Acoustic Guitar Construction in the small shop -- Kenneth Michael Guitars LLC

Information, ideas and help for those constructing scratch built acoustic guitars or acoustic guitar kits - © 2017
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The purpose of this forum site is to provide a means for acoustic guitar makers at all skill levels to forward information, share experience and ask questions if project obstacles are encountered. We ask that egos be left at the door – the highest levels of courtesy and respect are to be shown to all. Posts containing disparaging comments will be removed. The “Acoustic Guitar Construction Forum” is owned by Kenneth Michael Guitars and is copy protected. Direct links to luthier suppliers are not permitted and will be edited.



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 11:24 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 1:36 pm
Posts: 15
Finished first kit from KM, turned out great (thanks KM). You can check it out at my build log if you so desire. Ordered second one and can't wait to get started. However, I have relocated from the Hoosier State to faire Eugene, Oregon and have to set up a new shop from ground zero. I have a 20 x 20 "carport" with three walls and a roof that I am getting a fourth wall built and doors installed.

I did a search of the site to make sure I wasn't starting a new thread (I hope), so the central question is, does anyone know of a good resource for guitar shop layout? And, any key learnings that you have found setting up your own shops and then setting them up again.

I will not have heavy duty air handling equipment because I use pretty much all Festool gear for power tools. Yes, it is too expensive, but they really do a good job on dust collection, so I don't have to worry about that. And, I try to use hand tools as much as possible.

Thanks in advance!

George K


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 2:48 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:33 pm
Posts: 1806
Location: Seattle
Being an ex-Hoosier myself and a current northwestern I can say you have left behind most of the bad humidly issues you faced in Indiana. It is never really too humid or too dry in Eugene.

I do not know if there is a definite answer for layout; make a space that works for you style of building. I try to minimize the time I need to spend setting up and breaking down tools and equipment for common activities. For example my sharpening system is always set up and ready to go on my bench. I will use a dull tool if I have to setup to sharpen.

Do you plan to have any larger size pieces of equipment like a band saw, drum sander, drill press, belt sander ...? You may want to plan for those in any case.

I have a shop just a bit narrower than yours. I used part of the width for a four feet deep spray booth the rest of that wall I have a utility closet for a clear view dust extractor and my compressor. The rest of the wall has floor to ceiling set of drawers and cabinets.

I can work on all sides of my bench (actually two benches end to end) it runs lengthwise in the middle of the shop. Basically that gives me three to four work spaces. I can leave a glue up and work on another component.

I also have a built in bench along the wall opposite the cabinets for my router table, micro milling machine and my belt sander.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:47 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2011 4:19 pm
Posts: 2200
I have a bunch of magazines that have small shop layouts, if I have time I'll try and find some and scan and post.
However, my 5 grandkids come tomorrow for 2 weeks sooooooooooooooooooooooo


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2016 12:21 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 1:36 pm
Posts: 15
Thanks so much, John and Kevin for the responses. I found this article by J.S. Bogdanovich that had some helpful notes. As I do my research, there seem to be some general themes: http://www.jsbguitars.com/guitar-making ... /the-shop/

1) Good lighting. Gotta have a good electrical plan and put the lights on a separate circuit
2) Flexible layout. Big equipment (if you use it) should have locking casters and be able to move out of the way.
3) Maximum storage on walls. Lots of folks have nice workbenches and floors that are covered in....stuff.
4) Plan for finishing ventilation. Every approach has tradeoffs, but life will be better when the "ultimate" water-based finish is found
5) Dust/filtration/air handling. Gotta choose between source (Festool, etc.) or general (room).
6) Humidity. Very, very big deal in certain parts of the country.
7) Wood storage.

What am I missing?

George K


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2016 12:35 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:44 pm
Posts: 4987
The most important thing!


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2016 3:20 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2014 4:30 pm
Posts: 335
Location: Saint Paul, Minnesota
Absolutely. You need to make sure to get rid of all the cats! ;-)

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Learning every day. And having fun doing it.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2016 5:40 pm 
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Oh, hahahahahaha ;-)

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2016 6:40 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:30 pm
Posts: 636
Location: Granby, CT
Dave, you're fortunate that your shop administrator can visit, observe, and render leadership as required, as she sees fit. I've commented before, you're so blessed to have that beautiful companion in your workshop.

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