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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:50 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 9:55 pm
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Location: Pittsburgh PA suburbs
In college I was gifted with a 1973 "Martin lawsuit" Takamine F-360. It's essentially an all-laminated clone of a Martin D-28. I played it hard and put it away wet but paid a luthier to do a bridge reseat and a "California" neck reset and enjoyed it for several more years before the bridge came back up and the X brace underneath cracked. Here it was in happier days:



At that point, I'd gotten the building bug and intended for my second build to be a replacement but instead opted to just reuse my forms and molds from my first build. Still, I dismantled the old Tak - actually, "butchered" is a better term - and took a look-see at its innards. Firstly, after pummeling the end cap into splinters and subsequently using a non-flush cutting saw I discovered that it had a butt joint. I also routed out the top (being careful to save the kerfing and binding) and discovered that the bracing was REALLY beefy and the bridge plate was both spruce and coming unglued. When I discovered this I felt pity and a good bit of unhealthy sympathy for my old friend. I imagine that many a cardiologist would feel this way halfway through a procedure.


Subsequent pictures are too gory to share, so suffice it say that now I have a "boat" and a severed neck. The top is toast because the bridge delaminated it in that area. It's been a couple of years and it's sat on a shelf in my basement awaiting its fate.

As a player I've struggled with GAS and have often dreamed of owning another sitka/rosewood dreadnought. For over a decade I have dreamed of owning a Martin HD-35 but when my wife graciously granted me seed money I squandered it on a D-16GT before discovering that an MMV would have scratched that seven year itch.

Well, here it is 7 years since I bought the D-16GT and my old friend is a cadaver awaiting a freakish experiment. My wife has said no more new guitars so I find myself cackling in my workshop screaming out "Frau Blücher!" (cue horse whinneying) and contemplating on creating an abomination: a FrankenMartin.

Last October I journeyed to Nazareth and took the Martin Factory tour. Before returning home I paid the Guitarmaker's Connection in the old factory a visit and purchased 1/4" bracing and an ebony belly bridge that I was going to use for a 00. I may yet undertake that project but now I'm thinking that maybe - just maybe - my old Tak could be reborn to resemble a D-35 (which as you know has 1/4" bracing.) Here is a picture of the bracing, alongside my second scratch build in progress.



What do you think? Should I do it? Am I mad - or should I just bury it in my backyard and hope it doesn't haunt me?

EDIT: Photobucket no longer allows third party hosting for my pictures so I had to remove the img twgs. *grumble*

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Last edited by nkwak on Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 3:04 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 10, 2010 10:50 pm
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Location: Seattle
Put a spruce top on that guitar! well worth the effort!. Since it had a a butt joint, you might consider buying or making a neck for a mortise and tenon and installing it.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:22 pm 
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Location: Pittsburgh PA suburbs
johnnparchem wrote:
Put a spruce top on that guitar! well worth the effort!. Since it had a a butt joint, you might consider buying or making a neck for a mortise and tenon and installing it.


I'm thinking of getting a AA student grade top for it - if not call up the Guitar Maker's Connection again and see what they have lying around there. As for necks, I already have a 24.9" scale Martin second neck with a modified V profile that was donated to me. I even have an ebony fretboard all ready to install. So it might end up like a HD-28V SS with 00 bracing. Hopefully it doesn't end up looking like a pig wearing lipstick!

The sides around the butt joint really took a beating though. I'm going to have to affix a veneer and maybe try my hand a sunburst!

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 1:02 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 9:55 pm
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Location: Pittsburgh PA suburbs
Bump!

Quick question: has anybody gotten a top from the Guitar Maker's connection at Martin? I've been looking for their phone number but it's not listed and while a trip to Nazareth is tempting it's kind of inconvenient. When I was there last fall they were very accommodating and were putting kits together but I don't recall them taking phone calls. For this project I'd like to get one of their discarded second dread tops with the outline pre cut, preferably with no rosette or trench routed. I don't want to spend a lot and I'm still not equipped to thickness sand or do deflection testing.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:19 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 7:50 am
Posts: 424
Location: Chadds Ford, PA
Just call the main line and ask to get transferred to GMC or to one of the staff members there. I've had a few tops from them as you describe and they are perfectly ok (maybe a pin knot or something). Price varies acc to how good the top is otherwise (adi and pearl means more $$ usually, etc.) Also worth checking with John Hall as he might have something better.


Last edited by Danl8 on Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:50 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 9:55 pm
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Location: Pittsburgh PA suburbs
Thanks. I've been tempted by the student grade Sitka tops at RC Tonewoods but wasn't looking forward to thickness sanding or planing. The GMC (and Martin as a whole) were closed all last week so I couldn't call the main number and was curious what a similarly graded top already later cut and sander to thickness would run. From taking the tour I'm guessing that the rosettes are alsonlaser etched out at the same point.

TBH this little project is on the back burner (while I pick up on my build and a few household projects) but perhaps by the fall this and my first build will be a pair of closed boxes.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 11:41 am 
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Location: San Jose, CA, USA
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RC Tonewoods but wasn't looking forward to thickness sanding or planing

When I've purchased sets from them they offered free thickness sanding on orders over $25

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:35 am 
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Location: Pittsburgh PA suburbs
rcnewcomb wrote:
Quote:
RC Tonewoods but wasn't looking forward to thickness sanding or planing

When I've purchased sets from them they offered free thickness sanding on orders over $25


That's good to know. Did that include joining the bookmatched halves?

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 11:23 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:49 pm
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Here's my opinions on vendor sanding to thickness: Back and sides can be sanded by a vendor, I think most do it, some for a fee, some do it to sweeten a sale. Tonally, I think it's not critical. I think sides are sanded so they can be bent, and it seems as if the back is along for the ride. But tops...every one is tonally unique. I guess a vendor would sand if asked, but I don't think he's going to join and tap-tune the top. Each top is sanded to get a good 'ring' during tap-tuning and how thick that top turns out is variable depending on the stiffness of the wood and the ears of the tuner.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:52 pm 
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Location: Pittsburgh PA suburbs
I understand. I don't care if they err on the side of too thick. I'm just not equipped with a thickness sander and previous attempts with a plane have resulted in lots of tear out. I don't want a top to be at final thickness, but nor do I want something as thick at 1/8" either.

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