American Lutherie #116 Cover
American Lutherie #116
Winter 2013

On this issue’s cover, Trevor Healy is preparing a mahogany neck blank to receive an ebony backstrap. Photo by Trevor Healy. The back cover shows a comfortably cluttered workbench at Tom Cussen’s Clareen Banjos, with a large window looking out on the Irish rain. Photo courtesy of Rick Rubin.
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Kids building guitars in public school Letters from our readers
In the Great White North, Glen Friesen is still teaching kids to make guitars in his public school shop class. You go, Glen!

Mandolin in a fretting jig Beyond the Rule of 18: Intonation for the 21st Century from their 2011 GAL Convention lecture by Gary Magliari and Don MacRostie
Gary Magliari is an engineer who has taken a close look at the math of steel string intonation. He has decided that to really do it right, you need to adjust the position of the bridge, the nut, and some of the frets. Don MacRostie is convinced that the improvement is worth the effort, and he takes over the talk to show how he recuts the fret slots on a mandolin.

William Eaton Meet the Maker: William Eaton by Tom Harper
Renaissance man William Eaton is a musician, composer, impresario, instrument designer, outdoorsman, and athlete. But he is probably best known to our readership as a lutherie instructor, having cofounded the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery and taught there up to the present day. But he very nearly took an entirely different career path, one that would have seen him wearing nicely tailored suits. Read all about it in this issue.

Carl Samuels Carl Samuels: Lutherie Before the Information Age by Tom Harper
The early foundations of the American Lutherie Boom were laid by a fascinating cast of unlikely characters, whose chance encounters and interactions have shaped the world we live and work in. Who is Carl Samuels, and why is he sending rats on acid trips?

Robbie O'Brien and students Battling Shop Dust by Robbie O’Brien
As an instrument maker and lutherie instructor, Robbie makes a lot of wood dust. After a short review of the relative dangers of different sizes of dust particles, he goes on a quest to improve his dust collection system. He finds a compact and cost-effective solution.

Dust Masks and More by Linda Stuckey
Do you really need to wear a dust mask in a lutherie shop? What type should you buy? Are the expensive ones any better? Do they still work if you wear a beard? Is it OK to blow them out and use them again? Linda gets the information you need.

Inside view of guitar top showing bracing etc The New England Luthiers’ OM Collaborative Build by Don Boivin
Wouldn’t it be great fun to get together with a bunch of buddies and all make similar guitars at the same time? You could share tips, encouragement, and pizza along the way. Then you could get some good players and have a concert in which all the guitars were played. Yeah, let’s do that! And let’s make it an annual event.

Tom Cussen Meet the Maker: Tom Cussen by Rick Rubin
Irishman Tom Cussen got the folk music fever back in the ‘60s. He played the accordion as a kid, but when the squeeze-box broke he went for his brother’s banjo. He founded a popular folk band and has now become a banjo manufacturer. A cautionary tale for children!

Non traditional flamenco guitar Flamenco Guitar Evolution by Mark Berry
Mark Berry got a commission from a flamenco player to build a guitar that sounded and played like a flamenco and was built of traditional material, and yet did not have the traditional look. He produced a double-cutaway guitar with two soundholes. Have a look!

Making a reproduction of a archtop pickguard Making an Archtop Pickguard by Nate Clark
Nate Clark was restoring an older Gibson archtop and decided to make a new pickguard to replace the deteriorating original. He takes us on a closeup photo journey through the process, and it turns out pretty.

Making a two-piece vaulted guitar back used by mariachi bands The Mariachi Humpback by Fred Casey
Those crazy-deep, two-piece vaulted backs are the distinctive feature of guitar-family instruments often used in mariachi bands. Every try to make one? C.F. “Fret” Casey dives in and gives it a try.

Cutting scroll slot for a F-5 mandolin Cutting the Scroll Slot on an F-5 Mandolin by Byron Spain
That skinny little slot that forms the scroll of a Gibson-style mandolin presents a challenge: cut the back, block, and top separately and try to get them to line up when assembled, or assemble them first and then try to cut an accurate slot through a formidable chunk of material? Lefty Luthier Byron Spain shows us how he does it.

Reviews: Technology of the Guitar by R.M. Mottola
Mottola gives an enthusiastic review to this book, intended as a college text for students without advanced math skills.

Cleaning tone pots It Worked for Me by Eron Harding, January Williams, Jack Johnston, Mark Berry, and Paul Weaver
Eron resurrects old potentiometers in a vintage lap steel guitar. January makes a simple gizmo to measure the height of a guitar brace through the soundhole. Jack rigs up a buffing arbor for a Shopsmith. Paul sings the praises of toothed plane blades.

Questions edited by R.M. Mottola
How do you get rosette tiles to fit? How does silking affect soundboard grading? Why are steel string guitar fretboards radiused? Can you still get Saf-T-Planers?

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