Saville Guitars

Hand made guitars

Plate Joint preperation.

Plate joining is one of the hardest steps in building a guitar.  Before the plates can be joined, they must be perfectly straight.
I start with a long piece of extruded aluminum with adhesive backed sandpaper attached to it.  I sand the sides until they are straight.
I do not want to join a sanded edge.  I want a nice cut or planed edge to join.  This is because a cut edge is smooth and sanded edge is rough and fibrous.  This joint, especially on the top, is one of the most stressed joints on the guitar, and one with the smallest cross sectional area.  This joint must be properly constructed or it will fail.
After sanding I place the sides together on a shooting board and plane the edge.  I hold the plates together and place it in front of a very bright light.  I will continue to work the joint until no light passes through the joint.

Plate Bonding

Once the joint is perfectly straight, I am ready to bond the plates together.  I use a joining board and a .325" maple bar to set up preload  on the joint.
 Adhesive is applied to both sides and a maple bar is removed from under the joint pressed down.  This causes plenty of clamping force on the joint.  A warped piece of E I Rosewood is clamped over the seam to hold it flat. Wax paper is placed under and on top of the joint.

Finished Tops

Here are 2 finished tops - Sitka and Koa.


I love wood and typically I like to use only wood on a guitar.  The rosette is a great place to let just the right contrast in color, texture, and tone add beauty and elegance to the guitar.  Here are samples of my rosettes.