Build Diary - Model M in Cocobolo and Swiss 'Moon' Spruce - Part 2 / by Tom Sands

What with all the excitement recently - a trip to Montréal for the Sonore guitar festival, trips to London to visit The North American Guitar as well as delivering talks about lutherie to a myriad of public and schoolchildren - we haven’t been posting about making sawdust as much as we might like.

So, to brighten up the dark October days that are drawing in, we are continuing with this build thread for the Model M in Cocobolo and Swiss ‘Moon’ Spruce - although this guitar is now near completion, we are excited to share with you photos of the process thus far.

In our last post, we went through the material selection. On with the build!

That Cocobolo oil takes no prisoners.

That Cocobolo oil takes no prisoners.

Shooting the top to be jointed.

Shooting the top to be jointed.

Planes eye view.

Planes eye view.

Checking the starting thickness of the sides.

Checking the starting thickness of the sides.

Thickness sanding the sides.

Thickness sanding the sides.


Cocobolo oil is notoriously troublesome - it left its mark on the drum sander paper. To combat this, we’ve found that you can wipe your Cocobolo with paper towel and alcohol before you run it through a sander. It makes all the difference…

And same goes for bending - an oil-stained heating blanket isn’t a good look for any subsequent pieces of wood going into the bending jig.

Bending the Cocobolo, armed with paper towel and alcohol (not to drink - we definitely don’t advise that.)

Bending the Cocobolo, armed with paper towel and alcohol (not to drink - we definitely don’t advise that.)

Next, onto laminating the sides with stiff cedar cores and veneer, to form a rim assembly. The Model M is the most recent shape - and we love seeing wood meet the design for the first time.

The sides going into the vacuum bags to be clamped to the laminate moulds.

The sides going into the vacuum bags to be clamped to the laminate moulds.

The sides becoming acquainted.

The sides becoming acquainted.

Next, it’s time for some radius sanding, and a top and a back.

TS