Lyle Lovett: Good company for a luthier!
Back in the shop today to work on the three new guitars; an Engelmann topped Sapele OM, a Sitka topped Mahogany OM and an Engelmann/Maple A Style. All the braces, almost, for the top and back have a radius or curved profile, sanded on to the bottom to give the outside surfaces of the guitar a curved shape. This is to strenghthen them, for the most part, and is very common although different makers use different radiuses.
Today's brace sanding music program!!
Sanding is done with a combination of machines and hand sanding to finish up. It's a boring job, but important, so I try to make myself more comfortable by playing good music! The fingerboard is also radiused more tightly than the body to assist the player in curving their fingers around the neck. On more involving processes, I really can't have anything playing or even talking, so it's nice when I have a day where I can listen.
I start by making pencil marks on the bottom of the brace so I can see where wood is being removed. The red surface is a curved, sanding dish called a "radius dish", that I place the brace against and sand back and forth.
This pencilling covers the bottom of the brace, or braces if you do two or more at a time.
Keeping the braces perpendicular keeps them straight when installed. I use both hands for the long braces, which are up to 17 inches or so.
The pencil marks begin to be sanded off as the entire surface of the brace makes contact with the curved dish...
Keep sanding and checking...
Until they are no more!
It's a bit boring, but that's why it's nice to have music on. Today's music was three albums by Lyle Lovett, who in case you are not familiar, is a great song writer! He manages to use humor in a lot of songs, whether they are sad and serious or upbeat and happy. I listened to "It's Not Big, It's Large", which is great, "I love Everybody" (also great!) and "Step Inside This House", CD 2, which is a 2 CD set of songs by other less familiar artists. He did a nice job of picking some of their unrecorded songs and really made them sound like his own. It's interesting to go and find the originals (not so hard when he's doing Townes Van Zandt) to compare versions. Very different!
Some of my favorite cuts:
From "I Love...", "Fat Babies" and "Hello Grandma"
From "It's Not Big..." "Don't Cry A Tear"
From "Step Inside..." "Bosque County Romance" and "If I Needed You"
Lyle makes time and your foot move!