Wednesday, November 2, 2011

where did the time go?

A long day alone and the last thing I can remember is breakfast. This is quite physical work, and once it started to consume me I lost all sense of time. I started the binding yesterday, working on the back, and making more than my fair share of mess, and spending many sessions at the honer sharpening my scrapers. The pic below is of my little Dremel tool in it's routing outfit. 

Because the plates are not flat, the routing needs to be done with some extra care, and the back in particular needed to be further cut with a hand purfling cutter and chisels to make up for the  inadequacy of this routing outfit in dealing with the angles, mainly at the top of the bout.

Above, the back purfling is sitting in its channel, and the binding channel sits empty for the moment.

  Above here, purfling and binding are in their grooves, and so am I. The masking tape is very handy, and has some spring in it when pulled tight.

 Above, the belly having the purfling groove routed in 4 or 5 thin passes, before the binding rebate is cut on the outside. To keep the spruce from splintering you need to be aware of the direction of the grain, and work downhill, but with the added complication that the direction of rotation of the machine will make it want to bite, or run off un-controlled in one direction. Concentrating and not answering the phone helps, and so do a sharp blade and very incremental cuts.

 These two shots show the two stages of rebate on the belly. Top, the deep groove for the width of purfling I chose, and below, the side rebate for the purfled maple binding.

Below, the belly purfling. The maple binding is still un-trimmed, and therefore very thick in this pic. At this point, I had only worked on bringing the top surface down flush, using the usual suspects and a flat scraper. So that outer maple line will end up much thinner. You can see in this pic that the belly was sealed before all this palaver, to protect the surface from nasty fingernails and router bases. Some of the sealer has come off with the levelling, and more will soon too as I prepare the surface for finishing.

It looks smaller and more finite with its framing edges, and there is also a more delicate and difficult-to -describe feeling here too- that, after all this work, somehow surprisingly, it is still just a guitar.


  1. It looks great !, a very special and unique instrument. What kind of sound do you expect?,

  2. Thanks for that. I find it difficult to verbalise what I'm looking for in sound, but the first hopes are that it is comfortably playable, balanced in tone, capable of maturing into richness without losing brightness, good sustain, crisp intonation, adequate volume, consistent tone values across all strings.

    A fall-back position may be simply that it makes some sort of noise....

  3. Looks awesome and sounds like you are having a wonderful time - suspended in the process - what a lovely place to be! x

  4. It looks like it will be very beautiful - name???

  5. Looks great. I didn't know you name guitars. I thought that was just a boat thing.

  6. Glad you like it so far, but no name this time,,,,most of my violins/violas/celli have a dedication in them, but for some reason this process has been different for me. It will be used to serenade Julia, though, just as soon as I can make a nice noise.