BYO: Laminating the Back

jcaznap1218jcaznap1218 Washington, USANew Casimier Manouche Modern
Hi everyone!

I've been lurking around these forums for a while gathering info and whatnot for my first attempt at building a Selmer style guitar. I'm planning on doing a laminated back/sides setup, but I've really never worked with wood veneers in this way before.

Anyway, I got the veneers to use as my outer layer for my back. I have yet to get the rest of the layers for the back or the sides because I'm on a bit of a budget. I'll probably be getting them before the end of the month. I'll probably be sourcing everything from Certainly Woods since they're close by and easy to deal with. They send their veneers at around .02"-.024" thick, so from some of the other posts here, I'm guessing I'll need my laminated pieces to be about 4 veneers thick.

Now here comes my real question. My veneers came unconditioned and not quite square. Once I flatten them out and joint them, what's the best way to glue them together? Tightbond, or are there some better recommendations out there? Also, what method do those of you with experience in the matter suggest? Should I buy some veneer tape, or will regular masking tape suffice?

A few bonus questions. My veneer has quite a bit of wrinkle in it. If I join the two halves now, is there a risk of the wrinkle reforming and ruining my glue joint? Suffice to say, is it safe to make the joint now, or should I wait until I have all my materials on hand so I can finish the back right away? (I feel like I probably already know the answer to that one, but I'm just so excited to see these veneers bookmatched and jointed). Final question, from some looking in the forums it seems like the accepted wisdom is to join each veneer layer before gluing them all into the laminate. Is there an advantage to this method over making two laminate sheets first and then joining them together? Asking because I've been tossing around the idea of having a center strip on the back of this guitar.

Oh, and before I forget, one final question relating to the back construction. The FC plans clearly show some kind of dome in the back. I'm guessing this is achieved by applying a radius to the braces. Just from eyeballing, it seems a bit more proud than the 15' dome you'd find on a martin guitar. That being said, I've never cut my martin in half to really take a look at it, so my perspective might be a bit skewed there. Anyway, any insight into the dome of the back would be greatly appreciated.

I understand these questions may already have their answers in the Michael Collins book, but try as I might, I can't seem to find a copy anywhere. I'm waiting eagerly for the Jean Barault book to be released, but it's been "coming soon" in the djangobooks shop for quite a while now, so I'm not holding my breath.

Anyway, thanks for reading my little essay. Any help at all for any of the questions I've posted will be immensely appreciated. I'm not quite set up to start my build immediately, but I'll be sure to keep updating my progress, and I'm sure this won't be my last trip the forums with a question.

James N.


  • crookedpinkycrookedpinky Glasgow✭✭✭✭ Alex Bishop D Hole, Altamira M & JWC D hole
    Posts: 921
    I've only got one bit of wisdom to impart and that's about using Titebond. I used Titebond on some back and sides that I laminated but found it had too high a moisture content. This led to bubbling and patches of laminate not being glued together well. I fonund it difficult to get enough pressure evenly across the back to ensure a good contact between the laminations. For my second attempt I used a formaldehide based glues called Cascamite - it comes in a powder form which you need to mix up - and that worked much better, i.e. flatter, stronger lamination. Good luck.
    always learning
  • jcaznap1218jcaznap1218 Washington, USANew Casimier Manouche Modern
    Posts: 4
    Thanks! I've read some others have successfully used DAP weldwood for the laminations as well. So I'll add cascamite to my list of options.

    Doing a little research of my own has led me to the conclusion that titebond seems fine for joining the veneers together, but that it's not wise to leave to much time with just one joined plate because the veneer could start to wrinkle again over time.

    Laminating each half first and then joining the halves still seems like a pretty valid method to me, but this being my first build of this kind, I think I'll just stick to the methods that I've already seen explored by others.

    Still not sure about the radius for the back brace (or top braces for that matter). So if anyone has any questions regarding that, I'd love to hear
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