The OM (non) build thread

Discussion in 'The Acoustic Cafe' started by Freeman Keller, Feb 1, 2018.

    Feb 1, 2018
  1. Freeman Keller Over The Top

    1 - I'm new to the forum
    2 - I'm an amateur guitar builder
    3 - I've been working on what might be my dream guitar and have taken a few progress pictures
    4 - I thought I would post them and see what kind of reaction I get

    This is not going to be a traditional "build thread" - I've done a bunch of those and while they can be fun they are a great deal of work. And besides, you really don't want to see every detail of carving every brace, so here are the highlights.

    I've been building for a dozen years now and have accumulated a small stash of wood that is quietly stored away in a corner of my wine cellar (wine and wood like the same environment). Sometimes when I go down to get a nice cabernet for dinner I'll look thru the wood and think about what I want to make out of it.

    Anyway, I've had a set of cocobolo that I bought some time ago and some western red cedar that I bought for another project and since I was kind of bored it seemed like a good time to make something out of them. So I brought them up along with that 2002 Cayuse that I had been saving

    The coco is fairly stunning


    I have a bunch of different sized acoustic guitars, but I don't happen to own what is probably the most versatile all around size - the infamous Orchestra Model. OM's are considered "small body" (I think they are medium body), long scale, 14 frets clear, tend to be wonderfully balanced and are probably the best guitar for fingerstyle play. I kept asking myself why I didn't own one.

    Cocobolo is related to the rosewoods, tends to be lovely wood but is a bit difficult to work with. It is very oily which means it can be hard to glue and finish and some people are allergic to its dust or oils. I tend towards allergies - I'll wear a dust mask.

    Every time I play a cedar topped guitar I'm impressed by the warmth and complexity, but again, I don't own one so maybe its time to fix that too.

    Took all the plates to a friend who has a thickness sander, then I glued the back and tops together. I want the trim on this guitar to be very simple (I know I can do bling, I don't what bling on this guitar) so the rosette is going to be a simple ring of cocobolo with a few purfling lines. I'll try to carry that theme all the way thru the guitar. Route out the rosette channel,


    glue it in and level it


    and here it the top and back plates


    Since this is a new size for me I had to build a mold and a form for bending the sides. Then I fired up the old Fox bender and did sides and bindings


    I was pretty paranoid about all the figure in the coco but it bent like butter.
    CBHScott, 12Pack, Mark Wein and 4 others like this.
  2. Feb 1, 2018
  3. Freeman Keller Over The Top

    While this is all going on I cut up a piece of mahogany to make the neck. I am a great believer in multi piece necks - cutting a neck out of a single piece of wood is wasteful and you end up with something that wants to break right at the head. Instead I cut the end off of a 1 x 3 piece of wood


    Flip it over and glue it on. The grain runs parallel with the head and the glue joint is stronger than the parent wood.


    Cut a few more blocks of wood and they become the heel. Yeah, you can see some lines where the glue joints are, I think that is kind of cool


    A bunch of stuff got done that I didn't take pictures of - sides are in their mold and are kerffed, top and back got some braces, the neck got a truss rod channel routed. Sawdust got made


    Neck gets roughly shaped


    Box got put together. I mostly use bolt on necks these days unless there is a compelling reason to make a dovetail.

    One of the nice things about a bolt on is that I can put it together, work on the geometry or neck shape, then take it back apart



    CBHScott, 12Pack, Lerxst and 2 others like this.
  4. Feb 1, 2018
  5. Chad Poop Knife Aficionado

    wow. You have some serious skills. That is going to be beautiful.
    reverend1 likes this.
  6. Feb 1, 2018
  7. jp_nyc Kick Henry Jackassowski

    Impressive. Not many people build their own acoustics. How did you learn to build acoustics?
  8. Feb 1, 2018
  9. micwalt Hell Bound, F*g-Enabling Whore

    That's really fucking cool!
  10. Feb 1, 2018
  11. Knox in Box Rustbelt refugee.

  12. Feb 1, 2018
  13. Gary Blanchard Aging Hippie Folkster

    I love your acoustics, Freeman. I look forward to hearing this when it is done.
  14. Feb 1, 2018
  15. Freeman Keller Over The Top

    There are a couple of classic and very good books - almost all of us have them. Of course there is a lot of instant lutherie stuff on the interweb - as with all web information some is good, some is terrible.

    This will be my 13th acoustic, 24th overall. I learned a little something on each one of them. The interesting thing, however, is that my first home built guitar is still my go to favorite - blind stupid luck I guess.
    Bob411, reverend1 and jp_nyc like this.
  16. Feb 1, 2018
  17. jelloman couch'd tater...

    Says who?
  18. Feb 1, 2018
  19. Freeman Keller Over The Top

    A few more pictures. Routed out the binding channels and end graft


    and bound it. Binding is simply more coco with a couple of little maple stripes to set it off


    One thing that is a little funky here - I'm totally paranoid about the oil and color from the coco bleeding into the maple purfling so I did the pore fill before binding it. The back and sides have two coats of Zpoxy at this time. Zpoxy really pops the grain in highly figured wood - compare the top picture with no filler to the one above with the Zpoxy.

    Next problem is that I like to stain mahogany necks so they are closer in color to the body. This might be a little too red but I think its close.


    Glued a couple of cutoffs from the back together and made a head plate. Bound it to match the body, put my best reading glasses on and adjusted the light. Engraved my initials



    and stuck some shell in there. This is probably as much bling as you're going to get



    I'll be gone for a few days, more next week.
    CBHScott, Bob411, Chad and 2 others like this.
  20. Feb 2, 2018
  21. dodgechargerfan Kick Henry Jackassowski

    You make pretty sawdust.

    That’s beautiful work!
  22. Feb 2, 2018
  23. telecaster911 Kick Henry Jackassowski

    That looks fantastic!
    reverend1 likes this.
  24. Feb 2, 2018
  25. reverend1 Kick Henry Jackassowski

    I’m not an acoustic guy, but the talent and skill it takes to build one are truly impressive. Hats off to you sir.
    Chad likes this.
  26. Feb 2, 2018
  27. 12Pack Dyslexic b00n

    And cool at the same time.
  28. Feb 3, 2018
  29. Tiltsta Show me your frittatas

    Wow. That looks amazing.
  30. Feb 3, 2018
  31. dodgechargerfan Kick Henry Jackassowski

    I read this quote on The Fretboard Journal Facebook page and immediately thought of this build.

    "There is no decoration more beautiful than the grain of wood, and no shape more elegant than the curves of a well-proportioned instrument."
    jp_nyc and Bob411 like this.
  32. Feb 7, 2018
  33. mongooz (+)

    wow....that's awesome and you have quite the shop there.

    i could use a D-41
  34. Feb 7, 2018
  35. Freeman Keller Over The Top

    Actually my "shop" in one corner of a three car garage (that is currently storing four cars). In fact its a tribute to the fact that you don't need a fancy shop to build guitars but I keep telling my wife that I really need one.
    mongooz and Gary Blanchard like this.
  36. Feb 7, 2018
  37. mongooz (+)

    ok....lemme have quite the nice equipment there. :D

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