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Thread: Question about resawing a wedge for a soundboard

  1. #1

    Default Question about resawing a wedge for a soundboard

    So I'm a bit confused on the process for resawing a wedge for a soundboard. Please see my crude drawings below to help explain my questions.

    here's why I'm thinking probably needs to be done.
    start with the wedge as in drawing 1
    plane the base flat as in drawing 2
    saw the block in half as in drawing 3
    joint and glue the blank as in drawing 4 (or would you want to join the pieces like drawing 5 where the sawed sides are not flat?) sorry this is hard to explain...

    I would be doing this process with hand saws and hand planes since my bandsaw is way to small for this. I also got a nice piece of spruce from Bruce at Orcas Island Tonewoods and the piece has plenty of meat on it.

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  2. #2
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about resawing a wedge for a soundboard

    I prefer to saw without flattening the round part so that less of that wood is wasted. Instead, I like to saw the top halves, then for each half, flatten one face and square the edge to the flat face.
    I flatten a face before sawing, but that is so that I can register it against a fence on the bandsaw, but if you are sawing by hand you don't need to do that.

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Question about resawing a wedge for a soundboard

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    I prefer to saw without flattening the round part so that less of that wood is wasted. Instead, I like to saw the top halves, then for each half, flatten one face and square the edge to the flat face.
    I flatten a face before sawing, but that is so that I can register it against a fence on the bandsaw, but if you are sawing by hand you don't need to do that.
    would you do the glue up with the sawn face flat or the other face flat? (like picture 4 or 5? ) or doesn't it matter.

  5. #4
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about resawing a wedge for a soundboard

    Doesn't really matter, but I generally place the freshly sawn faces "up", meaning they are the non-flat side of the top blank. If there is any reason that the other way works better, (grain closer to vertical, a defect that can be cut away when sawing out the top, etc.) I have no problem with doing it the other way.

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  7. #5
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Question about resawing a wedge for a soundboard

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    Doesn't really matter, but I generally place the freshly sawn faces "up", meaning they are the non-flat side of the top blank. If there is any reason that the other way works better, (grain closer to vertical, a defect that can be cut away when sawing out the top, etc.) I have no problem with doing it the other way.
    Most makers glue the halves with the freshly cut surfaces down (i.e. inside instrument, mostly because the outer surfaces are not always flat - often they are split surfaces - and the fresh cut is reasonably flat to serve as reference surface) The radial cut wood is quite consistent so it doesn't matter how you orient the surfaces. I've flipped and shifted some halves to avoid tiny knot or defect (especially on maple where pin knots are common) and succesfully used pieces that would be otherwise thrown away by tonewood dealers.
    On many old Gibsons the halves were not even from the same board and glued together with wrong edges altogether (putting the bark side away from joint).
    Adrian

  8. #6
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about resawing a wedge for a soundboard

    You know, for a guy, like me, that will likely never utilize this information for anything, the understanding of the process is really incredible. I know several instrument builders and it’s quite gratifying to be able to have a grasp of procedural options and understand the ideas behind them. I enjoy wood work, not particularly good at it but, have a great appreciation for those that are, knowing luthiers and cabinetmakers, boatbuilders who are head and shoulders above my extremely limited abilities makes me almost mute in admiration. I have been asked by more than one of them for opinions about “what I think might be the best way to do something”. Generally, I try to hold the “dumb” end of the chalk line, it’s what I’m best at. My brother and I built a Blanchard design Adirondack Guideboat, many years ago. It was “NOT recommended for the home builder!” With good reason, very complicated design. Google it, Blue Mountain Lake museum, I think.
    Pretty design, the whole thing was terribly challenging, even for the “dumb end” result was stunning!
    Appreciation for well versed, intelligent luthiers, wood workers of every stripe is something I have learned to respect in no uncertain terms. Thanks for sharing!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about resawing a wedge for a soundboard

    If you do not have a decent bandsaw to resaw your boards, just ask the seller to split it. Bruce has a very cool old saw at his shop, same with John Preston, and almost every other wood seller in the country. If you are buying wood from someone who will not at least split a billet into usable form for you, then there are more red flags than just a saw.

    Most of the builders here also have one and help out the new guys. John Hamlett has a beautiful old machine; I probably make twice as many "six pack" cuts for local folks as I do for my own work. Reach out - it is a small community.

    I could comfortably cut mandolin wedges with a handsaw and if it was very well quartered, I could probably split it clean with a froe. Mandolins are easy...when I have to cut a double bass top- that is some serious $#@!.....
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  12. #8

    Default Re: Question about resawing a wedge for a soundboard

    I managed to make the cut with a hand saw with no issues. It took longer than it should have. I need to sharpen my rip saw.

    It turns out I didn't really have much of a choice of how to glue these up. There's a bit of a flaw in the piece that will carve out if it's on the top side.

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    Registered User rockies's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about resawing a wedge for a soundboard

    A cabinet shop in your area will run it through their bandsaw for a nominal fee (usually nothing). Also most high schools have bandsaws capable of doing that. Less waste and usually flatter and truer than with a handsaw.
    Dave
    Heiden A, '52 Martin D-18, Taylor 510, Carlson Custom A with Electronics

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about resawing a wedge for a soundboard

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandolin_newbie View Post
    I managed to make the cut with a hand saw with no issues.
    Good man! Lets see a pic of your biceps!
    (If you are a woman, accept my apology and read that as "good woman!")

    I once built a deck and set of stairs, including stringers, using nothing but hand tools. When I was nearing halfway done it occurred to me that back in "the old days", you didn't want to get into an arm wrestling match with a carpenter!

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  17. #11

    Default Re: Question about resawing a wedge for a soundboard

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    Good man! Lets see a pic of your biceps!
    (If you are a woman, accept my apology and read that as "good woman!")

    I once built a deck and set of stairs, including stringers, using nothing but hand tools. When I was nearing halfway done it occurred to me that back in "the old days", you didn't want to get into an arm wrestling match with a carpenter!
    Ha! Making one saw cut by hand won't exactly get you ripped unfortunately. I did end up with some blisters yesterday. I should have taken a picture but hey cleared up pretty quick. Hand planing and hand sawing can be a pretty good workout though. I wish I had the time do do more of it.

  18. #12
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about resawing a wedge for a soundboard

    Good for you! I’m happy to hear that your project is moving in the right direction! I once had a late night conversation with a café member regarding the essential tools for making an instrument. With very little pause, he reached for his violin makers knife and said:

    “This”

    Short silence

    “And, lots of time!”
    Last edited by Timbofood; Mar-29-2019 at 10:10am.
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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