Build No. 3 English Walnut guitar

Well I suppose that it time to get started on another build, so here goes. I am planning on building an small bodied English Walnut guitar approximately 00 in size. I really like the size of my No. 1 the English Cherry small bodied guitar, so I have decided to use the same body shape and scale length. But adjust the bracing slightly and also add a sound port. The spec is still not fully decided, but should be finalised shortly.


Back & Sides – English Walnut
Soundboard – Western Red Cedar
Bracing – European Spruce
Neck – still to be decided.
Headstock veneer – English Walnut
Binding – English Walnut with a light pinstripe purfing
Purflings – still to be decided.
Rosette – English Walnut.
Fretboard – Bog Oak
Bridge – Bog Oak

Here are a couple of shots of the Walnut for the back being glued up and with a quick clean up.

English Walnut 00 - gluing up the back            English Walnut guitar - Back

English Walnut small bodied guitar – Bracing the back

We I managed to get a few hours work in on the build over the weekend, and managed to get the back braced the along with the initial brace carving.

The back has been thinned to 2.8mm, allowing for some additional thinning during the sanding phase and the spruce braces glued on using the go bar deck.

Gluing up the back braces IMAG0874

Next I got on with planing the Western Red Cedar Soundboard down to thickness again thinning this down to around 3.2mm allowing for some final reduction of thickness before finishing. The cedar is very easy to plane, and did not take long at all to get it to the desired thickness.


Once the soundboard was thicknessed, I excavated by hand the channel for the rosette to sit, the rosette is made up of left over walnut from the back, and is segmented with a light coloured veneer. I will also be adding a matching purfling strip around the inner and outer edges of the rosette and an additional black purfling line outside these.


Next up will be installing the rossette and bracing the soundboard which I should hopefully get done over the next week.

English Walnut small bodied guitar – closing the box

I have been a bit behind recently with updating things, but the build is now progressing well, and over last weekend I managed to get on with closing the box. After gluing the top and back plates onto the rims, they were trimmed back using the router and a template bit.


English Walnut small bodied guitar – Sound port

I have  decided to add a sound port to this build, which should allow the sound to also be projected upwards towards the player allowing them to monitor their own sound. This is a new to me, but I like the theory behind adding one so we shall see.

To do this, I reinforced the area inside the body where the sound port would be cut out with a thin sycamore veneer and backed up with a thicker walnut veneer so that you will see a pin stripe effect in the cut out.

After attaching gluing a paper template to the upper bout,  I carefully drilled a series of holes around the perimeter and then cut out the bulk with a coping saw before finally refining the shape with a small sanding wheel in the Dremal and needle files. There is still some more refining to do, but I will do this when I prep the whole body for finishing.





English Walnut small bodied guitar – the finishing process

I am getting closer to the finishing line with my walnut and cedar 00 and am now in the process of applying the finish.

Woods such as Walnut need to have their pores filled, to do this I decided to use egg whites again, which I applied by dipping a piece of 240 grit sandpaper into the egg whites and then sanding the back and sides of the guitar to create a slurry which is then pushed into to pores. After the egg whites have dried, the guitar body needs to be sanded back level so that the filler is just left behind in the pores and the process repeated until all of the pores are filled.

Once the pore filling is complete, it is time to get on with applying the finish which in this case is Liberon Finishing Oil. This will be the third instrument that I have finished in this way and I really like the look of the finished article. The oil is applied using many very thin coats (10-15) that are simply rubbed on with a lint free cloth. At this time of the year, if you are lucky you can get 2 coats done per day, but unfortunately having a day job means that it is only possible to apply a single coat each day. However, I am over half way through the coats.

Not long to go now, another 5 or 6 coats of finish, and the finish needs to be left to harden before fitting the bridge and setting up. Time to start planning the next build

First sounds

I strung up the Walnut and cedar guitar for the first time last night, and I am very happy with the sound, I have only managed a quick play so far and she has not yet had the saddle cut and a set-up but it’s looking very promising.

Just waiting on some micro mesh sandpaper so that I can polish off the finish. Pictures coming soon.

English Walnut and Cedar Final Photos

So here are the finished photos of my English Walnut and Cedar 00 sized guitar. I have been playing her for a few weeks now and I am definitely pleased with the sound and am really looking forward for the sound to develop in the coming months. 

I have used a new headstock shape on this build, and I will be utilising this design on future builds.

So just as a recap here are the specs

  • 14 fret 633mm scale length
  • English Walnut back and sides
  • Western Red Cedar soundboard
  • English Walnut Headstock overlay
  • Mahogany 3 piece laminated neck
  • English Walnut binding with sycamore purfling
  • Bog Oak fretboard and bridge