Dropping name(sake)s

Thanks to the beginning of the academic year, and the forced attention to some naughty wisdom teeth, I was kept out of the workshop for a bit. Thankfully, I’m now back to work on the guitar. And not a moment too soon, as I’ve seen the first acorns of the season on my drive. Soon, I’ll have to break out the hardhat to make it to the workshop without getting knocked senseless.

First, a couple of pics. I had a request for a pic of the fretboard with the frets installed.


Next is a view of the bracing that will soon be hidden from normal view; but I thought it was an interesting perspective.


Now, back to the task. After glueing the sides to the head and tail blocks in the form (done before my hiatus), I turned to the kerfing. Because the sides of the guitar are so thin – .090 inch or so – there is very little glue surface to adequately secure the top and bottom plates. In order to beef up this area, guitarmakers a kerfed lining, usually of mahogany or basswood; the thin, regular, kerfs cut in it allow it to bend around the curves of the side. (Classical guitars tend to just use a plain strip that is pre-bent, with no kerfings.) You need lots of clamps, so a trip the store to clean out their supply of spring clothspins is the easiest solution. You can see a piece of the kerfing (with the season’s first acorn) in front of the clipped sides. There are a couple of different types of kerfing available, I use the reverse kerfing, with the cuts on the outside, toward the sidewalls. The more traditional version puts the kerfs away from the side. Both do the job, but I think the reversed kerfing is a bit easier to apply.


With the kerfing for the top glued on and leveled, notches need to be made in the kerfing to allow for the top’s bracing to extend to the side. Then, after many test fitts and adjustments, with the help of many cam clamps and a long length of bicycle inner tubes tied together, the top is glued on. The inner tubes are wound tightly around the clamped top, apply pressure over as much of the surface as is possible.

Next the back will need to be braced, and then the back can get attached. Its beginning to look like a guitar. Now is the time to sign the guitar, while the box is open. Its good to be back.


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