A visit to a luthier’s shop and the making of a guitar

Ariel Schweitzer is an Israeli luthier and woodworker. He recently finished building a guitar. Viewing the picasa album that he created about his project left me in awe. The scope of meticulous, accurate, and time consuming craftsmanship that is involved in making a high end guitar is utterly impressive.

To build a guitar one is required to have knowledge in all aspects of woodworking. From joinery to steam bending, and from inlay making to fine hand made finishing, this is not an undertaking for a woodworking novice.

I chose to include only a representative sample of pictures that demonstrates Ariel's building process. To see the rest please visit his picasa album at: https://picasaweb.google.com/ariel.schw/LaMerchaSepOct2012#

Picture #1: Shaping the head piece.

Picture #2: Shaping the heel.

Picture #3: In this picture Ariel is preparing the bracing for the soundboard. The bracing add strength to the soundboard, but also play a major role on the guitar's sound. A small depression in the Solera (the template on which the guitar is made) located in the center of the lower bout, creates a fine dome shape for the soundboard after gluing the bracing is completed. 

Picture #4: Ariel says that there are unlimited possibilities for how to place the bracing and that all of them are good. The one that you choose depends on your experience as well as what you want your guitar to sound like.

Picture #5: Bending the sides: The sides are made of Spanish Cypress, planed to approximately 0.08 inch thickness. The sides are bent using a very hot metal cylinder and a touch of water.

Picture #6: Gluing the Mahogany end-block. This piece holds the two sides together and also reinforce the guitar's bottom.

Picture #7

Picture #8: The back's purfling is made of bended veneer pieces.

Picture #9: The bindings are made of bended Indian Rosewood pieces.

Picture #10:

Picture #11:

Picture #12: The fingerboard is made of ebony. it's important to locate the frets in a correct distant from each other in order to avoid an off-key guitar.

Picture #13: Final shaving of the neck. 

Picture #14:

Picture #15: The Bridge is made from Indian rosewood. 

Picture #16:

Picture #17: The final piece…

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Yoav Liberman

About Yoav Liberman

Yoav S. Liberman is a woodworker and a teacher. His pieces have been featured in several woodworking books, most recently in Robin Wood’s CORES Recycled. Yoav teaches woodworking at the Rudolf Steiner School in Manhattan, and also frequently guest teaches in craft schools across the country.  Between 2003 and 2011 Yoav  headed the woodworking program at Harvard University's Eliot House. Yoav’s articles have appeared in American Woodworker and Woodwork Magazine. He frequently contributes woodworking web content to a number of digital publications   Yoav has a degree in architecture and later held two competitive residency programs: at The Worcester Center for Crafts in Massachusetts, and the Windgate Foundation Fellowship at Purchase College, New York. He lives in Chestnut Ridge NY.