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I am an Idiot....but please help me out anyway.

Total Topics: 29
Total Posts: 452 is why I am an idiot. I did not order my kit with a back strip. This was my fault because I was so excited to order it that I just forgot. Anyway, here is why I am really an idiot: My kit is from KMG and Ken has been fantastic with helping me anytime I needed. On Saturday night at about 11:00PM I was working on the rim per Ken's instructions, when I had a question for him regarding the instructions. I shot off an email and did not expect to hear back from him until Monday so I moved on to bracing the back. Here is where my troubles begin. I glued the first brace, and realized I didn't have the back strip channel routed. So here I am with one brace glued and I am wondering if I should try to remove it so I can lay the back flat to route the channel, or if I should finish gluing the braces and then route. My one saving grace might be that since I have limited tools and no bench vise at this time, I left the braces square on top. So when I lay the back on its braces it wont rock. Has anyone ever done this before? And should I just leave the strip out at this point and carry on without it? Or should I finish the sound box and clamp and route later? Any help/ advise would be appreciated.

Oct 06, 09 | 5:06 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Tony -- pretty difficult to rout accurately without a flat surface. In your situation, I think I would remove the brace, do the routing, and then proceed.

On the other hand, the back strip is not completely necessary. Many guitars are made without it. The inside back strip, cross-grained, should hold the joint secure. If you worry about it, add about 1/16" to the width of the inside strip, and you will be replacing the reinforcement possibly lost from not having the external back trip glued there.

But, if it's looks you're after -- it's your preference whether to add the marquetry or not.


Oct 06, 09 | 6:05 am

Total Topics: 29
Total Posts: 448
Its really just for the looks. I do not want to have to remove the brace though. I am kicking myself now. I do not want to damage the back by removing the brace and its a pretty large surface that is glued.
Looks like I might be doing this guitar without a back strip!

Oct 06, 09 | 7:13 am
Gary Palmer of Palmer's Stringed Instruments

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 65
Hi Tony,

It's an easy mistake, but quite simple to overcome too.

All you need do is ensure the backplate is secure and set yourself two parallel, but flexible 10mm thick rails either side of the back inlay area. Sandpaper patches fixed to the underside of the tracks prevent unwanted slippage.

Craft yourself a shallow 8mm edge for your router's adjustable guide fence and set it up.

Lay masking tape down (Protection) on the backplate outside the track and below the line your fence will run on.

Set your distances, cutting depth and route. ;-)

I don't use this method often but it comes in handy for post build changes in customer spec, as well as repairs.

Oct 06, 09 | 7:29 am

Total Topics: 29
Total Posts: 448
Mr. Palmer, thats what I was thinking. Sort of. Your plan sounds much better. Thanks for the input sir.

Oct 06, 09 | 3:08 pm

Total Topics: 6
Total Posts: 295
Tony, I don't always use a backstrip. If the bookmatch of the back is really nice I find the back strip to be a distraction. On many guitars the backstrip is not routed and inlaid, but jointed between the two halves of the back, so it's not always designed to support the joint and definitely not required.

Gary, good method and thanks for sharing.


Oct 06, 09 | 4:11 pm

Total Topics: 29
Total Posts: 448
Thanks llajoy. I only want it for looks.

Oct 06, 09 | 7:28 pm
Gary Palmer of Palmer's Stringed Instruments

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 65
You're very welcome and I hope it helps. ;-)

If you practise my suggested set-up on several dry runs you'll soon be able to tweak the method to suit your own preferences. Degree of flex obviously varies in different materials, but both plywood and hardboard strips are examples of something you may have laying around and work well for the purpose in hand.

Oct 06, 09 | 10:14 pm

Total Topics: 29
Total Posts: 448
I did it!!!!! Except I didnt rout the channel. Whats that you say? How did I do it if I didnt rout it? Well...I thought about how I could do it and the whole router thing started to scare me. I thought I could possibly route too wide of a channel, too deep, etc. I could have messed up in any number of ways. So I did the one thing that seemed to make sense to me. I marked the width of the channel I needed for the strip, clamped down my straight edge, and with a utility knife, scored along the length of the channel. I had marked the depth on the blade with tape so I couldnt go to deep. I then scored the other side of the channel. The width turned out to be 6mm, so using a 5 mm chisel, I cut out the wood in between the score lines. The chennel fits like a glove!! Now I am going to even up the bottom with some sand paper and its time to glue.
I am very pleased with the fit of the strip in the groove I made. I will post pictures when I take some.

Oct 18, 09 | 7:26 pm

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