BUILDER PROFILE > HERITAGE GUITAR
“That mold that you see is really a stove. It’s gas fired,” Deurloo says. “I get that hot enough that when you drop water on it, it urns to steam immediately. So you bend the rim as hot as you can, and then it takes maybe five to eight minutes to form it and ry it out, so it holds its shape.” To bend the rims, the maple strips are secured on the front of the mold, also known as a platen, and bent all the way to the back. Foot pedals are used to press the wood to the mold and keep the rims under pressure. To bend cutaways, the wood is soaked overnight o make it pliable enough to take the sharp curves next to the fretboard. Rim assembly for a double-cutaway. Freshly pressed laminated curly maple guitar back. Notice the imprint of a double-cutaway.
Front to Back
The rims are then attached to a solid soft-maple center block, which adds stability and
tone. This block is notched to accommodate
the electronics, volume, and tone controls.
The rim assembly is then fitted with a
mahogany lining and corner blocks, which
provide a gluing surface to attach the guitar’s
top and back. Standard rim widths are 1 3/4"
and 1 5/8", and the guitar bodies range from
16" to 20" long, and 13 1/4" to 16" wide.
“The rim assembly looks kind of like a
little airplane kit,” Wall says. “You’ve got a
head block, tail block, you’ve got rim lin-
ing, a few stays, and corner blocks that add
support. We put the top and back on the
blocks and then glue them together.”
The tops and backs of many Heritage hol-
low and semi-hollowbodies are made of lami-
nated maple. “Basically, we make plywood,”
Lamb explains, “using curly maple veneers for
the inside and outside over a basswood core.”
The wood grains are crossed, which adds
strength and stability, and the three sheets
are glued together and put into a die press,
nicknamed Bulldog, which is powered by a
20-ton jack. Once the plywood sheets are
seated, “registration” holes are drilled into
the wood, which help seat and center the
wood during other building processes, such
as the installation of “the patch,” which fills
Chris Gates glues strips of maple, called “the
patch,” to the inside of the tops and backs to fill
the concavity and provide a gluing surface for
the center block.
Using clothespins, the maple rims are then fitted
with mahogany linings.
The Ferris Wheel.
130 PREMIER GUITAR JUNE 2012