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Old November 26th, 2012, 04:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Small body Archtop - proof of principle build

After reading some awsome non-telecaster builds on here, especially the likes of gitlvr's faux acoustic I thought I would share one of my projects with you.

I enjoy playing an acoustic guitar, it's nice not to have to plug in some times, but I find a dreadnought too big to comfortable, I don't even find a 3/4 size classical that comfortable, but i like the sound and simplicity.

So I thought, is it possible to build a small bodied acoustic guitar - I like the idea of a teleacoustic, but playing one was a real disapointment, so, a small bodied archtop it is, I mean, how hard can it be?........

Just remember, I really don't know what I'm doing and I'm making this up as I go along...

I started with a plank of western red cedar, about 220mm wide, 20mm thick and just under 2 metres long. I cut it into 4 pieces and glued them up to make a front and back





Started to cut out a guitar shape





Using lots of relief cuts in the tighter areas





Cutting tight up to the line



Neck and heel blocks



Starting to think about the carving - got to remember which side is which



Marking out contour lines. I will use these for routing, each line is a step that will cut.



I measure in from the outside edge and mark the first contour, then cut a block of wood at the right size and use that to mark a series of dots inside the outer contour line, join the dots and repeat the process to give 6 contours. Each contour represents a 2mm cut, the centre is 12mm. By the time this is carved and blended out the top will be about 4mm thick.



Ready to start making sawdust





contours cut, starting to blend using a battery drill and 40 grit sanding disc, running a battery drill slow with a coarse grit removes the soft cedar really fast without making too much airborne dust





Last edited by Paul M; November 26th, 2012 at 04:41 PM.
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Old November 26th, 2012, 04:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Interesting! Can't wait to see where this go's :-)
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Old November 26th, 2012, 04:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hard hard can it be?.... we'll find out, eh? LOL This will be fun to watch...in a good way...not a sarcastic way.... Good Luck... I have a hunch it isn't quite as easy as a tele though.
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Old November 26th, 2012, 04:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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OK, a couple more pics


Similar process on the outside






Do this twice, making 2 mirror images and the top and back are pretty much there....

For the sides I have some battens of cedar wood, but they need to be cut into strips and sanded to about 3mm thick.

Start with resawing the battens. My band saw just won't cut well enough to resaw, it needs a new blade. So I do it by hand



Then use the drill press as a thickness sander



I really need to tidy this place up!

Do this a couple of times to give two metre long pieces and wer're ready to think about bending the sides.
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Old November 26th, 2012, 05:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Nice project!
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Old November 26th, 2012, 05:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I like the idea. I look forward to seeing how it come out!
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Old November 26th, 2012, 06:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I like the cut of your jib , really sweet build!
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Old November 26th, 2012, 11:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I like smaller bodied semis too. The Ibanez GB10 (George Benson) has been calling me for years and I've considered that as a distant future build, maybe sooner depending on your results?
Following with interest.
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Old November 26th, 2012, 11:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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man you go from some rough cuts to almost finished in 2 pix.

PLEASE when you photograph the outside do a lot of pix, I have always wondered about that whole p[rocess and have a poroject for january that could really benefit from klnowing how thast fone, properly/

I have some guesses, but I;'d love to see it

thanks

j
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Old November 27th, 2012, 12:22 AM   #10 (permalink)
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This is going to be an interesting build for sure. Keep the pics coming.
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Old November 27th, 2012, 06:55 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by guitarbuilder View Post
Hard hard can it be?.... we'll find out, eh? LOL This will be fun to watch...in a good way...not a sarcastic way.... Good Luck... I have a hunch it isn't quite as easy as a tele though.
I know it won't be as easy as a tele - not that building a nice tele is all that easy. Just working out how to do the carving without getting to thin, or even going through was hard enough. Actually turning this lot into an acoustic guitar........

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elias Graves View Post
Nice project!
Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffPBlues View Post
I like the idea. I look forward to seeing how it come out!
Let's see..
I started this about 6 months ago so this lot is history, but it was reading some of the projects here that kept me going

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Originally Posted by crazydave911 View Post
I like the cut of your jib , really sweet build!
Thank you Dave!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Crafty Fox View Post
I like smaller bodied semis too. The Ibanez GB10 (George Benson) has been calling me for years and I've considered that as a distant future build, maybe sooner depending on your results?
Following with interest.
I've never come across a GB10 before, I've just been looking at them on the net, I think this will be similar looking, but not the same.
I would just go for it, it's only wood and time after all, I have been making this up as I went along, not copying any guitar in particular it's pure coincidence that it has similarities to another guitar.


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man you go from some rough cuts to almost finished in 2 pix.

PLEASE when you photograph the outside do a lot of pix, I have always wondered about that whole p[rocess and have a poroject for january that could really benefit from klnowing how thast fone, properly/

I have some guesses, but I;'d love to see it

thanks

j
This build started ages ago, so I can't fill in the blanks, but I'll be sure to let you see as much as i can. If there is something you don't see then just ask and I'll do what I can to help you understand. As for doing things properly, well I'm not sure that this is the right thread for that, it's just the way that I did it

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This is going to be an interesting build for sure. Keep the pics coming.
OK, here we go.

To form the sides I took a pan of boiling water and soaked the wood in the water. But that wont allow the wood to bend, it has to get a bit warmer! I clamped a piece a steel tube in my bench and heated it with a blow torch so that it was starting to look blue, I hope that makes sense. I then formed the wood around the hot pipe, when it gets hot enough you can feel the wood go soft and start to bend very easily, there is no need to force it!



I couldn't take pictures while I was bending, thats very much a two handed job



I actually bent that too tightly and had to open it out a bit before I could use it.



I aimed for about 95% right, ultimately I can do some final bending when I glue it all together, but it needs to be as near as i can get it.

I need some kerfing to assemble the back, sides and top. This is a proof of principle build, so I was looking to do things cheaply without investing in too much bespoke material. So I simply bought a length of strip wood from Wickes, only cost a couple of pounds rather than buying in about 20 of kerfing. I cut it on the band saw by eye, I'm sure that you could build a jig and do the job more neatly, but it works!



Gluing the kerfing onto the back





In a couple of areas the home made kerfing was less than perfect, but with some sanding after gluing it work out OK, I'm sure that using bespoke kerfing would have made this easier and neater.

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Old November 27th, 2012, 07:14 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I'm guessing this isn't your first guitar?
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Old November 27th, 2012, 07:25 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Love it!
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Old November 27th, 2012, 07:49 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I'm guessing this isn't your first guitar?
You're right, you've seen the double cut tele thread, well, I built 2 guitars before those 3 teles, I also built a 12 string tele with a spalted maple top



But that's it, i've never even thought about an acoustic guitar before
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Old November 27th, 2012, 07:56 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Nice project. I'm looking forward to seeing it progress.
That 12 string is a beauty.
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Old November 27th, 2012, 10:40 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Nice project. I'm looking forward to seeing it progress.
That 12 string is a beauty.
+1
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Old November 27th, 2012, 11:37 AM   #17 (permalink)
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+2

What pups are they in the 12 ? looks like a pair of Phat Cats
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Old November 27th, 2012, 01:32 PM   #18 (permalink)
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+2

What pups are they in the 12 ? looks like a pair of Phat Cats
Thanks Warnz, they are Warman P90s http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Pair-Warma...-/180996173789
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Old November 27th, 2012, 02:11 PM   #19 (permalink)
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This is looking good! How was it to bend the 3mm sides?
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Old November 27th, 2012, 02:14 PM   #20 (permalink)
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So, some more pictures. Gluing up the first side, before this I clamped everything in place and marked where the sides crossed the centre line and carefully cut them to length.



Lots and lots of clamps




Second side going on


gluing the kerfing in place for the top to be glued to


Final kerfing going on


Going back to the top, I need to cut the F holes before I gle everything together. I have a template I made for a thinline tele, so I used that..... Very carefully.


Not too hard for the first F hole, but getting the second lined up took some time measuring and marking out before committing to the second cut. I think it turned out OK






I can't just glue it all together, the soft cedar top would probably collapse under the string pressure, so I add some simple braces, these were cut from some pine strip wood. I made a cardboard template of the internal curve of the top and used that to cut the braces then sanded them to fit neatly against the cedar. The ends of the braces should just sit on the heel and neck blocks when the top is glued on




Something similar on the back


I think that this will be a fairly quiet instrument, so I want the opportunity to plug this into some form of amplifier. I glued 3 piezos under where the bridge will sit


It's time to glue everything together, but only after carefully planing and sanding the mating surfaces to ensure a good mating betweem the two.




I glued it together with the top facing down to ensure any glue squeeze out wouldn't leave unsightly marks under the F holes

Once everything has set I sanded the edges of the top and back flush with the sides



Starting to look like an archtop body now






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