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Organic Soundports

Posted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:32 pm
by whitespruce
I have been reading an article in the latest Fine Woodworking Magazine on the furniture of the late George Nakashima. He built much using huge slabs. His daughter is still running the company and the article showed some tables with tops made from live edged slabs, with cracks and other "beauty marks" included.

Got me thinking about some of the wood in my stash and I went digging :whis: :whis: :whis:

I was thinking of some cocobolo that had "voids" similar to some of those in the Nakashima table tops, and how I might work that into a guitar.

So I found a cool billet and cut these sides
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I plan to bend these and clean up the edges of the voids so they will function as soundports

A closer look
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Now for a back. I went through all my stacks of resawed cocobolo backs and did not find anything that would work. Seems like when I am looking for flawless stuff, I find lots with "defects", but..... So, anyhow, I dug through a bunch of uncut boards and planks, but still nothing that I was satisfied with. So I remembered this stack of back billets from logs I bought 9 or 10 years ago. I had resawed many of the better ones, but there were about a dozen and a half 3" or so thick ones that had flaws in one face. Checking these showed most of them to be better than I had remembered, but I found one that when I cut 4 slices off, the last 2 seemed workable.

So here is the back set that I plan to use
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And a closer look to better show the voids
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Don't panic over the colors of any of this wood. I just resawed all of this yesterday and it has not begun to oxidize .

I will be using a few butterfly keys across some of the voids as needed to stabilize, playing things mostly by the seat of my pants as I go along. Should be interesting.

Oh, and so far here is the top that I might use.
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Stay tuned, and, no, I have not lost it :lol:

G

Re: Organic Soundports

Posted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 7:17 pm
by timo
Grant, I would really be interested in something like that. Let me know if you might have some you would part with. Tim

Re: Organic Soundports

Posted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:16 pm
by Jim
Well, to see Grant Goltz try this should give the rest of hope in trying to "fix" wood. The sides are wonderful!

Actually, though, I think you've really lost it :roll:

Jim

Re: Organic Soundports

Posted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:29 pm
by whitespruce
timo wrote:Grant, I would really be interested in something like that. Let me know if you might have some you would part with. Tim
Tim, I do have 2 sister sets of sides to this one.

As I type this the cutaway side is cooling in the bender. I will take it out in about a half hour and will post a photo to show if it made it or not :?

G

Re: Organic Soundports

Posted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:38 pm
by Dennis Leahy
Wonderful idea, Grant! This should be really cool! It's going to be a guitar that looks like it was made from... wood!

Dennis

Re: Organic Soundports

Posted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:47 pm
by whitespruce
First side, the cutaway, bent. Came out perfect

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And from the inside
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So I have no doubt that this is going to work out fine.

Now, how is it going to sound with sound leaking out everywhere :shock:

G

Re: Organic Soundports

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:46 am
by howie123
well I seem to recall something from another article on bass ports in speaker cabinets suggesting that if calculate the area of your standard sound hole then work out the area of your natural soundports and reduce the main soundhole area by the same amount the sound should remain constant with a standard guitar with the standard sound hole. ..... I can't remember the science behind it as it was about 15 years ago and it was based on making massive sound from small speakers in purpose built cabinets..... one other thing that stuck though was reducing the port size increased the lower frequencies ie bass response which to me seemed counter intuitive to me at the time ......anyways best of luck with this build

Re: Organic Soundports

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:30 am
by Matthew Jenkins
I love the sides and I think the top is wonderful
This is going to be cool
Mat

Re: Organic Soundports

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:32 am
by Dave
Wow Grant :shock: :shock: :shock: most people will be screaming that you should burn the wood your using!

This will be a really interesting build that will challenge most preconceptions that you should use only perfect material!

Love it Grant can't wait to see how it turns out :D

All the best
Dave

Re: Organic Soundports

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:49 am
by Seabury
Hole-y Grail?

Re: Organic Soundports

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:23 am
by DaveAnderson
:shock: Hole E crap Grant ,you have lost it man! hahaha ! Well, its better
than burning it, I think. ;)

Re: Organic Soundports

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:07 am
by mtracz
LOVE IT!!!

I am all for letting the wood speak for itself and to waste as little as possible. Character is a benefit, so long it is stable. I'm very much looking forward to this one coming together

I want to give it a shot now...

Best,
_Mike

Re: Organic Soundports

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:46 pm
by DennisK
That is awesome! I can't believe those sides bent without the splits traveling. You truly are the master of bending.

That top looks a little dicey in terms of getting it to sound great without the knots crumbling through, but I hope you can prove otherwise :) And even if they do fall out, the swirly dense grain around them may act as a sort of natural reinforcement against splits anyway.

I have one ziricote set with some natural holes in the back, that I was planning on leaving open like this. But you've got some serious guts doing it on the sides too. Most definitely looking forward to the rest of the build, and hearing the results :D

Re: Organic Soundports

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 6:18 pm
by timo
Great work Grant, I am definitely interested in a sister set. Put a price to it and let me know. Really cool. T

Re: Organic Soundports

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:27 pm
by whitespruce
Hey Dennis, I don't think the knots in the top will be a problem. They were loose, so I took them out and glued them back in with hide glue. Sound as can be now.

I do have the non-cutaway side bent, the top and back joined, and thicknessed. Kinda contemplating what will look good for a rosette. Don't think my normal thing will be appropriate.

I think i will downsize the soundhole just a tad, maybe more what I put in my OM's

G

Re: Organic Soundports

Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:11 am
by Pat Foster
whitespruce wrote: I do have the non-cutaway side bent, the top and back joined, and thicknessed. Kinda contemplating what will look good for a rosette. Don't think my normal thing will be appropriate.

G
Inlay some bark?

Pat

Re: Organic Soundports

Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:15 am
by whitespruce
Pat Foster wrote:
whitespruce wrote: I do have the non-cutaway side bent, the top and back joined, and thicknessed. Kinda contemplating what will look good for a rosette. Don't think my normal thing will be appropriate.

G
Inlay some bark?

Pat
Hmmmm, Now that's a brilliant idea, Pat. Thanks so much for the suggestion.

G

Re: Organic Soundports

Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:11 pm
by stevens
Hey Grant

Be neat if you could work some of the Nakashima butterfly joint holders into those openings.

Might be more easily done while the wood is still flat though.

Just a thought.

Steve

Re: Organic Soundports

Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:54 pm
by whitespruce
Steve, I plan on doing just that.

OK, I took Pat's advice on thr rosette and here is the result. Since the top is spruce, I figured that wpruce bark would be a logical choice. Besides, I knew it would yield an interesting pattern. Fortunately, I still have a couple of split spruce half logs in the shop. They are dry so the bark is tight, but with a bit of wetting and heat from the clothes iron, I was able to carefully remove a square of bark.
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I ironed it flat and sanded it down.
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Could have picked a more contrasting background.

I sanded the front down to a smooth and interesting surface and sanded the back to further thin the piece. Used the ROS with 60 grit. Then I gave it a coat of shellac to stabilize it.
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I cut out a rosette ring with a carbide downcut bit
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Here it is just laid on the top for looks
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Routed a channel and glued it in. Then I routed a 1/16" groove on each side for a b/w veneer purfling
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Here is the final result
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I am very pleased, Thanks Pat for the suggestion :D

G

Re: Organic Soundports

Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:47 pm
by Joel M
Grant that looks awesome, I am really digging the bark rosette! I couldnt even imagine that it would come out that cool looking.

I have been playing with the idea try a natural edge sound hole, finding a spruce top with knot holes big enough to act as a soundhole, or maybe even bookmatch in the centre to form one big soundhole. I really like this nature over perfection approach.

Re: Organic Soundports

Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 7:51 pm
by DaveAnderson
The rosette looks good! Great idea Pat..

Re: Organic Soundports

Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:05 pm
by dofthesea
That is totally cool.

Re: Organic Soundports

Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:01 pm
by Dennis Leahy
I am loving this! Excellent artistry, Grant!

Dennis

Re: Organic Soundports

Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:11 pm
by Pat Foster
Looks great, Grant! I didn't know it would look that good.

Pat

Re: Organic Soundports

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:45 am
by Dave
That rosette looks fantastic Grant :)

Cheers for posting the build Grant :)

All the best
Dave