Portland Guitar Co.

Designing and Building
Custom Handcrafted
Guitars, Ukuleles
and Accessories


Portland Guitar Co. | Portland Oregon | Contact Jay Dickinson-503.245.3276 | jay@portlandguitar.com


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In The Build Process

Atto Model

ATM 2.1.64

  • Body: Padauk
  • Top: Spanish Cedar
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Binding: Cream PVC
  • Fretboard, Headstock, Bridge: Indian Rosewood

Page 2


( 030 ) 13-Jan-2015

In this picture I have laid out the kerfing on the heating blanket.

( 031 ) 13-Jan-2015

The kerfing needs to be bent into the same shape as the sides. The kerfing provides a sufficient gluing surface so we can glue the thin top to the thin sides.

( 032 ) 13-Jan-2015

I use a reverse kerfing similar to a gunwale on a boat that will make the sides very strong and stiff.

( 033 ) 13-Jan-2015

When I bent the sides I started with a side blank bigger than the finished guitar. Here I am marking out the shape of the side, using the side form as a template.

( 034 ) 13-Jan-2015

I use this raised platen band saw to trim the sides to shape.

( 035 ) 13-Jan-2015

Checking for proper fit.

( 036 ) 13-Jan-2015

Now I apply a layer of glue to the kerfing and I clamp the kerfing onto the interior of the sides while the sides are in the form. I spent considerable time making sure the form has the shape I want, so when the kerfing is glued on, the sides get pressed into the form... that has the right shape... got that?

( 037 ) 13-Jan-2015

The second edge gets a piece of kerfing... did I tell you I have lots of clamps.

( 038 ) 13-Jan-2015

Now I clean up the glue squeeze out with water and a brush.

( 039 ) 13-Jan-2015

And then I blow out any remaining goo.

( 040 ) 13-Jan-2015

The side blanks with the kerfing glued in.

( 041 ) 13-Jan-2015

I spend a bit of time cleaning up... I want everything in this guitar to be beautiful, whether it will be seen or not.

( 042 ) 13-Jan-2015

With the side clamped in the form I trim off the ends.

( 043 ) 13-Jan-2015

And now I can join the two sides.

( 044 ) 13-Jan-2015

The two halves will be held together with a heel block and a tail block.

( 045 ) 13-Jan-2015

Here I am marking the position of the heel bock on the sides.

( 046 ) 13-Jan-2015

I use a small saw to cut away the kerfing where the heel block will go. The blue tape kept the kerfing from sticking to the sides.

( 047 ) 13-Jan-2015

The heel block drops right in.

( 048 ) 13-Jan-2015

The front of the guitar has a curve to it that the heel block must match to make a good gluing surface. Here I am using a carpenter's trick to trace the shape of the sides onto the bottom of the heel block.

( 049 ) 13-Jan-2015

Then I use the disk sander to shape the heel block.

( 050 ) 13-Jan-2015

Perfect fit.

( 051 ) 13-Jan-2015

The tail block gets the same treatment.

( 052 ) 13-Jan-2015

And then I bevel the edges so they look nice.

( 053 ) 13-Jan-2015

A bit of glue,

( 054 ) 13-Jan-2015

and the tie blocks get glued in place.

( 055 ) 13-Jan-2015

When the glue has set up I break the rim out of the form.

( 056 ) 13-Jan-2015

Now to prepare the back plate, I am gluing the two book matched halves together with a center strip in between.

( 057 ) 13-Jan-2015

A bit of calibrated weight hold everything flat.

( 058 ) 13-Jan-2015

The back plate.

( 059 ) 13-Jan-2015

And the center strip.

( 060 ) 13-Jan-2015

Ready for braces.