Michael F. Lazar
Luthier

A GUITAR UNDER CONSTRUCTION

The following charts list the steps that I will complete during the construction of a guitar that was commissioned on April 08/19.

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Latest Update Period: June 14 to June 22. Completed French Polish.

Design Features

Fully domed sloped Top with elevated fretboard

Spanish heel neck to body construction

Dual Focused Fan lattice bracing  (14 struts)

Extended fret board with 20th treble fret

12 hole tie block bridge

Fully Compensated Nut and Saddle

Materials

Sound board

Back and Sides

Neck

Fret board

Bridge

Linings and tail block

Bindings

Purflings

Frets

Rosette

Nut and Saddle

Tuners

 

Italian Alpine Spruce

East Indian Rosewood

Mahogany

Black African Ebony

Indian Rosewood

Maple

Roasted Flamed Maple

Black,Cherry, Black Veneer

Nickel Silver

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

Bleached bone

Gotoh Premium

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NECK   Photos
Dimension and true up neck blank and heel stock. Apr 12 N~001
Cut off head stock to scarf joint angle and prepare components for gluing Apr 14 N~001 N~003
Glue head stock to the neck shaft. Apr 15 N~004 N~005
Glue the heel block to the neck shaft Apr 16 N~006
Clean up glue squeeze out and plane neck assembly to dimensions needed for subsequent steps. Apr 16 N~007
Mark the position of neck to body joint. Mark centre lines. Apr 19 N~008  N~009
Rout receptor slots for sides Apr 19 N~010 N~011
Rout receptor slots for top Apr 19 N~012 N~013
Mark heel and foot profiles. Apr 20 N~014 N~015
Cut heel and foot profiles. Apr 20 N~016 N~017 N~018
Rough cut heel and foot side curvature profiles. Apr 20 N~019 N~020 N~021
Square off the "foot". Apr 20 N~022 N~023 N~024 N~025
Prepare and glue headstock veneers. Trim excess when dry Apr 21 N~026 N~027 N~028 N~029
Prepare and glue headstock face plate. Trim excess. Apr 21 N~030 N~031 N~032
Cut headstock to length. Cut nut stop. Apr 21 N~033 N~034
Rough cut the neck & headstock tapers Apr 22 N~035 N~036 N~037
Plane the neck sides to oversized width.  Apr 22 N~038
True up and square headstock sides Apr 22 N~039
Mark, cut and sand the headstock end. Apr 22 N~040 N~041 N~042 N~043
Drill tuner holes. Apr 23 N~044 N~045 N~046
Rout headstock slots. Apr 23 N~047 N~048 N~049
Cut and chisel the headstock nut string exit ramps Apr 24 N~050 N~051 N~052 N~053
Refine surfaces and file flutes to complete headstock end design.. Apr 24 N~054 N~055 N~056
Rout a slot for a carbon fibre reinforcement rod. Apr 25 N~057 N~058 N~059
Prepare reinforcement rod and mahogany cap. Apr 25  N~060
Glue in carbon fiber rod with epoxy.. Glue in the mahogany cap strip and level when dry. Apr 25  N~061 N~062 N~063
Rough cut fret board tapered width. True width to final dimensions and establish initial thickness.. Apr 25 N~064 N~065 N~066 N~067
Mount fret board onto fret slotting system.  Apr 25 N~068 N~069 N~070
Mount fret slot blade in table saw.  Apr 25 N~071 N~072
Cut fret slots.  Apr 25 N~073 N~074
Cut off waste at the nut end of the neck. Apr 25 N~075 N~076
Taper the fret board thickness to final dimensions. using a tapered slave board and thickness sander. Apr 26 N~077 N~078
Drill locator pin holes in fret board at frets 1 and 11.and center the fretboard onto the neck. Apr 26 N~079 N~080 N~081
Mark and drill neck locator pin holes & install pins. Apr 26 N~082 N~083 N~084
Glue and clamp fret board to the neck. Apr 26 N~085 N~086 N~087
Plane and sand the sides of the neck flush with the fret board. Apr 26 N~088 N~089 N~090 N~091
Remove waste material from the underside of the neck extension Apr 28 N~092 N~093 N~094
True up underside of neck so that it will mate with the top. Apr 28 N~095
Shape and sand the "foot" section of the neck Apr 28 N~096 N~097 N~098
Level the fret board and finish sand to 150 grit using a long sanding block. Apr 28 N~099 N~100
Bevel the tops of the fret slots with a small triangular file. Apr 28 N~101
nstall MOP position markers at frets 7 and 12.  Apr 28 N~102 N~103 N~104
Hammer fret wire into slots 1 to 19 and cut the ends Apr 28 N~105 N~106
File the fret ends flush with fret board edges and then bevel them. Finish with a diamond stone.   Apr 30 N~107 N~108 N~109 N~110
When top ready, dry fit & align neck/top. Mark, cut & finish neck end May 06 N~111 N~112 N~113 N~114
Mark heel and headstock profiles  May 07 N~115 N~116
Rough shape headstock  and heel.  May 07 N~117 N~118 N~119
Carve and sand neck to final shape.  May 07 N~120 N~121 N~122
Install and finish the 20th fret May 11 N~123 N~124 N~125
Refine the neck shaft profile and finish sand May 11 N~126 N~127

 

SIDES   Photos
Cut ten 15mm wide maple lining strips  Apr 12 S~001
Thickness strips to 2.5 mm and tape the lining strips into two  groups of 5 each. Apr 13 S~002 S~003
Bend the lining strips to shape. Apr 15 S~004 S~005 S~006
Glue up lining strips in lamination mold. Apr 18 S~007 S~008
Trim laminated lining assemblies to height. Apr 22 S~009
Round inner edges of the linings. Apr 22 S~010 S~011
True up sides and thickness to 2.3mm Apr 27 S~012 S~013 S~014
Mark and cut side profiles.   Apr 27 S~015 S~016 S~017
Trim the side profiles. Apr 27 S~018
Bend Sides Apr 28 S~019 S~020 S~021
Fit sides in the outside mold. mark positions for the upper and lower bout end upright waist braces. Apr 30 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. Apr 30 S~024 S~025 S~026
Fit the sides in the mold & mark positions for upright waist braces Apr 30 S~027 S~028
Glue and clamp the upright waist braces.Plane and shape them to 1/2 round. Apr 30 S~029 S~030 S~031
Cut tail block to length. Sand to match side curvature at the tail area. Apr 30 S~032
Mark & cut tail block end angles.  Apr 30 S~033 S~034 S~035
Glue tail block to the sides. May 01 S~036
Mark top edges of the sides and sand in radiused sanding dish to create top profile  May 01 S~037 S~038
Mark and file recesses in the first top lining to fit over the upright braces May 01 S~039
Mark, cut and plane angles in the first top lining to fit the tail block May 01 S~040 S~041 S~042
Glue and clamp the first top lining to the sides. When dry, flush trim edges & scrape glue squeeze. May 01 S~043 S~044
Repeat the fitting and gluing processes for the second top lining. May 01 S~045 S~046 S~047
Mark top edges and sand to 30' top dome. May 02 S~048 S~049 S~050
Invert sides in mold. Mark back edges and sand to 15' back dome. May 02 S~051 S~052
Prepare and glue back linings following the same steps as for the top linings. May 02 S~053 S~054
Cut side wedge blanks to fit the side slots in the neck. May 03 S~054
Cut the wedge blanks to match the side of the neck recess May 03 S~055 S~056
Cut blanks into tapered wedges & plane the saw cut faces smooth May 03 S~057 S~058 S~059
Fit front wedges on linings. Mark saw lines on the linings and cut recesses. May 03 S~060 S~061 S~062 S~063
Cut recesses into the front wedges to form interlocking joint with the linings May 03 S~064 S~065
Glue front wedges to sides and trim. May 03 S~066 S~067 S~068
Adjust rear wedges. Dry fit the sides to the neck to complete the spanish heel joinery. May 03 S~069 S~070
Rout tail graft channel to fit tail graft.  May 09 S~071 S~072 S~073 S~074
Prepare and spot glue a temporary tail graft. Set permanent graft aside for later. May 09 S~075 S~076 S~077 S~078
Cut shallow channels at the top/neck area to make room for hand finishing the top binding rebates May 09 S~079 S~080
Cut Recess in lining to fit over the neck reinforcement patch on the top.  May 09 S~081 S~082

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SOUND BOARD   Photos
Select top, true up the center edges and join book matched plates. Apr 18 T~001
Scrape glue joint and level the top in the thickness sander. Apr 19 T~002
Cut the  background field for the rosette. Apr 21 T~003 T~004 T~005 T~006
Cut a 25mm gap out of the rosette field. Apr 21 T~007 T~008
Drill sound hole center and mount the top on rosette cutting board. Apr 21 T~009
Rout the inlay channel for the central rosette element Apr 21 T~010 T~011 T~012
Fit and glue the central motif for the rosette and level Apr 21 T~013 T~014 T~015 T~016
Rout the inlay channels for the inner and outer rosette borders May 04 T~017 T~018
Bend outer chain and central herringbone/wheat inlays elements  May 04 T~019 T~020
Cut veneer bands. Fit & glue the rosette elements.  May 04 T~021 T~022
Level the rosette when dry. May 05 T~023
Mark and cut out the top to profile. Fill the gap at the rosette ends May 05 T~024 T~025
Thickness top from underside. Finish sand both surfaces. May 05 T~026
Mark bracing and reinforcement pad positions May 05 T~027 T~028
Fabricate and glue the sound hole/rosette reinforcement patch May 05 T~029 T~030 T~031
Cut out sound hole.and round off the inside edge May 05 T~032 T~033 T~034
Attach neck joint reinforcement patch  May 05 T~035 T~036
Mark and cut out neck interlock slot and recesses in the adjacent perimeters. May 06 T~037 T~038
Dry fit the top to the neck. Align & clamp into the assembly mold and insert the sides May 06 T~039
Mark inner perimeter of the linings May 06 T~040
Cut fan brace stock from fine grained quarter sawn spruce.  May 06 T~041 T~042
Glue in center seam reinforcement. Shape and sand. May 07  T~043
Glue in lower fan braces. Shape and sand. May 07  T~044 T~045 T~046 T~047
Cut interlocking lap joint slots for upper fan braces. May 08 T~048
Fit and glue upper fan braces. Shape and sand. May 08 T~049 T~050 T~051 T~052
Fabricate transverse braces, sand radius in 30' dish. May 09 T~053 T~054 T~055
Plane the radiused bottom of the transverse braces square  May 09 T~056
Scallop the transverse brace ends and sand smooth. Check for fit to the top May 09 T~057 T~058 T~059
Glue in the two transverse braces below and above the sound hole.. May 09 T~060
Fabricate and glue in the last reinforcement patch and final transverse brace May 09 T~061 T~062
Round the top of the lower transverse brace. Plane and sand the upper transverse braces to shape.  May 09 T~063 T~064
Plane and sand the upper transverse braces to shape.  May 09 T~065 T~066
Glue and shape reinforcement braces on either side of the sound hole. May 09 T~067 T~068

 

BACK   Photos
Dimension and true up back plates May 12 B~001 B~002
Join and glue book matched back plates to center strip.  May 12 B~003  B~004
Mark out back profile, cut to shape. May 12 B~005 B~006
Thickness the back to 2.3 mm  May 12 B~007
Attach inner center seam reinforcement. May 12 B~008 B~009
Round off the center seam reinforcement with planes and sandpaper.  May 13 B~010 B~011
Cut mahogany back braces.   May 13 B~012 B~013
Mark positions of  back braces on center strip and cut passages for the braces.  May 13 B~014 B~015 B~016 B~017
Fit the back braces in the recesses May 13 B~018 B~019
Radius back braces in 15' sanding dish and plane square May 13  B~020 B~021 B~022
Check the radius of the braces in the 15' radiused solera. May 13 B~023
Cut scallops in the braces and smooth on drum sander. May 13  B~024 B~025 B~026
Glue the back braces to the back using the 15' radiused solers. May 13 B~027 B~028
Shape back braces with planes and sandpaper.  May 13  B~029 B~030 B~031

 

PURFLINGS & BINDINGS   Photos
Cut roasted flamed maple binding strips.  Apr 10 P~001 P~002 P~003
Glue up dark/light/dark veneer sandwich for top, back, binding and tail graft purflings .  Apr 11 P~004 P~005
Cut the veneer sandwich into strips of appropriate widths.  Apr 12 P~006
Glue side purfling strips to binding strips.and trim Apr 13 P~007
Tape binding strips together and finalize thickness  Apr 13 P~008 P~009
Bend bindings. Apr 14 P~010 P~011
Cut roasted flamed maple strips for the back centre seam and the tail graft Apr 14 P~012 P~013
Glue purfling to the  tail graft strip and trim May 09 P~014 P~015 P~016
Glue purfling to the back centre strip.and trim May 12 P~017 P~018 P~019
Tape top and back purflings together and bend   May 15 P~020 P~021
Assemble heel cap components  May 19 P~022 P~023
Mark and rough cut the heel cap profile.  May 19 P~024 P~025

 

BRIDGE Complete Photos
Cut bridge blank to the required dimensions. May 21 B~001
Mark string positions and drill pilot centers followed by string holes through the width of the tie block. May 21 B~002 B~003 B~004
Follow the same procedures for the secondary holes in the 12 hole bridge system. May 21 B~005
Cut saddle and tie block slots May 22 B~006 B~007
Radius the bottom of the bridge to fit the dome of the guitar top. May 22 B~008 B~009
Rough cut the bridge arms on the table saw May 23 B~010 B~011
Chisel and shape the ramp leading from the tie block to the saddle slot. May 23 B~012
Shape the arms of the bridge  May 23 B~013 B~014
Round off the leading edge pf the saddle slot retainer  May 23 B~015
Fabricate the tieblock cap from flamed maple and bone. Glue and clamp it to the tie block. May 24 B~016
Finish shaping and sanding and seal with shellac to prevent bleeding color onto top. May 24 B~017

 

ASSEMBLY   Photos
Align top to neck in assembly form & drill index holes though the top into neck May 11 A~001
Dry fit index dowels and check alignment from the top with an alignment tool. May 11 A~002 A~003
Apply glue to the neck/top surface, align with index dowels & clamp. May 11 A~004 A~005
When dry scrape any glue squeeze out and flush cut the index dowels.. May 11 A~006 A~007 A~008
Replace neck/top in assembly form, insert sides & mark interlocking recesses in the transverse bars May 11 A~009 A~010
Remove sides and cut interlocking recesses in the transverse bars May 11 A~011 A~012 A~013
Replace sides & mark interlocking recesses in linings. May 11 A~014 A~015
Remove sides and  cut interlocking recesses into the linings.  May 11 A~016 A~017
Insert sides and check to ensure that the linings mate to the top all around. May 11 A~018
Apply glue to upper side linings and outer heel gluing surface. Insert sides and clamp. Glue in wedges. May 12 A~019 A~020
When dry, trim wedges and level the heel to the sides.  May 12 A~021 A~022
Refine back profile of sides on a 15' sanding dish to align with back doming. May 12 A~023 A~024 A~025 A~026
Align the back and clamp lightly. Mark the outline of the sides on the back braces. May 13 A~027 A~028
Measure & mark lines for the interlocking rebates in the back braces. Cut and chisel the rebates. May 13 A~029 A~030 A~031
Replace & align the back. Mark the locations for brace recesses in the sides/linings. May 13 A~032 A~033
Cut recesses in the sides/linings. May 13 A~034 A~035
Check back fit at all of the brace intersections. Prepare and affix the label to the back. May 13 A~036 A~037
Glue and clamp the back to the sides May 13 A~038
Trim the back plate flush to the sides. May 14 A~039 A~040
Remove the guitar from the mold and trim the top flush. May 14 A~041 A~042
Rout the initial 2mm purfling/binding rebates for the top and back. May 14 A~043 A~044
Rout the final 4.2mm purfling/binding rebates for the top and back. May 14 A~045 A~046 A~047
Mark and rough out the top binding rebates adjacent & into the pockets at the neck/body joint.. . May 15 A~048 A~049 A~050
Using chisels, dental picks & wood files complete the top binding rebates.   May 15 A~051 A~052 A~053
Draw lines to extend the binding channels to the back centre strips May 15 A~054
Rough cut the heel down level to the bottom of binding channel. May 15 A~055 A~056 A~057
File the heel mooth and even with  the bottom of binding channel. May 15 A~058 A~059
Hand finish the back binding rebates at the heel and tail May 15 A~060 A~061
Cut 45 degree miters into the purflings at the ends of back center strip. May 15 A~062 A~063 A~064
Fit top purflings. Glue and clamp with rubber bands. May 16 A~065 A~066
Trim top purflings and sand level to top... May 16 A~067 A~068
Cut the back purflings to length. Cut and fit the miter joints the the centre strip. May 16 A~069 A~070 A~071
Gluie & clamp the back purflings. Sand level when dry. May 16 A~072 A~073 A~074
Remove the temporary tail graft and glue in the permanent graft May 17 A~075
Miter the tail graft ends. May 17 A~076
Mark and cut the top bindings to fit. Miter the purfling to join the tail graft miter.  May 18 A~077
Glue and clamp.  May 18 A~078 A~079
When dry, remove the clamping bands and scrape/sand the binding flush to the top.  May 18 A~080 A~081
Fit and glue the back bindings.. May 18 A~082
Scrape and sand the back bindings flush with the back plates. May 18 A~083
Scrape the bindings flush to the side surfaces and rough sand.. May 19 A~084
Glue and clamp the heel cap.  May 19 A~085
Trim the heel cap flush to the back plate and sides of the heel.  May 19 A~086
Round binding corners.  May 20 A~087
Finish sand the entire guitar.  May 20 A~088 A~089 A~090 A~091
Drill bridge locator pin holes at the bottom of the saddle slot. May 25 A~092
Position bridge & drill index holes into top.  May 25 A~093
Glue index pins into the bridge. May 25 A~094 A~095
Position bridge and tape boundaries to catch glue squeeze out.  May 25 A~096
Position gluing caul to the underside of the top.Glue and clamp bridge. May 25 A~097 A~098
Remove clamps and clean up squeezed out glue. May 25 A~099
Seal all surfaces with shellac.  May 25 A~100 A~101 A~102 A~103
Fabricate nut & saddle. May 26 A~104 A~105
Install tuners May 26 A~106 A~107
Attach strings and set action heights. May 26 A~108 A~109 A~110
 Evaluate the guitar's response over 2 - 3 days.  May 26 A~111 A~112 A~113

 

French Polish  

Photos

Fill back/side pores with pumice using a cloth covered pad.  Jun 02 F~001 F~002
Sand with 220 grit to remove pumice residue. Clean up with a tack cloth.  Jun 05 F~003 F~004
Build a body of shellac over back/side surfaces (this takes many sessions over several days). Jun 08 F~005 F~006
Level all surfaces with 800 grit wet/dry sand paper.  Jun 10 F~007 F~008 F~009 F~010
Pore fill the neck. Sand smooth and build a shellac body. Jun 11 F~011 F~012 F~013
Start on the top and repeat leveling and bodying  all surfaces until a satisfactory surface results. Jun 12 F~014 F~015
When all surfaces are well bodied, conduct a final wet sanding to the entire instrument. Jun 14 F~016 F~017 F~018 F~019
Apply thin glazing coats to all surfaces. Cure for 2 or 3 days and rub down with fine abrasive polish compound Jun 20 F~020 F~021 F~022 F~023
Matte the neck finish with fine sponge pad abrasive. Jun 20 F~024 F~025
Scrape shellac from fretboard edges.  Crown and polish the frets. Jun 21 F~026
Clean shellac out of peg head holes. Install tuners, nut, saddle and strings Jun 21 F~027 F~028 F~029
Additional Photos Jun 22 F~030 F~031 F~032 F~033 F~034
Additional Photos Jun 22 F~035 F~036 F~037