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 July 26/19.

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Latest Update Period: Sep 14 to Sep 15. Continued Sides. Started Neck.  (I'll be away Sep 16 & 17)

Design Features

Fully domed sloped Top with elevated fretboard

Spanish heel neck to body construction

Daniel Friederich Style Bracing

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

Spanish Cedar (Cedro)

Black African Ebony

Indian Rosewood

Ash

Indian Rosewood

Black,Cherry, Black Veneer

Nickel Silver

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

Bleached bone

Graf Landstorfer

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NECK   Photos
Cut off head stock to scarf joint angle and prepare components for gluing Sep 15 Neck~001 Neck~002
Glue head stock to the neck shaft. Sep 15 Neck~003 Neck~004
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    
Mark heel and foot profiles.    
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 headstock to length. Cut nut stop.    
Rough cut the neck & headstock tapers    
Plane the neck sides to oversized width.     
True up and square headstock sides    
Mark, cut and sand the headstock end.    
Drill tuner holes.    
Rout headstock slots.    
Cut and chisel the headstock nut string exit ramps    
Refine surfaces and file flutes 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 11.and center the fretboard onto the neck.    
Mark and drill neck locator pin holes & install pins.    
Glue and clamp fret board to the neck.    
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.    
Shape and sand the "foot" section of the neck    
Level the fret board and finish sand to 150 grit using a long sanding block.    
Bevel the tops of the fret slots with a small triangular file.    
nstall MOP position markers at frets 7 and 12.     
Hammer fret wire into slots 1 to 19 and cut the ends    
File the fret ends flush with fret board edges and then bevel them. Finish with a diamond stone.      
When top ready, dry fit & align neck/top. Mark, cut & finish neck end    
Mark heel and headstock profiles     
Rough shape headstock  and heel.     
Carve and sand neck to final shape.     
Install and finish the 20th fret    
Refine the neck shaft profile and finish sand    

 

SIDES   Photos
Cut ten 15mm wide maple lining strips  Sep 05 Sides~001 Sides~002
Thickness strips to 2.5 mm and tape the lining strips into two  groups of 5 each. Sep 05 Sides~003 Sides~004
Bend the lining strips to shape. Sep 06 Sides~005 Sides~006 Sides~007
Glue up lining strips in lamination mold. Sep 08 Sides~008 Sides~009
Trim laminated lining assemblies to height. Sep 09 Sides~010
Round inner edges of the linings. Sep 10 Sides~011 Sides~012
True up sides and thickness to 2.3mm Sep 11 Sides~013 Sides~014
Mark and cut side profiles.   Sep 11 Sides~015 Sides~016 Sides~017
Trim the side profiles. Sep 11 Sides~018
Bend Sides Sep 12 Sides~019 Sides~020 Sides~021
Mark positions for the upper and lower bout end upright waist braces. Sep 12 Sides~022 Sides~023
Mark & cut ends of sides to fit neck recess & butt joint at the tail. File ends to true. Sep 12 Sides~024 Sides~025 Sides~026
Fit the sides in the mold & mark positions for upright waist braces Sep 13 Sides~027 Sides~028
Glue and clamp the upright waist braces. Sep 13 Sides~029 Sides~030
Plane and shape the waist braces to 1/2 round. Sep 13 Sides~031 Sides~032
Mark top edges of the sides and sand in radiused sanding dish to create top profile  Sep 13 Sides~033 Sides~034
Cut tail block to length. Sand to match side curvature at the tail area. Sep 13 Sides~035 Sides~036 Sides~037
Mark & cut tail block end angles.  Sep 13 Sides~038 Sides~039 Sides~040
Glue tail block to the sides. Scrape glue squeeze and soften the edges. Sep 14 Sides~041 Sides~042 Sides~043
Mark and file recesses in the first top lining to fit over the upright braces Sep 14 Sides~044 Sides~045
Mark, cut and plane angles in the first top lining to fit the tail block Sep 14 Sides~046
Glue and clamp the first top lining to the sides. When dry, flush trim edges & scrape glue squeeze. Sep 14 Sides~047 Sides~048
Repeat the fitting and gluing processes for the second top lining. Sep 14 Sides~049 Sides~050
Invert sides in mold. Mark back edges and sand to 15' back dome. Sep 15 Sides~051
Prepare and glue back linings following the same steps as for the top linings. Sep 15 Sides~052
Cut side wedge blanks to fit the side slots in the neck.    
Cut the wedge 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.    
Cut shallow channels at the top/neck area to make room for hand finishing the top binding rebates    
Cut Recess in lining to fit over the neck reinforcement patch on the top.     

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SOUND BOARD   Photos
Select top, true up the center edges and cut the top plates to width.. Sep 01 Top~001 Top~002 Top~003 Top~004
Join the plates. Scrape glue joint and level the top in the thickness sander. Sep 02 Top~005 Top~006 Top~007 Top~008
Cut the  background field for the rosette. Sep 03 Top~009 Top~010 Top~011 Top~012
Drill sound hole center and mount the top on rosette cutting board. Sep 04 Top~013 Top~014
Rout the inlay channel for the central rosette element Sep 04 Top~015 Top~016
Cut a 25mm gap out of the rosette field. Sep 04 Top~017 Top~018
Fit and glue the central motif for the rosette and level Sep 04 Top~019 Top~020 Top~021 Top~022
Rout the inlay channels for the inner and outer rosette borders Sep 05 Top~023 Top~024
Bend outer chain and central herringbone/wheat inlay elements  Sep 05 Top~025 Top~026
Cut veneer bands. Fit & glue the rosette elements and level when dry. Sep 06 Top~027 Top~028
Mark and cut out the top to profile. Sep 06 Top~029 Top~030 Top~031 Top~032
 Fill the gap at the rosette ends    
Thickness top from underside. Finish sand both surfaces.    
Mark bracing and reinforcement pad positions    
Fabricate and glue the sound hole/rosette reinforcement patch    
Cut out sound hole.and round off the inside edge    
Attach neck joint reinforcement patch     
Mark and cut out neck interlock slot and recesses in the adjacent perimeters.    
Dry fit the top to the neck. Align & 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 center seam reinforcement. Shape and sand.    
Glue in lower fan braces. Shape and sand.    
Cut interlocking lap joint slots for upper fan braces.    
Fit and glue upper fan braces. Shape and sand.    
Fabricate transverse braces, sand radius in 30' dish.    
Plane the radiused bottom of the transverse braces square     
Scallop the transverse brace ends and sand smooth. Check for fit to the top    
Glue in the two transverse braces below and above the sound hole..    
Fabricate and glue in the last reinforcement patch and final transverse brace    
Round the top of the lower transverse brace. Plane and sand the upper transverse braces to shape.     
Plane and sand the upper transverse braces to shape.     
Glue and shape reinforcement braces on either side of the sound hole.    

 

BACK   Photos
Dimension and true up back plates    
Join and glue book matched back plates to center strip.     
Mark out back profile, cut to shape.    
Thickness the back to 2.3 mm     
Attach inner center seam reinforcement.    
Round off the center seam reinforcement with planes and sandpaper.     
Cut mahogany back braces.      
Mark positions of  back braces on center strip and cut passages for the braces.     
Fit the back braces in the recesses    
Radius back braces in 15' sanding dish and plane square    
Check the radius of the braces in the 15' radiused solera.    
Cut scallops in the braces and smooth on drum sander.    
Glue the back braces to the back using the 15' radiused solers.    
Shape back braces with planes and sandpaper.     

 

PURFLINGS & BINDINGS   Photos
Cut binding strips from side material Sep 11 PB~001 PB~002
Glue up dark/light/dark veneer sandwich for top, back, binding and tail graft purflings .     
Cut the veneer sandwich into strips of appropriate widths.     
Glue side purfling strips to binding strips.and trim    
Tape binding strips together and finalize thickness     
Bend bindings.    
Cut roasted flamed maple strips for the back centre seam and the tail graft    
Glue purfling to the  tail graft strip and trim    
Glue purfling to the back centre strip.and trim    
Tape top and back purflings together and bend      
Assemble heel cap components     
Mark and rough cut the heel cap profile.     

 

BRIDGE Complete 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.    
Cut saddle and tie block slots    
Radius the bottom of the bridge to fit the dome of the guitar top.    
Rough cut the bridge arms on the table saw    
Chisel and shape the ramp leading from the tie block to the saddle slot.    
Shape the arms of the bridge     
Round off the leading edge pf the saddle slot retainer     
Fabricate the tieblock cap from flamed maple and bone. Glue and clamp it to the tie block.    
Finish shaping and sanding and seal with shellac to prevent bleeding color onto top.    

 

ASSEMBLY   Photos
Align top to neck in assembly form & drill index holes though the top into neck    
Dry fit index dowels and check alignment from the top with an alignment tool.    
Apply glue to the neck/top surface, align with index dowels & clamp.    
When dry scrape any glue squeeze out and flush cut the index dowels..    
Replace neck/top in assembly form, insert sides & mark interlocking recesses in the transverse bars    
Remove sides and cut interlocking recesses in the transverse bars    
Replace sides & mark interlocking recesses in linings.    
Remove sides and  cut interlocking recesses into the linings.     
Insert sides and check to ensure that the linings mate to the top all around.    
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.    
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 locations 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.    
Rout the initial 2mm purfling/binding rebates for the top and back.    
Rout the final 4.2mm purfling/binding rebates for the top and back.    
Mark and 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.      
Draw lines to extend the binding channels to the back centre strips    
Rough cut the heel down level to the bottom of binding channel.    
File the heel mooth and even with  the bottom of binding channel.    
Hand finish the back binding rebates at the heel and tail    
Cut 45 degree miters into the purflings at the ends of back center strip.    
Fit top purflings. Glue and clamp with rubber bands.    
Trim top purflings and sand level to top...    
Cut the back purflings to length. Cut and fit the miter joints the the centre strip.    
Gluie & clamp the back purflings. Sand level when dry.    
Remove the temporary tail graft and glue in the permanent graft    
Miter the tail graft ends.    
Mark and cut the top bindings 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.     
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..    
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.     
Drill bridge locator pin holes at the bottom of the saddle slot.    
Position bridge & drill index holes into top.     
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.Glue and clamp bridge.    
Remove clamps and clean up squeezed out glue.    
Seal all surfaces with shellac.     
Fabricate nut & saddle.    
Install tuners    
Attach strings and set action heights.    
 Evaluate the guitar's response over 2 - 3 days.     

 

French Polish  

Photos

Fill back/side pores with pumice using a cloth covered pad.     
Sand with 220 grit to remove pumice residue. Clean up with a tack cloth.     
Build a body of shellac over back/side surfaces (this takes many sessions over several days).    
Level all surfaces with 800 grit wet/dry sand paper.     
Pore fill the neck. Sand smooth and build a shellac body.    
Start on the top and repeat leveling and bodying  all surfaces until a satisfactory surface results.    
When all surfaces are well bodied, conduct a final wet sanding to the entire instrument.    
Apply thin glazing coats to all surfaces. Cure for 2 or 3 days and rub down with fine abrasive polish compound    
Matte the neck finish with fine sponge pad 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    
Additional Photos