Building with figured Sapele

Finally, I have started building a Dreadnought with some figured Sapele that I’ve been anxious to use.  After re-sawing my back and side pieces they needed to be sanded to the correct thickness using a drum sander to about .120″, but ultimately I go by feel and type of wood at this point.  Getting the two halves of the back together was straight forward, however bending the sides was another first for me with wood this highly figured.  With the grain running wildly it would not bend uniformly and tried to crack or split.  Using both a bending iron and my bending machine I managed to get them bent successfully.  This was very tedious and time consuming as compared to a Rosewood set I just bent the day before.  Once the sides were bent and with the blocks and linings glued in it was time to concentrate on the back and top.  I make all of my own braces from Spruce stock and do not carve them until they are glued in place.  The back braces get a radius on the back to conform to the curve of the actual back of the body.  The top braces are flat on the back, hence a ‘Flat top’ Guitar.  Before gluing top braces the Rosette and Sound Hole must be routed.  With the braces all in, top and back glued onto the rim, and all binding installed and sanded flat I have the neck joint finished and it is time to get the neck done and mate the two together.

Author: Rick

A life long woodworker, I've been building guitars for just over ten years. I build acoustic dreadnoughts, electrics, and the "Hambone", a Terz guitar. I am a North Carolina native and am currently located near Charlotte, NC.

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