If the sides are bent, blocked and lined properly, they will already conform to the mold and a one-inch dowel is all that is needed as a spreader.
Next month we should be finished the student guitar and have some information on final set up and finishing ... hope that you will be back. In the meantime, direct all questions to:
BLOCKS AND LINING
Below are a few photos of lining install after the head and tail blocks have been attached to the guitar sides in the mold.
Woody guitars have sitka spruce side-reinforcement strips under the lining. This is done by making spruce strips to ~1.5 mm thick and 15 mm wide. Install lining sections of 16 kerfs (lining blocks), then a reinforcement strip is installed square to the top; then a strip of 16 lining blocks again, and another reinforcement strip. Repeat. In the end go back and install 2 lining blocks on top of the reinforcement strip.
Woody has a thing about making the guitar stout enough to last 100 years. We believe that anything installed with contact cement (tape) will not last that long. A split rib is often the death of an instrument.
Arch of the Back (end to end)
Once the box is now enclosed, the bindings need to be installed around the perimeter of both the top and the back. To do this, Woody uses a trim router with roller-guide bearings of the proper size and depth to cut the ledges that will accept the wood bindings and purflings.
Routing these rabbets with a hand-held router can only be done efficiently with experience. Some hand work is generally required no matter how careful one might be in guiding the router around the box.
Once one is satisfied that the binding rabbets are the proper depth and width, the bindings can be installed. Purflings and bindings are installed separately, one after the other. Wood bindings must be pre-bent in order to be glued and held in place with twill or masking tape as shown in the photos.
Side Reinforement and Lining
The Dovetail fixture is a great help in controlling the matching of the dovetail tenon with the dovetail mortise. There is, however, always a need to finish the mating of joint by hand. Slowly work the dovetail so that the neck angle is within tolerance and the center line of the neck is a perfect continuation of the center line of the guitar body. Work Scant and check your progress often.
The back is easier to align and notch because of the braces are all square to the center line of the guitar. The same procedure for aligning and gluing is used as is used on the top. The exception is that that you better not use any type of spreader that cannot be retrieved through the sound hole.
Various Diameter Roller Bearings
Frets are installed in the fretboard before it is glued to the neck. We use a Japanese back saw to cut the fret slots in the fretboard, then shape the board down to its final dimensions. Frets are installed with a press that Woody made by converting a hardware-store vise.
Once all 12 notches (7 on the bass side and 5 on the treble side) are at the correct depth and location, the soundboard should fit down tightly around the entire perimeter of the ribs in the mold. This can be tedious. When satisfied, glue the soundboard to the ribs (actually to the lining on the ribs).
The Dovetail Joint
Woody uses the LMI Dovetail Fixture to cut the dovetail mortise and tenon. A Robert O'Brien video explains how to use this fixture. It takes practice. I've watched that video multiple times.
caveat: First you have to build the LMI fixture itself.
CLOSING THE BOX
Notching for Braces
Before the top and back can be glued to the ribs (sides) the lining must be notched to accept the brace ends.
First, ensure that all of the scalloped brace ends are the same thickness. Woody likes these brace ends to be 2 mm thick and the notches through the lining to be, likewise, 2mm deep (the thickness of a popsicle stick).
Make sure that the brace end is consistently 2mm thick all of the way in through the lining before it turns up into the scallop. This length is not the same on every brace because the top braces cross through the lining at different angles.
To locate the notches, place the top on the leveled top/side lining as the sides are held in the mold. Mark where each brace intersects with the lining on both the outside and the inside of the rim.
Blocks & Lining
Closing the Box
Wood Binding and Purflings
The teaching/student arrangement is working out quite well. That is: We're still friends.
During the month of July we met 11 times for 3-4 hours each time. The month was very busy as we started July building and assembling the body of the guitar. We ended the month by dovetail jointing the neck to the finished body of the guitar. Last week we installed frets. Now we need to attach the fretboard, finish carving the neck, install the bridge, and set up and finish the instrument... by September.
The biggest challenge is staying on schedule. Often it takes longer to explain the procedure than it does to do it. I have attached some photos of the work we've been doing.