ideas of new luthiers and old

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by risingsun189, Dec 14, 2010.

  1. risingsun189

    risingsun189 TDPRI Member

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    so guitars have been around for a long time, of course we all know that. :D but what did the original luthiers use instead of bandsaws, orbital sanders, planers, and all other power tools. That being said I do realise that solidbody electric guitars were created while all these tools existed but can the original tools used by acoustic luthiers also be used to make a solidbody guitar.
     
  2. flatfive

    flatfive Friend of Leo's

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  3. Rooney

    Rooney Tele-Meister

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    Some machines like band saws might have been around longer than you think, just not powered by electricity. The band saw has been around since the early 1800s and was originally hand powered and you can find examples of foot powered scrolls saws easily as well.

    Now 1800 is still late in the game when you think of all the violins and such that were made but if something as beautiful as a violin and cello, etc., can be made in large quantities surely something as clumsy (when compared to a violin) as an acoustic guitar should be no problem.

    Most wood workers had apprentices for a reason, they didn't have electric planers. Grab a good bench plane and start making shavings. Also if you ever watch Antiques Roadshow you'll notice they always look for bench plane marks on chair backs and other areas to verify it was handmade, real, etc. So sometimes I think they just skipped any type of sanding because there wasn't anything available. You can also get a smooth surface from the plane or a card scraper. (A quick search also turns up shark skin as an abrasive)

    These can all certainly be used for solid body guitars. Cutting out a solid shape and then giving it a round over and a bevel wouldn't have been a problem. I direct you towards furniture made throughout the centuries as proof.
     
  4. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    There are Non Electrical tools to do the job of every power tool, such as

    1. Hand Planes - Hand planes come in a variety of sizes and styles, and they can be used for Thicknessing and Jointing wood. 85 % of modern hand planes are useless POS, 10 % are barely acceptable, and 5 % work as intended. The 5 % that are worth a damn are more expensive than their power tool equivalents. You really have to learn more about how to locate, repair, and maintain older hand planes to be economical at all.

    2. Chisels, gouges, Spoke Shaves, and Knives - Properly honed hand tools like chisels cut like razors, and are almost effortless to use once you figure out how to work with the grain. Spokes shaves and draw knives are designed to shave wood. Draw knives are excellent for removing bark and heavy material, and spoke shaves are more refined, taking smaller bites.

    3. Scrapers and hand planes were used instead of sandpaper, and once you know how to use them, they work much better than sandpaper on figured woods.

    4. Saws - Believe it or not, band saws have been around and used since the development of steel string guitars. But if you are looking for its precursor, then you'd have to look at tools like the Copping Saw. For normal sawing, back saws, dovetail saws, and pull stroke saws are common. Again, a quality hand saw is quite expensive.

    5. Finish - A lot of old instrument were hand rubbed smooth, then varnish was applied to protect the wood from moisture. A lot of european instruments were french polished with shellac.

    6. Glues - hide glues were common.

    7. Specialty tools were hand crafted by each person and tailored to their needs, and apprentices would copy and refine them.
     
  5. 4string

    4string Friend of Leo's

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    "Sandpaper" (abrasives) goes back to ancient times, it just wasn't glued to a piece of paper.

    Rock, typically granites, were crushed with the equivalent of a hammer. They were then screened using various weaves of cloth to separate the "grits".

    The Greeks and Romans were able to polish marble by putting wet grit on a wood block and rubbing the stone, adding more grit as needed. They went though the grits finer and finer until the stone was to a fine hone. They used finely crushed pumice and other types of softer stone for final polish. Long process, but it worked.

    I'm sure early woodworkers had their methods of using abrasives also.
     
  6. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Back in the Greek and Roman times, Labor was cheap or free, and materials were expensive. Could you imagine what it would cost to build another giant cathedral or Colosseum in modern times?

    Part of the French polishing technique is taking pumice and polishing the wood which makes fine sawdust that fills the pores of the wood, thereby grain filling the wood. But most wood workers would have just used scrapers, planes, and rubbing to smooth out wood. I know some traditional wood workers who can use scrapers and planes to get a better finish than sand papers and abrasives.
     
  7. Maricopa

    Maricopa Friend of Leo's

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    Man those guys work fast in the video! :cool:
     
  8. 4string

    4string Friend of Leo's

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    Yup. They practiced slavery, so a little gruel and more conquests kept a constant supply of (almost) free labor.

    I have read that mankind achieved the highest average IQ during the period of the Greek empire. You had to be smart to survive. Less intelligent tribes were made into slaves and not allowed to breed. The poor class died young or were servants to the upper class, and breeding was controlled. There was no welfare system. The Romans were first to do that with "the dole".

    Tough world. Not so bad nowadays, recession or not.


    Off-topic, but interesting.
     
  9. NYbill

    NYbill Tele-Meister

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    Don't forget water powered shops. There is a old abandoned mill in the town over and I had to go into it to do some work. most of the old pullies and lether belts, and some of the machines where still there. I spent an hour just looking at every thing. I was neat! It got its power by diverting water from a near by river that goes over about a 30" fall.

    That video was neat! I watched both of them. Wow those guys aren't afraid to use chisels! They where carving with them where I'd be afraid to tear into the grain.
     
  10. flatfive

    flatfive Friend of Leo's

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    If your there again please take some pics -- I'd love to see what those
    machines look like.

    Yeah, it's chisels for almost everything, and I'm also amazed
    at how they go at the wood aggressively from every angle.
     
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