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 8, 2018.

Latest Update: Sep 08.

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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.    
Cut off head stock to scarf joint angle and prepare components for gluing    
Glue head stock to the neck shaft.    
Glue the heel block to the neck shaft    
Clean up glue squeeze out and plane neck assembly to dimensions needed for subsequent steps.    
Mark the position of neck to body joint. Mark centre lines.    
Rout receptor slots for sides    
Rout receptor slots for top    
Cut heel and foot profiles.    
Rough cut heel and foot side curvature profiles.    
Square off the "foot".    
Prepare and glue headstock veneers. Trim excess when dry    
Prepare and glue headstock face plate. Trim excess.    
Cut nut stop. Cut headstock to length. .    
Rough cut the neck & headstock tapers    
True up and square headstock sides    
Plane the neck sides to oversized width.     
Mark, cut and sand the headstock end design    
Drill tuner holes and check with tuners for accurate fit.    
Rout headstock slots.    
Cut and chisel the headstock nut string exit ramps    
File flutes and refine surfaces to complete headstock end design..    
Rout a slot for a carbon fibre reinforcement rod.    
Prepare reinforcement rod and mahogany cap.    
Glue in carbon fiber rod with epoxy.. Glue in the mahogany cap strip and level when dry.    
Rough cut fret board tapered width. True width to final dimensions and establish initial thickness..    
Mount fret board onto fret slotting system.     
Mount fret slot blade in table saw.     
Cut fret slots.     
Cut off waste at the nut end of the neck.    
Taper the fret board thickness to final dimensions. using a tapered slave board and thickness sander.    
Drill locator pin holes in fret board at frets 1 and 12.and center the fretboard onto the neck.    
Mark and drill neck locator pin holes & install pins.    
Glue and clamp fret board to the neck. When dry, check to ensure the board is flat.     
Plane and sand the sides of the neck flush with the fret board.    
Remove waste material from the underside of the neck extension    
True up underside of neck so that it will mate with the top.    
Level the fret board and file bevels into the fret slots. Finish sand to 150 grit.    
Hammer fret wire into slots and cut ends    
File the fret ends flush with fret board edges and then bevel them. Finish with a diamond stone.      
Mark heel and headstock profiles     
Rough shape headstock  and heel.     
Carve and sand neck to final shape.     
Finish sand with fine sanding sponge.     
When top ready, dry fit & align neck/top. Mark, cut & finish neck end    
Install and finish the 20th fret    
nstall MOP position markers at frets 7 and 12.     


SIDES Date Photos
Cut ten 15mm wide oak lining strips     
Thickness strips to 2.5 mm and tape the lining strips into two  groups of 5 each.    
Bend the lining strips to shape.    
Glue up lining strips in lamination mold.    
Trim laminated lining assemblies to height.    
Round inner edges of the linings and seal with shellac.    
True up sides.    
Cut rosewood binding strips.     
Mark and cut side profiles.      
Trim the side profiles. Thickness sides to 2.3mm.    
Bend Sides    
Fit sides in the outside mold. mark positions for the upper and lower bout end upright waist braces.    
Mark and cut ends of the sides to fit neck recess and butt joint at the tail. File the ends to true.    
Mark positions for upright waisGlue and clamp the upright waist braces.    
Plane and shape (1/2 round) upright waist braces..    
Mark top edges of the sides and sand in radiused sanding dish to create top profile     
Cut tail block to length. Sand to match side curvature at the tail area.    
Mark & cut tail block end angles.     
Glue tail block to the sides. Plane and sand tail block edges.    
Mark and file recesses in the first top lining to fit over the upright braces    
Mark, cut and plane angles in the first top lining to fit the tail block    
Glue and clamp the first top lining to the sides. When dry, flush trim edges & scrape glue squeeze.    
Repeat the fitting and gluing processes for the second top lining.    
Invert sides in mold. Mark back edges and sand to 15' back dome.    
Prepare and glue back linings following the same steps as for the top linings.    
Cut side wedge blanks     
Cut blanks to match the side of the neck recess    
Cut blanks into tapered wedges & plane the saw cut faces smooth    
Fit front wedges on linings. Mark saw lines on the linings and cut recesses.    
Cut recesses into the front wedges to form interlocking joint with the linings    
Glue front wedges to sides and trim.    
Adjust rear wedges. Dry fit the sides to the neck to complete the spanish heel joinery.    
Rout tail graft channel to fit tail graft.     
Prepare and spot glue a temporary tail graft. Set permanent graft aside for later.    
Mark top linings and finalize domed top profile in 30' radiused sanding dish    
Cut Recess in lining to fit over the neck reinforcement patch on the top.     
Cut shallow channels at the top/neck area to make room for hand finishing the top binding rebates    


Select top, true up the center edges and join book matched plates.    
Scrape glue joint and level the top in the thickness sander.    
Mark and drill sound hole center.    
Rout the inlay channel for the central rosette element    
Cut the  central motif for the rosette.    
Fit and glue the central motif for the rosette and level    
Rout the inlay channels for the rosette central motif and borders    
Bend herringbone/wheat motif and chain borders.    
Cut veneer inlay bands. Dry fit the rosette elements.     
Glue the rosette elements and level.when dry     
Mark and cut out the top to profile.    
Thickness top from underside. Finish sand both surfaces. and tune to fundamental resonance (Bb)    
Fill the gap at the rosette ends    
Measure the stiffness of the raw top    
Mark bracing and reinforcement pad positions    
Route a channel for the tornavoz in 2mm patch wood. Fabricate and attach sound hole patch .    
Cut out sound hole.     
Attach neck joint reinforcement patch     
Cut out neck interlock slot.       
Cut recesses in the perimeters adjacent to the neck slot       
Dry fit the top to the neck. Align and clamp into the assembly mold and insert the sides    
Mark inner perimeter of the linings    
Cut fan brace stock from fine grained quarter sawn spruce.     
Glue in lower fan braces. Shape and sand.    
Glue in center seam reinforcements. Shape and sand.    
Cut interlocking lap joint slots, fit and glue upper fan braces. Shape and sand.    
Fabricate transverse braces, sand radius in 30' dish and plane the bottoms square     
Scallop the transverse brace ends and sand smooth.    
Glue in the two transverse braces below and above the sound hole..    
Fabricate and glue in the last reinforcement patch, final transverse brace    
Round the top of the lower transverse brace. Plane and sand the upper transverse braces to shape.     
Laminate the tornavoz and check for fit.    


BACK Date Photos
Dimension and true up back plates    
Cut strips from the back plates for the back center and tail graft.     
Prepare purfling strips for the back centre strip.    
Glue veneer purfling to back center and tail graft strips      
Trim back center and tail graft purfling flush      
Join and glue book matched back plates to center strip.     
Mark out back profile, cut to shape & thickness     
Thickness the back to 2.3 mm     
Attach inner center seam reinforcement. Round off with planes and sandpaper     
Mark positions of  back braces on center strip, cut passages and fit braces.     
Radius back braces in 15' sanding dish and plane square    
Cut scallops in the braces and smooth on drum sander.    
Glue the back braces to the back using a 15' radiused form    
Shape back braces with planes and sandpaper.     


Glue up light/dark/light veneer sandwich for back, binding and tail graft purflings .     
Cut the veneer sandwich into strips of appropriate widths.     
Cut flamed maple slice and thickness to 1.2mm and glue to black veneer for top purfling.     
Cut top purfling strips .    
Tape top and back purflings together and bend      
Cut rosewood binding strips.     
Glue side purfling strips to binding strips.and trim    
Tape binding strips together and finalize thickness     
Bend bindings.    
Assemble heel cap components     
Mark and rough cut the heel cap profile.     


BRIDGE Date Photos
Cut bridge blank to the required dimensions.    
Mark string positions and drill pilot centers followed by string holes through the width of the tie block.    
Follow the same procedures for the secondary holes in the 12 hole bridge system.    
Saw saddle slot and boundary cuts for the tie block and bridge arms    
Radius the bottom of the bridge to fit the dome of the guitar top.    
Chisel and shape the ramp leading from the tie block to saddle slot.     
Round off the leading edge pf the saddle slot retainer     
Round the arms of the bridge     
Angle the ends of the arms (5 degrees) and slightly round the trailing edges. Bevel the arm ends.    
Fabricate  the tie block cap from rosewood and bone    
Glue the tie block cap. Finish sand and seal the bridge to prevent bleeding color onto top.    
Drill bridge locator pin holes at the bottom of the saddle slot.    


ASSEMBLY Date Photos
Align top to neck in assembly form & drill index holes though the top into neck    
Install temporary dowels, remove from form and check alignment from the top.    
Apply glue to the neck/top surface, align with index dowels & clamp. Cut off dowels when dry.    
Replace neck/top in assembly form, insert sides & mark interlocking recesses in transverse bars    
Remove sides and cut interlocking recesses in transverse bars    
Replace sides & mark interlocking recesses in linings.    
Remove sides and  cut interlocking recesses into the linings.     
Apply glue to upper side linings and outer heel gluing surface. Insert sides and clamp. Glue in wedges.    
When dry, trim wedges and level the heel to the sides.     
Refine back profile of sides on a 15' sanding dish to align with back doming.    
Glue and clamp the tornavoz     
Align the back and clamp lightly. Mark the outline of the sides on the back braces.    
Measure & mark lines for the interlocking rebates in the back braces. Cut and chisel the rebates.    
Replace & align the back. Mark the location for brace recesses in the sides/linings.    
Cut recesses in the sides/linings.    
Check back fit at all of the brace intersections. Prepare and affix the label to the back.    
Glue and clamp the back to the sides    
Trim the back plate flush to the sides. Remove the guitar from the mold and trim the top flush.    
Shellac the edges of the top and rout the purfling/binding rebates for the top and back.    
Rough out the top binding rebates adjacent & into the pockets at the neck/body joint.. .    
Using chisels, dental picks & wood files complete the top binding rebates.      
Mark off the back rebate locations. Remove the excess back material.    
Cut the heel down level to the bottom of binding channel.    
Hand finish the back binding rebates at the heel.    
Hand finish the back binding rebates at the tail.     
Cut 45 degree miters into the purflings at the ends of center strip.    
Fit right top purfling. Glue and clamp with rubber bands.    
Trim right top purfling and sand level to top...    
Fit and glue left top purfling and flush trim.    
Fit and glue the left back purflings. Trim and level to the back plate.    
Repeat the fitting, gluing and leveling for the right back purfling    
Remove the temporary tail graft. Measure and cut the permanent graft.to length    
Glue in the permanent graft and trim level to the sides.    
Miter the tail graft ends.    
Mark and cut the left top binding to fit. Miter the purfling to join the tail graft miter.     
Glue and clamp.  When dry, remove the clamping bands and scrape/sand the binding flush to the top.     
Repeat the fitting, gluing and flush trimming for the right top binding.    
Fit and glue the back bindings..    
Scrape and sand the back bindings flush with the back plates.    
Scrape the bindings flush to the side surfaces and rough sand..    
Prepare the heel clamp platform. Glue and clamp the heel cap.     
Trim the heel cap flush to the back plate and sides of the heel.     
Round binding corners.     
Finish sand the entire guitar.     
Position bridge & drill index holes into top.     
Check scale length for accuracy    
Glue index pins into the bridge.    
Position bridge and tape boundaries to catch glue squeeze out.     
Position gluing caul to the underside of the top. Hold with magnets.     
Glue and clamp bridge    
Seal all surfaces with shellac.     
Level the frets with a flat diamond abrasive plate. Check levels individually.    
Crown the frets wit 300 grit diamond file and polish to 400 grit.    
Fabricate nut & saddle.    
Install tuners    
Attach strings and set action heights. Evaluate response over 2 - 3 days.     


French Polish Date


Fill back/side/neck pores with pumice using a cloth covered pad.     
Sand with 220 grit to remove residue     
Build a body of shellac over all surfaces ( this takes many sessions over several days).    
Level all surfaces with 800 grit wet/dry sand paper.     
Apply more shellac body     
Repeat leveling and bodying until a satisfactory surface results    
Rub down with fine abrasive polish compound    
Clean up with Dunlop 65 Guitar Polish & Cleaner. Matte the neck finish with fine abrasive.    
Scrape shellac from fretboard edges.  Crown and polish the frets    
Clean shellac out of peg head holes. Install tuners, nut, saddle and strings    
Additional Photos