I'm building a 000 kit from Stewmac. When gluing the top to the sides there is supposed to be a little bit of overhang all the way around. This is true for the most part but there are a couple sections where this is not the case and the sides actually come out beyond the edge of the top. I'm finding it really hard to push the sides in. Is this little bit of "underhang" ok or is it critical that the top overhangs all the way around. And if so, what do I do about it?

I called and emailed Stewmac but nobody is responding, possibly because of the long weekend. I wouldn't mind waiting to hear from them but with the long weekend coming up and a lot of time I have available to work on this, I hate to have my project sit 3 days until everyone comes back to work next week.

Many thanks for any advice.


Views: 99

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

You didn't say were it is to small ,Or weather you have a jig to form it to .I have never built any thing from a kit so I would meed a little more info .Bill.::::::::::
I know. Waiting sucks when you've got the time to dig into the project. We do need more specifics, though. It's pretty common for the sides to open up, particularly at the waist. At the same time, the widest parts of the upper and lower bouts will also try to sneak in a little. Is the waist where the gap is? And how big is the gap? If it's wider than the combined thickness of your binding and top purfling, then you do have to do something about it.

You really need a mold to put the sides in to hold the correct size and shape. Then glue the top first is what I do than the back. The top and bottom can overhang any place as you can trim it to fit later. It is not good to have the top & back to be smaller than the sides but it will still work as you will be routing out for the puffing in so it will clean up. Go for it !! You learn by making mistakes .

Thanks very much for replying to my post. I'm attaching a picture of where the sides protrude and by how much.

On another, yet similar note, I've cut the fingerboard to the shape of the neck and sanded the sides down to a smooth surface. The fingerboard is flush with the neck at the heel but is a bit wider than the neck at the nut end. Is this corrected and shaped to its final form once I glue the fingerboard to the neck or is it something I need to deal with now?


I usually make the fingerboard to its finish size or close, then glue on and finish the neck to fit the fingerboard.

You need to have the sides fit the top as close as possible as the top shape is your finish shape. I think that you need a outside mold to help shape your guitar 6that is what I use. You would not in my way use spool clamps to assemble.

I have read that some kits use a cardboard inside mold.

Hi Dan. After viewing your pictures, I thought I'd add my 2 cents. I think that the amount of "underhang" you're seeing will NOT cause you any problems, because you will be routing away more than that when you install the binding and purflings. So, if you're satisfied that the shape of the body is "close enough" to symmetrical, you can just proceed to the next step. However, I think the pictures also show that the sides have "sprung" from the intended shape after they were bent, which is very common, and can be corrected in at least two ways: by correcting the bends over a hot pipe (get yourself a 12" section of 2" (stainless) steel or aluminum pipe, clamp the pipe in a vise, stick a propane torch in one end, wet the wood down somewhat and have at it; it's not as difficult as it might seem); or you can build some sort of "mold", either inside or outside, where you can use clamps or spreader bars to force the sides to comform exactly to the intended outline. The mold can be either MDF or plywood with the exact shape of the guitar body cut out, or it can be a "solera" type of workboard where the shape of the body is maintained with blocks or posts clamped to the workboard (see Guitarmaking by Cumpiano/Natelson). Personally, I prefer the solera type of workboard rather than molds, as it allows me to easily experiment with different size and shape bodies without having to make labor-intensive molds, but either method will work. The basic idea is to have both halves of the body be exactly the same because symmetry in a guitar is a good thing! Have fun. Larry
Well Dan to answer your first qustion you should be abale to put a clamp across the waste and draw the sides in that much some times you can take a piece of wood a-bout 3/8" square and run it from end block to end block and strech it in that direction and it may draw the waste in some what, You realy only have to get it in enoff so that the binding& purflin cover the rest . As for the fret board you need to make sure that you have the fretboard runing strait down the centre of the guitar be-for you start shaping your neck to the fret board. I always leave the shaping of the neck until after i get the fret board glued on strait and in place. so if you happen to not have the neck in bang on it still gives you a chance to fix it like the boys are saying you realy need a proper form to make a real good job of it. You would have a better chance of controling things. P>S I only build from scrach so I have to have a form.... Every one has a differnt take on the subject. so may-be some one that builds from a kit has a better salution Bill.::::::::::::::::
You all have given me great advice and I'm thankful for it. As much as I want to move forward with your feedback, this is my first attempt at building a guitar and I'll admit...I'm chicken. So I've decided to suck it up and just wait until I can talk directly to Stewmac since it is their product. Ugh - I hate waiting! But your replies have been very educational and I think this forum is fantastic. Hope I'll have something to contribute in the future.
Didn't they send a booklet to advise you of the way to build the Kit? At one time Martin gave a good book with their kits. Stu Mac had a video that used a cardboard inside and outside mold that was real good advice.

I have made outside molds for a 'O' size and a OO and a OOO and D size. Oh yes a classical and cut aways for each size. I tried to make my shape and found out that I couldn't find a case they would fit so I don't do much experimenting any more.

Hi Dan , you can download the full instructions from stew if Im not mistaken , and I think you are meant to have a cardboard U shaped form across the waist. Also look at Jim William's book "a guitarmaker's guide" it's downloadable, His method is really simple and uses minimal tools and a easy-to-make workboard, no forms req'd. I made 3 acoustics his way and it works.In the end a big clamp across the waist might be all you need though .Reminds me when I was a little kid, I would get a plastic model plane and would not stop until the whole thing was together .( no reflection on you Dan ) good luck Len
Stewmac includes both a printed manual as well as a DVD. The combination is quite good but it doesn't include troubleshooting tips like what to do in situations like mine. I've followed every step to a tee, taking my time, yet still I've come across these issues. But their customer service is very good and responsive. It's just that this happened to me late Thursday and nobody was in the service department on Friday so I've had to wait 4 full days.

I keep going back and forth between following your advice and moving forward and waiting just a bit longer and hearing what they have to say since I imagine they've faced these exact issues with this exact kit before.

The body does have a cardboard mold inside and a wooden waist clamp on the outside that fits snugly, but for some reason the sides are still sticking out a bit. Not sure if the top is simply cut too close but that's the situation. It seems like I could possibly get a clamp to squeeze the sides together more but I'm worried that if I put too much pressure I might end up cracking the sides. And I'm curious about the pressure on the glue joint at those spots if the sides really want to pull out and I'm forcing them in.

Ah, the joys of my first guitar!
For anyone interested in the way I resolved my issue, I took two small pieces of cardboard and squeezed them in between the sides and the waist clamp. The waist clamp was already snug so I was a bit nervous about putting too much pressure on the sides and possibly cracking or snapping something, but that was the beauty of the cardboard in that it compressed under the pressure. And it gave me just enough squeeze to at least get the top and sides flush. No top overhang, but flush seems to be good enough as some of you pointed out.

I have a copy of "Guitarmaking" and I notice in that book that the top has a LOT of overhang so this is never an issue.

Thanks very much to everyone who replied. Even though I ended up with my own solution, it was great help to read the various solutions and feedback about how much over/underhang is acceptable and I think this ultimately led me to the solution I came up with.

Onward! I've got a guitar to build!


© 2023   Created by Frank Ford.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service