American Lutherie #147 Winter 2022 On this issue’s cover we see the business end of a quick-and-dirty centerline square, expeditiously constructed by John Calkin. Note that the neck end of the instrument body, cut some time ago by some other method, is off square. That’s why you need this tool. Photo by John Calkin American Lutherie #147 – Winter 2022$14.00 – $16.00 Choose Membership Status Choose an optionMemberNon-memberClear American Lutherie #147 - Winter 2022 quantity Add to cart SKU: N/A Category: American Lutherie Additional information Additional information Choose Membership Status Member, Non-member Related products American Lutherie #129 – Spring 2017 $12.00 – $14.00 Select options American Lutherie #108 – Winter 2011 $6.00 – $8.00 Select options American Lutherie #111 – Fall 2012 $6.00 – $8.00 Select options Meet the Maker: Beau Hannam by Brian Yarosh Beau Hannam came up in the productive and innovative shop of Australian luthier Gerard Gilet, then migrated to Colorado to found his own shop making guitars and ukuleles. He’s all over the Interwebs with his generous lutherie advice and his gorgeous instruments. On this issue’s cover we see the business end of a quick-and-dirty centerline square, expeditiously constructed by John Calkin. Note that the neck end of the instrument body, cut some time ago by some other method, is off square. That’s why you need this tool. Photo by John Calkin American Lutherie #147 – Winter 2022$14.00 – $16.00 Choose Membership Status Choose an optionMemberNon-memberClear American Lutherie #147 - Winter 2022 quantity Add to cart SKU: N/A Category: American Lutherie Additional information Additional information Choose Membership Status Member, Non-member Related products American Lutherie #129 – Spring 2017 $12.00 – $14.00 Select options American Lutherie #110 – Summer 2012 $6.00 – $8.00 Select options American Lutherie #111 – Fall 2012 $6.00 – $8.00 Select options On the back cover, we see a forty-year-old Japanese copy of a big old Gibson getting its fretboard torn off to save its neck. Photo by Michael Burton Foolproof Straight-Saddle Slotting Jig by Beau Hannam In a former lutherie life, Hannam cut saddle slots with a big honkin’ milling machine. A change of situation led him to design this practical and straightforward router jig to do the job. He gives clear and detailed instructions for building and using it. Basic Steel-String Guitar Action Setup from his 2017 GAL Convention workshop by Robbie O’Brien Lutherie uber-pedagog Robbie O’Brien has taught beaucoup guitar makers and repair techs to set the action of steel string flattops, so his thoughts on the matter are crystal clear. Here he steps us through the process in a relaxed, logical, and concise presentation. GAL Instrument Plan #82: 1785 G.B. Fabricatore Guitar drawn by James Buckland Guitar Evolution’s Missing Link: The Early 5-String by James Buckland Baroque guitars were 5-course instruments. That is, they had ten strings in five pairs. Then suddenly here comes the 19th century and guitars had six single strings. Yadda yadda, now it’s today and everything is normal. The real story is a lot more interesting than that and it actually involves a “missing link;” the 5-string guitar. Luthier, guitarist, and scholar Buckland lays it all out for us. OK, but what do a UFO, the Great Pyramids, and Bigfoot have to do with it? Read the article to find out. Boo-yah! Making a Replacement Nut by Carl-David Hardin A lot of lutherie work gets done on the road by the techs who travel with bands. Makes sense when you think about it. And it’s also understandable that this work gets done with a minimum of tooling. Here’s a nice example of a new bone nut being made and installed on an old Gibson flattop. Meet the Maker: Peggy Stuart by John Calkin Peggy Stuart is not famous as a guitar maker, but her life story is one that every luthier under age fifty should hear and think about. She was one of “Sloane’s Children,” struggling to make a guitar from that early book back in the dark ages of the middle 1970s. She discovered the GAL and soon attended conventions and wrote articles as her skills improved. But she ultimately saw that she would not be able to support herself as a luthier, and turned to law school. If you making a living building instruments in these days of milk and honey, thank your lucky stars and the Guild of American Luthiers. Ironing Out a Warped Guitar Neck by Michael Burton What do you do with a guitar that seems beyond repair? Repair it anyway. Why not? After decades of neglect and wildly improper storage, this sturdy Asian-built flattop had developed the mother of all neck warps. Burton ripped into it with clothes iron, heat blanket, router, and neck jig to replace the truss rod and fix earlier disastrous repair attempts. It turned out great. Making a Centerline Square by John Calkin In lutherie work, you often need to make something accurately perpendicular to the instrument’s centerline. Squares designed for carpenters and machinists don’t do the job as well as these simple and inexpensive clear-plastic tools. Adjustable Pickguard Bracket by F.A. Jaén Here’s an elegant and sophisticated way to build an adjustable bracket to support the pickguard of an archtop guitar. Most of it is inside the guitar, so it gives a slick, minimal look. Vibrate Guitars with an Aquarium Air Pump by Roger Häggström They say you can improve the sound of a new guitar by attaching a machine that will provide direct vibration to the instrument for a few days, simulating the breaking-in that might occur from months of playing. Not surprisingly, “they” will also sell you such a machine. But what else might work? Ask a luthier who also publishes a magazine for exotic fish fanciers, and he might suggest belting an aquarium air pump to the face of the guitar. Sanding Guitar Plate Seams by Brent Benfield There are several ways to make a nice tightly-closing seam for a back or top guitar plate. Here’s a low stress method that uses a granite slab, some sticky-back sandpaper, two little C clamps, and a plywood scrap. Accurate Resawing by Bob Gleason When doing a small resawing job in the shop, it may seem intuitive to set the fence of the bandsaw close to the blade. You never have to move the fence. But there are good reasons to do it the other way and move the fence after each cut. The clue is in the title. Letters from our readers Long-time guitar repair author and guru Don Teeter is fondly remembered, as is Lutherie Boom forefather H.E. Huttig. Members look forward to the upcoming 2023 GAL Convention, and continue to comment on the question of lutherie estates. Review: Jeff Jewitt Finish Buffing Video by John Calkin Review: Alfred Woll’s The Art of Mandolin Making by James Condino Calkin gives the thumbs-up to a fine 5-hour video just about wet sanding and buffing a lacquer finish. (Prepping and spraying the finish is a whole other matter.) And Condino loves this lavish book about the history and construction of the Neapolitan (or tater bug) mandolin, which runs from classic to contemporary. It Worked for Me by John Jordan, Mark French, Michael Breid, Steve Kennel, and Steve Gonwa Specialty files intended for sharpening steel tools are unexpectedly perfect for specific lutherie tasks. Thumb too fat for a plastic thumbpick? Fix it with hot water. (The pick, not the thumb.) Make a handle for skinny nut files from a standard hinge. Simple jig helps you make accurate wooden binding strips with a thickness sander. Old chunky shielding paint can be easily revived. In Memoriam: Janette Fernández by Ron Fernández Janette was a sweet Scottish lass, the wife of luthier/dealer Ron Fernández, well known in guitar circles and a regular at GAL Conventions. In Memoriam: Rick Turner by Steve Klein and David Bolla Good ol’ Rick Turner was a pillar of the Lutherie Boom. He embodied the qualities of free thinking innovation and cheerful information sharing, and he was just fun to be around. He was also a GAL author, columnist, and Convention presenter. Two Guild members remember him fondly. Web Extras View photo gallery for this issue of American Lutherie.