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First Post Question

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I have been reading the forum for a while and have read Bills books until the pages are starting to wear and I just wanted to thank all the people who have provided me with all this great information. I am just getting started on my first ever kit (Stew Mac 000 Bolt on Neck) and before I manage to destroy something before I really get started I have a quick question. When I am doing the dry fit of the sides to the tail block the tail block is slightly taller than the sides. The tail block itself measures 4.024 and the sides measure 3.850. Is this normal? Does the tail block require fitting to the sides. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated
Have a great day.
T. Walsh

Jul 24, 09 | 5:53 am

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Total Posts: 668
Both the tail and neck block will sit a little proud on the bottom side as you will slope them when you radius the sides and kerfing to fit the dome of the back (the top has a little dome, but that is easy to sand into the top kerfing and blocks.

I just glue sides and end blocks referenced to the top, then sand the back sides in a radius dish or with a radiused sanding block after you've glued the kerfing on. A simple way to make a sanding block is to cut your back radius (16 or 24 or whatever you want to use) in a 2x2 that is long enough to span the longest dimension of the guitar (end to end). Put sandpaper on with double sticky tape and work your way around the edges of the sides (you'll want to use a chisel on the end blocks to get them close first).

Here are a couple of bodies in the mold and I just keep working my way around the sides with the sanding block until everything is a nice smooth dome shape and the back fits nicely

btw - you can use that radiused 2x2 as a nice clamping caul for the back braces if you don't have a go-bar and radius dishes.

Jul 24, 09 | 8:25 am

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The tail block should be taller than the sides.

The back of the guitar is typically radiused, or rounded, so it meets the sides at an angle instead of being flat. So as the back rounds down to meet the tail block, the inside of the tail block needs to be slightly taller to mate with the back while the outside of the tail block is even with the rim. So the tail block is left proud of the rim by roughly 1/32" so the slope can be sanded into the tail block.

It's not so clear on the top (soundboard) side.......some folks want a flat rim and a flat tail tail block while others want the rim and tail block sloped to match the radius of the top. Neither is right or wrong and each creates a slightly different sound.

Some folks radius the top then glue it to a flat rim which sort of pre-stresses the top. If I understand correctly, this is what Martin does. And if I understood the post correctly, Mario Proulx says the top opens up very quickly when done like this. It's what I'm trying on my first build.

One other thing I will mention. On the top and back of the tail block I'm going to sand an angle so that only part of the tail block makes contact with the back and top. I want only a portion of the tail block equal to the width of the lining to be glued to the top/back as I want the rest of it free to vibrate. That is only my thought though and I have no idea how many others do this.

Jul 24, 09 | 8:34 am

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TW, I almost forgot......Wlcome to the Forum!!!

I just re-read the last paragraph of my last post and it isn't very let me try again.

You want the sounboard free to move as much as possible for the better/louder sound. Most of the sound comes from the lower bout of the guitar. It's glued around the perimeter the width of the lining everywhere.......except at the tail block. Why would want the soundboard glued down where it can't vibrat/move for the extra width of the tail block? Seems it also adds strss concentration points. Instead, why not cut an angle on the front of teh tail block so only the area equal to the width of the lining is glued to the top? Seems this would reduce stress concentration compared to gluing the entire thickness of the tail block to the soundboard. And it won't hurt the sound and will likely help the sound.

Jul 24, 09 | 9:23 am

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Hey Thanks for the quick response guys. I was trying to make sure that I didn't get messed up from the very beginning. I am really trying to be as careful as possible with this my first build as my genreal mode of operation up to now has always been the bigger hammer methods. I am hoping to not only build something that I can be happy with as far as the instrument goes but to gain a little in the patience dept. Many thanks for getting me off on the right foot.
Have a great day!!

Jul 24, 09 | 12:38 pm

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Hi TW,

Welcome to the forum from Stanwood, WA. Lot's of good folk here to help you, just ask away. BE PATIENT! Have fun.


Jul 27, 09 | 9:49 pm

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