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Hand Made Guitars by Luthier Dan Koentopp

Making Laminated Linings


Recently I have switched to laminated linings. I always felt weird about kerfed linings when using them, like it was a way of doing something faster, not necessarily for a reason. All those little surfaces form a lack of continuity when struck with the fingers to produce a tone after the rimset is glued. Often times there are sounds of surfaces hitting surfaces, instead of a clear, bell-like tone. I know that once glued those surfaces will most likely be solidified, but after hearing and feeling the difference with solid linings, I have not gone back. A nice thing about the laminated linings is that they are very stiff. I can remove my rim set from the molds without any fear of them changing or moving around on me. Sure it takes a little longer in construction but I can tell the finished guitars have more piano like qualities to them. So is one better than the other? No,  just different. These choices like every other choice in guitar making can be used to help push the desired voice and energy of the build in one way or another. The little things are cool!

So far I have been using Basswood for my linings. I like that it is soft, easy to bend, and very light. I have laminated them with animal glue, yellow glue, and also Gorilla Glue which I will probably use from now on. Previously, I was gluing up one lining lamination at a time, so one guitar would have four different glue-ups, a big pain in the ass. I decided to try and laminate a full depth rib set and then rip them down, in order to save time. The non-cutaway side was the easy operation. The cutaway was a bit of a wrestle but it came out perfect in the end. The trick was to figure out how to apply clamping pressure in two different directions at one time. I’m still thinking of a better way to make this happen, I have a few ideas.


3-ply Basswood laminations with outer spacer for side thickness reference


Inner mold , some rubber and some clamps do the trick (don’t forget the wax paper!)


Cutaway caul with added threaded rod fasteners


Bars, rods, and nuts to pull the inner caul two directions for cutaway lamination


Dry laminated rims coming out of molds


Cutway 3-ply rim lamination


Sliced on the bandsaw


profiling a 1/4″ round over on each lining




two full sets of linings, one cutaway and one non-cutaway


Ready for installation







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