Michael F. Lazar
Luthier

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A GUITAR UNDER CONSTRUCTION

The following charts list the steps that I will complete during the construction of a guitar that I started on May 15, 2018.This will be a top wood experiment using torrefied Red Spruce. The term "torrefied" means that the wood was subjected to high temperatures in an oxygen free environment. Purportedly the process emulates decades of aging. The wood darkens very considerably to a deep golden brown. While most of the 126 classical guitars I've built are from traditional woods, I like to experiment. Based upon its exceptional reputation with steel string acoustic guitars, I'm hoping the red spruce will be both interesting and satisfying.

The tasks that have been completed are marked as to the date the task was done. 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 takes place under a number of sections during the same time period so you may want to review the whole page each time you come here looking for progress. This page was cleared and restarted May23,2018. 

Latest update May 29/18   Work on the neck

Depending upon browser and screen settings you may wish to maximize the images for best viewing. 

Materials are as follows:

Sound board

Back and Sides

Neck

Fret board

Bridge

Linings and tail block

Bindings

Purflings

Frets

Rosette

Nut and Saddle

Tuners

Torrefied Red Spruce (Adirondack)

East Indian Rosewood

Spanish Cedar (Cedro)

Black African Ebony

Indian Rosewood

Red Oak

Indian Rosewood

Maple, Black Veneer

Nickel Silver

Contemporary

Bleached bone, fully compensated for intonation

Gotoh Premium 

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NECK Complete Photos
Prepare the neck blank materials and cut the scarf for the headstock May 20 N~001  N~002  N~003
Glue up the basic neck components May 20 N~004 N~005 N~006 N~007
Mark the 12 Fret position and neck center lines. May 21 N~008  N~009
Rout receptor slots for sides May 21 N~010 N~011 N~012
Rout receptor slots for top May 21 N~013 N~014 N~015
Cut heel and foot profiles. May 22 N~016 N~017 N~018
Rough cut heel and foot side curvature profiles. May 23 N~019 N~020 N~021 N~022
Prepare and glue headstock veneers. May 24 N~023 N~024
Prepare and glue headstock face plate. Trim excess. May 24 N~025 N~026 N~027
Cut nut stop. Cut headstock to length. May 25 N~028 N~029
Rough cut the neck  and headstock tapers. May 25 N~030 N~031 N~032 N~033
Plane the headstock tapers and neck shaft. May 25 N~034 N~035 N~036
Mark, cut and sand the headstock end design May 25 N~037 N~038 N~039 N~040
Drill tuner holes and check with tuners for accurate fit. May 26 N~041 N~042 N~043
Rout headstock slots. May 27 N~044 N~045 N~046
Chisel ramps into the headstock slots. May 27 N~047 N~048 N~049
Complete the headstock end design May 27 N~050 N~051
Rout a slot for a carbon fibre reinforcement rod. May 28 N~052 N~053 N~054
Prepare reinforcement rod and mahogany cap. May 28 N~055
Glue in carbon fiber rod with epoxy.. Glue in the mahogany cap strip and level when dry. May 28 N~056 N~057
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.    
Center the fretboard onto the neck.Mark and drill neck locator pin holes & install pins.    
Glue and clamp fret board to the neck.    
Level the fret board and file bevels into the fret slots. Finish sand to 150 grit.    
Cut and chisel the headstock nut string exit ramps    
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.    
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 profile     
Rough shape headstock  and heel.     
Carve and sand neck to final shape.     
Finish sand with fine sanding sponge.     
When top is 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 Complete Photos
Cut ten 15mm wide oak lining strips  May 22 S~001
Thickness strips to 2.5 mm and tape the lining strips into two  groups of 5 each. May 23 S~002  S~003
Bend the lining strips to shape. May 23 S~004  S~005
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 side blanks      
Mark and cut 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.    
Glue and clamp the upright waist braces.Plane and shape (1/2 round)    
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.    
File recesses in the first top lining to fit over the upright braces. Cut and plane angles 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    

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SOUND BOARD Complete Photos
Select top, true up the center edges and join book matched plates. May 20 T~001 T~002
Rout the inlay channel for the rosette background May 22 T~003
Route channels for rosette borders and central motifs May 23 T~004
Inlay borders and central motif.Scrape and sand level. May 24 T~005
Mark and cut out the top to profile. May 25 T~006
Thickness top from underside. Finish sand both surfaces. and tune to fundamental resonance (Bb)    
Mark bracing and reinforcement pad positions    
Fabricate and attach sound hole patch .    
Cut out sound hole. Remove top section of the soundhole patch.    
Attach neck joint reinforcement patch     
Mark and cut out neck interlock 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 topn bracing elements from fine grained quarter sawn spruce.     
Glue in lower transverse brace. Shape and sand.    
Profile outer fan brace stock to 30' radius and cut to height.    
Glue and shape the two outer fan braces. Shape and sand.    
Glue,shape and sand the five inner fan braces.      
Fabricate braces that interlock across inner fans.    
Glue in the crossing braces, shape and sand.     
Fabricate & glue in the transverse brace below the sound hole.. Shape and sand    
Glue in the transverse brace above the sound hole and reinforcing braces beside the sound hole.    
Fabricate and glue in the last reinforcement patch,    
 Glue last transverse brace. Plane and sand the upper transverse braces to shape.     

 

BACK Complete Photos
Dimension and true up back plates    
Glue veneer purfling to back center and tail graft strips      
Trim back center strip 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     
Calculate & mark locations for the center seam reinforcement ends    
Attach inner center seam reinforcement.    
Round off center seam reinforcement 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.     

 

PURFLINGS & BINDINGS Complete Photos
Cut rosewood binding strips.     
Cut strips from the back plates for back center & tail graft purflings    
Glue up light/dark/light veneer sandwich for tail graft purflings .     
Fabricate the tail graft    
Glue up light/dark/light veneer sandwich for back and binding 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      
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 Complete Photos
Cut & thickness 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 cut for the tie block    
Radius the bottom of the bridge to fit the dome of the guitar top.    
Rough cut the bridge arms    
Round the arms of the bridge     
Chisel and shape the ramp leading from the tie block to saddle slot.     
Round off the leading edge pf the saddle slot retainer     
Bevel the arm ends.    
Fabricate  the tie block cap from rosewood and bone    
Glue the tie block cap.    
Finish sand and seal the bridge with shellac    

 

ASSEMBLY Complete 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.     
Cut recesses to make room for hand finishing the top binding rebates into the neck.    
Replace sides and check for a good fit to the top..    
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 location for brace recesses in the sides/linings.    
Cut recesses in the sides/linings.    
Glue and clamp the back to the sides    
Trim the back plate flush to the sides. Remove the guitar from the mold.    
Trim the sound board flush.to the sides    
Rout the purfling/binding rebates for the top and back.ro the initial depth    
Scrape the sides flat.    
Shellac the edges of the top and rout the purfling/binding rebates for the top and back.    
Rough out the top binding rebates at the neck.     
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 tail    
Hand finish the back binding rebates at the heel    
Cut 45 degree miters into the purflings at the ends of center strip.    
Fit right top purfling. Glue and clamp with rubber bands.    
Fit, glue and clamp left top purfling    
Sand top purfling flush to the top.    
Fit and glue the back purflings.     
Trim and level the back purflings to the back plate.    
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 right 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 left 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 sound board     
Drill locator pin holes at the bottom of the bridge 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. Hold with magnets.     
Glue and clamp bridge. Clean up glue squeeze out.    
Finish sand the sides, back and neck    
Seal all surfaces with shellac.     
Install tuners    
Level the frets with a flat diamond abrasive plate.    
Crown the frets with 300 grit diamond file and polish to 400 grit.    
Fabricate nut & saddle.    
Attach strings and set action heights. Evaluate response over 2 - 3 days.     
Additional Photos    

 

French Polish Complete

Photos

Fill back/side/neck pores with pumice using a cloth covered pad & alcohol.     
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.     
Repeat bodying and levelling until a satisfactory surface results    
Apply final glazing coats of shellac    
Reduce the gloss to a matte (satin) finish with fine abrasive.    
Scrape shellac from fretboard edges.  Polish the frets.    
Clean shellac out of peg head holes. Install tuners, nut, saddle and strings    
Additional Photos