Build Diary - Spalted Maple / Redwood Model M - Part 2 / by Tom Sands

Documenting the build process for the client, our online community and ourselves is a big part of what we do at Tom Sands Guitars. We aim to educate with honesty while doing justice to the art of lutherie as a thing of beauty. We aim to produce beautiful, informative images that are aesthetically valuable.

The Model M we are documenting in this build diary really made it easy to abide by this philosophy. I said it before in the last build diary, but this wood is absolutely knockout! As a result, this part of the diary will tell it’s story primarily through the lens.

I transitioned to laminated solid linings when looking for ways to stiffen the rim assembly. A stiff rim assembly ensures there is as little energy being wasted as possible; all the string energy can stay in the top if it’s supported by strong sides which aren’t moving too.

Naturally, we jumped at the opportunity to photograph the satisfying notches in the laminated sides.

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…And the shavings from chiselling the back braces down to perfection to slot into the aforementioned linings…

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And, of course, the finished Spalted Maple back complete with label.

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When I got to the stage of glueing the top and back on, my client voiced a concern. He said that although he wanted the OM sound that we’d spoken about and was happy with his choice of model, he was concerned it might be slightly too large for his body and playing style. The solution we came to, so as not to sacrifice any of the OM sound was a ‘micro-bevel’ - smaller than your average Laskin-style bevel, in place just to soften the side allowing for a more comfortable playing experience. It’s essentially an exaggerated binding, providing a subtle solution to my client’s concern. After attracting questions about the bevel on social media, I wrote a more in-depth blog post about the micro-bevel on this guitar which you can read here.

Finished soundbox before bevel was installed.

Finished soundbox before bevel was installed.

The bevel required a lot of thought as it was something I’d never done before. however, I’m thrilled with what it looks like now. It really frames the guitar without distracting the eye as sometimes a bevel can. We fondly christened it ‘Beverly’.

The birth of Beverly.

The birth of Beverly.

Checking all is on tight…

Checking all is on tight…

And some of the rest…

On goes the top.

On goes the top.

Binding…

Binding…

Don’t forget about the cutaway.

Don’t forget about the cutaway.

Can’t wait to share the next stage of the build. Let me know what you think!

TS <3