American Lutherie #144
Winter 2021

On this issue’s cover we see an inexpensive century-old Swedish guitar being restored and modified by Roger Häggström for further decades of service. An adjustable bridge piece is being used to set the intonation to levels of accuracy undreamed of by the workers who quickly assembled this instrument.

Photo by Roger Häggström

American Lutherie #144 – Winter 2021

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“Restomodding” Wall-Hanger Guitars

by Roger Häggström

A hundred and some years ago, Swedish folks sat around the house all of a dark winter and sang hymns together, accompanied by the strummings of cheap mass-produced guitars. Those days are gone, but a lot of the guitars are still hanging on the walls of old houses. Roger Häggström has made a business of restoring them to useful condition and modifying them to sound and play better than they ever could have. He restores and modifies. Restomods.

On this issue’s cover we see an inexpensive century-old Swedish guitar being restored and modified by Roger Häggström for further decades of service. An adjustable bridge piece is being used to set the intonation to levels of accuracy undreamed of by the workers who quickly assembled this instrument.

Photo by Roger Häggström

American Lutherie #144 – Winter 2021

$14.00$16.00

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Additional information

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On the back cover we see a cabinet photograph of Antonio de Torres.

Photo courtesy of Federico Sheppard, and colorized by Susan Martin

Seeking the Holy Grail: Torres’ FE08, Part 2

by Federico Sheppard

Federico Sheppard completes his uncompromising copy of FE08, the elaborate early opus of the master luthier Antonio Torres Jurado. Beautifully figured wood and excruciatingly detailed marquetry come together and receive a French polish finish.

Meet Robert Anderson

by John Calkin

Robert Anderson made banjos part-time for decades while he worked a respectable day job. But since he has “retired” into a full-time lutherie career, he is in demand for his beautifully carved, inlaid, and engraved instruments. We take a look into his converted tobacco barn and talk shop.

The Charles Fox Guitar-Building Method, Part Six

by Mark French

In this concluding episode of the series, the neck is fretted and the frets are filed and polished. Threaded inserts are installed in the heel and the neck is attached. Finally, the bridge is glued on, the nut is set in position, and the guitar is strung and set up.

Letters and More

In praise of Evan Gluck’s recent GAL article. Tale of a lost shred-guitar prototype. About scaled-down classical guitars for kids. Strengthening a bolt-on neck heel. How do you retire from a lutherie career? And more.

Getting Good Inlay Results with Inexpensive CNC Routers

by Jon Sevy

If you are cutting pearl inlays with a benchtop CNC router, then cutting the recesses for them with that same CNC, they ought to fit perfectly, right? Well yes, in the perfect world of math. And even out here in the messy real world of sawdust and bearing slop, you can get pretty close if you understand the forces at play and calculate their effects.

Guitar Making as a Teaching Tool

by Debbie French and Mark French

There is a national movement to teach teachers how to teach STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math) to high-school students; you have them make guitars. Turns out people think it’s fun to make guitars. Who knew?

Two Reviews of the SuperMax 16-32 Drum Sander

by Ralf Grammel and John Calkin

Thickness sanders have come a long way since the days when luthiers commonly made their own jury-rigged and cantankerous contraptions. Two experienced builders give the SuperMax 16-32 a thorough workout and pronounce it worthy and workable for an individual luthier’s shop.

Book Review
Vicente Arias (1833-1914), The Forgotten Luthier
Alberto Martinez, Clémentine Jouffroy, Editors

Our reviewer Kevin Aram praises this gorgeous book which includes interviews with several luthiers about the methods and ideas of the great Spanish master builder.

Video Review
Fretting Course with Michael Bashkin
From ObrienGuitars.com

Online video lutherie instruction has come of age. Our reviewer John Calkin is a veteran luthier and a fan of lutherie videos from way back in the VHS days. He gives this course a strong reccomendation.

In Memoriam: Wesley Brandt

by Chris Brandt, Michael Yeats, Dan Compton, and Mark Moreland

Wesley Brandt was a luthier in Portland, Oregon who reached a rare degree of quality in his work with early instruments. Four friends mourn his sudden passing. Many more will miss him.

It Worked for Me

by Steve Kennel, Dan Alexander, Jason Hull, John Calkin, and Michael Breid

Make a dead-blow hammer out of stuff you might find around the shop. Prebend rosette rings the cheap and easy way. Fret erasers are easier to use if you attach them to a handle, especially if you have carpal tunnel syndrome. Make tiny C clamps from hardware-store parts. How to take the warp, cup, and twist out of a plank. You might decide to cram sawdust into those nice freshly-cut fret slots; find out why.