Lets build something that looks like an L5 archtop

Boreas

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With the help of a forumite Envirodat the setup thread has been turned into a Word document. That eliminates all the chit chat and makes it possible to print a page or two at a time if you want to take a small part to your shop. Its available if you send me an e-mail address, working on a way to download it from the forum.

For your retirement years, you should look into a book publisher! It may not be a best-seller, but not many of us will ever get to play or own one of your instruments.
 

Freeman Keller

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For the past couple of weeks the little archtop has been quietly resting in a nice pink case that I found back in my basement. It was actually a dreadnaught case, that gives you an idea of the size of this thing. And when you think about it, this is considered a small archtop - most are an inch wider and some are two. Size matters when you want volume
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There are a few things that need to be done and its above freezing in the shop, so lets do them. Need to drill the head for the tuners - I have two sets that I could use, the Klusons just look "right"

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Drilled and reamed the holes for the bushings. I use different tuners and each one has its own size of bushing which requires a different (expensive) reamer. Why can't these things be standardized?

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Test fit

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The other thing I could do now is fit the bridge to the top

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Which then lets me fiddle with the neck set a bit more. Put some powdered chalk on the mortise and fit the tenon into it. When I take it apart chalk has been transfered to the high spots.
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Those come down with a scraper and sanding sticks until the chalk is uniformly distributed on the sides of the tenon.

A dovetail is a pretty amazing joint. In theory I could string this thing up without any glue inside, here I am holding the guitar by its neck off the workbench - kind of hard to photograph

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Not much more I can do until warm weather gets here besides a little more sanding. Back in the pink case.
 

Telekarster

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Dag gone, Freeman! She is really looking great, and that purple-ish lining of that case looks spot on in color to early Gibson cases! A perfect fit in my book. Looking really fine, FK.
 

Freeman Keller

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I knew when I started this that the timing was all wrong. I knew I would be finishing the wood working in the middle of winter and it would be totally the wrong time to finish it. Sure enough, its been sitting under the work bench for over a month and its been too darn cold to want to do any guitar work. Well, thats all starting to change. Sun is out, snow if finally melting, its still not warm enough to spray but that doesn't stop me from thinking about it. Got the guitar back out and cleared off the bench
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All this time has given me lots of time to think about how to finish. As I've said before, I am not trying to clone a 1920 L5 but I do want this to be a tribute to that style of guitar and how they were build and finished in the day. Gibson would have offered this in two colors, a "natural" finish and their classic Cremona sunburst (some folks call it tobacco burst). I've been spending a lot of time looking thru my vintage guitar books at different sunbursts trying to decide if that is what I want for this. I did a Cremona burst on my F5 mandolin, but lots of what I see on guitars I'm not crazy about. This is obviously a place to practice what I preach about experimenting on scrap.

So I cut up a bunch of the left over top wood into 1 inch pieces and mixed up a bunch of different stains and started experimenting. While it is not completely know how Gibson did these 'bursts there are some pretty good ideas and the general feeling is that three different colors of stains were applied directly onto the wood, followed by clear coats of some sort of finish (Gibson was converting to lacquer roughly at this time). Thats how I did the F5 and I was pretty happy with the results.

Here are a bunch of the test pieces with a picture of what I was trying to achieve. Below the spruce are a couple of pieces of the mahogany to see how it would take stain

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Here are the best samples on the top roughly how the colors would be applied

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Not bad, but I'm just not convinced. One thing that is very interesting to me is that the spruce has well defined growth lines - dark "winter" or slow grown, very light "summer" growth lines. It is probably realistically about AA in grading, nice but not stunning. What struck me is how much the winter lines absorbed the stains, look how it was just sucked into each years winter ring

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Of course this is what stains do and why we use them - they pop the grain dramatically. But I'm not real sure this is what I want.

The other thing to consider is that the woods and binding look pretty darn good in their natural colors. Thought about it for a long time and decided to go natural.

Top got a coat of shellac

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Back and sides got their first coat of Zpoxy

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We're committed...
 

Freeman Keller

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Wow! Great thread. Good looking guitar.

Thank you. Its going to go to the back burner again until the weather gets a little better for finish. Wanted to make the decision about stains however because that determines what to do with sealing and pore filling. It didn't want to put epoxy or shellac on if I was going to stain.
 

Boreas

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LOL, I thought it was a mess. The important tools are just a short reach away, everything else is in a box somewhere.

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Most of my stuff is in those cheesy plastic boxes with drawers. Works OK for me, but not very efficient. Plus, I SIT at a table where I do most of my light work. The boxes are ON the table (but I often have to move stuff out of the way to pull the drawers out). For heavier stuff, it is down to the dungeon workbench, where my "luthier's" clamps are hanging over my head. I rarely use them, but they look very nice - rock maple with brass bars and walnut levers. My friend made me 4 decades ago, and I gave him back two of them when I moved away. His are likely collecting dust as well.

Those Craftsman toolboxes are getting pricey!
 




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