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Questions About Molds and Clamps
Author
Post
000lover

Total Topics: 71
Total Posts: 332
I have been looking at Bill Cory's Stewmac 000 kit journal and had a few dumb newbie quesitons.

1. I noticed he didn't use a mold. I know that Stewmac's kits sides are already bent, so do you not really need a mold (except for the internal mold)?
2. What does the mold really do if it doesn't add pressure to the sides in order to force the two sides together?
3. It looks like on Bill's stew, the only thing holding the sides together is the glue on the neck and tail block (+ clamps). Do the two side pieces really come together that easy and that perfectly?

Oct 31, 07 | 8:55 pm
Ĺsmund

Total Topics: 5
Total Posts: 28
Hi,

I haven't started on my StewMac ooo yet, but dry-clamping it suggests things will be just fine without an external mold. When the blocks have been glued in place, the internal mold will force the sides into a near perfect shape. The waist clamp will do the same at the waist.

The sides are quite accurately bent from StewMac, so even though I haven't glued anything together yet, it seems to be a good fit.

I've read on this forum that there have been some issues with the internal mold dimensions, that the mold isn't entirely correct. The cardboard mold came pre cut with my kit and apparently fits nicely. Seems the only thing that needs to be done is to make shure the sides are perpendicular to the workboard.

Asmund

Nov 01, 07 | 4:23 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
I suggest both you guys read this first

http://www.kennethmichaelguitars.com/KMGkitrimassembly.html

I repsectfully submit that SM takes this procedure (rim assembly) to lightly and it leads to many of the problems I read about in this very forum --- understanding what has to be done is what matters -- not going through the motions and hoping for the best. -- two cents

Ken

www.kennethmichaelguitars.com

Nov 01, 07 | 4:36 am
davidmor

Total Topics: 34
Total Posts: 567
The Stewmac system works fine and will give you good results if you are careful and make sure to get the blocks straight and level. The biggest problem with the internal mold is that it is a one shot deal. It can't be reused as you cut it apart to get it out. There was a problem with the kits previously because the builder was required to cut out the mold pieces using a template pattern that evidentially was not scaled correctly. I know mine was significantly too big and several others had the same problem. Stewmac now cuts the cardboard and from what I am hearing, they fit much better.

Ken is right that it is very important to understand what the final outcome needs to be so you do these steps correctly, but I disagree with him that Stewmac takes this lightly. If you take the time to read the manual before starting, it is very clear how important it is to do the rim assembly correctly and carefully. The video also does a good job of stressing how important this step is. The internal mold is perfectly adequate for a one time use tool that anyone can build using parts included in the kit and wood scraps in the shop.

My Blog


Nov 01, 07 | 4:56 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Hi David, of course you have actually built the SM Kit and certainly know better than me. My comments about "taking the situation lightly" is based on just the things you stated --- the instructions seem to be OK or good. However, the procedure yeilds irratic results or so it seems. Especially for the first time builders. (just based on what's written here page after page.) I suppose it is because I am a tool designer and a Manufacturing manager by trade --- but I expect tools and fixtures to prevent errors and take out the human element as much as possible.

Ken

Nov 01, 07 | 7:05 pm
000lover

Total Topics: 71
Total Posts: 330
Ken....I guess www.kennethmichaelguitars.com is your website?

I respect all opinions/advice/ and wisdom. I know less than nothing about guitar building as of now, that is why I am here asking to what many will think are dumb questions.

I have another though. What are the differences between the KMG "Success Kit" Rim assembly, the Multi-Style Guitar Mold, and the outer mold you sell on ebay?

If 80-100 extra bucks will assure me a better guitar my first time trying this, then I am all for it!

BUT, i am not understanding the differences and purposes of each...please forgive.

Nov 01, 07 | 7:13 pm
Herman

Total Topics: 38
Total Posts: 480
On my first built I used the SM method. I guess works if cut accurately and in a relatively short period of assembly. In my case I had the rim together, but it was far too humid for attatching the top and back. So it sat for a month or so, with the internal mold inside. When picking it up again the sides were distorted. The tightfitted cardboard mold (2 pieces) had pushed the sides outwards on the contactsurface. I was left behind with a nice waveform impressed in the sides. They were to heavy to sand it flat. Consider it a personal touch on my firstbuilt, but the waves are still visable.

If you're using the internal cardbaord molds, don't leave them in place for a long time.
Succes, Herman

Nov 01, 07 | 10:48 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
That’s an excellent question about the different molds. KMG is like your Guitar mold “Super Store”. There are a dozen different good guitar construction publications currently used as a main resource for builders at all levels of skill. Each of the authors offer a little different twist on construction sequencing and basic technique, so to accommodate the different requirements we offer an assortment of molds and fixtures. “Kit Guitar Builders” are just a segment of the luthier population.

I personally think that the construction method diversity in the hobby/profession adds interest and allows for a great deal of creativity. The problem is, as you have found, it’s hard to know where to start.

Naturally all our molds are able to hold the guitar rim in the proper shape and provide the necessary centerline references.

The various post style molds also, provide a simple means of attaching (gluing) the top and back without the need for special clamps. These molds also have a built in “internal Rim Clamping System” which eliminates the need for waist cauls etc.

The Multi Style Mold offers all of the above plus the adjustability feature so it can be used for almost any style/shape guitar. (The internal clamping system is optional)

The Mega Mold is an adjustable mold that is combined with a precision rim contouring system. The contouring feature assures a perfect match of the rim to the dome of the back/top.

The “Masterworks” Mold was designed to provide a basis for the “Success Kit” construction method. Note: that the KMG kits are very similar to Martin guitars in almost all parameters, as well as construction techniques. KMG and Martin Guitar DO NOT HAVE 28’ top contours – they are almost flat just like the vintage guitars everyone would like to emulate. The idea of a 28’ top radius is a modern concept.

As one gets into the building process the need to have the neck set at a specific angle becomes evident, the KMG system addresses this issue from the very beginning of construction. The “Masterworks” provides the foundation to properly machine the rim to match the pre-machined neck angle. The “Masterworks” mold comes with an extremely effective top and back clamping system.

Lastly we offer the Traditional style molds that are perimeter shaped inside and out to allow the use of rim clamps all around, also the ends are unobstructed so that the blocks can be glue in place with the clamp pressure distributed evenly.

As far as a recommendation – it depends on where the builder intends to go with the hobby. And the fact is, as pointed out, with the proper precautions a respectable guitar can be built using the SM cardboard mold.

Ken

Nov 02, 07 | 4:17 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Hi 000 -- I'm coming late to this party, I guess, but what the heck. I live here.

On my very first 000, I followed the Stewmac instructions to the letter, and they instruct you to join the sides and blocks before you put in their mold. I did it that way. Maybe the photos aren't shown with the mold in place, since I didn't do a complete journal or instruction set of that guitar (because it would have been full of sentences that started with the word "Don't ...").

I got lucky, on that first 000, in that the sides were exactly right as they came from the factory: I safely glued them to the blocks without using a mold. One of the things the Stewmac manual does not do is tell you to check the sides for correct size and length. Like I say, I got lucky and they were exactly right on that guitar; on the next 000 and a dreadnought from them, the sides were too long in both cases, but by then I had learned to check and dry fit (including fitting the mold) before gluing.

I did use the Stewmac internal mold on that guitar; I was playing it yesterday, and it's still going strong.

I've used Ken's adjustable mold, Martin's molds (made for Martin by John Hall), my own external molds, and also fashioned my own internal molds like Stewmac's, using 1/2" foam core board (stable and easy to cut). All of them work well if you use them carefully. Personally, I first prefer the external 2-piece molds (like John's), then the internal molds (like Stewmac's). The external are more stable, and the internal are easier to build with.

Bill

Nov 03, 07 | 5:29 am
davidmor

Total Topics: 34
Total Posts: 567
That's interesting Bill. I know that I had to trim the sides to length on my Dreadnought (I still have the scraps laying around here somewhere!) so I assumed that the manual stated to do this. But, after reading the manual again it doesn't mention this. It must be in the video somewhere because I know I would have never cut them on my own. I will have to dust off the video and give it a look. There are a few things in the video that aren't in the manual as there are things in the manual that aren't in the video. IMO a first time builder really needs to use both the manual AND video to get the entire picture.

I gotta say though, it is sure a lot of fun being able to scratch build one of these things now without looking at any instructions or videos to do it! Something must be getting through this thick skull of mine and sticking in the mushy stuff inside! :)

My Blog

Nov 03, 07 | 5:45 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Dave -- Yep, I'd say it's getting through, judging by your building quality!

I don't believe the warning to check the sides is stated anywhere in the Stewmac video or instructions; I did a detailed critique of the manual for them at one point three years ago (from a technical writing point of view), and while doing it viewed the video twice more. I had purchased and watched it twice before starting the first 000 kit, too. (I haven't seen the DVD version; they might have added material.)

Stewmac's a great company, but they don't like to admit errors of omission or commission, as many of us have mentioned here. You don't find many warnings in their materials, except the general one to dry fit before gluing, which is repeated often. (And probably the most important of all.)

I read about checking lengths of sides in the OLF, or MIMF -- one of those.

Bill

Nov 03, 07 | 5:55 am
davidmor

Total Topics: 34
Total Posts: 567
Hmmm, maybe that is where I got it. I have the video, not DVD so I am sure what I have is the same as what you reviewed. I know I cut them, I just can't remember where I learned to do it. Must be that Alzheimer's kicking in again!

My Blog

Nov 03, 07 | 5:59 am
Hugh

Total Topics: 16
Total Posts: 309
Dry fitting is good, except for the rosette in the SM kit. I broke mine in many pieces getting it out. The second one I glued directly the first time. Maybe someone has a technique to get around this.

Nov 03, 07 | 9:05 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Hey 000lover

Seems you got lost in the threading here --- did my explaintions make it clear that the various designs KMG's and others are just molds and others are building fixures? The basic traditional styles sure enough hold the rim -- however, there are other considerations that involve time and treasure. Waist clamps, top and back clamping systems, also, work holding for contouring and routing, those are necesary operations have to be done. I my view these are details that need consideration if you plan to build or buy. Naturally having used all the styles at one time or another, my current favorite is now the "Kinkead" inspired Masterwork. It's tall, light weight, and the top clamping system, while not as easy to use as rubber bands is very secure, and aides making good glue joints on "bindingless" guitars.

Ken


Nov 03, 07 | 9:58 am
000lover

Total Topics: 71
Total Posts: 330
Ken,

Your explaination cleared some things up. BUT, I have such a small amount of knowledge about building that I am trying to put everything people say into perspective.

I don't have a kit yet. I don't even have Bill's book...yet. So, all my knowledge comes from reading a few blogs and info at this forum.

I have printed off the SM 000 pdf. but have only had time to skim through it.

I hope I am not waisting everyone's time by asking un-edjucated questions.

I am just trying to understand a few things so I can justify to my wife why I think I can complete a kit (since I can't even build a wooden box). I have my doubts and I know she will... :(

Nov 03, 07 | 10:24 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Hey Matt -- I was in the same lack-of-experience mode yo are in when I started with these things at age 56 ... yet my first guitar came out okay!

A guy asked my, if I didn't know anything about woodworking, why didn't I start with something like a chair? My answer was easy enough: "I don't want a chair. I have plenty of chairs."

When my wife asked me if I could really build a guitar, I answered, "I don't know. Other people have, and I'm smart enough to follow instructions."

The Stewmac kit and instructions, although they are not perfect, are the best beginner setup available at this time. Maybe someday somebody will put together a kit that is as simple as theirs and as well-documented, with good printed materials, a DVD, and tech support -- but I don't see it on the horizon yet. None of the other makers have gone there yet.

You can do it. Have no doubts about that. There will be others on this forum and elsewhere who will progress faster than you will, and whose guitars will look as good as those by professional luthiers, but your guitar will be special, like your kids and your dog are special. Just tell your wife it's a labor of love and something your heart tells you to do: That's the truth and she'll relate to it.

Bill

Nov 04, 07 | 6:20 am
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
I would say most of us started where Bill was, no experience, too many chairs, but a lot less resources than are available today. I suck at woodworking, but have built some decent instruments. I wont say great, they could be better, but play and sound sweeter than anything else I have come across. That's what matters. You will have your doubts all they way until your first song. That's the way any project goes, and what makes it sweeter when it is done. ASk the questions, get the answers, and start workin!

Nov 04, 07 | 7:29 am
damian

Total Topics: 2
Total Posts: 19
I've got to chime in here.

I'm a metalworker by trade. If guitars were made of steel or plastic I wouldn't need a thing to build one, but I'm absolutely hopeless with wood. I've bought my kit and am going to have a go, because the worst outcome is a $400 pile of firewood. I went in with that attitude and anything better than that is a bonus. It's not like your trying to build a house or a yacht. Guitars are small and cheap. The worst that can happen isn't that bad, provided you don't damage yourself :)

Don't be in a hurry to spend money. Get your kit, study the build materials/instructions. If you have access to a library borrow some books and see the alternative methods. Then decide which option you choose to take for each step. There are plenty of alternatives on this forum and others. Once you have a plan buy what you need then. Understanding what your trying to achieve at each step is good advice, because if nothing else it'll help you decide where to spend your money. I'm about a month ahead of you, going through all the same issues.

Remember, it's supposed to be fun! :)

Nov 04, 07 | 4:21 pm
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
The mold is an important tool in getting a good building result. There are 2 basic mold designs , The building board design and the solid forms. The one thing you need to remember is the guitar may or may not be flat. Martin kits are preshaped , the back has a radius that won't lay flat on a board .
The mold is there to hold the shape and symmetry. The neck block also should be held in a proper location. Select the mold design that best suits your needs. The 2 major suppliers of molds are Myself and Ken. We are both here to help
john hall

Nov 05, 07 | 3:01 am
Beppe

Total Topics: 7
Total Posts: 24
Hi friends,
I'm building my first kit (a 000 Stewmac) and got no problem at all with the internal mold. After many dry clamping, I had the idea to put enough binding tape to keep the sides firmly together, and it stopped glue from squeezing from the join line.
About the mold, I guess it will be easier to have an external mold instead of the cardboard one's provided by Stewmac, tho I ws able to take them out without cutting them and to put them inside again while working on the fingerborad and etc...
I'd like to know if the mold they sell on Martin shop (000 model) is useful for building a Stewmac 000 kit. Martin's mold seems the best.

Nov 06, 07 | 8:38 am
forestcaver

Total Topics: 6
Total Posts: 41
Just to add my tuppence. I built a Martin OM kit. I don't think I could have done it without a good mould - my rim was in the mould for quite a long time (a few months) while I was building it and it kept it all stable. I also found having a good mould invaluable for ensuring the neck block was perfectly aligned.

Andy

Ps. I was lazy and bought a mould from John Hall (Blues Creek Guitars) - recommended.

my build log

Nov 06, 07 | 9:30 am
Beppe

Total Topics: 7
Total Posts: 24
Hey, John, I've seen Blues Creek Guitar site and MARTIN 000-12 FRET GUITAR MOLD. Seems just the same that Martin sells for USD100.
Is it goos for the StewMac 000 12 fret? Can't you show measures in cm or mm?

thanks, Beppe

Nov 06, 07 | 11:34 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Hi Beppe,

We found some differences between the Martin and Mac Rostie 00012 so we offer this Traditional Style mold modeled off the Stew Mac Print

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=110188603124&ssPageName=STRK:MESE:IT&ih=001

Ken

Nov 06, 07 | 11:47 am



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