Oct 2nd: I am really close to getting my new shop set up. I didn't get much done over the summer as we had a lot of guests, and I preferred spending my time boating and playing golf rather than locked in the shop. With all the rain and cool weather over the past two weeks, I have made great progress. Another week or two, and the shop will be ready for my fall/winter builds. I'll post a picture or two here once I am done.


Dec 1st: Milled the building mold for the Huron on the CNC this evening. Finished mold turned out well. Also, cut a bending mold and caul and have the bender setup to go. Always a lot of work to get molds and fixtures built for a new guitar model. Will be nice to have the Huron as part of my model lineup.


Nov 14: Spent some time today gluing up MDF for building molds for my new Huron model. I'll give the glue a day or two to cure, then I will mill the molds on my CNC machine.


May 23: Finished up my designs for the Huron and cut out top and side templates on the CNC. I still need to cut out bending and build molds.


Dec 14: I have been changing my building process. After building quite a few guitars with a flexible mold, I decided to switch to solid molds. I drew up some new molds in Rhino3D for my Michigan and Superior shapes and milled them on the CNC machine.


Nov 1: Had a visit today from Beth and her dog, Kira. Beth and I have been trading emails for the past few weeks regarding a possible custom build. She was passing through Michigan on business and dropped in to play a few guitars and look at some wood. Beth is very excited about a custom build and signed up for my next open spot. We picked out some woods, but with a year or more to wait, Beth will have plenty of time to make sure she is happy with her picks.



Feb 10: I am behind my usual pace for winter as I got off to a late start, and I have had a lot of travel. My first build is a Madagascar Rosewood Michigan for Nobu. This guitar will have a venetian cutaway and red spruce top. Nobu lives locally and had come by over the summer to hand pick the wood for the back and sides as well as the red spruce for the top. Below is the build log for Nobu's guitar along with a link to a photo gallery showing the guitar in progress. The second build is a black walnut Huron for Rob. This guitar will also have a red spruce top. Below is the build log for Rob's guitar along with photos.

Nobu's Michigan of Madagascar RW w/Red Spruce Top (build photos):

Mar 3: Been a while since I posted an update. I have had a lot of business travel, but sneaked time in the shop when I could. I basically have the body of Nobu's Michigan done. A couple of weeks ago, I used my laminate trimmer to route the binding and purfling channels, then cleaned up the grooves with a file and scraper. I bent the bindings and purflings, then about a week ago, I installed the bindings and purflings around the top edge of the rim. To get the fine herringbone to bend around to cutaway, I heated the herringbone with my heat gun and separated the darker outer pins. This allowed me to easily work the herringbone around the tight corners. Last night I glued the bindings along the back edge of the rims. I pulled out the scrapers this afternoon and scraped all the bindings and purflings level with the rims, top, and back. There is no easy way to do this other than rolling up the sleeves and going at it. After a couple of hours, I had the body all done. I will now set this one aside and work and get the body of Rob's Huron done.

Jan 20: Over the past week I voiced the soundboard, using a very nice handmade Japanese chisel to remove wood from the braces until the top was responding the way I wanted. I then cleaned it up with several grits of sandpaper to get it ready to glue on to the rims. I then carved the mahogany back braces and cleaned up the back. Today, I fit the top and back to the rims. I let the ends through the rims of the X and upper transverse brace as well as each back braces. I first glued the back to the rims then followed with the front. Prior to routing the binding channels, I need to give the rims a good level sanding, so that is on the agenda for this week.

Jan 13: This morning I heated up the hide glue and glued the mahogany braces to the back. Time now to carve both the top and back braces.

Jan 8: Shop time over the past few weeks has been scarce as we have had family in town for the holidays. But this past weekend I got back to playing Luthier and got the top braced of Nobu's guitar. I had a few last braces to get on this evening, which I did. I'll probably brace the back prior to carving the bracing and voicing the top.

Dec 26: Leveled the rosette and final thicknessed the top. Both the top and back are now ready to be braced.

Dec 23: The linings are now in and have been sanded to accept the top and back. Today, I made some yellow heart and black veneer purflings and inlaid the rosette.

Dec 16: This week I made blocks for the neck and tail. Prior to gluing them in, I gave the inside of the rims a nice sanding. Once the blocks were in, I soaked the linings for the top in water then clamped them to the rims to dry. It can be hard to make those tight bends in the cutaway without soaking the linings first. Once the bindings I had dried, I glued them to the rims.

Dec 9: The last few days I final thicknessed the top and gave it nice sanding. It is now ready for bracing. I also ran the rims through the thickness sander and cut the profile prior to bending. I then bent each rim. As we are doing a cutaway, I needed to bend the lower rim for the florentine cutaway. The wood needs a couple of fairly tight bends to get the rim in the proper shape. I'm always relieved when the bends are done without any tell tale cracking sounds.

Yesterday, I fired up the CNC and cut some mahogany braces for the back and some red spruce braces for the top. Though the CNC is used to cut the bracing, all braces are final shaped by hand.

Dec 5: This week I started Nobu's build. I cleaned up the edges to join and glued up the panels yesterday. This evening, I ran the top through the thickness sander to clean it up so I can inlay the rosette. This evening I ran the back plates through the thickness sander to get them to an even consisent thickness prior to gluing up. I then cleaned up the glue edges and pulled a strip of tulipwood to use for an inlay up the center of the back. I then glued up the back plates and inlay strip.

The Madagascar rosewood is very pretty and I'll get some better pictures up once I run the back through the thickness sander.


Rob's Huron of Black Walnut w/Red Spruce Top (build photos):

Mar 31: Though I haven't updated the website in a couple of weeks, I have continued to work on Rob's guitar. With the top and back done, I needed to get the rims ready. I made neck and tail blocks and glued them in, joining the rims. The top and back need something to glue to, so I glue in linings to give a wider edge for the glue joint. The linings are made from mahogany and are kerfed so they will bend around the rims. I douse the linings in water and let them sit for a bit, then clamp them to the rims overnight. The next evening, I removed the linings and glued them to the rims.

The back was built to a 15' radius, so to get a nice glue joint and fit, I sanded a 15' radius on the linings all the way around the perimeter. The top has a 40' radius, which is very close to flat, so I don't sand in a radius to the top edge of the linings. However, I do need to sand a fall off from the sound hole to the neck joint, which puts the fingerboard on a good plane relative to the saddle to provide a good action.

Once the rims were ready, I glued on the back followed by the top. The only complicated part of this is notching the rims to let the main braces pass through the rims. The top and back are glued on using my Go Bar deck. Next up is binding.

Mar 17: Another week and a bit more progess. With the top bracing on, I pulled out the nice Japanese chisels and shaped the top bracing to voice the soundboard. I scallop the braces, removing spruce from the bottom of the scallops until the top responds to a tap the way I want. Once all the braces were carved, I gave the top a good sanding. The top bracing always looks so nice when I am done, I hate to hide them inside the top! Rob drove up from Ohio today, so he at least got to see the top before I glue it onto the body later.

I also glued the mahogany back braces on the back this week, and this morning, I used a small thumb plane to shape the back braces. Both the top and the back are done and ready to be glued to the rims once I get them ready.

While Rob was here this morning, I bent one of the sides so he could see what goes into getting a rim to the right shape. Later in the day, I cut some neck and tail blocks from mahogany, then I dropped them onto the CNC to mill the respective radius on the rim side. I glued in the tail block but ran out of time to get the neck block in.

Mar 10: During the week, I inlaid a black mother of pearl ring in the soundboard. The next night, I cut a ring of curly curly koa and made the pockets in the top for the rest of the rosette inlay. On Thursday night, I inlaid the koa ring and osage orange purflings. On Friday, I ran the top through my thickness sander to clean up the rosette and get the top to the right thickness for bracing.

Today, I cut bracing for the top and back, heated up the hide glue, and glued most of the bracing to the top. I still need to put some bracing around the soundhole and glue on the upper transverse brace, but I'll get to those during the week. I really enjoy bracing the top and back and voicing the top, so this will be a nice week as I carve the braces and dial in the sound.

Mar 3: Friday evening, I sliced some osage orange and thicknessed it to .025" then laminated it between a couple of .01" thick black fiber sheets. This morning, I used a thin kerf blade on my table saw to rip the laminate into thin strips to use for purflings on Rob's Huron. Now the purflings are ready, I can start the rosette.

Feb 10: Finally got underway on Rob's guitar. I glued up the plates for the back and top last night. This morning, I ran the top through the thickness sander to clean it up prior to inlaying the rosette. I thicknessed the back, gave it a good sanding with the ROS, then cut the profile. It is ready for braces.