A new project is starting. Archtop guitar a´la Benedetto. About like this:
This projects starts in March 2013 at the same time as I am finalizing the Gretsch for lacquering.
I have bought the plans and after getting some experience about carving the Gretsch it is time to take the next step. This is going to be also an acoustic instrument so it means that I have to do everything a little bit better than I did with the Gretsch.
Here’s the wood; on the left the flamed maple sides, next the flamed maple back and on the right the spruce top. Ebony fingerboard and maple neck.
Back and top joined and extra wood sawed away.
A new 17” tool had to be done to be able to plane the parts. The 15,5” version for the Gretsch was of course too small.
Carving of the top and back has started.
Shapes are almost done to the top sides.
Then the inside part. This is top.
And this is back.
Almost half of the wood planed away.
Getting closer to the bottom of the drilling holes.
And here’s the back at the same stage.
Top is ready for f-holes.
Scraping and sanding seems to never end.
F-holes on the top. I will do this with parallel bracing so that it plays a bit brighter than with X braces.
The Benedetto mold is about 38 mm wider than the Gretsch. Should be a little bit easier to do the bending in the cutaway area.
Gluing the neck. Three pieces of maple and two stripes. Stripes are now stained birch, black.
Bending of the sides done. It started to break a little bit in the cutaway area but luckily in the tight curve which stays inside the guitar. Upper side is so easy to bend compared to the cutaway side.
Gluing again. This time I decided to try flamed maple binding. I glue a black white stripe to the underside of the wide binding.
All the bindings glued and ready for bending. I guess it is going to be sunburst color with this guitar.
Measuring the neck. First the truss rod. Then dove tail. And finally the neck extension. A lot of extra wood still on the neck.
Shaping of the braces is the next step.
Tail block glued.
Neck block glued and linings and inside bracing done.
There’s the truss rod in its place. Dove tail almost ready.
Neck extension glued and also the ears to the headstock.
Headstock veneers glued on top and also to backside. Started also work with fingerboard.
Back is glued to sides and parallel braces glued to the top.
Fingerboard and headstock pearl inlays have the cavities ready. Cavity of the Simo logo not yet done.
Braces have been finalized, the top sounds good.
A lot of small things done. Bridge parts and the tailpiece are roughly shaped, both ebony. Pickguard looks like ebony but it is actually maple stained with ebony color. F-hole bindings are finally glued. The top is not yet glued to its place.
Fingerboard has the mother of pearl inlays glued and also the Simo logo is ready. Next step with neck is the headstock bindings and then I can glue the fingerboard to neck.
Headstock bindings and fingerboard glued to neck.
Last glance into the body before the top will be glued. There is shellac on the inside of the back and top. Inside the top will also be the signature. Label is on its place, it can be seen through the f-hole. If the flames of the back are going to look from the outside after lacquering as good as from the inside under shellac it will be beautiful.
Now the top is glued and extra wood is cut away from the neck. Next is the body mortise. And then the body bindings.
Truss rod cover is made of ebony and the unbleached bone nut.
Flamed maple bindings have been bent, a little bit was the black-white strip coming off in the cutaway area, glue does not take much heat and without heat it can’t be bent. But luckily I have one strip of the black-white as a spare.
Black-white strips fixed from maple bindings. That first really tight curve seems to be impossible to bend with laminated bindings. Other curves were ok. The narrow white-black-white-black stripes were easier to bend.
Shaping the neck. Headstock veneer getting a sharp symmetric point to the middle of the neck.
For the first time all parts together after getting the body mortise deep enough. Neck is still not ready but I couldn’t resist to see how it is going to look at the end. Soon I can start to cut rabbet for the body bindings.
Gluing the bindings. First the black-white-black-white. White part is maple.
Bindings are ready. Most of the woodworking job is now done. The tailpiece is the last one which has to be finished next week on the last evening in the school this spring. Then start the preparations for the finish. One year from the starting of the project, not bad.
The Planet Waves Auto-Trim tuning machines are going to be used in this guitar.
All machine work is now done. Bridge posts and thumb wheels installed and tailpiece shaped and inlays on their places. Same pattern as in headstock. Because I’ll be using a tail gut a piece of a bone replaces a part of the binding. From now on it is then making dust.
First layers of shellac on the wood. This is going to be natural color because of the clear shellac.
Strings attached for the first time. Pickguard and truss rod cover unfinished.
The back looks like this.
Ebony heel cap.
Only truss rod cover missing from the headstock.
All wires soldered and pots hidden under the pickguard. Project got ready in the beginning of June 2014.