This is a follow up and I will also post else where with more detail, I just want to stress that over a period of about 35 years I have been communicating with employees from the Martin factory including conversations Dick Boak. I found that every bit of information I received panned out to be absolutely factual. They certainly did not share copies of drawings, but even at that, because it has happened before, Martin knows a team of engineers with the aid of a Computerize Measuring Device (which we have in our shop) can “reverse engineer” something as simple as a “vintage or new model” guitar in a day or two ---- so there really are no secrets.
Again I suggest that you contact the Manufacturer, Martin, Gibson, Fender, Laravee, and Taylor etc. or go to their web sites to get information “first”. The forums are fun but the information is often skewed by what the hobby and Boutique building community has come to believe. Which is perfectly fine – but don’t be surprised when the Internet answers you get don’t jibe with the authorative factory information --- it happens all the time!
Below is my exchange with the Martin factory regarding the sanding of the top of the guitar rim; it is verification that the process is the same as it has been for as long as I can remember. Even Don Teeter the master repairperson alludes to the process in one of his books written in the 1970’s
From: Ken Cierpilowski <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: rim sanding
Date: Thursday, January 28, 2010, 1:57 PM
My name is Ken Cierpilowski, I am the owner operator of Kenneth Michael Guitars here in Michigan. Since a portion of our activity is supplying tools and fixtures to hobby builder's. Many of our customers are constructing or thinking about constructing kits purchased from the GMC --- so I am called on regularly to provide clarification regarding what tools and fixtures are needed and how they should proceed with the various assembly processes.
I am assuming that you are the Chris Thomas that provided the tour direction for Primer Guitars in the You Tube video. You are obviously very knowledgeable of the Martin production system. My question is regarding the sanding process for the top edge of the rim. You clearly indicate that the top edge is sanded flat and the back of the rim is sanded to a slight contour. In reviewing Dick Boak's videos he also clearly states flat on the top edge with a slope from the waist to the neck block. And, that is what I personally observed while visiting the factory. Some of the boutique builders actually sand the top of the rim with a contoured disk as well --- roomer has it that Martin has adopted this process and now puts a bevel on the top edge. It would be appreciated if you could verify or debunk this roomer, or direct me to someone who could shed some light on the subject.
Thank you in advance,
Can you help us out on this question?
Mr. Carmen A Cortez
CFM Customer Service Manager
From: Chris Thomas
Sent: Monday, February 01, 2010 4:40 PM
To: Carmen Cortez
Subject: FW: rim sanding
Please respond to this customer. I do not know the correct answer.
My name is Mark Bickert and I have some clarification on the rimsanding of the guitar sides. For most of our guitars, we sand the back using a radius wheel. The top is sanded using a flat wheel. The top is sanded flat all the way from the rear block to the top edge of the soundhole. Then an angle is sanded from the top edge of the soundhole to the front block. This angle compliments the neck angle and gives us proper bridge height and fingerboard drop.