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Honduran Rosewood B&S bonding

Total Topics: 4
Total Posts: 10
Hi guys,
I have finally decided to order a kit from LMI (adi top, honduran RW back and side) after building few sub $150 kits for practice. I believe the kit itself is going to cost me about $700 :( but I am trusting the materials will be good enough to justiy the price :) The base style is d28.

anyways, my questions are

1) I am planning to profile adi top with thickness .100, what do you guys think?

2) I heard Honduran RW is oily like coco and may have some problems gluing them together with titebond, anyone with experience?

3) I am planning to go Tru oil, any advice on what pore fillers, finish, shellac etc?

thanks guys!

Apr 28, 10 | 5:13 pm
Running Dog

Total Topics: 1
Total Posts: 103
A few thoughts.
The top thickness depends on the particular piece of wood. Getting the soundboard properly thicknessed is one of the most important choices builders make. I feel that generalizing this is a mistake -- it depends on the stiffness of the particular piece (especially cross-grain stiffness), the size of the body, and the goal you're shooting for. Even small variations make a big difference to stiffness. So don't make choices like this without having the wood in hand.

I have built with Honduran probably six to ten times, never had any issues with bonding (I use Titebond, LMI, and hide glue for different operations). Again, different samples may be more or less problematic.

Finish is up to you. Most Honduran is pretty plain, though I have had some nicely textured boards, and benefits from a really nice, level, shiny finish. But that's just my aesthetic and may not be yours.

Good luck!

Apr 29, 10 | 8:37 am
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
What Rick said. A top is as individual as a child. Stiffness is independent to the top and you build the top and match the braces to the top. I havn't had any problems with gluing Honduran. Like any joint , be precise , clean and true.

John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars Inc.
Authorized CF Martin Repair Center

Apr 29, 10 | 4:54 pm

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
John and Rick have a lot more experience than I do, but as far as I know the most common starting thickness for top plates is around 0.110. You can always take your plate to a cabinet shop and have them run it thru their thickness sander if you feel that is too thick, but its pretty hard to put it back on if you start out too thin.

When I was at the GAL conference I watched Dana Bourgeois flexing and tapping a top plate in the traditional fashion, while others try to measure the deflection by preloading it. You might consider Siminoff's book on tap tuning if you want to do that. However I'm pretty sure that when Martin builds a D28 they just sand the plates to a thickness that works, probably 0.110 and use their standard braces for whichever model they are building.

Can't comment on gluing Honduran RW - LMI should be able to recommend a glue. Titebond has worked for me, but I'm ready to move to hide on my next one.

Also, no experience with TruOil, but I will recommend Erlewine's book on finishing for general information on sealers, fillers, and different kinds of finish. I've used StewMac paste pore filler on 5 instruments with good luck, but just did a side by side test of the paste, CA and Zpoxy on some koa which I will be posting in the finish section in a few days. The paste is easy, but I think both the CA and Zpoxy gave a better fill and the Zpoxy seemed to "pop" the figure in the wood more. I did use KTM-9 on this test and was very pleased with the results, don't know which would work best under TruOil.

yup, the switch to adi and better rosewoods will run the price up (I've got over a grand in materials for my latest koa build) but is worth it as long as you are careful. Don't expect the adi to be as nice looking as sitka, it will have wider grain and probably some color variations unless you are willing to pay a whole lot for top grade.

Apr 30, 10 | 8:29 am

Total Topics: 4
Total Posts: 10
Thanks for the input guys, really appreciate it.

Freeman/ Regarding non-master grade adi tops, I believe the sound is effected by stiffness not aesthetics. Besides, I kinda like the discoloration and change in grain depth!

What John said really woke me up. If I were to follow "standard industry" measures for my "custom built" guitar, it is kind of lame. I shall decide when I actually receive the top!

I am also thinking of using French Polish finishing with the ubeat hard shellac. I have heard of memorable testimonials from fellow builders.

Apr 30, 10 | 10:47 am

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