Newbie here!

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What Democracy?
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Newbie here!

Post by What Democracy? » Thu May 19, 2011 3:01 am

Hi to all,
My name is Ben. I am currently building my first acoustic guitar at TAFE in South Australia.
I have been playing for 20+ years, so it was well overdue that I started work on my first instrument at last, something I have always wanted to do. I look forward to becoming an active member of the forum, contributing ideas, picking brains and generally discussing build issues as they arise. I would like to get into Luthiery in the long term, it is addictive, as you all know.
Number 2 instrument is waiting to be built, sitting accusingly in the cupboard...

I am 9 months into a 1 year course, 3 hours a night, one night a week. Upon arriving at TAFE to make an instrument I decided to go with the instrument that TAFE was setup to produce - the "Kinkade OM". They had all the plans, jigs, templates and tooling ready to roll.
So rather than try to re-invent the wheel first time out, I set out to keep it simple and attain as many skills and as much benefit as I could through the construction process, as a learning exercise.
I chose simple proven tonewoods and stuck to (in this case) a tried and proven design, so as to minimise any build issues and increase my chances of success in what is a scary proposition for anyone - their first instrument build.

I chose my timber through LMI in the US. The dollar is good so buy up people!!!
AA Sitka Spruce top
1st grade East Indian Rosewood back and side set
Sitka Spruce bracing, kerfing etc.
1 piece solid Mahogany pre-carved "OM" bolt-on neck
1st grade African Ebony fingerboard
Some BWB, WBWB linings
Schaller 12:1 machine heads
2 way adjustable "OM" truss rod
Bone for saddle/nut
Pre-carved Martin "OM" bridge
Many other bits and pieces.

All for under AU$500
$850 for the course costs too.

We have full plant and equipment at TAFE in a building and furnishing workshop. So we can do everything in-house.
From side-bending right through to finishing, we seem to have everything one needs to make a good instrument.
An inexperienced woodworker can come out with a relatively nice instrument within the 1 year course.
We are educated and supervised by an exprienced and highly skilled instrument maker.
People are making all sorts of stringed instruments there. Guitars, Violins, Violas, Cellos, Mandolins, Mandolas, A Harp and many other instruments.
There seems to be no project that is not undertaken there.

I have just closed the soundbox of my guitar with some beautiful scalloped X bracing inside.
The instrument is ready for neck fitment and fingerboard/fretwork installation.

Wish me luck!
I look forward to contributing in the future!

Cheers, Ben.

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Allen
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Re: Newbie here!

Post by Allen » Thu May 19, 2011 6:13 am

Welcome to the forum Ben. Feel free to post pictures of your progress and the finished instrument for sure in the gallery section.
Allen R. McFarlen
https://www.brguitars.com
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Cairns, Australia

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Nick
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Re: Newbie here!

Post by Nick » Thu May 19, 2011 6:19 am

Just echoing Allen & welcome you to the forum Ben & yes we'd love to see pictures of your current build, we like pictures around these parts :)
Can't go wrong with building to an established pattern either, it's a great way to build up your skills & work out how these wodden boxes function so that you can free yourself up later and maybe try a thing or two. It's like anything, if you start with a great foundation then whatever you do after that can only benefit.
"Jesus Loves You."
Nice to hear in church but not in a Mexican prison.

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woodrat
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Re: Newbie here!

Post by woodrat » Thu May 19, 2011 8:24 am

Hi Ben, Thats great news that someone has organised a Lutherie course through your local TAFE college.

The WoodRat

aka John
"It's never too late to be what you might have been " - George Eliot

What Democracy?
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Re: Newbie here!

Post by What Democracy? » Mon May 23, 2011 3:02 pm

Hi to all,
Thanks to Jim for talking me through the pic upload process. Much appreciated.
Here are some pics of my first guitar build ever, be kind guys, I know you will all have your own take on it.
I am just watching closely and following instructions, I am in this for the learning exercise.
It's a TAFE course, so there is not much room for variation on design.
The braces are now scalloped, soundbox closed, grooves routed for the linings.
I will need to take some more pics to reflect the current status of the build and bring it up to date.
My photography skills are limited, after much tinkering with resizing and resolution - here it is...

This is the Kinkade, based on the "OM" acoustic guitar.
Kinkade template.jpg
Body in mold 02.jpg
Body in mold 03.jpg
Body in mold 04.jpg
Brace gluing in 25 foot radius dish.jpg
Bracing glued not yet scalloped.jpg
One we prepared earlier for reference.jpg
Radiused spruce top with Rosette.jpg
Spruce top Rosewood inlayed rosette w BWB inlays.jpg
I hope the pics turn out OK...

Cheers, Ben.

What Democracy?
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Re: Newbie here!

Post by What Democracy? » Mon May 23, 2011 3:09 pm

I just read back over the thread, should have posted them in the gallery section.
Sorry, still getting to know my way around this site - it's huge!

Ben.

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Bob Connor
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Re: Newbie here!

Post by Bob Connor » Mon May 23, 2011 3:30 pm

This is the right spot for your build pics Ben.

The Gallery really is for finished instruments.

Regards
Bob, Geelong
_______________________________________

Mainwaring and Connor Guitars

seeaxe
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Re: Newbie here!

Post by seeaxe » Mon May 23, 2011 7:35 pm

Nice looking EIR back, Ben.
Bit of a thrill seeing the first one come together, isnt it?
Richard

What Democracy?
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Re: Newbie here!

Post by What Democracy? » Tue May 24, 2011 10:53 am

Yeah, I know I can only make my first guitar once!
It is a bit of a thrill when it all goes to plan, but the inevitable mistakes bring me crashing back to reality.
That back and sides were looking great until the TAFE router dropped it's guts 15mm into the back of my guitar when making the groove for the linings.
Heartbreaking as that was, I had little choice but to learn from the exercise, move on and make sure it dosen't happen again.
That little incident has probably compromised the instrument somewhat, but like I said, this is a learning exercise - albeit an expensive one...
I think this Lutherie thing can cause mania! From euphoria to the depths of despair in seconds!

I look forward to some of the good bits, like the first few hours of playing it in, finding the instrument's sweet spots and getting to know it.
I know this is for builders mainly and my inexperience shows here. But I am a player really, that's what I am good at. I am sure I can pull out whatever sweet tones this guitar may possibly produce. I look forward to exploring this instrument.

My dream guitar is an unbuilt dreadnought kit, sitting in my cupboard.
At least I didn't stuff that one up! (yet)

I will update photos of the instrument as it comes along.
Thanks for your interest!

(Bob, that head and eyebrow thing is truly disturbing...) :)

Cheers, Ben.

seeaxe
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Re: Newbie here!

Post by seeaxe » Tue May 24, 2011 8:34 pm

Hey Ben, I can relate to that router accident - sometimes seems like my whole build process is a series of accidents! Before I started building guitars though, I never really tried to sort that kind of thing out, I would just biff whatever it was and start again. There is something perversely satisfying about making a mistake and then being able to fix it, I reckon thats a useful skill.

There are some awesome builders on the forum and great brains to pick, but you would probably be surprised to know how many of us are not that far ahead of you. And even their awesomenesses make the occasional stuff up, so onwards and upwards my friend.

Good luck and keep posting
Cheers

Richard
Richard

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Nick
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Re: Newbie here!

Post by Nick » Wed May 25, 2011 6:21 am

I think making these little stuff ups are all good & the repairs are really valuable lessons which help us to grow, it's when we don't learn from them that is the difference between a good & a bad builder. I've lost count of the number of times I've had to spend longer fixing things than it took to stuff up :wink:
"Jesus Loves You."
Nice to hear in church but not in a Mexican prison.

What Democracy?
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Re: Newbie here!

Post by What Democracy? » Thu May 26, 2011 4:59 pm

Thanks for replying guys,
I went back in to face the damage and my lecturer (instrument maker) had taken upon himself to fit the rosewood strips around the back and complete the repairs. I could not thank him enough.
He has affected a very nice repair job indeed. Even matched the grain edge to edge. All people present at the stuff-up were duly impressed with the outcome, as was I. Whilst I didn't get the benefit of seeing how the repair was carried out, I am more than happy to forgo this experience in favour of getting back into the build, time is short. We routed the grooves, I glued in the BWB linings on the front, BWBW on the back, let the glue dry, re-routed the grooves to clean out excess glue and square everything up ready for some white plastic binding to finish it off.
Sondbox restored, happy customer! I can see no reason (other than minor aesthetic ones) why this guitar will not play and sound like it was intended before the router mistake took place.

Here's hoping my next stuff-up is not as great as the last.
It is a character building exercise though, recovering from the devastation that was my first accident on my first build.
It has got to get better from here. Or the mistakes will be more complex, one or the other...

Something that made me feel a bit better about it, but perhaps shouldn't have; I saw a really nice (uncut bookmatched square) German spruce top with some exotic timber inlayed as a rosette, all the BWB inlays done. It looked real nice until (I assume) the guy mistook it for a different piece of wood whilst it was laying upside down on the bench, then preceeded to cut it into thirds with a bandsaw. The look of abject horror after it came off the bandsaw was a thing I can now relate to closely. That one cannot be rescued, bin it was the consensus reached.
I felt for him.

I will get a camera in there soon and document the neck, fretboard work.
Will post it up here.

Thanks for the encouragement everyone, it helps this nervous first timer immeasurably.
Cheers, Ben.

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