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Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby Wonks » Sun Sep 03, 2017 2:33 pm

Nice pics. Great to have access to a proper workshop, makes it all so much easier.
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby Martin Walker » Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:42 pm

ooh - I do love following a project, even if I don't understand all the guitar-y technical bits 8-)

Good luck Adrian - may your wood never go against the grain :beamup:


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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:17 am

@Wonks

Sorry I thought I'd posted a reply but obviously not! Thanks for the suggestions, I'll let you know how we decide to go forward next time I'm there. I'm thinking maybe make a jig that allows me to measure and mark the bridge position on the top accurately rather than assume anything. And yes having the tools and expertise on hand makes this feasible for me. It's a double edged sword though because (a) I don't have any excuse not to do it and (b) My brother will not allow me to bodge anything - not that I want to.

@Martin

Thanks :) Looking at the standard project milestone chart I am currently at "Enthusiastic and Unwarranted Optimism". Next comes "Ignoring Reality" and "Changing the goalposts". ;)
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby Wonks » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:22 am

So are we going to see a full scratchbuild now? :)
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby Wonks » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:23 am

..including spinning your own aluminium cone and casting a spider?
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Mon Sep 04, 2017 10:59 am

Wonks wrote:..including spinning your own aluminium cone and casting a spider?

Why not? I mean how hard could it be? What could possibly go wrong??? :headbang:
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:44 am

Meanwhile, here's the progress from last week..

Gluing centre seam reinforcements for the back. These are pieces of waste wood from cutting the back to shape, glued cross-grain on the seam. I clamped a steel ruler to keep them in line then removed it to clean the glue up.

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All the reinforcements glued and neatly chamfered. Why shape them I asked? You can't see them on a resonator. It's to keep the weight down, all these little shavings add up. And just because you can't see them doesn't mean they shouldn't be neat..

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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:54 am

The last thing I managed to get done last week was start the back bracing.

The braces are rough cut to size then a 3mm curve planed on the longest brace. That is then used to mark a curve on the other braces. Hopefully they all ended up about the same...

Image

And here are the first couple being glued, curve side down. There is a steel rule under each joint to help spread the clamp pressure.

Image

That'll be it for two or three weeks now.. very frustrating!
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby Wonks » Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:55 pm

The bracing I've seen on resonator backs differs somewhat from normal guitars. I presume this bracing takes into account any support posts that need to be fitted between top and bottom of the guitar? The huge hole in the top does weaken it considerably.
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:55 am

Yes, even though I'm doing this as a learning exercise and being given 'do this, then do that' instructions, when I started I did the usual look around the internet to get some idea of what I was in for. To be honest I just became (more) confused, there are many approaches and since I am not starting from scratch it's not easy to see which would work best without having tried them. This is more like a restoration project with a Frankenstein twist. So I'm relying on my brother's experience, and since he's always experimenting I'm sure he's using me to try out some ideas.

So for the back bracing question, we are not going to use a soundwell that goes from front to back so we can brace pretty much as normal, and also put a radius on the back. Instead, the soundwell/cone support will attach to a perch pole which I will have to joint into the neck and presumably the end block. The back braces are slightly less deep than standard to make this easier. No idea how I'll do this yet but brother (Colin) is not perturbed. He hasn't seen me with a chisel though.

Supporting the front, as you say there's not much left once you cut the hole for the cone. I'm not sure whether the perch pole will be man enough, but I'm assuming we can reinforce if needed with posts.

Having said that though I think we might be aiming for a construction where the back will be allowed to vibrate. There seem to be different opinions about this, I have read that the body should be rigid and let the cone do the work, others disagree. As usual with the internet, pick your prejudice and then find views that support it!!

I'm trying not to worry too much about the next step as I go through this, just focus on the task in hand. But it's hard not to think about how I'm going to get that neck on, at the correct angle (won't be the same as a standard dreadnought), with a perch pole at the right height, etc etc. I need to be more zen. In fact I need to be Zen :D
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:39 am

Back in the workshop last week so here is this month's progress.

I finished gluing the back braces, shaped them and cleaned up. Here's what the back looks like now:

Planed and ends shaped:

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All cleaned up:

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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:37 am

Next I need to get my new back onto the damaged Tanglewood body. Double checked the sides are OK, then looked at the lining. Obviously it's all over the place from when the old back came off.

Not sure if it's really visible this photo, but the blocks at either end are 2-3 mm proud of the lining, and the lining itself is ragged. Also the lining need gluing back in a couple of places:

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Zoom in on the end block:

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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:02 am

So next I planed the blocks and lining down until they presented a decent surface for gluing to. Planing the end grain of those mahogany blocks was quite a struggle even with a very sharp blade!

I ended up having to take a little more off of the upper bout, so the overall profile of the back will be different from the original guitar by a mil or two. Colin says this is not an issue. He also confirmed I have enough lining left for binding.

I thought I was going to have to do something with the back braces to get them to fit inside the body, but Colin prefers to notch them into the sides. So I drew a centre line on the back and sides, then test fitted the back. I marked where the braces met the body and then cut notches to receive them. Here are the sides all planed down and notches cut.

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Now I finally get to glue the back on! So here is the obligatory clamping photo:

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I had to leave before the clamps came off but Colin confirmed the next morning the edges are all securely fixed, and I have a curve in the back both laterally and from top to bottom as I should. Great! Next month, get on with the front.

We also had a chat about the neck. It's a 642mm scale length which is probably different from the body (Wonks estimated 650mm from spec sheets). This is only a problem if the new bridge position brings the cone too far forwards to fit on the top, which looks a real possibility. It also doesn't have a much of a heel. Colin casually says there will be some interesting woodwork going there at some point.. might have to change the neck length, build a heel.. OK I say...
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby Wonks » Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:22 pm

Interesting neck scale length - 25 ¼". So it's only ¼" shorter than the norm, which doesn't seem like it would pose too big a problem on a dreadnought body.

Nice to see you working with your brother, especially as you live a long way apart so I expect you don't normally see him that often.
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Sun Sep 24, 2017 6:48 pm

Yes it's great, I've been doing a few days a month for him for about a year. I've progressed from general sanding duties to fret stoning/profiling and refrets to simple repairs.

Also get to drink beer with him on a regular basis now, what's not to like?
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby Dan LB » Mon Sep 25, 2017 3:02 pm

adrian_k wrote:Here are the sides all planed down and notches cut.

Image


Am I missing something here? Should the notches not only be in the kerfed lining? Why did you notch the actual sides too? I'm no luthier though - just curious!

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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby zenguitar » Mon Sep 25, 2017 3:22 pm

The notches in the side will be hidden completely by the bindings. The alternate method is to notch the kerfing but not the side itself, but when you route the binding channel you expose the notched brace ends anyway.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby Dan LB » Mon Sep 25, 2017 3:32 pm

zenguitar wrote:The notches in the side will be hidden completely by the bindings. The alternate method is to notch the kerfing but not the side itself, but when you route the binding channel you expose the notched brace ends anyway.

Andy :beamup:

Cheers Andy! Makes perfect sense now. :thumbup:
Nice work BTW Adrian!! Looking forward to seeing this one progress
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby adrian_k » Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:10 pm

What Andy said :).

I had the same thought but looked at another build and saw that the binding would cover the notches.
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Re: Build project - resonator guitar from recycled bits

Postby onestring » Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:38 pm

Great project! Can't wait to hear how it turns out. :thumbup:

I have a Turkey Tone 7-string square neck that takes the idea of "recycled bits" to an extreme. It's pretty loud.
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