Does anyone here know where I can chat with people who've built gypsy style instruments (or is currently building one) I'm looking primarily for non-luthiers so I'm not taking up someones "earning time" but rather sharing experiences with a fellow hobbyist / budding luthier.
I'm working through the initial stages of building ... haven't decided whether to do the Selmer or Mac... so got both plans and have been studying them. A couple of things seem "way hard" and I'm wondering whether I'm just failing to comprehend what's actually going on, or whether it takes special tools, or whether it's really "way hard" and I just need to buck up and practice on scrap wood till I get it right ...
1.) 3d scarf joint at the neck. I can see how it would be accomplished if a person did a 3-piece neck... do the scarf joint and put rails on the side of it but doing a 12 degree inset scarf of that size with super crisp clean edges and a perfectly matching sliver of a tendon on a joint whose tightness is 100% critical (IE, it has to be perfect or doesn't achive the necessary strength) Man, that seems like something I'd either have to cheat and use power tools for.. or get really good with a specialty low-angle block plane that does clean corners.
2.) the front to back arch... I *think* I get it - it's basically the Larson Brothers technique of curving the sides of the soundboard... reinforcing them with curved braces... and then pressuring the top and bottom of the soundboard down to the body. If I'm going to spring load the top that way - I want to talk with someone who has done it once or twice as I'm assuming that all hell is going to break loose when I start forcing those top and bottom edges down to the body.
3.) It would be nice to discuss "gotchas" about the side and back lamination with someone who has experience. I don't want to spend that much time building a pair of mold/glue-jigs (one for back, one for side) and then out of naivety - screw up and ruin $100 of top grade semi-rare non-backed veneers. The rest seems pretty straightforward. (not easy - but straightforward... IE... similar to techniques used in building Flattops and/or archtops)
You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.