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BYO, Two for the Road

Craig BumgarnerCraig Bumgarner Drayden, MarylandVirtuoso Bumgarner S/N 001
To give the Build Your Own crowd a bit of a bump, I thought I would post about these two guitars I started together about a year ago and recently finished.

Both are Selmer style with four top braces instead of the more common five. The small oval hole guitar on the left has a cedar top and moabi laminated back and sides. The D hole guitar on the right has a sitka spruce top and walnut laminated sides. Necks are Honduran mahogany and the fingerboards are ebony. Both weigh less than 3-1/2 pounds. Finish is mostly french polish with polished phenolic resin varnish finish coats on the back and sides to protect against perspiration damage to the french polish finish. They don't call it hot jazz for nothing. :twisted: The D hole guitar went to friend, I've been giggin' the cedar top the last couple weeks.

I think they both sound and play pretty good, I'm pleased. I think the four top braces instead of five gives them a a bit more of what I call the old school sound, Favino, Castellucia, Patenotte. The cedar top has a little sweeter tone, volume is about average and plays very well. The D hole is louder and more aggressive, something I've found with the previous two guitars I built with sitka spruce tops. FWIIW, I've been using a Peche a la Mouche pickup on the cedar top, sounds great.

Hope others who are building will post their projects too.

CB
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Comments

  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,001
    Wow, Craig. Those look great!

    Where do you get your veneer for laminating?

    What glue and method do you use to do the laminating?

    I've got a D-hole in the white right now but can't finish it due to other projects but I plan to get back out into the wood shop soon. I think my next project will be a oval hole with solid maple back and sides but I'm worried about the tight bend on flamed maple. Any ideas on how to bend the cutaway without cracking the solid sides? Flamey wood is particularly prone to cracking around the figure.
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,001
    PS- Do they have a pliage or an arch?

    If they have a pliage, how did you bend it/join the halves.

    thanks
  • Craig BumgarnerCraig Bumgarner Drayden, MarylandVirtuoso Bumgarner S/N 001
    Posts: 794
    Bones wrote:
    Wow, Craig. Those look great!

    Thanks, I sure enjoy doing it. More than once my wife has had to come down to the shop and drag me away to do the basics, like eat and sleep.
    Bones wrote:
    Where do you get your veneer for laminating?

    Certainly Wood in East Aurora, NY. Family operation, very easy to work with and had no problems working with my specific guitar making requirements.
    Bones wrote:
    What glue and method do you use to do the laminating?

    I used Weldwood plastic resin glue for the first time for the backs and sides on these two guitars. It worked much better than Titebond. Titebond seems to hydrate the wood way too much and takes a month to return to normal moisture levels. With Weldwood, the pieces were at normal moisture within a day or two. Weldwood is a powder that you add water to, the must go into the reaction because the wood feels dry afterward, unlike the Titebond. I think it ultimately gets harder too, which should mean less dampening. Weldwood has adequate working time and is less messy than Titebond. I used Titebond most everywhere else though. The Weldwood powder contain formaldehyde, so be careful not to breath it when mixing.

    Hot hide glue would probably be the best, but the working time is very short and I haven't figured out how to work quick enough. I saw a video of a guitar maker gluing a top to the sides with a press that took about 3 seconds to bring to full pressure. If I had something like that, I could probably do it. I have thought about using phenolic resin glue, like Resorcinal, but it is expensive, stains badly (purple) and is pretty toxic.

    I might try epoxy some day if I get my nerve up. Pretty messy and sticky.
    Bones wrote:
    I've got a D-hole in the white right now but can't finish it due to other projects but I plan to get back out into the wood shop soon. I think my next project will be a oval hole with solid maple back and sides but I'm worried about the tight bend on flamed maple. Any ideas on how to bend the cutaway without cracking the solid sides? Flamey wood is particularly prone to cracking around the figure.

    Be sure to post pics or video when your finish the D hole, love to see it.

    I've only done one Selmer style with solid wood and it was fairly straight grain bubinga. I didn't have too much trouble with cut away bends, but I did thin the bend areas down to .080" and practiced the tight bends a lot in advance. I boiled this portion for about 5 minutes rather than just steam it and I slapped this portion of the wet wood onto the top of my wood stove to thoroughly steam it before bending. Bent like butter. I also used a spring steel bending sheet to help contain the grain during the bend. Dupont's MD-20 is solid flame maple so it can be done.

    Craig
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,902
    Nice work Craig, those look great!
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,001
    Thanks for the info Craig, I'll keep you posted when I get done with the honey-dos and get back out in the shop.

    I've had good luck bending figured sugar maple (I think that was the name) but figured bigleaf is much easier to crack.

    Did you do a pliage?
  • Craig BumgarnerCraig Bumgarner Drayden, MarylandVirtuoso Bumgarner S/N 001
    Posts: 794
    Bones wrote:
    Did you do a pliage?

    Yeah, on both. A pliage on a D hole model is something you don't see every day, but it seems to have worked. This D hole is one powerful guitar.

    CB
  • Craig BumgarnerCraig Bumgarner Drayden, MarylandVirtuoso Bumgarner S/N 001
    Posts: 794
    Bones wrote:
    PS- Do they have a pliage or an arch?

    If they have a pliage, how did you bend it/join the halves.

    thanks

    Sorry, I missed this one somehow. Both have a pliage. I worked the technique out on the guitar that preceded these two. I described the technique HERE

    I join the halves by planing a perfect joint. I test by holding the two unglued halves to the sun and if right, no light at all comes through. Then I glue and tape the joint together with short pieces of tape across the seam every 4-5". Once taped, I slap it in my homemade go-bar deck where I have a 2" wide x 20" long piece of wood with the pliage angle cut in the right place and go-bar the joint down to this mold. That keeps the two sides of the joint in plane with each other. I don't use any side pressure other than the tape, so the joint has to perfect. I use a 20" shooting plane and shooting board to keep the plane perfectly at 90 degrees to the top. Takes about 5 minutes.

    Below is a picture of the D hole top in the go-bar deck when I was installing bracing. You can see the same mold I use for the joint being used as a mold for the little cross brace across the pliage. Different application, but the same idea.

    Craig
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,001
    Oh, right. Now I remember that other thread.

    From reading that I'm under the impression that with a pliage the top edges of the sides (that bond to the sound board) are totally flat (not sanded in a dished form) whereas if you don't use a pliage the edges are sanded to match the 15' radius dish, is that right?

    If so, do you think there would be any merit in doing a pliage and doing the 15' radius in the sides to get even more arch???

    As far as the pliage itself, are you still doing it all the way across and then having it flatten out at the edges when you clamp it to the sides or are you doing the 'dart' technique or some way of bending the pliage so it dies off toward the edge?
  • ShawnShawn Boise, Idaho✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 295
    Great work Craig...I'm highly impressed by your attention to detail! I have wanted a Cedar top Oval Hole for a long time, so if you're ever able to take more pictures of that particular guitar, I'd love to see the back, sides, neck, etc.

    Once again I applaud you for the time and effort you put into these guitars, and they seem to have come out in tip top shape. :D

    Shawn
  • HereticHeretic In the Pond✭✭✭
    Posts: 230
    Very impressive! A player and a guitar maker! Congratulations.
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