane, using the plane on its side, running along a flat surface. This is so much easier than jointing violin or cello wood because it is so thin and therefore so much easier to keep the edge from running into a twist.

The gluing was done using clamps to hold the boards down tight on the outside edges while a batten is under the actual joining edges. Removal of the batten supplies the clamping pressure. You need to have something under the edges to avoid gluing the wood to the work board. I used wide masking tape.
This has been roughly sawn to a shape about 5 mm bigger than the final shape. I intend to be restrained in the amount of decoration on this instrument, letting the timber speak for itself- but I have given a bit of thought about the chosen 'composition' of the back grain....that dark centre has something to say about my moods when I'm not making something. I hope the flame might suggest something more subtle and a bit brighter about other bits of the maker too.

Now I have to make some concave surfaced work boards to provide the caul pressure for clamping curved braces and give the back some shape. I'm also tossing ideas around for the belly rosette....I want it simple, but strong, too.


  1. That is a really impressive piece of work.

  2. Tasmanian blackwood? I think thats the same wood Maton use to make their guitars.

  3. Yes...I can hardly wait for this story to unfold...she is going to be a stunner!!

  4. Well, it's very nice to be around when a piece of wood finds a new life. Thanks for your interest folks.

  5. Do you know what part of the tree that piece is from trunk compression or a crutch, quite stunning.

    So many images it produces from the female form to aboriginal faces, I expect the finish will produce some spectacular results on the quilting too. Can't wait.

  6. Rob, what fantastic work!

    The species is indeed Acacia melanoxylon. Pedants might italicise the genus and species to be spot on, but this aint no botany paper. Blackwood was once a popular timber for furniture, or for window frames etc.

    Looking forward to you posting video of guitars at sunset on Annie...

  7. You're right Mike that it is a crutch- and is perhaps a bit tricky for an instrument because of all that end-grain, but I think it'll be OK.
    And Dale, I knew an old timber worker from Cobden who used to fell those trees for house frames!! (Like they did to Australian Cedar in QLD) Oh- the shame....