Build Your Own Guitar – Day 9

This is the entry for Day 9 of a 3-week intensive guitar building course I’m taking through the Australian Guitar Making School.

Click here to view Day 8’s entry.

Click here to view Day 7’s entry.

Click here to view all of Week #1.


We’re Going To Be On The News!

Today we were visited by a reporter and cameraman from WIN News here in Hobart. They are covering our guitar school as a ‘feel good’ feature story on Saturday night’s news bulletin.

Strato was interviewed, as were a few of the participants (no, not me, but maybe I’ll be seen working away in the background).



Our school is held in a workshop at the home of the Lewincamp family. Cary Lewincamp is a prominent professional guitarist living in Hobart. Click that link if you’d like to hear some outstanding seven-string guitar playing from an absolute master.

There are six Lewincamp kids still living at home and the whole family got out their instruments for a small performance for the news team, which will feature in the story. The family includes six-year-old triplets, by the way, who have just started to play. Yes, it was a cuteness overload, which was only heightened when Lewis (the family dog) walked through the performance 🙂


The welcoming atmosphere in this loving home is just amazing and we’re very, very lucky to be building our instruments in such a wonderful setting. It’s made the whole experience that much more special.

And speaking of building instruments…..


Back To Work!

I started today with “death by 430-odd cuts”.

That’s how many small cuts I had to make in four timber strips to make my own ‘kerfing’. This is a structural support that is glued in to the top and bottom of the sides of the instrument, where the top and back will meet the sides. The cuts are made in order to allow the timber strip to be heat-shaped to conform to the body.

Once the kerfing is shaped to fit the body, it’s glued in place and clamped to allow the glue to set. Once set, the kerfing is planed until it’s level with the sides of the guitar.

Falcate Bracing – continued…

The other job for today was (almost) finishing the falcate bracing system on the top face of the guitar. When I finished yesterday, the four basic braces were in place….


So today I started by tapering these four braces with a block plane. The difference is quite artistic, I think:


I also made/glued a few smaller braces for the top section:


The braces, which are on the ‘inside’ of the guitar, cross over where the bridge will be on the front of the top face. The bridge is where the playable section of the guitar string ends before the string passes inside the guitar. A lot of stress is placed on the holes that the string passes through, so I had to make some timber reinforcements that sit between the braces. These were made by making templates out of tracing paper and then tracing and cutting the pattern on some scraps of tiger myrtle.

It doesn’t look like much, but it took a while to get right.

The final bit of fun for the day was adding carbon fibre to the braces. We take strands of carbon fibre, soak them in epoxy resin and lay them out along the braces, fanning them at the ends.



Tomorrow I have to glue those string supports in place, make my final components of the falcate brace and then………. (cue dramatic music)………. glue the top to the sides.

This is a scary proposition. All the things we’ve done so far have a certain margin for error or a capacity for my rookie mistakes to be repaired. Big stuff like gluing the top feels like one of those “no turning back” moments, where you only get one chance to do it right.

Thankfully we have Strato there to guide us.

Thanks for visiting!!

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1 Comment

  1. Brilliant posts Swade. Very satisfying work. I look forward to your guitar and the gidgee cup-holders for the Fulvia.