Michael F. Lazar

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The following charts list the steps that I am executing during the construction of a guitar that was commissioned on November 20, 2018.

Latest Update: Mar 08 to Mar 31. Completed French Polish. Instrument 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

Striped Macassar Ebony

Honduran Mahogany

African Ebony

African Ebony

Red Oak

African Ebony

Cherry, 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. Dec 10 N~001
Cut off head stock to scarf joint angle and prepare components for gluing Dec 10 N~002 N~003 N~004
Glue head stock to the neck shaft. Dec 10 N~005 N~006
Glue the heel block to the neck shaft Dec 11 N~007
Clean up glue squeeze out and plane neck assembly to dimensions needed for subsequent steps. Dec 11 N~008
Mark the position of neck to body joint. Mark neck shaft centre lines. Dec 12 N~009 N~010
Rout receptor slots for sides Dec 12 N~011 N~012 N~013
Rout receptor slots for top Dec 12 N~014 N~015 N~016
Cut heel and foot profiles. Dec 12  N~017 N~018 N~019 N~020
Rough cut heel and foot side profiles. Dec 12 N~021 N~022
Prepare and glue headstock veneers. Trim excess when dry Dec 12 N~023 N~024
Prepare and glue headstock face plate. Trim excess. Dec 13 N~025 N~026 N~027
Square off the "foot". Dec 13 N~028 N~029
Mark the neck & headstock tapers & headstock design. Dec 13 N~030
Rough cut the neck & headstock tapers & headstock design. Dec 13 N~031 N~032
True up and square headstock sides Dec 13 N~033
Plane the neck sides and refine the headstock end design Dec 13 N~034
Drill tuner holes and check with tuners for accurate fit. Dec 15 N~035 N~036 N~037
Rout headstock slots. Dec 17 N~038 N~039 N~040
Cut, chisel and sand headstock slot ramps  Dec 19 N~041N~042 N~043 N~044
Rout a slot for a carbon fibre reinforcement rod. Dec 19 N~045 N~046 N~047
Prepare reinforcement rod and mahogany cap. Dec 23 N~048
Glue in carbon fiber rod with epoxy.. Glue in the mahogany cap and level when dry. Dec 23  N~049 N~050
Rough cut fret board tapered width. True width to final dimensions. Dec 24 N~051 N~052 N~053
Establish initial  fret board thickness. Dec 24 N~054
Mount fret board onto fret slotting system.  Dec 24 N~055 N~056 N~057 N~058
Mount fret slot blade in table saw.  Dec 24 N~059
Cut fret slots.  Dec 24 N~060 N~061
Cut off waste at the nut end of the fret board. Dec 24 N~062 N~063
Taper the fret board thickness to final dimensions. using a tapered slave board and thickness sander. Dec 24 N~064  N~065  N~066
Drill locator pin holes in fret board at frets 1 and 12.and center the fretboard onto the neck. Dec 26 N~067 N~068
Mark and drill neck locator pin holes & install pins. Dec 26 N~069 N~070 N~071
Glue and clamp fret board to the neck. When dry, check to ensure the board is flat.  Dec 26 N~072
Plane and sand the sides of the neck flush with the fret board. Dec 27 N~073 N~074
Level the fret board and finish sand to 150 grit. Clear sanding dust from the slots. Dec 27 N~075 N~076 N~077
File bevels into the tops of the fret slots. Dec 27 N~078
Remove waste material from the underside of the neck extension Dec 27 N~079 N~080 N~081
True up underside of neck so that it will mate with the top. Dec 27 N~082 N~083
Hammer fret wire into slots and cut ends Dec 27  N~084 N~085
File the fret ends flush with fret board edges and then bevel them. Finish with a diamond stone.   Dec 27  N~086 N~087 N~088
When top ready, dry fit & align neck/top. Mark the sound hole position on the neck end. Dec 30 N~089 N~090
Cut & finish neck end Dec 30 N~091 N~092 N~093
Install and finish the 20th fret Feb 02 N~094
nstall MOP position markers at frets 7 and 12.  Feb 02 N~095
Mark heel and headstock profiles  Feb 03 N~096 N~097
Rough shape headstock  and heel.  Feb 03 N~098 N~099 N~100
Carve the neck to final shape.  Feb 03 N~101 N~102 N~103
Rough sand and check fit to the sides profile of heel and overall feel of the neck.  Feb 04 N~104 N~105 N~106
Soften the sharp edges on the headstock and finish sand the entire neck. Feb 04 N~107 N~108 N~109


SIDES   Photos
Cut ten oak lining strips and resaw to 15mm wide. Dec 10 S~001 S~002
Thickness strips to 2.5 mm and tape the lining strips into two  groups of 5 each. Dec 10 S~003 S~004
Dampen the strips with water and bend the lining strips to shape. Dec 12 S~005 S~006 S~007 S~008
Glue up lining strips in lamination mold. Dec 15 S~009 S~010
Trim laminated lining assemblies to height. Dec 17 S~011
Round inner edges of the linings and seal with shellac. Dec 19 S~012 S~013 S~014
True up sides and thickness to 2.2mm Dec 30 S~015 S~016 S~017
Tape the sides together, mark and cut side profiles.   Dec 30 S~018 S~019 S~020
Bend Sides. Bend inner side set and laminate. Jan 02 S~021 S~022  S~023 S~024
Mark and cut ends of the sides to fit neck recess and butt joint at the tail. Jan 03 S~025
Cut tail block to length. Sand to match side curvature at the tail area. Jan 03 S~026
Mark & cut tail block end angles.  Jan 04 S~027 S~028
Glue tail block to the sides. Plane and sand tail block edges. Jan 04 S~029
Mark top edges of the sides and sand in radiuused sanding dish to create top profile. Jan 05 S~030 S~031
Mark, cut and plane angles in the first top lining to fit the tail block Jan 05 S~032
Glue and clamp the top linings to the sides. When dry, flush trim edges & scrape glue squeeze. Jan 05 S~033
Mark back edges and sand to 15' back dome.Glue back linings following the same steps as for the top linings. Jan 06 S~034
Cut side wedge blanks shaped to fit the neck recesses. Jan 06 S~035
Cut blanks into tapered wedges & plane the saw cut faces smooth Jan 06 S~036 S~037
Fit front wedges on linings. Mark saw lines on the linings and cut recesses into the linings. Jan 06 S~038 S~039 S~040 S~041
Cut recesses into the front wedges to form interlocking joint with the linings Jan 06 S~042 S~043
Glue front wedges to sides and trim. Jan 06 S~044 S~045
Adjust rear wedges. Dry fit the sides to the neck to complete the spanish heel joinery. Jan 06 S~046 S~047 S~048
Mark top linings and finalize domed top profile in 30' radiused sanding dish Jan 28 S~049 S~050
Cut shallow channels at the top/neck area to make room for hand finishing the top binding rebates Jan 28 S~051 S~052
Cut Recess in lining to fit over the neck reinforcement patch on the top.  Jan 28 S~053 S~054 S~055
Fabricate the tail graft.  Feb 05 S~056 S~057 S~058
Rout tail graft channel to fit tail graft.  Feb 05 S~059 S~060
Prepare and spot glue a temporary tail graft. Set permanent graft aside for later. Feb 05 S~061 S~062


Select top plates and sand both sides to flat & even thickness. Dec 10 T~001 T~002
Plane center edges and square up the outeredges of the plates Dec 10 T~003 T~004
Glue and clamp book matched plates. Dec 10 T~005
Scrape the glue joint and level the top in the thickness sander. Dec 11 T~006 T~007 T~008
Cut the  background element for the rosette. Dec 12 T~009 T~010 T~011 T~012
Mark and drill sound hole center. Dec 12 T~013 T~014
Rout the inlay channel for the rosette background element Dec 12 T~015 T~016
Fit and glue the rosette background element. Dec 12 T~017 T~018 T~019 T~020
Level the background rosette element to the top Dec 13 T~021 T~022
Bend herringbone/wheat motif and chain borders. Dec 14 T~023
 Rout channels for the motif and borders. Fit, glue & level when dry  Dec 14 T~024
Mark and cut out the top to profile. Dec 15 T~025 T~026 T~027 T~028
Fill the gap at the rosette ends Dec 15 T~029 T~030 T~031
Rough thickness top from underside. Dec 15  T~032
 Refine the thickness using accurate thickness guage. Dec 29 T~033 T~034
Mark bracing and reinforcement pad positions Dec 29 T~035
Fabricate sound hole patch . Dec 29 T~036 T~037 T~038 T~039 T~040
Locate, glue and clamp sound hole patch Dec 29 T~041
Cut out sound hole.  Dec 29 T~042
Attach neck joint reinforcement patch. Dec 29 T~043 T~044
Mark and cut out neck interlock mortice    Dec 29 T~045 T~046
Cut recesses in the perimeters adjacent to the neck slot    Dec 29 T~047 T~048
Align the top & neck in the assembly mold.Mark inner perimeter of the linings. Jan 29 T~049
Cut lower transverse brace, sand radius in 30' dish and plane the bottom square  Jan 29 T~050 T~051 T~052
Mark and cut a recess to fit over the sound hole reinforcement. Cut the brace to height and check fit. Jan 29 T~053 T~054 T~055
Glue a 2X9mm closing bar across the lower bout near the tail. Round the edges and scallop the ends. Jan 29 T~056 T~057 T~058
Cut fan brace stock from fine grained quarter sawn spruce.  Jan 30 T~059 T~060
Glue in the 5 inner fan braces. Shape and sand. Jan 30 T~061 T~062 T~063
Mark the outer bass fan brace and recess to fit over the sound hole reinforcement Jan 30 T~064 T~065 T~066
Glue in the outer fan braces. Shape and sand. Jan 30 T~067 T~068
Mark and file the bass bar pass through the transverse brace below the sound hole. Jan 31 T~069 T~070 T~071
Scallop the transverse brace ends, glue and clamp. Jan 31 T~072 T~073 T~074
Radius bridge bar stock and plane square. Cut the bridge bars to height. Jan 31 T~075 T~076 T~077 T~078
 Fit the bridge bar onto the inner fan braces. Mark & cut lap joint recesses into the fan braces Feb 01 T~079 T~080
Mark and cut corresponding recesses into the bridge bar and check for fit over the fans Feb 01 T~081 T~082
Follow the same processes for the upper harmonic bar. Glue & clamp both bars and scallop the ends. Feb 01 T~083 T~084 T~085
Glue and shape the small reinforcing braces at the sides of the sound hole Feb 01 T~086
Cut, and radius  the two upper transverse braces. Feb 02 T~087 T~088
Scallop the two upper transverse braces Feb 02 T~089 T~090 T~091
Glue and clamp the upper transverse brace abovethe sound hole. Feb 02 T~092
Fabricate and glue in the last reinforcement patch Feb 02 T~093 T~094
Glue and clamp the last transverse brace Feb 02 T~095 T~096
Plane and sand the three transverse braces to shape.  Feb 02 T~097 T~098 T~099


BACK Date Photos
Dimension and true up back plates Feb 04 B~001
Join and glue book matched back plates.  Feb 04 B~002
Mark out back profile, cut to shape Feb 04 B~003 B~004 B~005
Thickness the back to 2.3 mm  Feb 04 B~006
Attach inner center seam reinforcement. Round off with planes and sandpaper  Feb 08 B~007 B~008 B~009
Cut 3 back braces from mahogany.Mark positions on center strip & cut passages for the braces. Feb 08 B~010 B~011 B~012
Fit the back braces into the slots  Feb 08 B~013
Radius back braces in 15' sanding dish. Plane square & check fit in 15' radiused back form. Feb 09 B~014
Cut scallops in the braces and smooth on drum sander. Feb 09 B~015 B~016 B~017 B~018
Glue the back braces to the back using a 15' radiused form Feb 09 B~019
Shape back braces with planes and sandpaper.  Feb 09 B~020 B~021 B~022


Cut binding strips from the sides Dec 30 P~001 P~002
Cut up two light and one dark veneer strips Feb 11 P~003
Glue up the strips into a light/dark/light veneer sandwich. Feb 11 P~004 P~005
Cut the veneer sandwich into strips of appropriate widths for purflings Feb 11  P~006 P~007 P~008
Cut flamed maple slice and thickness to 1.2mm and glue to black veneer for top purfling.  Feb 12 P~009 P~010 P~011
 Cut top purfling strips . Feb 12 P~012
Tape top and back purflings together and bend   Feb 12 P~013 P~014 P~015
Glue side purfling strips to binding strips.and trim Feb 14 P~016 P~017 P~018
Tape binding strips together and finalize thickness  Feb 14 P~019 P~020
Bend bindings. Feb 15 P~021 P~022
Fabricate Macassar Ebony heel binding and veneer components  Feb 17 P~023
Glue the binding cap and veneers together and trim. Feb 17 P~024 P~025
Mark and cut the heel profile.  Feb 17 P~026 P~027 P~028


BRIDGE Date Photos
Cut bridge blank to the required dimensions. Feb 19 Br~001
Mark positions for the string holes. Feb 19 Br~002
Drill pilot centers followed by string holes through the width of the tie block. Feb 19 Br~003 Br~004
Follow the same procedures for the secondary holes in the 12 hole bridge system. Feb 19 Br~005
Saw saddle slot and boundary cuts for the tie block and bone trim. Feb 19 Br~006 Br~007
Radius the bottom of the bridge to fit the dome of the guitar top. Feb 19 Br~008 Br~009 Br~010
Rough saw the bridge arms    Feb 19 Br~011 Br~012
Chisel and shape the ramp leading from the tie block to saddle slot.  Feb 20 Br~013 Br~014
Round off the leading edge of the saddle slot retainer  Feb 20 Br~015 Br~016
Glue bone protection strips into the front & rear edges of the tie block & trim them. Feb 20 Br~017 Br~018
Round the arms of the bridge and bevel the ends. Feb 20 Br~019 Br~020
Finish sand and seal the bridge to prevent bleeding color onto top. Feb 20 Br~021




Align the top and neck center lines and drill inexing pin holes. Feb 05 A~001
Prepare and insert index pin dowels and check alignment from the top. Feb 05 A~002 A~003
Apply glue to the neck/top surface, attach the top and insert the indexing dowels. Feb 07 A~004
Align the top and neck center lines and clamp until the glue sets Feb 07 A~005
Clean up glue squeeze where the neck meets the top Feb 07 A~006 A~007
Place neck/top in assembly form. Cut off and sand the positioning dowel ends. Feb 07 A~008 A~009 A~010
Attach upper molds, insert sides & mark interlocking recess positions in transverse bars Feb 07 A~011 A~012
Remove sides and top. Cut interlocking recesses in transverse bars on the top. Feb 07 A~013 A~014 A~015 A~016
Replace the components into the assembly form & mark interlocking recesses in linings. Feb 07 A~017
Remove sides and  cut interlocking recesses into the linings.  Feb 07 A~018 A~019 A~020
Refit the sides and check to ensure that the linings will mate with the top all aroun Feb 07 A~021
Apply glue to upper side linings and outer heel gluing surface. Insert sides and clamp. Glue in wedges. Feb 07 A~022 A~023 A~024
When dry, trim wedges and level the heel to the sides.  Feb 08 A~025 A~026
Mark the liniings with a pencil and refine back profile of sides on a 15' sanding dish to align with back doming. Feb 08 A~027 A~028
Align the back and clamp lightly. Mark the outline of the sides on the back braces. Feb 09 A~029 A~030
Measure & mark lines for the interlocking rebates in the back braces. Cut and chisel the rebates. Feb 09 A~031 A~032
Replace & align the back. Mark the location for brace recesses in the sides/linings. Feb 09 A~033 A~034
Cut recesses in the sides/linings. Feb 09 A~035 A~036
Prepare and affix the label to the back. Feb 09  A~037
Glue and clamp the back to the sides Feb 10 A~038 A~039
Trim the back plate flush to the sides. Remove the guitar from the mold and trim the top flush. Feb 10 A~040 A~041
Rout the initial purfling/binding rebates for the top and back. Feb 10 A~042 A~043
Rout the final purfling/binding rebates for the top and back. Feb 10 A~044 A~045
Rough out the top binding rebates adjacent & into the pockets at the neck/body joint. Feb 12 A~046 A~047 A~048
Square up the binding channels on the back at the heel. Feb 12 A~049 A~050 A~051 A~052
Fabricate a light/dark/light purfling curved to match the side of the heel. Feb 13 A~053
Cut the heel purfling to size,glue and clamp. Feb 13 A~054 A~055
Fabricate the second heel purfling, fit, glue and clamp. Feb 13 A~056
Fit and glue the back purflings.  Feb 13 A~057 A~058 A~059
Level the back purflings with a sanding block Feb 13 A~060 A~061
Glue in and level the top purflings. Feb 13 A~062 A~063
Remove the temporary tail graft. Measure and cut the permanent graft.to length. Feb 16 A~064
Glue in the permanent graft and trim level to the sides. Feb 16 A~065 A~066
Miter the tail graft ends. Feb 16 A~067
Mark and cut the first back binding to fit. Miter the purfling to join the tail graft miter. Feb 17 A~068 A~069
Glue and clamp the back bindings. Scrape and sand level. Feb 17 A~070
Glue and clamp the heel binding. Feb 17 A~071 A~072
Trim the heel binding to the back and heel surfaces. Feb 17 A~073
Fit and glue the top bindings. Feb 18 A~074
Level the top bindings. Feb 18 A~075
Scrape and sand all of the bindings level to the sides. Feb 18 A~076 A~077 A~078
Drill bridge locator pin holes at the bottom of the saddle slot. Feb 22 A~079
Position bridge ensuring that strings 1 & 6 will be centered over the fret board and drill index holes into the top. Feb 22 A~080 A~081 A~082
Position bridge and tape boundaries to catch glue squeeze out. Feb 22 A~083
Glue index pins into the bridge and trim protrusions to 2mm Feb 22 A~084 A~085
Position gluing caul to the underside of the top. Hold with magnets.Glue and clamp the bridge. Feb 22 A~086 A~087 A~088
Seal all surfaces with shellac. Feb 22 A~089 A~090 A~091 A~092 A~093
Fabricate saddle. Feb 24 A~094 A~095
Fabricate nut & saddle. Feb 24 A~096 A~097 A~098
Install tuners Feb 26 A~099
Attach strings and set action heights. Evaluate response over 2 - 3 days. Feb 26 A~100 A~101 A~102


French Polish Date


Fill back/side/neck pores with pumice using a cloth covered pad.and alcohol. Sand when dry. Feb 28 FP~001 FP~002
Build a body of shellac over all surfaces ( this takes many sessions over several days). Mar 07 FP~003 FP~004 FP~005 FP~006
Wet sand the entire guitar with 800 grit wet/dry sand paper Mar 20 FP~007 FP~008
Apply glaze coats with very thin shellac and olive oil. Rub down with fine abrasive polish compound. Mar 27 FP~009
Scrape shellac from fretboard edges.  Crown and polish the frets Mar 27 FP~010
Clean shellac out of peg head holes. Install tuners, nut, saddle and strings Mar 27 FP~011
Additional Photos Mar 31 FP~12 FP~13 FP~14 FP~15 FP~16
Additional Photos Mar 31 FP~17 FP~18 FP~19 FP~20