Hi all,
I am pretty much a newbie wanna be luthier getting into the game a bit late in life at 53 years of age but getting in finally regardless. Been playing guitar all my life and still perform professionally and now have a fully functional woodworking shop. I have built a few telecaster style electrics thus far but my primary interest is to build steel string acoustics, classical and hand carved arch tops but I am still getting my feet wet.

I have been asked by a friend to build him a square neck resonator and I wanted to go the distance with this as opposed to purchasing a kit as it seems like a good intro to acoustic guitar building albeit a bit less complicated. I purchased the Beard square neck plan and intend to use baltic birch laminate however the Beard plan calls for thickness' of 4.8mm for the top and back and 2.8mm for the sides. I don't know where to get that thickness baltic birch and it seems one would not want to thickness sand a laminate. Would a 1/4" top and back and 1/8" sides suffice? Additionally, I am assuming since I will be using a laminate that a (1) piece top and back are in order.

I had tried to revive an old thread here regarding this matter and was advised by a couple nice folks here to start a new thread. I didn't want to appear as if I hadn't searched the forum and tried to find the answers prior to posting as I do all I can to resolve matters on my own if they've been covered in the past. I belong to another forum where a lot of newbies ask questions that have been answered numerous times and its as if they don't know how to use a search engine or just to lazy to and it tends to irritate some of the old timers. I can understand why too!

I have wanted to get into guitar building for many years and what has always held me back is the lack of funds to startup. I finally bit the bullet and purchased the tools I need. Although I have a nice Dewalt Planer and am getting a new 14" Grizzly 30th anniversary bandsaw for Christmas my major investment has been in quality hand tools. I have the power tools mostly for milling my own rough sawn cause I am too cheap to pay top dollar for dimensioned S4S lumber. I have a longing to build guitars old school and I really like the quiet and working with my hands and hand planes, chisels and the like. Nothing wrong with CNC machines etc but I have no desire to own one or use one

Thanks for any advise and I am looking forward to learning from who ever is willing to assist as I love to learn. My life is one huge learning experience and I never tire of learning although it seems when I master something I bore of it and find something new to learn.

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One thing to keep in mind, this is an instrument that has a flat back and top. That means you can use a table mounted router if you want.

Good point John and I hadn't thought of that and that would be short and sweet there wouldn't it? I am vowing right here and now to build my first classical guitar entirely with hand tools just to say I have done it. The dang bandsaw, router, thickness planer etc sure does make life easier though doesn't it?

Hi Everybody,

My kerfing, fretboards, binding etc arrived today and I have a couple of questions if someone wouldn't mind helping an old man here.

(1) Should I let this kerfing acclimate to my shop for a week or two before installing it and moving forawrd? I am presuming it's okay to move forward but I want to do this right even if these aren't top of the line instruments.

(2) I ordered 2nd grade Indian rosewood fretboards from LMII and these look absolutely beautiful and I was wondering why they're considered 2nd grade?


As previously stated these are my first from scratch builds of any type of acoustic instrument although I have made (3) thinline/chambered tele style guitars from scratch that arent finished yet due to the fact I have nowhere to spray inside my home in MI with proper ventilation and the weather is turning here so I intend on finishing the thinline builds late spring or early summer 2014. This will allow me to paractice building my own necks for the thinlines as well over the winter and I am assuming that after I blow a few they will start coming out like they should. I am really into this to build acoustic instruments anyway's and I intend on finishing the resonator's with tru oil. I am really enjoying building these reso's and I had insinuated early on in this thread that they're not as complex as a fine acoustic due to top/back thickness not being as critical as the reso's primarily rely on the cone/spider and/or pot/baffles for sound reinforcement. I am staying with this claim and although there are details and many things to learn regarding building, setup, intonation etc on a reso I feel I made a sound desicion in beginning my journey into this wonderful art form with a from scratch reso.


Thanks for any and all advise whether I utilize or heed it or not. This forum along with a couple more I belong to are an invaluable learning resource for a man on a budget with a lot of common sense and a desire to learn :-)

Don unless you have something really strange going on in your shop. I would think you could go ahead with your Kerfing. If you would feel better by giving it a day or two then that's ok also. It's your guitar you be the judge.
Just a quick update here on my progress. I have all the kerfing installed and the 10.5" hole for the cone as well as the 1 7/8" hole for the sound screens done and I am awaiting the arrival of my new 14" Grizzly 30th anniversary model band saw. It's my Christmas present from Santa this year and she ordered it last week so I will get it early. All I have is a pretty inferior 9" Ryobi bandsaw that I purchased a couple years ago and this thing won't cut a straight line no matter how much I tune the saw. I have all my brace wood and don't want to cut it up on the Ryobi nor do I want to waste the wood that would be associated with the larger kerf of my cheap table saw. So, this project has essentially stalled until the Grizzly arrives sometime hopefully this week. I ordered the 6" riser block for the bandsaw to be able to do resawing up to 12" widths as well.

When I initially outfitted my shops power tools I didn't do my homework and have been slowly replacing just about all of the initial tools I purchased as it didn't take me long to figure out that you get what you pay for. I do have a very nice Dewalt 13" planer but still need a larger drill press and in the spring of 2014 I am upgrading to a Ridgid Oscillating Sanding Station as well. I am not too concerned about the cheap Ryobi table saw at the moment as I am currently only building musical instruments and with the Grizzly Bandsaw I don't anticipate needing a table saw too often for my current purposes.

I did, however, purchase wisely on all my hand tools as my primary intent from beginning this adventure is to build mostly old school with hand tools. So, I am all set in that dept and I really enjoy taking a curl with my hand planes and the feel, sound and lack of fine dust that goes with it. Has been a bit of a challenge learning how to tune and hone all the hand tools but I am finally becoming very efficient at that as well
Very good Don. I know the feeling you get when you get a new power tool that will do the job. Good luck be careful


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