With the two mandolins safely with their new owners, I’ve been concentrating mainly on John’s koa guitar.Here’s the back fully braced; you can now see the beautiful figure of the flamed koa.
One thing that seems to take an inordinate amount of time is the linings; using double thickness solid linings means 8 pieces of cedar to prepare, bend, fit and glue in place.
To compound things I like to use cedar braces around the sides at right-angles to the grain.
The purpose of these side braces is to stop any crack, due to an impact, propagating around the sides. The way that the strings load the guitar, means the sides are under tension so there is always the possibility of a split travelling around the instrument. Most makers will insert the brace between the two linings, however, that doesn’t stop the possibility of a crack running between the lining and the brace! Hence my method of running the side braces the full width of the side and then gluing the second layer of linings on top.
The purpose of all of this fussing around is to build a light, but strong guitar. As I’ve said before the strength should come from design rather than bulk.
Here’s the head of John’s guitar, once I completed the end of the truss rod slot with a Dremel (hence the vacuum). The head overlay is some really nice Brazilian rosewood. The overlay is just over 2mm thick to show that this is solid wood and not a veneer! The guitar will also have a Brazilian rosewood bridge.
And the little fella? Well, the body is together and it has been bound. It’s on the back burner at the moment and I’ll work on it when I can’t progress with John’s. I’m also debating whether to do a cocobolo or ebony finger-board. Decisions, decisions!