Build Diary - 'Kealia' - Model L in Koa / Swiss Moon Spruce - Part 2 / by Tom Sands

As promised, Part 2 of Kealia’s Build Diary will discuss her construction.


Kealia is the second Tom Sands guitar to have structured sides. By this, we mean she does not have linings or ‘kerfings’. Look inside most guitars and you will see one of three things, (beside dust bunnies and wayward guitar picks) - a solid strip of wood at the intersection of the back and sides, running all the way around the inside of the guitar, a variation on this with small saw cuts every quarter of an inch, or individually placed blocks - or ‘tantelones’.

These linings provide added gluing surface area for the top and back - and in most cases, add little or nothing to the structure of the guitar. However, Kealia she has laminated sides which consist of a cedar core, the Koa show face, and an inner veneer. This accomplishes two things; firstly, it provides sufficient gluing surface area for the top and back without the need for potentially ‘unsightly’ linings. Secondly (and most importantly) if we think in terms of monocoque construction, these structured sides provide an extremely stiff and lightweight rim assembly which we believe is at the foundation of a great sounding guitar.


Kealia was also the first to benefit from the new Kanna plane - the top (both inside and out) received a beautifully smooth and clean finish.

On with the back braces…

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And the binding! We’re always amazed at how binding changes a guitar - it provides a frame for the design and always marks a milestone of a build.


It’s nearly time for a - very special - neck!

Keep posted right here on the blog for more on Kealia’s journey.

TSG <3