Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Kerfed Linings

I've fabricated kerfed lining strips from mahogany in the past, and while that's a popular and appropriate choice, on this guitar I was in the mood to use linings that closely match the colour of the spruce back braces. Spruce doesn't exactly grow on trees in my neck of the woods (puns intended), so I substituted Jelutong - a lightweight, light-coloured South East Asian hardwood species that serves this purpose well.

After bandsawing and thickness-sanding the strips, I set up a crude but effective jig on the bandsaw that helps me cut kerfs of a consistent spacing and depth. I leave a little more wood between the extremity of the cut and the opposite face of the lining than it seems is common with the off-the-shelf product, and the strips I prepare are a little more robust as a result. If there's any trade-off, it's that I feel the need to pre-bend the waist and upper bout portion of the linings on my bending iron prior to gluing them in place, more as an added precaution against breakage than out of any real necessity. 

A pet peeve, and the motivation for devoting a little time to preparing my own snap-resistant kerfed linings, is seeing an otherwise carefully crafted instrument whose linings are joined at some point, particularly when such joins are in plain view through the soundhole. Sacrilege!