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Start of an LMI Classical Guitar Kit Build

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 9
Sure no wood working experience, very few tools why not try to build my own classical guitar from a kit? I am a voracious reader , so I ordered and read about five different build your own guitar books and I watched the DVD that came with my LMI kit. Even though all of the builders were basically building the same guitar, each had a unique and at times very different process. No problem that just means one has a lot of freedom in how to build. Maybe less so in what gets build.
To get started I bought some tools and got to work on a solera and a matching clam shaped mold.

I was a little stressed out about the 25’ radius in the lower bout, but my wife used her cad system to draw me a template to build a radius stick. I also bought a couple of disks to use later in the build. I bought a serviced kit so I had a neck, but the slots still needed to be completed (that was a surprise) and the headstock had to be cut. Maybe my new circular saw was not the best tool to use to slot the neck, but I had a blade with the correct sized kerf, and a few bits of wood to make the neck square to the table … I survived with only a bit of a nick in the inside edge.

The headstock really was hard for me. I made 4 templates until I had one I liked and I made a few practice runs on the router with plywood and MDF.

Unfortunately when making it on the real neck, the side of the neck chipped out a bit (I really need to understand the direction of the grain). I nearly panicked until I remembered that the headstock was wider than I wanted. So I went back to the drawing table drew a shape on the headstock and carved it with chisels finished with cabinet scrappers.
It turned out ok

With only a few more hours of panic “trimming and cutting the sides to shape” I managed to get the end block and the neck glued into place. We will see where it goes from here.

May 18, 10 | 2:51 pm

Total Topics: 11
Total Posts: 94
Keep up the great work on the new adventure. fun, isn't it!

May 18, 10 | 5:38 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
Good luck! Keep up the good work!

May 18, 10 | 6:13 pm

Total Topics: 18
Total Posts: 165
You're off to a good start - welcome to the obsession.


May 19, 10 | 11:13 am

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
I'll enjoy watching this as it goes along. My second build was an LMI classical - having used a mold for the first I struggled with whether to use a solera/workboard (ala Cumpiano et al) or a mold (and then what to do with the neck). Ended up with kind of a hybrid mold on workboard - I'd do if differently next time but I'm not sure what LOL.

Surprised your Spanish heel wasn't cut for the sides - I'm pretty sure mine was. Your headstock looks nice - make a quick measurement of the angle of your strings to the 1st and 6th tuner rollers - they may contact the beveled part of the slots.

Here was the thread that I did after building mine - I was satisfied with it. Enjoy your journey!

May 19, 10 | 12:51 pm

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 9
Thanks all for the encouragement. I am having a blast with this: buying and building tools, the research and the actual hands on work.

When I received the kit the spanish heel was partially cut. It was cut too depth on the back side but it was only partially cut on the front side. If they intended to cut it through it looks like they had a stop in the wrong place because both sides were cut the same.

May 19, 10 | 1:02 pm

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 9
I finished the construction of my classical guitar, including having the frets glued on. It turned out better than I thought that it would. I have included a set of picture showing some of the remaining main steps along the way.

I used gobar clamping for most of the braces on the top and bottom. The forces were so strong I was afraid to use it for gluing the top and bottom on to the sides. I kept imagining that I would spring a hole right through the top when adding or removing a rod.

The top and bottom at least look like they are suppose to look.

I sent a bunch of time aligning and realigning the bottom to the neck and sides before cutting a place for the braces and gluing on the back.

I tried to use only rubber bands to glue the back on but with the back so curved top to bottom, I needed a lot of force on the bottom block. The tool box is loaded with auto type of tools and was heavy enough to get a good glue joint.

I was happy the gluing went well and the neck stayed reasonably aligned

Gluing on the top was easier than the bottom as the top (ignoring the radiused sides) was flat.

I mucked around with a chisel to get the top and bottom miter joints to look right.

Although there was a bunch of scary routering and frantic gluing, the binding turned out OK. The guitar with a bit of clean up looks good and was ready for the frets.

I managed to get the frets in without destroying the guitar and I am ready to start the finial sanding and French polish.

Thank you for taking the time to look! I will posted the finished guitar in a few weeks.

Jun 25, 10 | 5:27 am

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 9
A bit more patience until the bridge glue dries, and a couple of weeks before buffing it, but this guitar is finished waiting for setup.

Jul 19, 10 | 4:30 am

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Looks like you did a really good job on it.
I bet a lot of folks feel the panic and frantic gluing of binding. I know I did. Looks like it's going to be a beautiful guitar.

Jul 19, 10 | 9:55 am

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