After a damp and humid April, along with lengthy deliberations about the revolutionary, innovative, electric scratch-plate design that this guitar will feature – came a very dry spell of weather. Perfect for assembling guitars.
Once the soundboard had been braced and the back and sides had been thicknessed to around two and a half millimetres, the last thing to make were the linings. The bits that hold it all together. For this I used an old plank of hardwood, picked up in Jerusalem. Probably birch wood. Here is my fascinating photo journal of how I turned an old, discarded plank of wood into an integral part of a guitar:
1.(above) The plank.
2.Planing the varnish off the plank.
3.Cutting the plank into strips with an elecrical saw.
4.Contouring the strips.
A contoured strip.
5.Sawing slots in the strips.
6.Getting unpaid child labour to collect the wood-dust in a plastic bottle by letting her believe it to be fairy dust. I’m not sure if that’s ecological or ethical.
Now that I had all of the parts of the guitar ready to assemble, and a nice clean workshop, it was time to assemble the guitar. Here’s how I did that:
1.Glue the neck to the soundboard. That’s the Spanish way. If I did it the American way I’d make the body and the neck completely separately and then slot them together when they’re both finished. One advantage of the American way is that it’s easier to take the neck off if the joint breaks. The advantage of the Spanish way is that the joint is very unlikely to break as the whole guitar is essentially one piece.
2.Reinforcing the sides with Western Red Cedar offcuts from a previous guitar.
I’m sorry I didn’t put any pictures of me bending the sides. I suppose I should have done as it is the greatest mystery of guitar making – the thing people always ask about. The main reason I wanted to learn how to make guitars, in fact, was just to know how they bend the sides. I’ll put a bit about it on my Frequently Asked Questions page when I next get round to making another exciting photo-diary.
3.Linings all glued on.
4.Sound-port cut out.
Quality control inspector takes a sniff around.
Guitar gets stamp of approval.
5. Carving the back-bars from a piece of Sycamore, coppiced in Sherwood forest, England 2003.
This will give the back its arched contour.
This pieces was then cut into three on the electrical saw.
6. Glueing on the back bars. The centre strip is local Cypress wood from Galilee.
Back ready to be glued on.
7. Glueing on the back.