Bending the sides.

It has been several days since my last post. We flew to Dallas to visit my son David, who incidentally, created this blog for me. Thanks David!

After the sides are thinned to a thickness that will allow for bending, I turn to my side bending jig. I built this jig based on Charles Fox’s bending jig. I met Charles several years ago on a California vacation. At that time he had his shop in Healdsburg, just north of San Francisco (my hometown by the way). He graciously spent several hours of his time with my son Ryan and I, showing us around his shop and explaining his building process. That was a very enjoyable visit.

My side bending jig.

My side bending jig.

Now back to bending! My jig contains three 150 watt incandescent bulbs that heat two steel slats. The sides are placed between the slats and are heated to a temperature that will quickly evaporate water sprayed on the wood.

I spritz the sides with water and I continue to do so through much of the bending process. I place the side between the heated steel slats and carefully make sure the side is exactly square to the jig and the waist line that I had pre-drawn is dead-center to the waist press I will use to initiate the bending.

The waist line needs to be in the center of the vertical slot and the upper and lower bout edge must be square to the jig sides.

The waist line needs to be in the center of the vertical slot and the upper and lower bout edge must be square to the jig sides.

The waist is the first bend to be made. Using the press, I rotate it slowly to push down a cedar block that has been shaped to the contour of the waist. The waist is heated and bent until it reaches the contour of the jig template.

Using the press to lower the waist to the template.

Using the press to lower the waist to the template.

Pulling the cedar block over the contour of the lower bout.

Pulling the cedar block over the contour of the lower bout.

Concert mold - I built this mold to assist with working on bent sides.

Concert mold – I built this mold to assist with working on bent sides.

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  • DR

    You are of course welcome, but all I did is the framework of the website; you and mom have done an incredible job documenting and showing the intense, detailed, and fascinating process of building your guitar! Keep it up

  • B

    I find the process of bending the sides to be one of the most interesting parts of lutherie. It seems so impossible. I like your explanation!