Classical Build (s) - Hopefully falcate!

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seeaxe
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Classical Build (s) - Hopefully falcate!

Post by seeaxe » Sat Oct 12, 2019 3:11 pm

Hi All, long time not post much.

I stopped building mainly because I started having proper classical guitar lessons and wanted something decent to play on. Having built it focus went on playing instead of building. I have no regrets about that, it has been a huge success as far as I am concerned and I am playing stuff I never dreamed I would be able to play.

Fast forward to a few years ago and my tutor got himself a new (luthier built) guitar. He has had some problems with it and for some time I was thinking "I could do better than that". When he had his most recent problems beginning of the year, I volunteered to build him one. Its going to be a gift so this is not a commercial enterprise nevertheless I do want to do something a bit special. He has often admired my current classical (lutz/blackwood, 2011) so the aim is to be at least as good as or better than that. I have some wood sitting in the shed that will otherwise possibly get binned if I don't get round to using it so the idea was to use that. When I asked him what he wanted he picked rosewood b and s, which is a shame cos I didn't have any! I've now solved that problem.

Next problem was a bit of loss of confidence....Its a long time since I've done any serious luthering and there were a few times I was just staring the bench and procrastinating. So I decided I would build myself another classical as well, so if I was going to stuff something up then it would hopefully be on my one and not his.... I am going to try a few new techniques - Trevor mentioned that a classical neck doesn't actually need the spanish heel if its connected his way. I agree and am going to look at something long those lines, not traditional but simple to execute and fit. More about this as I go along, because as usual I haven't sorted out the details yet. There's a fine balance between working through everything on paper and paralysis by analysis. I felt I had to actually get going.

Its going to be a slow process so don't be holding any breaths but I don't see many build threads on here these days so thought you might enjoy the entertainment. Feel free to chip in with any comments, I've got a pretty thick skin.

Anyhoo, I'm into it now, there's a pile of wood shavings on the floor and fretboards are mostly done. Necks are scarfed and glued and I'm starting to think about the bridge. Hence my post in buy sell exchange - the CF decisions start here!!
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Richard

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Re: Classical Build (s) - Hopefully falcate!

Post by ozziebluesman » Sun Oct 13, 2019 1:11 pm

Hi Richard,

I'm looking forward to the build. I am also building a few classical guitars at once seen that I have never built one before. The first one has a bolt on neck the same method as I have built all my steel strings. It is at closed box and I am very pleased with the guitar so far. The bracing is standard classical what ever that is and my plan is a little smaller at a 7/8 th size guitar. The other two have spanish heel necks one will be braced the similar to the Jeff Elliot Gal #52 SE114 plan and the other is going to be a radial style top bracing same body size. I intend to do one active back but not sure which one and two are a 635 mm short scale the other a 650 mm scale.

Looking forward to seeing your build progresses.

Cheers

Alan
"Play to express, not to impress"

Alan Hamley

http://www.hamleyfineguitars.com/

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Re: Classical Build (s) - Hopefully falcate!

Post by lamanoditrento » Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:29 am

Nice. Looking forward to the thread
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Re: Classical Build (s) - Hopefully falcate!

Post by seeaxe » Tue Oct 15, 2019 3:49 pm

Let the engiluthierneering commence!!
20191015_142618.jpg
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Re: Classical Build (s) - Hopefully falcate!

Post by seeaxe » Tue Oct 15, 2019 3:59 pm

Its easy to get distracted though...found a nice old Yamaha (1983) on trademe and I couldnt resist it. It cleaned up nicely. There's a fair bit of wear on the frets but they're ok. This might replace the one I keep at my guitar teacher's place.
20191015_175503.jpg
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Re: Classical Build (s) - Hopefully falcate!

Post by seeaxe » Tue Oct 15, 2019 4:38 pm

Dble post...
Richard

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Re: Classical Build (s) - Hopefully falcate!

Post by seeaxe » Wed Oct 16, 2019 6:03 pm

I spent today finishing my "control" bridge, an unreinforced classical bridge at the Gore Gilet dimensions using Tas Blackwood, to see if I could get close to the target weight. This turned out OK.
20191016_181414c.jpg
I was going to make up a sanding jig like the luthiers friend ones but realised I could use my compound drill vice to do the same thing, only better.
20191016_174033[2].jpg
I also used this to get the string holes as accurate as I could. By using the graduations on the handle, I could move the bridge exactly 11.6mm on a perfect line. Worked well.

Apologies for the wonky photos, Ill work out how to fix that one day.
Richard

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Re: Classical Build (s) - Hopefully falcate!

Post by seeaxe » Thu Oct 17, 2019 6:57 pm

Some progress tonight after all.

Shot of the fret boards on their respective neck blanks.
20191017_080905c.jpg
Plies for the bridge blanks. I thought this was going to be a mission but was not hard. On the Rosewood one the fine ply is under 2mm so I won't have to worry about that bridge being too thick
20191017_195319c.jpg
I cut the CF tape to size and set up a clamping board so I can keep everything together. Glue up will have to wait until the weekend
20191017_202239c.jpg
Richard

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Re: Classical Build (s) - Hopefully falcate!

Post by colburge » Thu Oct 17, 2019 7:15 pm

Looking really good, they are going to be great.

Col

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Re: Classical Build (s) - Hopefully falcate!

Post by seeaxe » Sun Oct 20, 2019 5:29 pm

Bridge blanks glued and cured overnight. Cleaned up nicely though I suspect my planes will need a tickle up after cutting the epoxy and fibre.
That should have been enough clamping pressure!!
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Greaseproof paper worked well, that just peeled off.
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Rosewood blank
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Blackwood blank
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Richard

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Re: Classical Build (s) - Hopefully falcate!

Post by seeaxe » Sun Nov 03, 2019 3:04 pm

Started making my first rosette....
I learned a few things. One of which is I need to put more holes in the nylon form to push out the finished product. :cry: :cry: Another is that those small hand sized Veritas block planes are are incredibly good value for money. That thing is amazing.
I did not learn that bought rosettes are actually fairly cheap if you make any consideration of time involved, because I already knew that. I just wanted to have a go.
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After planing, far from perfect.
SM-A520F - 20191103_080344c.jpg
Bugger, but all is not lost. We can rebuild it.
SM-A520F - 20191103_081533c.jpg
Richard

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Re: Classical Build (s) - Hopefully falcate!

Post by seeaxe » Sun Nov 03, 2019 3:14 pm

Next the more intricate inner ring. This is as far as I have got. this has taken me around 4 evenings and one solid day. Lots of hand work with the little plane but ultimately very satisfying, when it goes right. and there's an element of fun in doing something you have never attempted before. Just happy I don't have to make a living doing this!!
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Re: Classical Build (s) - Hopefully falcate!

Post by lamanoditrento » Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:55 am

Well done on attempting the rosette. It is on my list to attempt
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Re: Classical Build (s) - Hopefully falcate!

Post by kiwigeo » Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:00 am

Nice work Richard and thanks for posting progress pics of this build.
Martin

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Re: Classical Build (s) - Hopefully falcate!

Post by seeaxe » Mon Dec 30, 2019 8:10 am

A bit of an update, first having re-read from the beginning, I realise the first paragraph of my first post doesn't actually make sense. What I meant to say was that having started classical lessons, I needed a classical so built one. Having done that, most of my time went into playing and not building. All of which you would maybe have gleaned from what I was saying but, just in case anyone was confused.....

Last post was in November and I have not been doing too much. Of the two under way, I’ve been focusing on the guitar for myself to work through some trial methods. I have sorted out the neck side of the neck body joint, using t bolts, much like Trevor's design but with 4 of them in the neck plane. I will bolt through a plate in the top to secure it. I’m still working on what that assembly will look like.

I've routed the neck for a truss rod and will use one of my stock of Allied Lutherie ones, longer form, so I can reach it through the soundhole. I have some short ones that were supposed to be classical ones but I don’t see how you could adjust them unless from the peghead. The neck is a piece of very nicely quartered macrocapa and fret board will be rosewood. I used solid CF bars before to stabilise the neck on my classical and so far so good but I thought I would follow Trevor’s recommendation in case I need to put some relief into it. I do have a very, very minor buzz issue on my current guitar and I'm thinking I need to be able to correct something like that if it happens on these guitars.

I made up a head plate laminate but that warped as it dried and is so stiff it probably won’t flatten onto the headstock so I'm going to reject that, may be just use a rosewood head plate instead. Currently toying with the idea of planetary tuners so I can get straight string pulls but boy those suckers are expensive, if you want better than 4:1 ratio gears, which I do.

While all that's happening of course I am approaching the all important top thickness decision and have been re-reading the gospel according to Trev and reacquainting myself with all those equations and pretending I understand them before flipping to the end and playing with the ones I can actually understand in section 4.5. I built the spreadsheet today and reproduced the right numbers so decided to start tap testing some wood. This feels like significant progress as I have been putting this off until I had been back through the books to refresh my memory.

Of course nothing in life is simple and the whole interpretation of the tap test results on the top blanks is a bit of a puzzle. I’ll get there but will shortly be attempting to pick the collective brain in the Contemporary design thread. I’ve been doing a lot of searches there and there is a wealth of information there, it really is impressive.

Anyway, nothing much to take pictures of just yet but hoping to make some headway over Christmas while I am not on Grandad duty.
Richard

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Re: Classical Build (s) - Hopefully falcate!

Post by blackalex1952 » Mon Dec 30, 2019 12:54 pm

That's my favorite way to bind a fingerboard, just a fine line of maple or whatever. Simple and clean! Hope the rest of the build is proceeding well! Cheers, Ross
"Everything I say on the topic is based solely upon inexperience and assumption!"

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Re: Classical Build (s) - Hopefully falcate!

Post by seeaxe » Thu Jan 30, 2020 8:44 pm

Some progress made over the Christmas break, currently a bit stalled but hoping to get past that soon.

Here's the back and sides prior to bending. BHS ex Mr Spittle.
back and sides.jpg
I have bent the sassafras sides, they did not behave them selves. The waist bend did not want to go where it should and it was a real struggle. I made sure I left the iron to warm up for a long time and it was actually too hot as I have some burn marks to deal with. Because I have almost always had trouble with the waist radius I have ended up easing it slightly and its now more or less the same radius as the upper bout, which I never seem to have any trouble bending. I had decided I was was going to laminate the sides, as I havent done that before and that, plus a lot of clamps helped tidy up some of the uneven-ness in the bends. The final shape doesnt actually look a lot different, change is very subtle.
bent sides 1.jpg
bent sides 2.jpg

I also made the top linings up, from three pieces of macrocapa (same as I used for the inner laminate), laminated against the sides and the mould. I have tidied them up and they are ready to go in once I sort out what I am doing at the neck joint.
linings clamped.jpg
I finally got round to making a thickness gauge, I've had the dial gauge sitting on my shelf for a while.
thickness gauge.jpg
Richard

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Re: Classical Build (s) - Hopefully falcate!

Post by Dave M » Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:36 am

BHS ...?. Fascinating thread Thanks
------------------
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Re: Classical Build (s) - Hopefully falcate!

Post by sleake » Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:47 am

Assume black heart sassafras

Build looks great, well done!

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Re: Classical Build (s) - Hopefully falcate!

Post by seeaxe » Fri Jan 31, 2020 1:17 pm

Yes, blackheart sassafras indeed

Thanks Dave M, nothing cleaned up yet so still looks a bit scruffy. All things in time...
Richard

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Re: Classical Build (s) - Hopefully falcate!

Post by seeaxe » Fri Apr 03, 2020 3:56 pm

Lots of lockdown progress has been made..

Since my last post I have decided on the neck joint and built it
Glued in the linings for the top
Glued in the kerfing for the back
Put in the side splints and T nuts for added mass if and when required
Started work on the original neck, had a disaster and had to bin it (I blame the router but we all know who stuffed up)
Made a second neck and finished the headstock and body joint. Finishing that is awaiting the later stages of build.

anyway progress shots
comp neck joint glue in.jpg
comp neck joint complete.jpg
comp rims and neck.jpg
comp side splints.jpg
comp new neck.jpg
comp scarf joint.jpg
comp boring out the slots.jpg
Attachments
comp headplate and carving.jpg
Richard

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Re: Classical Build (s) - Hopefully falcate!

Post by seeaxe » Fri Apr 03, 2020 4:00 pm

With the rims complete next job is the plates. I want to make sure I have all the braces ready so that once joined, I can brace the plates and get them on to the rims asap. I find the longer they sit around the more they lose their shape. The falcate braces are all new to me so designing those was Job#1 today. I sat and re-read the build book on braces and falcate ones in particular. There are no plans for a falcate classical in the Books but its not going to be radically different to the steel string layout given that all guitars are pretty much the same shape and size.

So following the guidelines at 7.3.2 I had a go at setting out braces. The only thin whippy thing I had to hand was a bandsaw blade so that’s what I used. It all seemed a bit easier than I was expecting but that usually means I have something wrong. I’m hoping that, if those who have built a falcate classical see anything obvious, they will sing out.

I note the book says the braces should divide the lower bout equally but Fig 7.23 shows a wider gap between the primary braces at the heel – is it just a matter of eying it in???? Or have I missed a formula somewhere??

Having set out the curves I made a couple of routing templates. I intend to use these to make a form to glue up the laminates against.

Any comments on the brace layout and location?????? I accept its hard to see from photos.
comp set out primary brace.jpg
comp set out secondary brace.jpg
comp final brace layout.jpg
Richard

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Re: Classical Build (s) - Hopefully falcate!

Post by seeaxe » Fri Apr 03, 2020 4:03 pm

Last question...
No access to KB pine here so I'm intending to use spruce. Maybe four laminates instead of three?
Any thoughts on that, previous falcate builders???
Richard

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Re: Classical Build (s) - Hopefully falcate!

Post by kiwigeo » Fri Apr 03, 2020 5:15 pm

King Billy Pine bends like butter but check stiffness of the wood before using it for braces. I used KBP on my first falcate build and the stiffness of the braces ended up being too low and I ended up re-topping the guitar with spruce braces. The stiffness of KBP seems to be highly variable. If you've got some KBP and it's stiff then use it....if you don't then use spruce. Three laminate strips works fine. I bend the strips on a bending iron and then glue up on an MDF form using picture frame (strap) clamps to hold the laminates strips together while the epoxy glue is curing.

Your brace design looks ok. The important things are to get roughly equal top areas between the braces and also to pay attention to where the lower bout ends of the primary and secondary braces run relative to the bridge. Secondary braces should run under the wings of the bridge.
seeaxe wrote:
Fri Apr 03, 2020 4:03 pm
Last question...
No access to KB pine here so I'm intending to use spruce. Maybe four laminates instead of three?
Any thoughts on that, previous falcate builders???
Martin

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Re: Classical Build (s) - Hopefully falcate!

Post by seeaxe » Fri Apr 03, 2020 5:39 pm

Thanks Martin

No I don't have KB pine in NZud. I was thinking of looking for alternatives (as suggested in the book) but think Ill stick with spruce as thats what I have!! I was hoping someone would say they had built with spruce and its fine, so thanks.

As drawn the secondaries run just under the transition section of the bridge. To get the bridges really light I end up with super thin wings, so they wont have much torsional stiffness. Is there a particular reason to not put them under the main part of the bridge?, other than spacing?

Cheers
Richard

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