Ken McKay guitar build log for OFC

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by dotmkr, Mar 14, 2014.


  1. dotmkr

    dotmkr Member

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    Back to the guitar at hand.
    Pushing the Rim through the drum sander.



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    Ken
     
  2. dotmkr

    dotmkr Member

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    [​IMG]
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    I made this drum sander many years ago. Is not high-powered but that comes to my advantage at times. I can finesse this rim through the sander without sanding my knuckles or watching it fly across the room. So sometimes less is more.


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    Ken
     
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  3. dotmkr

    dotmkr Member

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    [​IMG]I sand the bindings flush with one side flip it over and sand again until it is nearly flush with the rim and the center block.


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    Ken
     
  4. dotmkr

    dotmkr Member

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    [​IMG]
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    Then apply the Kerfing to the other side.



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    Ken
     
  5. Grant S.

    Grant S. Member

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    Really like the new shape!

    It's great being able to watch this guitar come together. You don't see many build threads for laminate guitars.
     
  6. dotmkr

    dotmkr Member

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    Thanks Grant I consider laminate to be Tonewood. That and I Really take a lot of care in choosing the correct materials. In addition to that very tight joinery is essential


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    Ken
     
  7. dotmkr

    dotmkr Member

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    [​IMG]
    After I removed the clamps on this side I planeThe Kerfing by hand like this.


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    Ken
     
  8. dotmkr

    dotmkr Member

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    The whole thing could be done like this but I run it through my thickness sander again and that makes it all flush. The center block would be difficult to plane down perfectly level with the rims, that's where the thickness sander excels.
    [​IMG]


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    Ken
     
  9. dotmkr

    dotmkr Member

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    And here is the completed rim or as I call it a Garland.


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    Ken
     
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  10. dotmkr

    dotmkr Member

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    You can see from the photo that the ribs protrude above the block. There's an easy way to trim this flush
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    this tool is known as a flush trim saw. It has very little or no set to the teeth. Sometimes I have to stop and clear the sawdust out of the curve halfway through but it creates a beautiful flush finish.


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    Ken
     
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  11. dotmkr

    dotmkr Member

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    So now it is flush ,perpendicular and square


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    Ken
     
  12. dotmkr

    dotmkr Member

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    Two, three ply ribs glued to shape, perfectly glued to a shaped center block of Maple coming together right here.


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    Ken
     
  13. dotmkr

    dotmkr Member

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    [​IMG]



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    Ken
     
  14. dotmkr

    dotmkr Member

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    This is just the start. There's many more operations left to complete just the body. Thank everyone for being patient and for sticking around. feel free to ask any questions you have.
    So far I am satisfied with how this is turning out in fact I feel like it's going to be a real nice one.


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    Ken
     
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  15. Geosh

    Geosh Supporting Member

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    Subscribed. This is fantastic. Thanks for doing such a nice write up! I am looking forward to the rest!
     
  16. dotmkr

    dotmkr Member

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    At this point I want to break away from the actual joinery and talk about an interesting subject to me. It is my personal belief which comes from a progression of studying both Violinmaking and guitar making for many years that the arching of an acoustical instrument plate creates a voice.
    Again there is no wrong or right here. I'm simply documenting my method and opening up a point for discussion if there is interest. Of course this type of discussion is more appropriately applied to a fully acoustic instrument. However I have a hard time separating what I am trying to achieve in an electric instrument from pure acoustical one. I have a strong feeling that in the mid to late 50s. When the golden years of arch top guitar making was at the pinnacle The arching scheme for the best laminated guitar designs were adapted from pure acoustic instruments.
    With this in mind I have adapted the arching from one of those 50s instruments and Incorporated it into the arching of the sunrise 16.
    For this I used an old violin makers method of pouring the plaster cast of an existing instrument. From the plaster cast I created another mold to use in pressing the first generation of this guitar. However in designing the alterations in the form and outline of the sunrise I needed to also change the arching somewhat. The old plaster cast and method of creating the mold needed to be changed somewhat.

    I have done this several times with other designs so this is nothing new. However doing this by hand is very time-consuming and in addition there is a bias towards something being called good enough when it could be changed for the better. I looked into the digital world and that is where I found some very interesting and usable answers.

    Not having the skills to work in the digital world was a huge impediment to my progress. So I looked around for help.




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    Ken
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2014
  17. dotmkr

    dotmkr Member

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    Here is a 50 s archtop guitar. I did not make this. You can see that it has a pressed
    Maple top. This is a laminated guitar. The arching of the top is careful and deliberate. The back of this guitar is also arched.

    A mold to press the laminated plates would not be the same for the front and back. There was a top mold and a back mold.

    All of the arching is contained in the outline of the body. There is a distinctive flat area that would allow a loose plate to sit flat on a table without gaps in the cutaway area.
    Take a look at the cutaway area. The arching is flat at the binding and rises up from there. Now flip your eyes over to the bass side and compare the arching there. If there was a cutaway there too then the plate would not sit on the rim but leave a gap. Some guitars have this feature and the gap is filled with brace material and binding covers it.

    The designers of this guitar were experts. This kind of perfection does not happen by accident my personal opinion is that one of the arch top luthiers who was probably most likely a trained instrument builder carved the mold by hand using all of the knowledge and skill he possessed. And this most likely came from a long progression of instrument making tradition, tools, methods and craftsmanship.
    Some of this might be lost art however I know there still a lot of instrument designers and craftsmen who can replicate this type of thing.

    Arching is the violin makers tradition. It comes from first the Viol Family of instruments and into the Amati family Who perfected violoncello arching. And in the early part of last century arched top guitar making adapted the methods for this type of arching probably from German and Italian violin making trained craftsmen.


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    Last edited: Apr 4, 2014
  18. dotmkr

    dotmkr Member

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    Without getting too deeply into this I will say a few things about laminated plate.
    A laminated plate has variable arching. However in contrast to the carved plate pressed plates do not usually have graduation in thickness. In addition to this, pressed plates usually are flat where the rim meets the plate. Moving Inward The arching rises gradually or Abruptly but never goes below the flat. Carved plates on the surface however do go below the flat. That is because they get thinner in that area which is often called the recurve.


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    Ken
     
  19. dotmkr

    dotmkr Member

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    At this point in the build log I would like to introduce you to the expert whom I enlisted to help me draw my ideas in 3-D. I thought this would work out well for my method and in actuality it really did.

    I asked him to chime in here a little bit of how he helped create the arching and draw this in full 3-D. Luckily Dan is also an instrument designer. So we speak the same language.
    So now lets go on little journey of how we went from the real world to the digital world back to the real world.


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    Ken
     
  20. dotmkr

    dotmkr Member

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    Dan can draw a full automobile a fingernail, a mouse, a pair of glasses, shoe or just about anything you ask in full 3-D. However he remarked to me that arch top plate drawing is one of his biggest challenges. For this model we went mostly with measurements from an existing instrument. But in designing a couple of other instruments we used old violin making traditions that hopefully we can speak about just a little bit because it's extremely interesting.



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    Ken
     

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