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A Laminated Neck Design

A Laminated Neck Design

by Tim Olsen

previously published as Guild of American Luthiers Data Sheet #50, 1977 and in Lutherie Woods and Steel String Guitars, 1997



The most obvious way to make a neck is to start with a chunk of wood big enough in every dimension to engulf the entire completed neck, then simply chip away at the block until only the neck remains. The advantage to this is that there is no joinery to perform and no joints which might fail or look sloppy. More importantly, those who distrust the integrity of laminations, whether structural or acoustical, will opt for this procedure. The disadvantage is, of course, the considerable waste.

The waste can be reduced by using a block of wood which will accommodate the widest portion of the fretboard, then adding wood to the peghead through the use of “ears” as in Fig. 1.

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Two Tips on Pearl Inlay

Two Tips on Pearl Inlay

by Steve Goodale

Originally published as Guild of American Luthiers Data Sheet #104, 1979 and Lutherie Woods and Steel String Guitars, 1997



When cutting a pattern, Scotch brand double-stick two-sided tape is great for holding the pattern on the pearl. Just cut through the pattern and the tape; it doesn’t seem to interfere in the least.

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Gold Leaf

Gold Leaf

by Nicholas Von Robison

Originally published as Guild of American Luthiers Data Sheet #102, 1979 and Lutherie Woods and Steel String Guitars, 1997



Upon acquiring an old Oscar Schmidt autoharp in very bad condition, I had to learn gold leaf technique to do an original restoration. Prior to this I had always regarded gold leaf as gaudy and pretentious, fitting for antique furniture and the like. Now I use it with shell and ivory for ornamentation on my instruments.

“Patent” gold leaf comes in various shades ranging from deep gold to lemon to mottled colors. The quality varies, but the price is reasonable. A book of 20 3" × 5" 23K sheets costs about $15. Check your local hobby and craft shops, or Behlen/Mohawk for supplies.

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More Inlay Tricks

More Inlay Tricks

by Tim Shaw

Originally published as Guild of American Luthiers Data Sheet #129, 1979 and in Lutherie Woods and Steel String Guitars, 1997

 

Most published material on inlay suggests gluing the abalone or pearl shape to be inlaid to the fingerboard with white glue or Duco cement, scribing, then scraping or prying the hapless piece off with a razor blade. If you’re using 0.040" stock, this technique breaks a lot of inlay. I’ve had great success using white glue in very small amounts (about three tiny dots on the back of the piece). Let it dry, then scribe with a machinist’s scribe or a #11 X-acto blade. Pass a lit match across the top of the piece and warm it thoroughly. This will break the glue bond and allow you to slide the inlay off without harm. The glue remaining on the fingerboard can be easily cleaned off, and you can go from there. I’ve also found it helpful to rub the scribed lines with a white or yellow grease pencil, and then wipe off the excess. This leaves a very fine line which is also easy to see.

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Copying Pearl Patterns

Copying Pearl Patterns

by Robert A. Steinegger

Originally published as Guild of American Luthiers Data Sheet #125, 1979 and in Lutherie Woods and Steel String Guitars, 1997



Whenever I get my hands on a nice old instrument with distinctive pearl work, I like to get the pearl patterns for my collection. First of all, I photocopy all the parts of the pattern. (Note: the copy machine must be of the type that prints actual-size copies. The instrument must be held carefully and steadily on the machine.) This may have to be done from several angles because of the variations within the pearl itself. Abalone inlays are very difficult to copy in this manner, but a little patience should see the job done.

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