Saturday, August 20, 2016

Ten Years On

Would you believe that it’s ten years (almost to the day) since my first blog post? If you’ve been following the blog all that time, many, many thanks for your support. The first entry back in 2006 saw me working on a couple of classical guitars and over those past ten years things have evolved to the point where I’m now making mostly instruments from the mandolin family. Anyway, let’s not get all nostalgic! On with the show!
I’m currently working on rims. What’s a rim; well that’s my collective noun for the assembly of sides, blocks, linings and end graft.
All of my rims are essentially the same-

  • solid wood sides bent using a hot iron,
  • a plywood tail block to join the sides at one end (plywood resists splitting when fixing the tailpiece)
  • the neck block- joins the sides at the neck end and is sturdy enough to take the neck joint
  • linings- these increase the surface area for gluing the soundboard and back to the sides
  • the end graft- the decorative insert where the ends of the sides meet.
Here’s the completed rim for the carved top- note the neck block is spruce to cut down on weight, but is laminate from 3 pieces to resist splitting.
This will be going on the back burner for a while, whilst I progress with commissions.
You can see some of the step’s of “rim making” here with Phil’s OM.
Sides being bent-
Tail block glued in position-
Linings going in-
There are quite a few styles of linings; my instruments have evolved to having a double thickness of solid linings. This equates to 8 separate pieces being bent and glued in place- a time consuming process but well worth the effort in improving the overall quality of the instrument.
And the completed rim.
Patrick’s twin point is more complicated! Each side is made up from two pieces which are held together at the point with a spruce block (just like the points of a violin).
In order to protect the end grain at the points, a piece of ebony is glued on and shaped to blend in with the curve of the sides (believe me, this is easier said than done!).
And eventually we get to this- the four side pieces held together by their respective blocks- next step the linings.
And the next ten years.....?

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Blogger Mike Hamilton said...

So the twin point gets a different neck block - not the three piece spruce?


5:01 pm  
Anonymous Bobby Davis said...

Awesome! Congrats! I've enjoyed reading your posts, and have learned a lot.

7:00 pm  
Blogger Gary Nava, Luthier said...

Thanks Bobby; glad that you enjoy the blog.
Mike; I normally use a hardwood neck block on all my instruments- the spruce block is the odd one out.
cheers Gary

3:43 pm  
Blogger CharlieCeng said...

I've been following your blog for a while Gary - I've built a few guitars myself in the past, and your work is inspirational.

10:52 am  

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