12 String SS Falcate braced Ziricote\spruce guitar.

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12 String SS Falcate braced Ziricote\spruce guitar.

Post by johnparchem » Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:31 am

A player I know asked me to build him a 12 string guitar. He really likes the Gore medium body Steel String I built. He likes the size, shape and the sound. This lead me to start a 12 string falcate braced guitar. The 12 string presents a number of issues including how to modify the braces to support the increased string load and a 12 pin bridge would not work with the falcate bracing pattern.

After asking for some suggestions on the this forum Richard Woods (Woodsy23) modified an existing Finite Element (FE) model he had, for 12 strings load, both light and medium (EJ38s and EJ39s). He determined I would need to increase the height of the falcate braces to 10 mm for the EJ38s and 11 mm for the EJ39s. I will probably stick with 10 mm as I want to limit the monopole frequency of the top to keep it in the typical SS range.

Also from on the forum I found Craig Lawrence's tutorial for making a 6 pin 12 string bridge Way cool!

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My client selected a nice looking set of Zicicote. The wood is pretty, has a nice tap tone but it is very dense. Not as dense as Cocobolo but denser than EIW ro BRW. This choice may push me away from an active back as it is a lot of mass to get moving. Also the wood is supposedly real brittle and hard to bend.

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Before going any farther I decided I was first going to see if I could bend the tight Venetian cut away this guitar design has. To increase my chances I decided to use almost all the tricks I found to bend brittle wood.

The first was a new suggestion from some forum. Wash one side of each side with naptha; turn the boards over and mark where the naptha comes through. This seems to be a brilliant idea as it will highlight any existing cracks. Then on wax paper flood the marked areas with thin CA.

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The sides were thinned to about 2 mm or .080" and then starting a bit above the waist I used a scraper to take the area in the Venetian cutaway to .070" as per The Book.

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I spritzed the sides with super soft II and let them sit over night.

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While warming the sides in my John Hall fox style bender to about 300 degrees I used a heat gun to warm the inside of the Venetian cutaway.

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After all of that the bending was uneventful and I had very little spring back. In the last picture you can see it in the mold with no clamps.

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Now I am just waiting for the regular side to cool and set.

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Re: 12 String SS Falcate braced Ziricote\spruce guitar.

Post by GregL » Sun Apr 03, 2016 10:34 am

Thanks for the great description of your procedure, John!
Did you find much seep-through of the Naptha, that had to be filled with CA?
(I assume 300 degrees is Fahrenheit?)

Thanks,
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Re: 12 String SS Falcate braced Ziricote\spruce guitar.

Post by johnparchem » Sun Apr 03, 2016 10:56 am

Thanks, 300 F I have sort of got metric measurement down, temperature not so much.

I founds about 3 places on each side including one 2 inch inside crack. Most of the spots were either about 1/4" or pin holes.

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Re: 12 String SS Falcate braced Ziricote\spruce guitar.

Post by johnparchem » Mon Apr 04, 2016 10:26 am

The second side bending went OK as well but I had a close call. On the cutaway the non-cutaway side goes about 29 mm beyond the center line. I thought my template had taken that into account, it probably did but I cut my prebent sides closer and closer to actual size as It gives me useful bits of wood. In any case when I put the side in the mode the upper bout was just exactly the right size. No trimming.


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I glued up the heel block with the block of wood for the bolt on bolt off neck extension.


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I also made a batch of heel blocks out of plywood.


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I used my band saw and my belt sander to follow the template to shape the heel block

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I then glued up the rims to the blocks


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Lastly before I profile the sides I index off of the top and make a couple of parallel white lines that I can use to realign the rims in the mold. Also while profiling I can make sure that I am profiling the rims symmetrically.

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Re: 12 String SS Falcate braced Ziricote\spruce guitar.

Post by johnparchem » Thu Apr 07, 2016 3:25 am

I am off to Japan for a couple of weeks so I will leave the project for a bit. I did get the sides prepped, 30' Top, upper bout flattened and 15' back. I used reverse kerfed linings and made and glued on my side mass mounts.


The pictures are pretty self explanatory,

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Scraped the inside rims clean

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Spritzed the kerfed linings with some water and clamped them on the outside to shape them

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The mount for the side mass is just a bit of mahogany. I drilled them just deep enough to seat the brass insert. I nothced out the linings to fit them in.


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I notched out the linings and glued them on

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Re: 12 String SS Falcate braced Ziricote\spruce guitar.

Post by Nick » Thu Apr 07, 2016 6:01 am

Excellent! Thanks John for documenting this, I will watch with interest. I have a Ziricote set (along with a nice bit of bearclaw for the top) waiting to become a twelve string and I had heard about the Ziricote being a pain to bend, but your documentation has eased my mind quite a bit. :wink:
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Re: 12 String SS Falcate braced Ziricote\spruce guitar.

Post by routout » Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:51 am

It does look nice and I like your binding it makes sense to me it going that way a great build and I noticed you have a Vacuum holder I have a pump I could use thank you for the Inspiration , John.
John ,of way too many things to do.

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Re: 12 String SS Falcate braced Ziricote\spruce guitar.

Post by johnparchem » Tue May 03, 2016 3:26 pm

Thanks guys sorry it has been a bit. After a couple of weeks of touring around japan, I have started to make progress again.

With the rims completed I turned my attention to the back and the top. The back wood is really a bit too dense to have an active back so I made it with four lateral braces.

Having built a series of jigs for my falcate guitars and fine tuning them making and shaping the braces is turning out to go a bit smoother than in the past.

First off I joined, profiled and glued the center reinforcment strip to the back

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I jointed the top and and installed the rosette. On the rosette I start with a router bit the same size as the purfling strip I use. I route a channel for the inside purfling strip and without changing the router I route the same cut into my wood rosette blank. I then do the same for the outside purfling line. I then route out the waste between the two channels on the top. Now I have a ring routed perfectly for the ring and the purflings.

I run the rosette wood blank upside down through my belt sanded to the ring drops out. Now I have a ring the exact thickness for the channel I routed in the top. Here are some pictures to make it clear.

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I do not use my table saw very often so when I pulled it out to rip the back braces and the lamination strips for the falcate braces I made a bunch of them. I have a nice blade on the saw and get close to a planed cut. I cut them very close to the final size.

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I use this jig and a 27.5 degree router bit do make the back bridges gabled house shaped

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I laid out the back braces and use a square and the brace as a template to first score and then chisel out the rebates for the braces.

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I mark out the bottom radius (15'), plane them close and then use this LMI jig to finish the radius on the back braces.

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I used my vacuum box to glue the braces on the back.

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I finally made (it took all of thirty seconds) a small template to get the tails of the braces the correct thickness. Given how quickly I made it and the consistency of the brace ends, I felt bad I have not made it before. I just cut a slot into 1/8 plexiglass.

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To make the laminated falcate braces with 1.7 mm spruce strips I first had to bend them close to size. I usually use Lutz or Englemann spruce with no problems. These strips are European spruce and they were hard to bend. I would get so far and it just would not want to bend. By hook and by crook, as well as a few cracked strips I got them all close enough to laminate on my forms

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I laid out the braces, glued on the sound doubling patch and them routed out the sound hole. I stop routing when I still have a bit of wood left and tap out the waste.

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I chiseled out a bevel on the sound hole patch to clean up the look.

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Also I decided to cut out a mylar template to protect the top before I started working with it.

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I need to locate and drill the bridge pin holes very early. The main falcate braces need to go between braces pins on a steel string guitar with a pinned bridge. I also bought a hole stack of aluminium bars last years, so I pulled one out and made a bridge pin drilling template using my existing bridge pad template.

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After some very careful alignment, I drilled one hole and pinned the top, bridge plate and hole template, I checked and rechecked the alignment and drilled a second hole and add a second pin. With the two pins I drilled the remaining four holes.

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My radius board has the inside set of 4 holes so that I can work with the top pinned while epoxying the bridge plate and ultimately the braces. The bridge plate is epoxied on a cut out piece of carbon fiber fabric. I will use my template as the gluing caul.

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I mixed up some epoxy and put it all together.

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Finally I ripped, fitted and epoxied the falcate braces to the top.

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Note in the next picture the falcate braces are expoxied on top of a 3k 5.7 oz carbon fiber tow.. Also note the teflon strips used to properly space the falcate braces between the bridge pin holes.

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Re: 12 String SS Falcate braced Ziricote\spruce guitar.

Post by johnparchem » Fri May 06, 2016 10:43 am

Well I am close to finishing up the top. I end up taking about 4 calendar days (not much time though) to get the top braced. I could do it quicker by epoxying down all of the braces at the same time. I just found that for me that I felt too hurried working within the working time of the epoxy. While trying in an earlier guitar I would bump a go bar that would knock a brace over that would goof up the CF ... Now I am a bit more relaxed. I do the falcate braces first an shown in the earlier post and follow up with all of the remaining braces except the transverse brace. I then follow on with with all of the top carbon fiber. (I could probably have epoxied the transverse brace with the last step)

After the epoxy cured on the transverse I shaped them to there final dimensions. IN the first post I was deciding between 10 and 11 mm based on a load analysis. I ended up about 10.6 mm as the braces crossed the bridge pad. I took the secondary braces down to 8 mm. The extra load of the 12 strings is really in the main falcate braces.

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Given that the bridge is basically placed already, with the bridge pin holes drilled, I took the time to place the body with the rims and make sure while properly placed I will have 10 mm between the bridge patch and the neck block extension for the transverse brace.

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I cut, placed, epoxied and shaped the sound hole braces and a few finger braces

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Now I am waiting for the epoxy to cure on the top application of CF.

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Re: 12 String SS Falcate braced Ziricote\spruce guitar.

Post by slowlearner » Fri May 06, 2016 11:28 am

That's really cool. I'm genuinely surprised by how little bracing there is for a 12 string.
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Re: 12 String SS Falcate braced Ziricote\spruce guitar.

Post by johnparchem » Fri May 06, 2016 1:04 pm

slowlearner wrote:That's really cool. I'm genuinely surprised by how little bracing there is for a 12 string.
We will see, but my falcate braces are twice as stiff as I would use for a 6 string because of the cubed factor when changing brace height.

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Re: 12 String SS Falcate braced Ziricote\spruce guitar.

Post by slowlearner » Fri May 06, 2016 1:27 pm

So on a 6 string you'd use braces only half that height?
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Re: 12 String SS Falcate braced Ziricote\spruce guitar.

Post by johnparchem » Fri May 06, 2016 2:13 pm

slowlearner wrote:So on a 6 string you'd use braces only half that height?
No, I made the brace about 30% taller 8->10.5 mm because the change in stiffness is proportional to the cube of the change in height so 1.3^3 it is a bit more than double the stiffness. With braces a little difference goes a long way.

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Re: 12 String SS Falcate braced Ziricote\spruce guitar.

Post by slowlearner » Fri May 06, 2016 2:48 pm

Ok, sort of like torsion bars. :)
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Re: 12 String SS Falcate braced Ziricote\spruce guitar.

Post by Dave M » Sat May 07, 2016 3:35 am

Thanks for documenting this John. Some interesting methods of work.

That trick for getting the rosette thicknessed is neat. I suspect it is a technique one might use elsewhere. I have just acquired the same thickness sander and it certainly helps with lots of things other than thicknessing the plates.

What about top thickness? Greater for the twelve string?

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Re: 12 String SS Falcate braced Ziricote\spruce guitar.

Post by johnparchem » Sun May 08, 2016 1:34 am

I kept the top the same thickness that I would for a six string. I am finding with the 10.5 mm falcate braces the top is pretty stiff. We shall see after it is strung up :?

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Re: 12 String SS Falcate braced Ziricote\spruce guitar.

Post by johnparchem » Wed May 25, 2016 10:00 am

Sorry I been slow to post and this really should be about four posts I finished all of the bracing and closed the box (of course forgetting to drill the hole for the truss rod in the transverse brace.)
I also started the neck and made a bridge that I will use if I go with two holes per bridge pin.

Here are the steps I went through before I closed the box.

Not shown I put a bit of a radius on the transverse brace. I left the center 3" or so flat, also I marked where the braces are let into transverse brace.

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I use the jaws of the parrot vice as a depth stop and use a razor saw followed by chiseling out the waste.

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I do not have pictures but I epoxied the transverse brace to the top with a CF strip and shaped the brace. I prepared the rims for the top and back marking with a scalple and routing with a pencil mill grinder.

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Outside of my normal process I glued the top first. I was waiting for a K$K pure pickup. Also before gluing the top to the rims I checked the angle of the top under the fret board extension to make sure I had the 2.5 mm gap at the saddle I was looking for.

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Trimmed the top

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Before putting on the back I made an end wedge of Koa and installed it.

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Also the pickup arrived so I installed them as well

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I decided to use a brand new, I check the date bottle of Tite bond hide glue to glue on the back.

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I sliced up a bridge blank into an 8 mm and a 3 mm strip. And laminated it back together with a sheet of CF weave.

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I have a template so I used the band saw and my belt sander to profile the bridge.

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I used a drum sander in my luthiers friend to profile the wings I used a 16" sanding block to profile the top of the bridge.

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I modified my template to space the two string per pin and used the template to guide my cuts with a thin saw. I think I am close enough to make them work.

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As mentioned I also started to make a neck.

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Re: 12 String SS Falcate braced Ziricote\spruce guitar.

Post by kiwigeo » Wed May 25, 2016 12:59 pm

Nice work John. Just one comment.....you've opted to fit the K and K pads onto the bridge patch before closing up the box. If youre going to use a full sized caul when gluing on the bridge be careful you don't crush the pads. On one of my current builds I opted to leave the pads off till the bridge was on rather than risk damaging the pads. One work around would be to cut away the cork facing on the caul where it will sit against the pads.

The sanding drum attachment for the drill looks handy...where did you source it?
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Re: 12 String SS Falcate braced Ziricote\spruce guitar.

Post by johnparchem » Wed May 25, 2016 1:19 pm

Thanks Martin,

Luckily I use a vacuum clamp for the bridge. If not I would have missed the problems I was creating for myself. I do know me and using super glue blind working through a sound hole would be a horror.

The handheld roller pin drum sander? I know Grizzly makes one. I bought mine at amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Grizzly-H2882-Han ... GYY8HSD2Y7.

or http://www.amazon.com/Shop-Fox-D4595-Ha ... 5C60M6XY5V

Or did you mean the drill press one? It is a luthier's friend http://www.luthiersfriend.com/. It is very handy. I use it all the time.

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Re: 12 String SS Falcate braced Ziricote\spruce guitar.

Post by Nick » Thu May 26, 2016 6:28 am

Enjoying your progress John. I do miss a good build thread :)
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Re: 12 String SS Falcate braced Ziricote\spruce guitar.

Post by johnparchem » Sun May 29, 2016 10:23 am

Thanks Nick,

I have the box closed and bound. I was struggling to decide between ebony and koa for my bindings. I was browsing Gurian Instruments site and found ebony binding with a koa purfling strip. The of the amber koa line between the ebony and zircote settled the question. I got both!

But first I had to bend the ebony around the Venetian cutaway. I used the fox bender for the sides so I loaded up supersoft soaked strips into the binder and bent at around 300 degrees. Unfortunately I am not sure if the bending was successful (I suspect not), when I was taking the bindings out of the bender the spring steel exploded them in to a bunch of pieces. So I took out my free form bending iron and was able to bend the ebony was no issue. I bent very hot (I have a modified version that goes to 11, 10 was not hot enough)

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I started with the back set my Fleishman binding machine up for a perfect cut and routed out the back. I found that the channel was not quite deep enough. I test on a flat board but I am routing on the radiused back. So I cut the channel about 1/64" deeper on a second pass

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I just used tape to apply clamp on the bindings. On the back I used LMI yellow glue. On the top I used Franklin Hide Glue.

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It went OK but I had a few gaps. I successfully tried a new trick for me where I had a gap between the binding and the side. I clamped the top of the binding with a cam clamp. I had a bit of pressure but not excessive. Then I used a heat gun to heat the binding. Sure enough it slid down and closed the gap, with a bit of squeeze out as well.

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I closed a few gaps between the binding and back as well using heat and tape and or clamps to pull the binding in.

All and all it came out OK and I am really excited about the Koa pufling

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Re: 12 String SS Falcate braced Ziricote\spruce guitar.

Post by Nick » Mon May 30, 2016 6:30 am

johnparchem wrote:I bent very hot (I have a modified version that goes to 11, 10 was not hot enough)
The spinal tap version of a bending iron :wink:
That's what I found too John, if it'd been a lighter coloured timber, I'm sure it would've been covered in scorch marks.
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Re: 12 String SS Falcate braced Ziricote\spruce guitar.

Post by johnparchem » Fri Jun 03, 2016 2:27 pm

I like carving the neck but I tend to be nervous about the preparation I do to get ready to start carving. I need to take the big router to make the mortise. I switched to the table saw to make the tenon.

I use a 3/8th bit and my router table to route the truss rod channel in the neck.

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Before making the tenon I sliced the angle I though the neck should have on the bottom of the neck blank to and checked the it was correct. I will use the same angle to cut out the mortise.

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This is my new way of making the bolt on tenon using the table saw. I used a miter gauge to set the angle of the cheeks and I have the blade tilted at 5 degrees to make it easier to fit to the body.

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I have a new grizzly tenoning jig to cut the tenon out. The jig actually allowed me to turn the neck back to front without changing a setting so for once I got a perfectly centered tenon.

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It came out OK.
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I have a luthiers tool body clamp and template. Not shown they have a Plexiglas template that allowed me to properly center the body clamp. I use a big router with a template follower and used a half inch down cut bit. The mortise is 3/4" deep.

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I used my pillar drill (or drill press) to drill a couple of 5/8 holes for the brass inserts I use. I used to use a hand drill but I got tired of crooked holes. I used hole centers to mark where the bolt holes needed to go on the neck block and then installed the brass inserts. You can see why I need to mark the holes as I was off center on one. :(

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Before going farther I really need a fret board. The neck will be a bolt on bolt off. Before I drill the pocket for the the neck extension block I wanted the neck centered and at the correct angle.

This is my forth guitar that I used the fret board radius router bits I purchased from http://sje-tools.com/. They really work well and save me from a bunch of planing and sanding. THis router bit gets me 95% there. I just clean the fret board with a radius block.

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While I was at it I sawed the fret slots and use a band saw and a plane to taper the fret board

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I trimmed the lower portion of the neck to match the fret board with the band saw and a spoke shave. With the neck to body join properly dimension. I went through the normal procedure to correct a bit of side to side tilt and fine tuned the neck angle.

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With the neck properly aligned and bolted on I used my jig to route out the pocket in both the neck block and the neck itself. I did not take a picture but here are a couple from my last guitar.

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And this guitar

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Currently I have the extension clamped into the neck while the glue cures.

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Re: 12 String SS Falcate braced Ziricote\spruce guitar.

Post by johnparchem » Sat Jun 04, 2016 4:04 pm

To finish up the neck extension and fitting. I first drilled a couple pilot holes for the bolts on my drill press (sorry no picture). I used those pilot holes as the guide to drill matching holes in the neck block extension in the guitar.

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Then I popped the template off and planed the extension flat to the neck. Also for those in suspense I remembered to drill the truss rod hole. With the pocket opened up almost to the brace, I had no problem drilling the hole in the brace.

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I double checked that all alignments were still correct, Because of the falcate braces I have already placed the bridge by drilling the bridge pin holes. So it is very important that the neck is centered and the 12 fret is perfectly placed

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Not having plans for a 12 string I drew out a head stock. Note that the sides are offset by 5 mm to provide an asymmetrical line. In reality I've gotten tired of mussing with the head stock transition to make them perfectly symmetrical.

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I glued on some wings so that the head stock was wide enough.

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Instead of making a template, I decided to use the head stock veneer as the template. This is a long head stock, luckily a few years back I bought somebodies stash of orphaned figured Koa sides.

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The paper is double taped down
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Here is the back

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Make sure it all works

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I used my safe-t planer to get the head stock closer to final. Also it will be parallel to the top os my pilot holes are straight. I plan to use a couple of them to index the head stock veneer.

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Once the glue was cured, I cut the head stock out to the tape down copy on the band saw.

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Enough for tonight!

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Re: 12 String SS Falcate braced Ziricote\spruce guitar.

Post by johnparchem » Sat Jun 04, 2016 4:08 pm

johnparchem wrote:To finish up the neck extension and fitting. I first drilled a couple pilot holes for the bolts on my drill press (sorry no picture). I used those pilot holes as the guide to drill matching holes in the neck block extension in the guitar.

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Then I popped the template off and planed the extension flat to the neck. Also for those in suspense I remembered to drill the truss rod hole. With the pocket opened up almost to the brace, I had no problem drilling the hole in the brace.

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I double checked that all alignments were still correct, Because of the falcate braces I have already placed the bridge by drilling the bridge pin holes. So it is very important that the neck is centered and the 12 fret is perfectly placed

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Not having plans for a 12 string I drew out a head stock. Note that the sides are offset by 5 mm to provide an asymmetrical line. Trevor has this in his SS head stock design. I've gotten tired of mussing with the head stock transition to make them perfectly symmetrical this is a good solution to that.

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I glued on some wings so that the head stock was wide enough.

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Instead of making a template, I decided to use the head stock veneer as the template. This is a long head stock, luckily a few years back I bought somebodies stash of orphaned figured Koa sides.

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The paper is double taped down
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Here is the back

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Make sure it all works

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I used my safe-t planer to get the head stock closer to final. Also it will be parallel to the top os my pilot holes are straight. I plan to use a couple of them to index the head stock veneer.

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Once the glue was cured, I cut the head stock out to the tape down copy on the band saw.

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Enough for tonight!

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