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 Post subject: The "Norman Kinkead"
PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 1:21 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:39 pm
Posts: 110
Okay, here goes:

Elsewhere here I have explained that I am building a guitar using plans and directions from Jonathan Kinkead's book. It made sense to move the discussion here. I was given some wood and tools and a form made from plans in the book, so a good head start. But I did not really want another 14-fret guitar. So with encouragement and advice on this forum I modified the plan to be a 12-fret short-scale, something like a Martin Norman Blake model (hence, "Norman" and "Kinkead.") Bracing and soundhole have been shifted further into the lower bout; I have yet to address the necks! I was given a Sitka top but it was a little thinner than Kinkead specifies, so I started a new top to his specs. With encouragement from John H. I decided to work up the thinner top too, so two "first" guitars. I have done the tops now (except for the bridge plates) so here they are. The older thinner top is sun-darkened; I have left the bracing a little taller on that one, but I wonder if they are both over-braced. And I have a question: In my limited experience with tap-tones, the tone is deeper on the thinner top than the newer thicker one, so I am reluctant to reduce the braces on the thin one. But could I slim the braces on the thicker top to approach the tap-tone of the thinner top, or is that too simplistic?

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 Post subject: Re: The "Norman Kinkead"
PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 2:38 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
Posts: 1313
I've found that some folks like to tap tone, others don't. I'm an avid tapper, however I warn you that I've only made 5 tops, and 1 I didn't use because I was unhappy with the outcome. I've found (so far), that the thinner the top, the deeper the tap. I've got a top that is pretty thick at .126-.130" on one guitar, and my OM build is thinner at ~.096-.100".

If you're happy with the tap on the thinner top, then leave well enough alone.

First let me tell you that, I'm no expert; I've only built one guitar, and I've replaced the tops on 3. The top wood is going to produce the music that it was meant to produce; you can change the tightness of the braces a bit, which will change the tone, and you can certainly extend the sustain, but the species, moisture, grainlines, etc., all combine to make the sound. This is what worked for me:

I decided not to shave any braces above the soundhole, or above the X. I took very tiny increments from the lower x-braces, and tone bars (in that order). I also didn't take away from the height of the peaks, but took from the sides, in very, VERY thin shavings. The most change to tone and sustain, came from the lower tone bars. In essence, I ended up with thinner, but tall bracing, which is the strong, but flexible; at least, that's what worked for me. I noticed that, as I shaved away bracing, the tone became a bit deeper and the sustain longer. As you're doing this, keep in mind that you have final sanding to do, which will decrease bracing.

Once you start shaving the lower tone bars, things happen really fast, so go slowly, and take very small amounts with the chisel, and tap after every shave. If you looked at the shavings that I produced, you could see through them.

I hope this helps to answer your question. Here is a link to my OM building photos; just click on any photo to enlarge the image. Send me a private message if you have problems with the album.

http://s141.photobucket.com/user/kauffm ... t=3&page=1


Last edited by Diane Kauffmds on Sun Mar 15, 2015 2:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The "Norman Kinkead"
PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 2:39 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
Posts: 1313
BTW, you did a nice job on the bracing; it's clean and neat.


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 Post subject: Re: The "Norman Kinkead"
PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 11:44 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:39 pm
Posts: 110
Diane, thanks for your helpful notes. Your OM top bracing looks much more scalloped than mine, but Kinkead's specs say not to scallop more than 1/8". That may be so newbies like me don't find their guitars imploding, But it looks heavy to me. So I may reduce it using your approach on the thicker top at least. But on first builds it's a little scary - a lot easier to take wood off than to put it back on. I also was a little relieved to read in a thread here that if I put the bridge plates on later, I might be able to save the project if I go a little too far.


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 Post subject: Re: The "Norman Kinkead"
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:04 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
Posts: 1313
Stray Feathers wrote:
Diane, thanks for your helpful notes. Your OM top bracing looks much more scalloped than mine, but Kinkead's specs say not to scallop more than 1/8". That may be so newbies like me don't find their guitars imploding, But it looks heavy to me. So I may reduce it using your approach on the thicker top at least. But on first builds it's a little scary - a lot easier to take wood off than to put it back on. I also was a little relieved to read in a thread here that if I put the bridge plates on later, I might be able to save the project if I go a little too far.

First builds are scary for sure; my OM is my first complete build and I was a bit scared the entire way. I think you're doing a terrific job. When in doubt, leave well enough alone.


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 Post subject: Re: The "Norman Kinkead"
PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 1:33 am 
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Posts: 110
It's time to post an update on my "Norman Kinkead" projects - Jonny Kinkead-style OM bodies modified with 12-fret short scale necks (something like a Martin "Norman Blake" model.)

After doing the tops, I finished one cherry back and one rosewood, managed to get the two sets of sides bent and glued (learning all the way) and put things aside for the summer to work on restoring my old canoe.

Back at it now, I glued the two backs to the sides without too much problem, but lots of fitting, planing and sanding to get a good fit. With advice from local luthier Steve Heizer, I pared down the top bracing some more (Kinkead specs seem to be heavy). Time to close them up but ran into an issue where I could not get the form/mould to close to glue the tops (post in "Beginner's Questions.") I went ahead cautiously and got the tops glued, with a couple of minor gaps to be filled or shimmed and glued - they look pretty good. Next step is to figure out what purflings and bindings to use. I think I will take the time to make a jig for cutting the rebates; I found a couple of good designs through KGF. Then I will have to tackle the necks.

I have leaned on KGF a lot and here's the evidence I have not quit yet:


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 Post subject: Re: The "Norman Kinkead"
PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 2:22 pm 
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You're building 2 guitars at once, when a single guitar is a challenge. You're doing a great job; they look good.


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 Post subject: Re: The "Norman Kinkead"
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 11:56 pm 
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Posts: 110
Seems forever since I updated this project but I have detoured to make a binding jig and cradle (mentioned in the tools section.) I ran into multiple issues with the bindings on these, my two "first" guitars - modified from Jonathan Kinkead's book and mould to ultimately be like "Norman Blake" model OMs. Somehow the sides were not uniformly plumb, so I had a lot of fiddling to get the binding jig to cut good channels, but I got there. The bindings are wood, and I think too large (though close to Kinkead's specs), so hard to bend, and hard to fit into the compound curves. So, after multiple cosmetic surgeries, the two agreed to show their faces in public. One is cherry with an old sitka top, maple bindings and BWB purfling, hoping the cherry will darken and give me multiple blond tones. The other is rosewood with rosewood bindings, WBW purfling with an additional black on the top, much like my Larrivée dread but heavier. These still need more work but I can put them aside for a while to research lacquer sticks and other touchup methods, and move on to the mahogany necks - with continued thanks for friendly ears here on the forum.
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 Post subject: Re: The "Norman Kinkead"
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 8:04 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2016 5:10 pm
Posts: 37
They look great! Nice work.


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 Post subject: Re: The "Norman Kinkead"
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 10:41 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:49 pm
Posts: 143
I own and have read Kinkead's book. Very nice in a lot of ways, but I found his neck attachment and geometry are 'interesting'. I suggest a look at other processes to arrive at an appropriate neck angle.

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