Michael F. Lazar

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The following charts list the steps that I will complete during the construction of a guitar that was commissioned on September 9, 2018.

Latest Update: Nov 15. Completeded French Polish. Guitar is now complete.

Click on the photo links to see pictures of components at various stages of completion. Each picture will open in a new window which can be closed after viewing. In order to get the best view of the pictures make sure the browser window and image are both maximized. 

Work may be done in several different areas during any given period as shown opposite the date of the latest update.

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Materials are as follows:

Sound board

Back and Sides


Fret board


Linings and tail block





Nut and Saddle


Lutz  (Sitka/Engelmann Hybrid) Spruce

Honduran Rosewood

Dark Cedro (Spanish Cedar)

Macassar Ebony

Indian Rosewood

Red Oak

Indian Rosewood

Maple, Black Veneer

Nickel Silver

Custom Wheat stalk and veneer band borders around a rosewood background.

Bleached bone, fully compensated for intonation

Graf Landstorfer 


NECK Date Photos
Dimension and true up neck blank and heel stock. Sep 16 N~001
Cut off head stock to scarf joint angle and prepare components for gluing Sep 16 N~002 N~003 N~004 N~005
Glue head stock to the neck shaft. Sep 16 N~006 N~007
Glue the heel block to the neck shaft Sep 16 N~008
Clean up glue squeeze out and plane neck assembly to dimensions needed for subsequent steps. Sep 18 N~009
Mark the position of neck to body joint. Mark centre lines. Sep 18 N~010 N~011
Rout receptor slots for sides Sep 18 N~012 N~013 N~014
Rout receptor slots for top Sep 18 N~015 N~016
Cut heel and foot profiles. Sep 18 N~017 N~018 N~019
Prepare and glue headstock veneers. Trim excess when dry Sep 19 N~020 N~021 N~022 N~023
Prepare and glue headstock face plate. Trim excess. Sep 19 N~024 N~025 N~026
Rough cut heel and foot side profiles. Sep 19 N~027 N~028 N~029
Square off the "foot". Sep 19 N~030 N~031
Cut nut stop. Cut headstock to length. . Sep 19 N~032 N~033
Mark the neck & headstock tapers & headstock design. Sep 20 N~034 N~035
Rough cut the neck & headstock tapers & headstock design. Sep 20 N~036 N~037 N~038
True up and square headstock sides Sep 20  N~039
Plane the neck sides to oversized width.  Sep 20  N~040
Refine and  sand the headstock end design Sep 20  N~041  N~042
Drill tuner holes and check with tuners for accurate fit. Sep 21 N~043 N~044
Rout headstock slots. Sep 21 N~045 N~046 N~047
Rough cut fret board tapered width. True width to final dimensions. Sep 22 N~048 N~049 N~050
Establish initial thickness. Sep 22 N~051 N~052
Mount fret board onto fret slotting system.  Sep 23 N~053 N~054 N~055
Mount fret slot blade in table saw.  Sep 23 N~056
Cut fret slots.  Sep 23 N~057 N~058
Cut off waste at the nut end of the fret board. Sep 23 N~059 N~060
Taper the fret board thickness to final dimensions. using a tapered slave board and thickness sander. Sep 24 N~061 N~062 N~063
Rout a slot for a carbon fibre reinforcement rod. Sep 25 N~064 N~065
Prepare reinforcement rod and mahogany cap. Sep 25 N~066
Glue in carbon fiber rod with epoxy.. Glue in the mahogany cap strip and level when dry. Sep 25 N~067 N~068
Drill locator pin holes in fret board at frets 1 and 12.and center the fretboard onto the neck. Sep 25 N~069 N~070
Mark and drill neck locator pin holes & install pins. Sep 25 N~071 N~072 N~073
Glue and clamp fret board to the neck. When dry, check to ensure the board is flat.  Sep 25 N~074
Cut and chisel the headstock nut string exit ramps Sep 27 N~075 N~076 N~077
Plane and sand the sides of the neck flush with the fret board. Sep 27 N~078 N~079 N~080
Check to ensure the neck fits into the assembly mold. Sep 27 N~081 N~082
Remove waste material from the underside of the neck extension Sep 27 N~083 N~084
True up underside of neck so that it will mate with the top. Sep 27 N~085
Level the fret board and finish sand to 150 grit. Sep 28 N~086 N~087 N~088
File bevels into the tops of the fret slots. Sep 28 N~089
Hammer fret wire into slots and cut ends Sep 28 N~090 N~091 N~092
File the fret ends flush with fret board edges and then bevel them. Finish with a diamond stone.   Sep 28 N~093
nstall MOP position markers at frets 7 and 12.  Sep 28 N~094 N~095 N~096 N~097
When top ready, dry fit & align neck/top. Mark, cut & finish neck end Sep 28 N~098 N~099 N~100
Install and finish the 20th fret Sep 28 N~101 N~102 N~103
Shape and sand the interior section of the Spanish heel  Oct 3 N~104 N~105 N~106
Mark heel and headstock profiles  Oct 3 N~107 N~108
Rough shape headstock  and heel.  Oct 3 N~109 N~110 N~111
Carve and rough sand neck to final shape.  Oct 3 N~112 N~113 N~114 N~115
Rough sand and check fit to the sides profile of heel and overall feel of the neck.  Oct 3 N~116 N~117 N~118
Soften the sharp edges on the headstock and finish sand the entire neck. Oct 4 N~119 N~120 N~121 N~122


SIDES   Photos
Cut ten oak lining strips and resaw to 15mm wide. Sep 14 S~001 S~002
Thickness strips to 2.5 mm and tape the lining strips into two  groups of 5 each. Sep 14 S~003 S~004
Dampen the strips with water and bend the lining strips to shape. Sep 14 S~005 S~006 S~007 S~008
Glue up lining strips in lamination mold. Sep 14 S~009 S~010
Trim laminated lining assemblies to height. Sep 16 S~011
Round inner edges of the linings and seal with shellac. Sep 16 S~012 S~013
True up sides and thickness to 2.3mm Sep 19 S~014 S~015
Tape the sides together, mark and cut side profiles.   Sep 19 S~016 S~017 S~018
Bend Sides Sep 19 S~019 S~020
Fit sides in the outside mold. mark positions for the upper and lower bout ends. Sep 21 S~021 S~022 S~023
Mark and cut ends of the sides to fit neck recess and butt joint at the tail. File the ends to true. Sep 21 S~024 S~025 S~026
Mark positions for upright waist braces Sep 21 S~027 S~028
Cut tail block to length. Sand to match side curvature at the tail area. Sep 22 S~029 S~030
Mark & cut tail block end angles.  Sep 22 S~031 S~032
Glue tail block to the sides. Plane and sand tail block edges. Sep 22 S~033 S~034 S~035
Glue and clamp the upright waist braces Sep 22 S~036
Plane and shape (1/2 round) the upright waist braces Sep 23 S~037
Mark top edges of the sides and sand in radiuused sanding dish to create top profile. Sep 23 S~038 S~039 S~040
Mark and file recesses in the first top lining to fit over the upright braces Sep 23 S~041 S~042
Mark, cut and plane angles in the first top lining to fit the tail block Sep 23 S~043
Glue and clamp the first top lining to the sides. When dry, flush trim edges & scrape glue squeeze. Sep 23 S~044 S~045
Repeat the fitting and gluing processes for the second top lining. Sep 23 S~046
Invert sides in mold. Mark back edges and sand to 15' back dome. Sep 24 S~047 S~048
Prepare and glue back linings following the same steps as for the top linings. Sep 24 S~049 S~050
Cut side wedge blanks shaped to fit the neck recesses. Sep 26 S~051
Cut blanks into tapered wedges & plane the saw cut faces smooth Sep 26 S~052 S~053
Fit front wedges on linings. Mark saw lines on the linings and cut recesses into the linings. Sep 26 S~054 S~055 S~056
Cut recesses into the front wedges to form interlocking joint with the linings Sep 26 S~057 S~058
Glue front wedges to sides and trim. Sep 26 S~059 S~060 S~061
Adjust rear wedges. Dry fit the sides to the neck to complete the spanish heel joinery. Sep 26 S~062 S~063
Rout tail graft channel to fit tail graft.  Sep 29 S~064 S~065
Prepare and spot glue a temporary tail graft. Set permanent graft aside for later. Sep 29  S~066 S~067
Mark top linings and finalize domed top profile in 30' radiused sanding dish Sep 29 S~068 S~069 S~070
Cut shallow channels at the top/neck area to make room for hand finishing the top binding rebates Sep 29 S~071 S~072 S~073
Cut Recess in lining to fit over the neck reinforcement patch on the top.  Sep 29 S~074 S~075


Select top plates and sand both sides to flat & even thickness. Sep 08 T~001 T~002
Plane center edges and square up the outeredges of the plates3 Sep 08 T~003 T~004
Glue and clamp book matched plates. Sep 08 T~005
Scrape the glue joint and level the top in the thickness sander. Sep 08 T~006 T~007 T~008 
Cut the  central motif for the rosette. Sep 09 T~009 T~010 T~011 T~012
Mark and drill sound hole center. Sep 09 T~013 T~014
Rout the inlay channel for the background rosette element Sep 09 T~015 T~016
Fit and glue the background rosette element. Sep 09 T~017 T~018 T~019 T~020
Level the background rosette element to the top Sep 09 T~021 T~022
Bend herringbone/wheat motif and chain borders. Sep 11 T~023
Rout channels for the motif and borders. Fit, glue & levelwhen dry  Sep 11 T~024
Mark and cut out the top to profile. Sep 13 T~025 T~026 T~027 T~028
Fill the gap at the rosette ends Sep 13 T~029 T~030 T~031
Rough thickness top from underside. Refine the thickness using accurate thickness guage. Sep 13 T~032 T~033
Mark bracing and reinforcement pad positions Sep 13 T~034
Fabricate sound hole patch . Sep 13 T~035 T~036 T~037
Locate, glue and clamp sound hole patch Sep 13 T~038 T~039
Cut out sound hole.  Sep 13 T~040 T~041 T~042
Attach neck joint reinforcement patch and mark cut out to fit the neck Sep 28 T~043 T~044
Cut out neck interlock mortice    Sep 28 T~045 T~046
Cut recesses in the perimeters adjacent to the neck slot    Sep 28 T~047 T~048
Dry fit the top to the neck. Align in the assembly mold. Sep 28 T~049 T~050
Mark inner perimeter of the linings Sep 29 T~051
Cut lower transverse brace, sand radius in 30' dish and plane the bottom square  Sep 29 T~052 T~053 T~054
Mark and cut a recess to fit over the sound hole reinforcement. Cut the brace to height and check fit. Sep 29 T~055 T~056 T~057 T~058
Glue a 2X9mm closing bar across the lower bout near the tail. Round the edges. Sep 30 T~059 T~060 T~061
Cut fan brace stock from fine grained quarter sawn spruce.  Sep 30 T~062 T~063
Glue in the 5 inner fan braces. Shape and sand. Sep 30 T~064 T~065 T~066 T~067
Mark the outer bass fan brace and recess to fit over the sound hole reinforcement Sep 30 T~068 T~069 T~070
Glue in the outer fan braces. Shape and sand. Sep 30 T~071 T~072
Mark and file the bass bar pass through the transverse brace below the sound hole. Sep 30 T~073 T~074 T~075
Scallop the transverse brace ends, glue and clamp. Sep 30 T~076 T~077 T~078
Radius bridge bar stock and plane square. Cut the bridge bar to height. Oct 1 T~079 T~080 T~081 T~082
Fit the bridge bar onto the inner fan braces. Mark & cut lap joint recesses into the fan braces Oct 1 T~083 T~084
Mark and cut corresponding recesses into the bridge bar and check for fit over the fans Oct 1 T~085 T~086
Follow the same processes for the upper harmonic bar. Glue & clamp both bars and scallop the ends. Oct 1 T~087
Glue and shape the small reinforcing braces at the sides of the sound hole Oct 2 T~088 T~089 T~090
Round off the interior edges of the sound hole.. Oct 2 T~091
Cut, and radius  the two upper transverse braces. Oct 2 T~092 T~093
Scallop the two upper transverse braces Oct 2 T~094 T~095 T~096
Glue and clamp the upper transverse brace next to the sound hole. Oct 2 T~097
Fabricate and glue in the last reinforcement patch Oct 2 T~099 T~099
Glue and clamp the last transverse brace Oct 2 T~100
Plane and sand the three transverse braces to shape.  Oct 2 T~101 T~102 T~103


BACK Date Photos
Dimension and true up back plates Sep 18 B~001
Join and glue book matched back plates to center strip.  Sep 18 B~002
Mark out back profile, cut to shape Sep 18 B~003 B~004
Thickness the back to 2.3 mm  Sep 18 B~005 B~006
Attach inner center seam reinforcement. Round off with planes and sandpaper  Oct 5 B~007 B~008 B~009
Cut 3 back braces from mahogany stock  Oct 5 B~010 B~011 B~012
Mark positions of  back braces on center strip, cut passages or the braces to fit into. Oct 6 B~013 B~014 B~015 B~016
Fit the back braces into the slots  Oct 6 B~017 B~018
Radius back braces in 15' sanding dish. Plane square & check fit in 15' radiused back form. Oct 6 B~019 B~020 B~021 B~022
Cut scallops in the braces and smooth on drum sander. Oct 6 B~023 B~024
Glue the back braces to the back using a 15' radiused form Oct 6 B~025 B~026
Shape back braces with planes and sandpaper.  Oct 6 B~027 B~028 B~029


Cut up two light and one dark veneer strips Sep 14 P~001 P~002
Glue up the strips into a light/dark/light veneer sandwich. Sep 14 P~003
Cut the veneer sandwich into strips of appropriate widths for purflings Sep 16 P~004 P~005 P~006
Cut strips for the back center and tail graft.  Sep 16 P~007
Glue veneer purflings to back center strip. Scrape and plane.  Sep 16 P~008 P~009
Glue veneer purflings to tail Graft. Scrape and plane.  Sep 29 P~010 P~011
Cut flamed maple slice and thickness to 1.2mm and glue to black veneer for top purfling.  Oct 10 P~012 P~013
Cut top purfling strips . Oct 10 P~014
Tape top and back purflings together and bend   Oct 10 P~015 P~016 P~017 P~018
Cut rosewood binding strips.  Oct 11 P~019
Glue side purfling strips to binding strips.and trim Oct 11 P~020 P~021 P~022
Tape binding strips together and finalize thickness  Oct 12 P~023 P~024 P~025 P~026
Bend bindings. Oct 12 P~027 P~028
Fabricate rosewood heel cap and veneer components  Oct 15 P~029 P~030 P~031 P~032
Glue the cap and veneers together. Trim veneers and true up the edge that butts to the bindings. Oct 15 P~033 P~034 P~035
Mark and rough cut the heel cap profile.  Oct 15 P~036 P~037 P~038


BRIDGE Date Photos
Cut bridge blank to the required dimensions. Oct 16 Br~001
Mark positions for the string holes. Oct 16 Br~002
Drill pilot centers followed by string holes through the width of the tie block. Oct 16 Br~003 Br~004
Follow the same procedures for the secondary holes in the 12 hole bridge system. Oct 16 Br~005
Saw saddle slot and boundary cuts for the tie block and bone trim. Oct 16 Br~006 Br~007
Radius the bottom of the bridge to fit the dome of the guitar top. Oct 16 Br~008 Br~009 Br~010
Rough saw the bridge arms    Oct 16 Br~011
Glue bone protection strips into the front & rear edges of the tie block & trim them. Oct 16 Br~012 Br~013
Chisel and shape the ramp leading from the tie block to saddle slot.  Oct 16 Br~014
Round off the leading edge pf the saddle slot retainer  Oct 16 Br~015 Br~016
Round the arms of the bridge  Oct 16 Br~017
Angle the ends of the arms (5 degrees). Bevel the arm ends. Oct 16 Br~018 Br~019
Weigh the bridge to ensure it falls between 20 and 25 grams Oct 16 Br~020
Finish sand and seal the bridge to prevent bleeding color onto top. Oct 16 Br~021 Br~022 Br~023




Apply glue to the neck/top surface and insert the top Oct 4 A~001 A~002
Align the top and neck center lines and clamp until the glue sets Oct 4 A~003 A~004
Place neck/top in assembly form, insert sides & mark interlocking recess positions in transverse bars Oct 4 A~005 A~006 A~007 A~008
Remove sides and top. Cut interlocking recesses in transverse bars on the top. Oct 4 A~009 A~010 A~011 A~012
Replace the components into the assembly form & mark interlocking recesses in linings. Oct 4 A~013 A~014
Remove sides and  cut interlocking recesses into the linings.  Oct 4 A~015 A~016 A~017 A~018
Refit the sides and check to ensure that the linings will mate with the top all aroun Oct 4 A~019
Apply glue to upper side linings and outer heel gluing surface. Insert sides and clamp. Oct 5 A~020 A~021 A~022 A~023
Glue in wedges. Oct 5 A~024
When dry, trim wedges and level the heel to the sides.  Oct 5 A~025 A~026 A~027
Mark the liniings with a pencil and refine back profile of sides on a 15' sanding dish to align with back doming. Oct 5  A~028  A~029  A~030  A~031
Align the back and clamp lightly. Mark the outline of the sides on the back braces. Oct 6 A~032 A~033
Measure & mark lines for the interlocking rebates in the back braces. Cut and chisel the rebates. Oct 6 A~034 A~035
Replace & align the back. Mark the location for brace recesses in the sides/linings. Oct 6 A~036 A~037
Cut recesses in the sides/linings. Oct 6 A~038 A~039 A~040
Check back fit at all of the brace intersections. Prepare and affix the label to the back. Oct 6 A~041
Glue and clamp the back to the sides Oct 6 A~042
Trim the back plate flush to the sides. Remove the guitar from the mold and trim the top flush. Oct 8 A~043 A~044 A~045 A~046
Rout the initial purfling/binding rebates for the top and back. Oct 8 A~047 A~048 A~049
Sand the sides to remove any baked pitch from the bending process Oct 8 A~050 A~051
Rout the final purfling/binding rebates for the top and back. Oct 9 A~052 A~053
Rough out the top binding rebates adjacent & into the pockets at the neck/body joint. Oct 9 A~054 A~055
Using chisels, dental picks & wood files complete the top binding rebates.  Oct 9 A~056 A~057 A~058
Remove the excess back material. Oct 10 A~059
Cut the heel down level to the bottom of binding channel. Oct 10 A~060 A~061
Hand finish the back binding rebates at the heel. Oct 10 A~062 A~063 A~064
Hand finish the back binding rebates at the tail.  Oct 10 A~065 A~066 A~067
Cut 45 degree miters into the purflings at the ends of center strip. Oct 10 A~068 A~069 A~070
Fit left top purfling. Glue and clamp with rubber bands. Oct 11  A~071  A~072
Trim left top purfling and sand level to top. Oct 11  A~073
Fit and glue right top purfling and flush trim. Oct 11 A~074
Fit and glue the right back purflings. Trim and level to the back plate. Oct 11  A~075  A~076  A~077
Repeat the fitting, gluing and leveling for the left back purfling. Oct 11 A~078 A~079 A~080
Remove the temporary tail graft. Measure and cut the permanent graft.to length. Oct 12 A~081 A~082
Glue in the permanent graft and trim level to the sides. Oct 12 A~083 A~084  A~085
Miter the tail graft ends. Oct 12 A~086 A~087
Mark and cut the left top binding to fit. Miter the purfling to join the tail graft miter. Oct 12 A~088 A~089
Glue and clamp the top left binding Oct 12 A~090 A~091
When dry, remove the clamping bands and scrape/sand the binding flush to the top. Oct 13 A~092
Repeat the fitting, gluing and flush trimming for the right top binding. Oct 13 A~093 A~094
Fit and glue the left back binding. Oct 14 A~095 A~096 A~097
Scrape and sand the left back binding flush with the back plates. Oct 14 A~098 A~099
Fit and glue the right back binding. Scrape and sand when dry. Oct 14 A~100 A~101
Scrape the bindings flush to the side surfaces and rough sand. Oct 15 A~102 A~103
Prepare the heel clamp platform. Glue and clamp the heel cap Oct 15 A~104 A~105
Trim the heel cap flush to the back plate and sides of the heel. Oct 15 A~106 A~107 A~108
Round binding corners. Oct 15 A~109 A~110 A~111 A~112
Finish sand the entire guitar. Oct 17 A~113 A~114 A~115 A~116
Drill bridge locator pin holes at the bottom of the saddle slot. Oct 17 A~117
Position bridge ensuring that strings 1 & 6 will be centered over the fret board. Oct 17 A~118
Drill index holes into top. Oct 17 A~119
Position bridge and tape boundaries to catch glue squeeze out. Oct 17 A~120
Glue index pins into the bridge and trim protrusions to 2mm Oct 17 A~121 A~122
Position gluing caul to the underside of the top. Hold with magnets. Oct 17 A~123 A~124
Glue and clamp bridge Oct 17 A~125 A~126
Seal all surfaces with shellac. Oct 18 A~127 A~128 A~129 A~130 A~131
Level the frets with a flat diamond abrasive plate. Oct 18 A~132
Crown the frets with a 300 grit diamond  fret file and polish to 400 grit. Oct 18 A~133 A~134
Check fret levels individually and micro adjust where needed. Oct 18 A~135
Install tuners Oct 18 A~136 A~137 A~138 A~139
Fabricate nut & saddle. Oct 19 A~140 A~141 A~142
Attach strings and set action heights. Evaluate response over 2 - 3 days. Oct 19 A~143 A~144 A~145 A~146


French Polish Date


Fill back/side pores with pumice using a cloth covered pad.and alcohol Oct 22 F~001 F~002 F~003
Sand with 220 grit to remove surface pumice residue  Oct 23 F~004 F~005
Build a body of shellac over side and back surfaces ( this takes many sessions over several days). Oct 24 F~006
Fill neck pores with pumice using a cloth covered pad.and alcohol Oct 25 F~007 F~008
Build a body of shellac over the neck surfaces Oct 25 F~009
 Build a body of shellac over the top surfaces Oct 25 F~010 F~011
Level all surfaces with a fine sanding pad. Oct 29 F~012 F~013 F~014 F~015
Repeat leveling and bodying until a satisfactory surface results Nov 01 F~016 F~017
Wet sand the entire guitar with 800 grit wet/dry sand paper Nov 01 F~018 F~019
Apply glaze coats with very thin shellac and olive oil. Cure for 1 week. Nov 06 F~020
Rub down with fine abrasive polish compound Nov 13 F~021
Scrape shellac from fretboard edges.  Crown and polish the frets Nov 14 F~022 F~023 F~024
Clean shellac out of peg head holes. Install tuners, nut, saddle and strings Nov 14 F~025 F~026 F~027
Additional Photos Nov 15 F~028 F~029 F~030 F~031 F~032
Additional Photos Nov 15  F~033 F~034 F~035 F~036