Conery guitars
A look inside the shop

Left: A spruce guitar, almost ready for finishing.

Center: A refinish job for Josh’s heavily used instrument,

Right: The beginnings of what will be a cedar guitar, in the mold, ready for the top and back to be attached.

The two new guitars are on hold while I work on a special order for Marius (see below).

Gluing the back plates together with my cool LMI joining jig

A stack of lumber that will be a new cedar guitar: western red cedar, Indian rosewood, Spanish cedar, Cameroon ebony

Thinning the Spanish cedar neck to rough dimensions

Gluing up the stacked heel. Note the bottle of fish glue - my favorite for a long time.

Progress on a custom guitar commissioned by Marius of Roslyn, NY

On my crowded power tool bench the right half of the rosewood side is marinating at 260 degF after being bent at 300. Then resting at shop temp overnight. Left side tomorrow.

My two projects: the guitar’s sides in the form in the final shape that they will have forever; and the beginnings of a doll bed for the 2  1/2  year old granddaughter.

The rosette is inlayed into the top, using a plexiglass caul and “go bars”.

The sides are fitted into the traditional Spanish heel.

Carbon fiber rod is installed into the neck - no neck warping in these guitars!

Internal tail block glued in.

Head plates glued on.

Ebony fret board slotted to the custom size for this client.

Head is carved, slotted, and fitted with Gilbert tuning machines. The decorative stripe in the head plate is of koa, the same wood that will be used for the bindings.

Using the fiberglass rods in the go bar deck, the first batch of braces are glued into the top.

The rest of the braces are attached, including my own design of a multi arching bridge brace.

The fully braced top, ready for carving and tap tuning. Some of the tools are visible: chisel, tiny plane, knife, sand paper, files, etc.

The bracing fully carved and tuned. The spruce braces trimmed down, especially on the bass (right) side. Cedar braces at the neck end providing structural support. This mix of woods was invented by Daniel Friederich. The dedication and signature will be hidden inside, visible only with a mirror.

Top: The kerfed lining for the back glued and clamped using my favorite kerfing clamps - rubber band reinforced clothespins, the perfect tool for the job.

Above: Back braces, kerfing. Spanish heel, and tail block planed to fit the back with a 15 foot radius doming.

The last time the top bracing will be visible from this viewpoint. The three back braces, the twelve side braces, kerfed lining, heel, and end block (all mahogany) will all provide gluing surfaces for the back.

In the mousetrap! The go bars are holding the back against the gluing surfaces to form the 15 foot radius dome.

With the top and back on and the edges trimmed it is starting to look like a real guitar.

Closing the box!

Bindings attached to the top and back.

The last two pieces that will be glued on. Fretboard next, bridge at the very end.

Fretboard being glued - nine clamps, plywood caul, two locating pins.

Now, to paraphrase Michelangelo, removing everything that is not guitar. Using two of my favorite hand tools - a Veritas spokeshave and a Lie-Neilson carving chisel.

Progress with shellac

Construction is basically completed. Finishing commences, French polishing the shellac on the body, oil on the neck and fretboard.

Comments from Marius, this guitar’s new owner:

"I received my guitar last night and I felt like a child again. I eagerly opened the case and immediately saw the beautiful craftsmanship that went into building the instrument. Every detail from the woods, rosette and tuners were gorgeous. It took me a while until I finally tuned and played it. It was readily apparent that I was playing a unique instrument. What impressed me immediately was the beautifully crafted neck which made my playing so comfortable. The projection of each note and string is outstanding. The trebles are crystal clear and project so well. The basses are deep and compliment the trebles.They harmonize beautifully together like a mini orchestra. You did a remarkable job producing this instrument. It will only get better with time. I'm glad I chose the higher setting as it fits my playing very well.”

"After two days of playing it sounds even better. Sweeter and louder. Great instrument!”

"Your Guitar has give me endless hours of joy. I can play it loudly or tenderly and the sound and clarity are superb. It’s also easy to play. The action is perfect."

“... she has evolved into the perfect instrument. It's a cross between a Hauser and a Friedrich.The basses are powerful. The treble sings. Yet, they both can play softly and seductively. Playing a chord with a rasqueado fills the room with sound. For me, it is the perfect guitar and I'm amazed by the sound whenever I play it. I'm stunned that that sound is coming from my playing. You are a master and the 630 mm size is perfect. It is the best.guitar ever!”

“It is the most beautiful and rich sounding guitar In every sphere. One may pay more but this is as good as it gets.”

The shellac has been scraped off to provide a gluing surface for the bridge. Then the bridge is glued and clamped. Twenty-four hours later the strings can go on.

Gilbert tuners are installed, the bone nut and saddle are fitted and adjusted, strings are on and tuned, and I finally get to hear her sing! She gets shown off at the Boulder Guitar Society meeting tomorrow and the next day shipped off to Marius, the very patient new owner.