Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

By Mr. Joe Sustaire of Talihina, OK
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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Dean Kumbalek » Fri Sep 04, 2009 2:16 am

Nice....

After following a few of your builds and Haan's I got the Larson Brothers book.. and am very interested in various bracing schemes. Looks very cool from my perspective Joe! I see another article in FRETBOARD on the Larson's.

Dean
Last edited by Dean Kumbalek on Sun Sep 13, 2009 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by gilmoreguitars » Fri Sep 04, 2009 9:45 pm

Joe
Your bracing scheme is very elegant! I like that you are using your gut for this part of the process. It gets to a point where you just know when you have taken away enough material. It's one of my favorite things to do as well.
It's looking really good...actually...I have been looking in on both this and Deans builds and am a bit jealous!
Cheers
David
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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Joe Sustaire » Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:13 pm

Dang it Dean! Now you went and cost me money. :D I didn't even know there was a book on the Larson bros. guitars, I'd just been watching what Hanns has been doing. So naturally I had to go and hunt up the book also, actually got lucky and found a new hardbound copy from a seller on amazon, the first 56 pages are busted loose from the binding but none are missing and the cd is still sealed, no bookjacket, but got it for $12.99. Right in my price range, so now I can study up also.

Thanks for looking in David and I welcome your thoughts! I know you "pro" builders don't have time to play like this, but yes, we are having fun! :lol: You might want to squeeze in a fun build when you can fit it in. Thanks for your comments!

Joe
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Kurt Vonnegut

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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Dean Kumbalek » Sat Sep 05, 2009 1:41 am

I enjoy your bracing pics Joe. That is cool to really see it before assembly! Very integrated and organic. I'll post a few too.

You will enjoy having that book in your arsenal.

Dean

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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by DaveAnderson » Sat Sep 05, 2009 3:51 am

Looking very good Joe.I really like your bracing!
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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Lefty » Sat Sep 05, 2009 7:46 pm

Wow Joe.

That is really looking nice. Gonna be a real looker.

Lefty
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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by garydemos » Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:46 am

Joe - your bracing system is certainly unique. You've indicated that you've used this pattern before. What do you like about it in terms of sound? How does it sound different than conventional steel string bracing? Ladder bracing usually produces a punchier tone and quicker response in small classical guitars. how is the bass response?

Thanks, Gary

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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Joe Sustaire » Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:26 pm

Thanks Dean, Dave and Lefty!

To start with Gary let me say I have the hardest time describing sound with words or understanding what someone else means when they describe sound. :D That being said, I've built one 12 with traditional ladder bracing that sounds good to me, I have built one small Ditson with trad. ladder bracing that is fine when played by itself but when you compare it to my x braced guitars it seems overly harsh. My goal in adding the tone bars was to counter the potato chip curl that can be a tendency with trad. ladder bracing. The surprise for me is that this bracing seems to add some complexity/overtones/richness to the punchiness of ladder bracing and the sound to me holds it's own in comparison to x bracing. I can switch back and forth from one to the other and like the sound from each without feeling one works and the other can't hold it's own in comparison.

Hope that helps, words just fail me when talking sound. :D

Joe
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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Joe Sustaire » Fri Sep 11, 2009 11:50 pm

Okay, getting the top glued on is the next step. I've cut notches in the kerfing for the upper transverse brace, all the rest die out into the top before reaching the kerfing. And I routed out tight slots for the tone-bars into the neck-block giving me some A-frame bracing there.

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Glue-up in the go-bar deck.

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And here's how it looks. I'm also really pleased with the way the tap response is after being glued to the rims. Nice even tones all over the lower bout, so we're still good to go. :D

Then I spent about 3 days looking, pondering, and scratching my head trying to figure out how I wanted to do the flying buttresses. I finally decided that since I had the A-frame bracing built into the top to counteract compression forces there, that I would angle in some spruce braces from the bottom of the neck block to the buttresses. These would be under tension when it's strung up. Then all I had to do was figure out how to get all the angles right and cut cleanly. I just about gave up on them at one point, but then realized I had already cut notches into the kerfing for the buttresses. So I had to persevere. Sure will be nice when I get all this figured out and down to a system where I know what I'm doing! :lol:

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So here they are being glued in.

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And this is how she looks.
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I really like the stiffness that the flying buttresses give to the box, with that and this kerfing it ought to make a pretty stable box.

Joe
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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by DaveWhite » Sat Sep 12, 2009 1:27 pm

Joe,

That's looking mighty fine and Dean must be thrilled.

Although the A frame top braces inlet into the tneck block provide some strength they are not on their own going to counter the compressional stress from the strings and neck. These compression forces are the strongest and the tension on the bottom of the neck block I regard more as a long term stress to be countered - stopping the back arch flattening and the neck block pulling forward at the bottom. So I would have been inclined to have those buttress braces slope the other way - from near the top at the neck to near the back on the side brace supports to counter the compression. This is pretty much what Rick Turner does with cf braces.
Dave White
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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Dean Kumbalek » Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:37 pm

DaveWhite wrote:Joe,

That's looking mighty fine and Dean must be thrilled...
Beautiful work Joe and yes, I am thrilled.

Your bracing looks so cool...I wonder if we need a back on it? ;) The sound port allows a peak in there anyway. Very interesting following along with your thinking! Nice work.

I am imagining a warm woody sound...out on the porch with the notes wafting away on the warm evening breeze carrying a few misquotes with it sipping some fine beverage...

Dean

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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Joe Sustaire » Sat Sep 12, 2009 4:48 pm

Thanks for your confidence Dean! Of course you've got to remember, I'm basically a hermit back here in the woods, so all my experiments in lutherie are kind of like navel gazing, (sitting around staring at your belly button). Meaning, I've never met another builder, I've never played any handbuilt guitars, so how mine compare is anyone's guess. For your sake I hope this will hold it's own. :D

Okay Dave, I hear what your saying. I was thinking that the A frame structure in the top would be enough. On my parlor rebuild I did run the braces as you suggest, from the top of the neckblock to low on the buttresses. So I have added some new compression braces near the top. I drilled some shallow pockets in the neck block to hold that end of the braces and cut some shallow mortices in the buttresses for the other end. Glued them in and pinned the buttress end with a small brad as security so it can't jump out.

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My brace proportions are probably reversed from what they should be, but hopefully they will handle the job here. There's always the next one.

Thanks guys,
Joe
"I tell you we are here on earth to fart around, and don't let anyone tell you any different!"
Kurt Vonnegut

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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Dean Kumbalek » Sat Sep 12, 2009 5:16 pm

sustaireblues wrote:... I've never met another builder, I've never played any handbuilt guitars,...
That is all about to change my friend! I love your work Joe! The excitement from our build exchange is carrying me along.

Dean

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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Joe Sustaire » Sun Nov 15, 2009 11:01 pm

And I'm finally back on this build. :D

I started working on the back for this one, got it thicknessed, joined, and the reinforcement strip on and then wound up breaking one of the lower bout wings clean off when I went to turn it over. Dennis very generously shipped me another set and I was ready to go to town when monsoon season hit here. I don't have a barometer but I figure that when the doors swell up so you can't get them shut, it's probably not the best time to close up a box! :lol:

Here's a shot of my new mobile go-bar deck. It was some kind of rehabilitation device that had straps and slings to hang you in the middle of it. Picked it up at an auction for $1, knew it had to be good for something. So I stripped it down to the frame, bolted my deck to the top, added a shelf for molds and radius dishes below, and were in business. Sure is nice to be able to roll it around and work from all sides. Notice the handy quivers to hold the go-bars.
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Braces being glued on.
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Braces carved.
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My first backstrip.
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And gluing on the back using the 25' top dish and the 15' back dish. First time I've done it like this, works pretty slick. Thank you Haans.
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Now hopefully I can make a little regular progress on this. :D

Joe
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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by BaldEagle55 » Wed Nov 18, 2009 2:27 am

Hey Joe,

Great to see you back at this one. I was wondering what happened. Dean is going to be pleased I am sure.

I love your "backwoods" creativity and approach.

Keep it going!!!!

Tom
:D :D :D

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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Joe Sustaire » Sun Nov 22, 2009 1:51 am

Thanks Tom, glad you're watching!
Weather and life in general can sure 'nuff pull you away from the "important" things! :D

Well I decided to go with tortoise binding so I laid in the butt wedge,
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And to show you I did get something accomplished during our loooong wet spell, here's my new Ribbecke type binding machine. I believe Chris Paulick had a thread on these on OLF and linked these photos at http://www.doolinguitars.com/articles/bindrout/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;. I really believe I like the design of Dave White's variation of the Williams jig best, but I had everything on hand to build this one, so, here's mine.
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This is my first time to use it, I've always just handheld the router before and wow is this nice!

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So this is also my first time to do purfling. Just routing binding ledges with a handheld router was risk enough. This really takes a lot of the trauma out of routing ledges.

Binding and purfs next,
Joe
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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Dean Kumbalek » Thu Nov 26, 2009 6:27 pm

Good to see you back at it Joe.

I have had some unforeseen developments myself which have changed my routine and shop time, but I will be back carving your neck during these next 4 days and will post some progress or update pics. We have decided to sell our place and move on, so who knows how fast that will happen? Anyway it has generated a job list for me. I will savor these moments in the shop over the next chunk of time.

I love seeing your shop Joe and how the guitar your are building for me is a part of that space. Tortoise shell~! ...wowow

more later,
Dean

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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by conleym » Thu Nov 26, 2009 6:39 pm

I'm getting caught up on the builds and saw this! Fascinating! I'll be anxious to see how it turns out and how it sounds!

Memphis Mark

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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Joe Sustaire » Fri Nov 27, 2009 3:23 pm

Yeah, getting your house ready to sell and contemplating all that moving involves will sure 'nuff throw some wrinkles in your day to day routines! Where you moving too? Closer to okie land? :lol:

Thanks Mark, glad to have you along!

Joe
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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by stevens » Fri Nov 27, 2009 4:19 pm

Hi Joe,

Just got caught up on this build. [I need to add here that I am always a bit of a skeptic when a guy like you calls himself "backwoods" - First time that happened I lost $20 on a bet. :? ]

I just knew you would have issues with the pre-stained top. Then you showed us plastic binding and now I can see how touch up with water based tea stains should work well. Watch out for swelling of the fiber perfling though when you put on the touch up. [Maybe you won't even need touch up - careful and slow]

Your linings answer many of my issues with the normal reversed kerf variety. Your technique creates little closed boxes with a lot of extra stiffness at the edges of the top and back plates. Laminated hardwood linings have become a feature with some classic builders. Your way will be just as stiff but I think lighter. Interesting.

I hope that when Dean and Dale come as far as your place to do the guitar trade they will think about coming on down here to Breckenridge. You come too - we have the beds.

Good to see you back building - but - I am sorry the rains seem to have slowed down some. We are still below average for 09 and need to catch up due to short falls in 08.

Hope it sounds the way you intend. I am always pleased when this happens to me on my builds.

Steve
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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by the Padma » Fri Nov 27, 2009 5:26 pm

Yo, Joe

Gee Joe me should checked in on this build earlier...wow!

You gotts a lot of things going on in this build. Me likes the treatment of the top and the mouse hole in the top rib and the sculpting on the braces is well...sculptural ....with little overpasses and underpasses...me likes ....Gee you even puts in two "tweete" bars. Me like this box lots.

Then there are the pics of your shop...wow...the good lord must like you big time, him giving you such a wonderful space to work in, full of good light and plants and folk art.

Yay Joe.


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the
Padma
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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Nehemiah C » Fri Nov 27, 2009 6:07 pm

Hi Joe;

Man, I'm impressed with your work! Just love the bracing, and it's so clean!,
I too noticed you have a lot plants in your shop area. Do they get dusty and have to be cleaned often? I'm anxious to see this one completed, so I'll be following closely.
That top makes me :P , looks great!
nehemiah covey

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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Joe Sustaire » Sat Nov 28, 2009 12:39 am

Wow, guys you're gonna give me the big head! Sure glad to have ya'll looking over my shoulder!

Steve I still might run into problems with my "early" finishing of the top, probably not my smartest move! :D And yes, I'd love to come visit and see your work in person!

Thanks Padma, I have a sculptural background and do find the inside of the box the most beautiful and fascinating part of the build. It's sure satisfying my "sculptural" urges these days. And yes, I feel mightily blessed. Even though I never "made" it in the "art world", I noticed that when the real artists that I admired did make it, they took the money, moved to the country, built a bigger studio and just continued their work. So I just kind of bypassed the "game" (which didn't want to let me in) and went straight to the reward, country living, large studio, my own time. It's worked out pretty well, just on a more "primitive" level.

My brother worked in the sign business and got me two large lexan sign faces, so I de inked them and used them with spacers in between to give me a huge insulated skylight. So great light without electricity, which also gives me a great greenhouse like environment for the plants, which are all avocado plants Patty grows from the pits. So the price is right and I can work in beauty! :D

I'm very much an intuitive builder and tend to follow my muse as I build, same as I did as an artist. And most times, it works. At least it makes it an interesting journey. And thanks for keeping me company!

Joe
"I tell you we are here on earth to fart around, and don't let anyone tell you any different!"
Kurt Vonnegut

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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Joe Sustaire » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:42 pm

Okay, finally get to put the binding on. Since this herringbone purf doesn't have any black lines around it I cut some out of fish paper. So that gives me tortoise binding, black fish, herringbone purf, and another black fish line. Four pieces to get lined up and glued. Luckily I found a tute at the OLF by Rod True showing how to tape them all in place dry, and them come back with thin CA which wicks into all the joints.

Only problem was my CA had gone bad, no stick! Had to order some more and now we're good to go.

Taping up the dry binding/purf combo,
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This really works good. Makes it easy to get everything in place and tight, them come back and wick in the CA. I let it sit overnight, pulled off the tape and went back over with CA to hit the spots where the tape was and to make sure I didn't miss any place.

Then it's on to scraping.
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And here's how it turned out.
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If you notice, I went back and scraped the tint off the herringbone in the rosette, looks better I think. And so far, I've managed not to screw up the "prematurely" stained top, just a little touch up where the scraper got the edge a bit.

Looks like I'm going to have to start thinking about a neck. :D

Joe
"I tell you we are here on earth to fart around, and don't let anyone tell you any different!"
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Re: Grand Concert for Freegift, Builder Swap

Post by Dennis Leahy » Thu Dec 03, 2009 12:18 am

Awesome job, Joe! Can't believe you pulled that off. :D

Dennis
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