MIMF Archtop Guitar Project

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Michael Lewis
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Re: MIMF Archtop Guitar Project

Post by Michael Lewis »

Wow! Almost three years since the last post! I guess this project is hibernating, looks too good to be dead. My apology to all for dropping out when I did, but Life circumstances had redirected my efforts. Now I can come up for some air but in a much diminished state. My business is closed, my state tax / seller's permit is closed, and I am still 'coping' with the Life changes that accompany the loss of my Life partner. She was my anchor point, my consideration whenever decisions were to be made. I know it is part of growing old and this stuff just happens, but it seems the richness of Life is certainly diminished.

I have a few comments to make after seeing what is here: John Hamlett is a hero of mine. He seems a kindred spirit in many ways, and has done very well with what was put in his hands. I met John at a NAMM show some years ago, and we did have some time together just hanging out. I admire his ability to see things in perspective, and his many skills and knowledge. He is definitely one of the 'good guys'.

I hope all goes well (we always do) with the neck. I tend to simplify things and not glue up parts to make necks because any glue joint can come apart. I have made multiple piece necks and a couple of them have had issues, which is why I tend to not use that method. Multiple piece necks allows the use of smaller pieces but at a cost in structural integrity. Stacked heels are a carryover from the Spanish construction method which uses nylon strings with low tension compared to steel strings. That construction system is based on the very limited materials available in Spain when the system was developed. Spain has very little natural 'luthier wood' growing, so they used old furniture to cut up and make instruments. The only way to make a neck then was to stack the heels. It was OK for the gut and nylon strings. Modern adhesives may overcome the issue here, time will tell.

I don't know how to 'fit' a straight dovetail. It either fits when you machine it or it does not. Gibson has used such joints in their production line, and they are a real bear to do a neck reset, plus they offer much less 'wiggle room' when final fitting the joint. After hundreds of neck sets I feel the compound dovetail (tapers from top to bottom as well as front to back - Martin style) is more luthier friendly and controllable. I know it 'scares' some folks to try the compound dovetail but once you get your mind around it all is good. Mostly. Aside from my personal perspective the project looks like it is ready for the neck to be glued on and finish to happen. The 'finish line' is close for this race.

I don't mean to dis anyone here, just that I have some different preferences. This should be a very nice guitar when it is finished.

Brian Evans
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Location: Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia

Re: MIMF Archtop Guitar Project

Post by Brian Evans »

I don't mind if you don't use the neck I made. After this time, I might not be satisfied with it either, I kind of screwed up the binding on the headstock. It was an approach I experimented with, maple and walnut I think, jatoba fretboard, to make a grid pattern on the heel. The joint is 100% Benedetto, fwiw. It fit pretty well when I shipped it, maybe needed some final fettling. You shim or trim them exactly the same as any other dovetail, as I understand it. It's the only dovetail joint I made, I use bolt on for my own guitars.

Brian
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Charlie Schultz
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Re: MIMF Archtop Guitar Project

Post by Charlie Schultz »

I still have the parts from Brian and apologize for letting it languish. If anyone is interested in working on it, please let me know.

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Mark Langner
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Location: Burnsville, NC
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Re: MIMF Archtop Guitar Project

Post by Mark Langner »

Michael Lewis, I am very sorry to hear of your loss. You have been a great help and inspiration over the years I have been part of this forum. I lost my entire shop to bankruptcy a couple years ago, or I would have tried to take on part of this project. But I would just screw the neck on and try to "git 'er done". Peace to all on the forum...
Garbage In, Compost Out

Michael Lewis
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Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:22 am
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Re: MIMF Archtop Guitar Project

Post by Michael Lewis »

Thank you Mark, I used to spend a lot of time here, kinda blowing off my problems of the day. It was sort of a refuge at times where I could relax with solving other people's problems. Repair work is a problem solving process with a bit of work to get it done. I love your "Garbage in, Compost out".

I am very sorry to hear of the loss of your shop. I came very close to having my shop burn down but saved it. I got distracted and left a heating blanket connected directly to the grid. ALWAYS use a timer in the circuit when using any heating element that could get hot. I lost the side I was bending and the form it was on, and the heating blanket. Toast. Thankfully that is all I lost, but it could have been so very easily so much more. It scared me enough to remember my own advice whenever I even think about using a heating blanket. It's automatic now and should have been automatic then.

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