View Full Version : For a slow Sunday morning

12-06-2009, 05:47 AM

Great pictorial documentation from McKnight Guitars.

lefty dan
12-06-2009, 07:24 AM
That was great. Thanks for sharing.

12-06-2009, 07:45 AM
Just curious, what's with the number 3? Is it your third instrument? Or is it a copyright thing?

12-06-2009, 08:01 AM

If anyone ever wondered why a guitar or uke costs what it does, this series of photos will answer that question (and even make a buyer realize what a bargin he got).

I just kept thinking about how many opportunities to destory that guitar existed during the building of it. Tim McKnight certainly has excellent skill and steady hands.

Thanks for sharing the photos!

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-06-2009, 08:16 AM
I spent an hour looking at those photos, and then I looked at my scroll bar and noticed I had 14,780 more photos to go! Going to have to split it up over several Sundays.
Anyone know where to get ahold of that Micro Fence rosette cutter? Looks nice! Interesting method of cutting his rosettes as well. Also interesting is how he prepares for the bridge.

Pete Howlett
12-06-2009, 09:26 AM
Laminated sides? If you ask me this seems a really long winded way going about building a guitar...
I went to the site and lo and behold, he is using a double back or 'Hollow Back' design as he calls it. I saw this in 1976 being used by Peter Sensier in the UK on his ribust and slightly artisan classical guitars. I still do not understand the logic behind the laminated or double sides... Also of great interest is the absence of hand tools in the shots - this guy is an ace machinist!

12-06-2009, 10:11 AM
The back was laminated too, with honeycomb material in between. Very nice and thorough documentation. The stationary router for binding channels was unusal.

Dave Higham
12-06-2009, 10:21 AM
Anyone know where to get ahold of that Micro Fence rosette cutter? .

Looks as if this is it Chuck. Very expensive although it's a real precision instrument.

Or you could make your own. Here's a tutorial from Chris Paulick.

There are also instructions on Sylvan Wells's website which used to be free, but he now sells them. :(

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-06-2009, 10:50 AM
The one I have is built along the lines of the Chris Paulick jig. After time they seem to get just a bit sloppy. A real precision cutter like the Micro fence would be nice but after reading the material on the website it seems that 6" is the smallest circle you can make. I'm sure it could be modified. Thanks for the link. Now I'll look for one on ebay.
I think the MicroStop package in conjunction with the base I already have would be the way to go.

Pete Howlett
12-06-2009, 11:00 AM
That is one expensive piece of kit! Do you think it's worth it for the limited use it would get routing rosette channels or do you have other plans Chuck?

12-06-2009, 06:38 PM
after reading the material on the website it seems that 6" is the smallest circle you can make.

They have an accessory called "center bar and leveler kit" that will allow it to make circles as small as 1/2". I think McKnight has that on his in the photos.

I played around with one of these at a woodworking show a few years ago and was very impressed and not knowing the price was ready to drop $300 on it, unfortunately even with the show special pricing my budget wasn't even close. Went to same show this year determined to buy it, but they were not there. I seem to remember thier show pricing was quite a bit less than thier web site, but still expensive.


Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-07-2009, 07:23 AM
Thanks Darrel, I'll look for that. Or I could simply by the whole package for something like $2,000!

12-07-2009, 10:35 AM
More about the photos - have you seen carbon tubes like that before, going from fretboard extension to sides?


Pete Howlett
12-07-2009, 11:04 AM
Sven - he comes from the planet Zogg so don't pay attention to what he is doing. It is all a bit OTT for me and the sound samples give no clue as to the acoustic sound of these highly engineered instruments because as usual, they are played with a pickup and the sound is digitally modified.

12-07-2009, 11:38 AM
Pete, I couldn't be inspired to change my construction even if I wanted to. I'm still struggling to get a 290-grams soprano with two braces and a patch to sound the most. I am getting there slowly, and I want to refine not radically change anything until I know what I'm doing. Carbon tubes is a bit Beal I think.

I did say yes to making a pineapple though, that shape is still on planet Zogg for me...

Regardless of his methods and materials, I really like the photographic documentary of every step. And I did like how his neck block was routed before it was installed, then hidden under the sides and uncovered in the end.

ATB / Sven

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-07-2009, 11:43 AM
I like those truss rods. It enables you to eliminate some of the sound board bracing. If I were building bigger instruments I would be using them. I know a few custom builders who use them with good results.

Dave Higham
12-07-2009, 12:45 PM
have you seen carbon tubes like that before, going from fretboard extension to sides?

Yes, Tim's not the first reputable luthier to do this. Several do it now, notably Rick Turner, one of the founders of Alembic and now the maker of Renaissance Guitars and Basses and Compass Rose Guitars and ukuleles and someone with a very solid reputation. If people like Lindsay Buckinham, David Crosby, Jackson Brown, etc. etc. etc. play his instruments it's not for nothing. So don't pay too much attention to Pete's rather facetious remark either.

It's all about making a very rigid back and sides assembly (which is probably why he laminates the sides too) and leaving the top as free as possible. It also means that the neck block can be very thin (about 12mm) and still support a fully adjustable bolt-on neck and a cantilevered fingerboard. This is one of Rick's. He says he can turn it over, put it on the floor and stand on it!


Of course, I hasten to add, we're talking about guitars here, not ukuleles

This is one of mine. It's what George Hinchliffe of the UOGB calls a bass ukulele ("of course it's a ukulele, it's only got 4 strings" ;)) I didn't try standing on it!


Edit. Sven and Chuck have been back while I was typing.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-07-2009, 01:00 PM
You're a slow typer Dave! Note the carbon fiber top braces. I love this kind of stuff.

12-07-2009, 01:12 PM
Is there a reason why the neck block and the carbon braces are not symmetrical?

Thanks in advance!

Dave Higham
12-07-2009, 01:38 PM
The asymetrical neck block is to allow a strap button to be screwed in. The CF tubes are actually symetrical, it's the camera that's slightly off centre because when you put the body down it doesn't sit straight. That's because, looked at from the end it's wedge shaped. It makes it slightly easier to get it under your arm.:) (The treble side is 6" deep!)


Steve vanPelt
12-07-2009, 01:47 PM
Wow, Dave, that is beautiful, a real work of art. Is that doubled up super thin kerfing? Looks great. wow

12-07-2009, 08:22 PM

What is he doing here?

Steve vanPelt
12-07-2009, 08:30 PM

What is he doing here?

just a guess, but it looks like he is clearing the glue out of the fret slots after gluing on the fingerboard binding

12-07-2009, 08:46 PM
I figured that was the case, it just looked like he was picking at the binding.

Here is a better look at the tool in action: http://www.neonlightsimaging.com/McKnight_Walnut_LSredwood_Build/img_5446.htm

Rick Turner
12-08-2009, 07:10 AM
I have made a couple of tenor ukes with the flying buttresses and carbon fiber topped back braces and center strip reinforcement, and I make all my acoustic guitars this way now. On the guitars, I'm able to use hardly any upper bout bracing, and I can "reset" the necks to adjust action height in about fifteen seconds...and that's if I'm fumbling with the Allen wrench.

12-08-2009, 07:46 PM
oh god,that's awesome :D