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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Finished Build

Small Jumbo Model Cutaway
JMC 1.2.22

Zircote Body
Bearclaw Sitka Spruce Top
Mahogany Neck
Ebony Fretboard
Snakewood Binding and Bridge
User Adjustable Tilt Action Neck
LR Bragg Dual Source Pickup

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(1) July 11, 2008
There is a story here.  It was a dark and stormy night... wait, wait... The marauding hordes crested the hill... no no that's not it... The real story: I was opening a brick of cheddar cheese with a small paring knife, it slipped and I stabbed myself in the back of my hand.  Ouch!  I washed it out and put a bandage on the small but painful puncture wound I had created and went back to the movie I was watching with my wife.  Two days later I was in the emergency ward with a tender and festering infection in my hand.  There I met Dr. Jonas McAlarney. As he pumped me full of antibiotics we chatted about guitars, hit it off and I gave him my card.  A week or so later I got a call out of the blue from Kelly, his wife.  She had visited my web site and wanted to give her husband a present of a Portland Guitar.  And so we met.

(2) July 11, 2008
The family came over to my house and we talked guitars and design ideas.  After some discussion we chose a Jumbo cutaway model using Ziricote for the body.

(3) July 11, 2008
Ziricote is a beautiful wood with striking figure that grows from Guatemala to southern Mexico, primarily in Belize.  

(4) July 11, 2008
Kelly expressed a strong preference for a bearclaw top, so I went in search of a nice set.  Note that the knots fall outside of the top profile.

(5) July 11, 2008
This picture shows a closer look at the bearclaw figure.  This image has been enhanced to help show the figure.  Bearclaw figure, or hazelficte-a delightful pattern in the grain occasionally occurring in all species of spruce. Bearclaw, like the curl in curly maple, is a rippling of the longitudinal fibers, which divides the surface of the wood into shimmering patterns. Unlike the even waves that usually occur in maple, bearclaw usually appears on asymmetrical or randomly broken patterns. This phenomenon almost always occurs in older trees that have dense, stiff grain structure and high sound velocity. Thus bearclaw is usually a reliable indicator of the better examples of tonewoods within any given species of spruce.  << Acoustic Guitar Magazine, March/April 1994 >>

(6) July 11, 2008
I start the build process by joining the top pieces together.  Here I have marked the pieces for trimming.

(7) July 11, 2008
I use my edge sander to trim them up.

(8) July 11, 2008
Next I prepare the edges so they are perfectly flat and square.  I use a very flat piece of aluminum strut with sandpaper attached to get the edges just right.  When the two pieces of spruce are butted up to each other the joint should disappear.

(9) July 11, 2008
To join the pieces together I use my joining jig which holds the pieces flat and presses them together with the wedges.  I use a very thin line of luthier's white glue as the adhesive.  When I am finished the seam will be all but invisible.

(10) July 11, 2008
Here I have a picture of the rosette inlay, fretboard inlay, and the tuning machines.