Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Fingerstyle Guitar - Gluing the Soundboard and Back

There are several commonly used methods of clamping the soundboard and back as they're glued to the rims, but the technique pictured here is the one I've adopted; it works very well, and I feel no need to explore other options. I use thin bungee-cord to apply the necessary clamping force, with a caul made from masonite and cork sheet in place to distribute pressure evenly around the guitar's perimeter. The caul focuses clamping pressure on the edge of the back or soundboard, preventing any deformation of the top or back plates which the tightly stretched cord might otherwise cause. It also serves to protect the delicate soundboard wood from damage where the cord breaks sharply over its edge. I trim the top and back plates to within a few millimetres of their final dimensions prior to clamping; there's minimal overhang and therefore no leverage brought to bear by the bungee-cord on the edge of the plates.

Gluing guitar soundboard and back

Gluing guitar soundboard and back

Gluing guitar soundboard and back

I haven't become anywhere near proficient enough with hot hide glue to consider using it to attach the soundboard and back plate to the rims, and in any case, I'm not convinced of the benefits of doing so. That being the case, I'm happy to continue using Titebond Original, applying it the gluing surface of the linings with a 1 inch foam roller after the rim assembly has been securely clamped in the outside mould. The roller allows me a high degree of control over the quantity of glue applied and, if I've judged it well, there's negligible glue squeeze-out at the intersection of the linings with the top and back plates and therefore little need for clean-up inside the guitar body. I attach the back first, the advantage being that once the bungee-cord has been secured, I can flip the entire assembly over and inspect the interior of the guitar through an opening in the base of the mould, cleaning up what squeeze-out there is with a damp sponge.

Click any of the photos for a larger view.

Cheer
Pete