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Dennis_Mitchell

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Reply with quote  #1 
The Weissenborn project has begun! A few changes since the beginning due to wood availability and the insane ideas of your's truly.
 Current game plan is:
Top-Mesquite with Koa center wedge
Back and Sides- Mahogany
Bridge-Boadarc (Bois D' Arc, or Osage Orange. Depending on wher you live)
Fretboard-Boadarc

I also plan on a slotted headstock instead of a traditional style for ease of tuning. No choice yet on the headstock material, but most likely mahogany with a mesquite overlay.

Here's a couple of pic's for starters








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Dennis Mitchell
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DavidWhite

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Reply with quote  #2 
Hi Dennis,

I love the grain pattern on the mahogany - it will look really nice under finish. I've been having a few thoughts (as I do from time to time) since you e-mailed me the pics. I think if it were me I would use the mesquite with koa centre stripe as the back rather than the top. The mahogany will give you killer tone - the mesquite plus koa I'm not sure about. I know there is this thing about back and side woods matching but it is no big deal. Top and side wood match will be just as nice.

Also make sure that the sap-wood looks to have no weak points in it - you can get away with using sap wood but it is prone to cracking at the join of the sap and ordinary wood lines if the different wood expand and contract differently. If the wood has been well seasoned and is stable then fine. If not - with the koa centre strip - I might be tempted to get rid of the sapwood altogether.

As I say - just thoughts. Feel free to completely ignore them.

Keep the pics coming.

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rexjames

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Reply with quote  #3 
hmmm interesting i totally agree with DW there! cool the mahogany looks sweet! (personally i d use that as the top) i love a mahogany top and in my exp they sound beautiful! tho i do wonder what a hardwood top would sound like. also i was wondering why a sloted head stock would make it easier to tune but guess you would have the tuners pointed up?
awsome project there!
T~

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Dennis_Mitchell

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Reply with quote  #4 
Dave,
 Thanks for the thoughts. Always feel welcome to toss in as many as you want! I'm the newbie here, so it's all a learnign curve at this point. My reasoning (at this point in time) for using the mesquite and koa for the top is (1) most Weissenborns tend to have all hardwood cunstruction, (2) The builder I got the mesquite from has had good success tonally using it for tops and for the whole body of his guitars. So it certainly has my curiosity up at this point. The sapwood may very well become an issue, for just the reasons you mention.
FYI for the group, only reason to splice a center wedge is the mesquite set is too narrow to be used as it is.

T,
  Thanks for the thoughts as well. I know you guys tend to go *out there* sometimes with your construction. So your input is most welcome also! Right now I'm looking at how to place the koa so as to get the best possible strength and looks. Which is actually reason #3 to put it on hte top! The fretboard will add strenth and hide everything above the sound hole. May have to tweek the bracing a bit, but we'll see.

More as it happens. thanks guys!


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Dennis Mitchell
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MKnut

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Reply with quote  #5 

SUB-BASS STRINGS! SUB-BASS STRINGS! (c'mon, everybody!)


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Darrell Urbien
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DavidWhite

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Reply with quote  #6 
Dennis,

It's interesting that you and Tone don't think of mahogany as a hardwood.  Try making an ordinary guitar with a mahogany top and see what people say about it  The two Weisses I have made have Sapele and Cuban mahogany tops. The top is the place where you play the game of finding the knife-edge of just enough strength and maximum tone, having wood/sapwood and a different species of wood in there makes it more complex. But hey given the things I do, regard it as a challenge. Go with "the force" and may "the force" be with you

Keep the pictures coming.

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Dennis_Mitchell

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Reply with quote  #7 
Actually I do think of it that way. mahogany tops do sound good. Of the three we're building, one will be all mahogany, one will have a redwood top. So I figured I'd shoot for something different still. See what we get from these three and learn from it. The mahogany back still hasn't been cut to shape, so anything can happen! I need to do some measurements and see if I can make the mesquite and koa work for the back (which I think I can with no problem). The biggest driving force to put the mesquite on top, is Vince has used it as a top for several instruments, and spoke well of it's tonal properties. So curiosity is eating at me too.

I may go ahead and glue the top up, draw the outline of the body, and then play around with the visual part of the equation. We shall see, Keep the ideas coming, 'cause I'm taking notes for Weissenborn #2!

Subs you say? Let me get #1 behind me! I have already thought of adding one or two subs.




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Dennis Mitchell
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Reply with quote  #8 
Here's the Koa set I plan to use for a center *wedge* with the Mesquite. Comments and ideas welcome as always!



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Dennis Mitchell
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rexjames

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Reply with quote  #9 
wow beautiful koa there Dennis, lookin good! ... i think that redwood toped one will take the cake, redwood sounds SO good in my opinion.
yeah, i guess i did say "hardwood" as though i was excluding the mahogany... heh, i do know mah. IS a hardwood but it seems as tho it holds 2 places as a top wood too... i know koa us used as a top sometimes too. anyhow 
i m working on 2, 6 stringers now walnut sides neck, cherry back, engleman tops. my cuzin from Bizmark ND wants to buy one from me, wow my first real guitar sale!. movin on up!
T~
also i ve never heard of "mesquite" wood (i thought that was a way to cook/flavor chicken) but i say that bookmatched set with the beautiful white edging is really awsome... will you put the white on the bout edge or in the middle surrounding the koa stripe?

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Dennis_Mitchell

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Reply with quote  #10 
Thanks Tone! I think the redwood one is going to have a warm, sweet tone to it. I'm shooting for something with a bit of *punch* to it. So we'll see. Plans are to try and get the Mesquite and Koa cut and ready to join either Sunday or Monday. Then the choice as to what goes where will have to be made. If the Boadarc bridge looks good on the Mahogany, I may go the way Dave has suggested. I hope to get a piece cut for the fretboard tomorrow too. Kinda fun using wood you know exactly where it came from, and split the stave yourself.

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rexjames

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Reply with quote  #11 
yeah i totally agree! i have had the pleasure of using some idaho harvest yew wood and a bit of sitka and engleman spruce from around these parts too! deffinitly makes it more of a treat! you sure are using some woods i v never heard of on thes 3 weissenborns! or should we say kona guitars. what are they called? lap steels? with hollow arms? kinea mouthfull. i like kona isnt that what Knutsen said? anyhow i think you ll be stoked with the mahogany top if you decide to go that way.
nice lookin wood!
T~

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ron

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Reply with quote  #12 
hey Dennis

Just want to say HI and if you need something well let me know ,if i have it ,it yours.


ron


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Dennis_Mitchell

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Reply with quote  #13 
Hi Ron, good to see you around again, and thanks for the offer! I *think* I've got all the wood handled at this point, unless I change my mind on something. And some of the goodies you sent me last time will be going into the Wiessenborn as well. Progress is slow since I have to use the tools and shop equipment of others. But it will get there!


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Dennis Mitchell
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Dennis_Mitchell

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Reply with quote  #14 
Here's todays progress report. The top is all glued up, but I did take a shot of it partially done before clamping it up to glue the final side piece on. The back bracing is complete, and the fretboard is cut to size. Although we came up with another idea for a fretboard that I will be exploring later this week. I also have the headstock roughly done witha nice boadarc center stip. I'll have pic's of it tomorrow!








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Dennis Mitchell
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DavidWhite

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Reply with quote  #15 

Looking good


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Dennis_Mitchell

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Reply with quote  #16 
Here's the head stock. My partner made it a bit narrow and gave it to me to decide it's fate. The center stripe brought the width right back to where it should be after cutting it in half and running it through the joiner. The second picture has the outline of the shape I plan to use, slotted or not.





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Dennis Mitchell
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Reply with quote  #17 
We have a top! Excuse the glare.. I was tired, and got a crappy camera angle.



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Dennis Mitchell
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DavidWhite

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Reply with quote  #18 
Dennis,

Nice! The headstock carries the centre strip theme through nicely as well.

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Dennis_Mitchell

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Reply with quote  #19 
Got the fret markers in. Happened to have some left over Wenge strips from Mike's binding, so I gigured what the heck. The Wenge made has a nice contrast to the Boadarc. However, I quickly discovered how brittle and *splintery* wenge is!

Hope to get the sides bent and in the form Sunday.


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Dennis Mitchell
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rexjames

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Reply with quote  #20 
looking "Top Shelf" to me guys! thats a really good lookin set of exotic wood!
T~

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Dennis_Mitchell

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Reply with quote  #21 
Thanks guys! Didn't get the sides bent yet. But, I do have a poll to toss out fo ya. Converntional sound hole, or two sounds holes along the lines of like Rich Mermer's Weissenborns? My mentor on this project suggests I stick with a traditional sound hole and bracing for my first guitar, and go for the twin sounds holes on my second build.

I got a laugh over this when he asked if I knew any luthiers to talk to about this. I said "Sure, but most of them don't exactly build conventional instruments!"


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Dennis Mitchell
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DavidWhite

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Reply with quote  #22 
Dennis,

If you are not bound by convention then let your muse guide you and go where your heart and head take you. Richard Mermer on his website says the off-set soundholes allow him to brace for more volume and even tone. Do you have firm ideas on how you would brace the top differently with this design and - I suppose more importantly - what you are looking for in sound/stability with this set up? Or do you just like the look? Any of these are valid reasons imho by the way

It doesn't really matter which order you do it in if you are "hooked" and know you are going to make more . . . and more . . .  and more . . . .  You will learn either way. If you are doing a one and only one build then it's a little different.

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Reply with quote  #23 

Do all Weisses have that many back braces? Seems like a lot.


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Darrell Urbien
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rexjames

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Reply with quote  #24 

i wondered that too. i only have 3 braces on my guitar backs. i personally think you should do a traditional sound hole. or maybe an oval or something that looks regal and traditional.


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Dennis_Mitchell

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Reply with quote  #25 
Darrell, I'll leave that one for the *pros* to answer! The plans call for six, and I have seen a couple of others barced with six. Chances are, this may be needed for the C6 tuning (or is that Csus6?) originally/traditionally for these instruments. It's a much higher tension than Open D or Open G tuning. Plus a bit heavier gauge strings will most likely be in order.

Dave and "T", thanks for the input! I think I will go with the traditional sound hole on #1. *But*...I found out a local wood supplier also does custon laser cutting. So who knows where Weissenborn #2 will take me! I'm still waiting to hear if a friend of mine has the American Luthier Issue Rich Mermer steered me to that has an article on his "two hole" Weissenborn build.

BTW..the first of the three Weiss's temporarily got strings on it tonight so as to set the bridge location and intonation before final spraying. Report has it that it has loads of sustain. It is all Sapelle Mahogany with a Rosewood fretboard and bridge. Hoperfully I'll get over to hear it Thursday night.

Food for thought: Does a Weissenborn need drone strings, and if so, how many?


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Dennis Mitchell
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