Sunday, November 7, 2010

Solid-Neck Weissenborn - Part 3

Part 3 - Construction.

In the process of patterning Tom Noe's gorgeous Solid-neck, one of the great mystery's surrounding Weissenborn, was his early years as a maker of wooden Hawaiian Steel guitars. As far as I am aware, it was Tom Noe and Dan Most who were the first to talk about Weissenborn guitars in a chronological order, which for me at least, is a reflection of how the design, construction and manufacture of Weissenborn's instruments are inextricably linked.

The Francis/Noe Solid-neck Hawaiian is made as reproduction of the original thin body version, with two refinements by Tom's request;

1. The guitar was to be made for genuine solid head tuners (Early Weissenborn's such as the Solid-neck featured slot head tuners on a thin solid head) .
2. The bracing was to be mortised, rather than but jointed as per the original.

Here you can see the gorgeous Koa picked out for this project in its rough sawn form.

Gluing the plates together. This simple gluing contraption is called a Spanish Tourniquet.

Rosette channels cut. Although at first glance similar to the production era marquetry rosettes, the spacing and purfling details are different.

Gluing the marquetry and holly purfling in place, and making a mess!

The completed rosette. Later it is planned and scraped flush.

Here you can see the mortised or tucked bracing. The stress caused by Hawaiian A Major tuning can be brutal to old wooden guitars, and the Solid-neck is no exception. I wanted the new guitar to be able to be kept under tension without Tom having to worry about it. The mortised bracing allows me to recreate the original bracing design in its fundamental glory, and is an elegant solution to the fragility associated with early Weissenborn guitars.

The braces are glued in one single operation step, using hide glue of course.

The top carved to original specifications. There were no top seam splints or sound-hole reinforcement of any kind.

Hand bent sides.

Gluing back braces and seam splints.

The carved back.

Front view.

Back view.

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