LMI guitar templates? (Full Version)

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Shawn Brock -> LMI guitar templates? (Jul. 9 2012 0:44:59)

After my last thread I'm reluctant to bring this up... But after all its a free world right?

Do any of you builders have thoughts on the acrylic guitar templates sold by LMI? I know that most everyone is past that stage in your building where you would want to use such a thing, but I'm gearing up for my first and find these templates entreating. Apparently they have cutouts for the braces, bridge and so on. Yes, yes, I know that you don't place the braces in the same places all of the time and you don't make the braces the same height and width all of the time. Everything rides on the stiffness of the wood your working with as I understand it. These templates offer an option though, if its good or bad is the question.

This is a project which I wish to start up in a few months and I'm in the stage of gathering materials. My plan is to build a blanca and see if its playable. After that I might try my hand at a negra. If nothing else this will give me a great appreciation of how things are done, and I'll have something I can hang on the wall and laugh about.

It seems that everyone should do the first build on a plan, and that's how I want to go with it. If I get one of these acrylic templates my options will be few. All they seem to have are classical templates. No Reyes template to go with the Reyes plan...

I had thought of going with a serviced kit my first time through, but I don't like the fact that the serviced fingerboards are 650 and they don't have any other options. So if I go on the dreaded Reyes plan I will have to do all of the fingerboard servicing myself. I haven't looked through the Barbero plan to see what scale its built on or even if it would matter...

Ether way this is a lot of money to put out just to have fun cussing at myself in the garage... :)

Andy Culpepper -> RE: LMI guitar templates? (Jul. 9 2012 1:28:26)

If you have a plan you want to work off of you can make your own half-guitar templates out of wood or plexiglass. Mine are made out of 1/4" plywood and I drill a small hole at each fan brace end so I can use a mechanical pencil to mark the ends of the braces on the top. Then you can lightly draw the center lines of your braces on the top and it doesn't matter how tall or wide you make them. Then you can just flip it over and lay out the other side of the top if it's a symmetrical bracing system. You could do this with the Reyes for example as the fan brace layout is symmetrical even thought the sizes of the braces are not. For the harmonic bars, back braces and soundhole center I put notches in the side of the template.

I can post a picture of one of my templates tomorrow so you can see what I'm talking about. I'll actually be laying out a top tomorrow so I can post pictures of the whole process.

I'll be following your progress if you decide to build one. There's never another thrill like building your first one!

Jim Kirby -> RE: LMI guitar templates? (Jul. 9 2012 11:14:04)

Like Andy says - easy enough to make your own. When I get a new plan from somewhere, I usually take it to Kinko's first thing and make a sacrificial copy. The body shape gets cut from the copy and cut in half, and I glue both halves to opposite sides of a piece of acrylic or particle board or whatever is around, and then cut out the half shape, drill holes for the brace ends, etc.

I struggle over whether I want a transparent half shape (so I can see details of the wood when I'm laying out the back and top), or whether I want all of the details of the plan right there. Going with the glued on plan these days.

TANúñez -> RE: LMI guitar templates? (Jul. 9 2012 12:01:55)

Like already mentioned, make your own and don't waste your money. I make mine out of acrylic and scribe the layout on it. You can make it out of acrylic, particle board, plywood, poster board and even aluminum.

Shawn Brock -> RE: LMI guitar templates? (Jul. 9 2012 23:18:00)

Thanks guys! What put me off about the LMI template wasn't shelling out the extra money, it was the lack of options for flamenco... I don't know that I have ever looked inside of or even have played a 60's Ramirez classical. So I didn't know how much the layout would have differed from their flamencos.

Andy, yes I would love to have a look at the picture of your template if you have time for such a thing. That sounds like the most reasonable and logical way to do things. I suppose I may do like Paul said and make a copy of the plan and and cut a template from that. Smart thinking here!

Tom, where are you getting the acrylic sheets to cut up for templates?

I don't expect this build to turn out to be a good guitar, but I expect to have a lot of fun trying...

Thanks guys!

Andy Culpepper -> RE: LMI guitar templates? (Jul. 9 2012 23:40:05)

Yep it's easy to make a template if you have a copy of a plan, just stick it onto whatever material you're using with photo-mount adhesive or the like, cut out the shape, drill the holes, and pull the paper off.

Here's a picture of me using mine (it's a little ridiculous actually because I've modified the bracing pattern so much since I made it, hence all the extra holes... I need to just make a new one...) and then the finished layout of my current flamenco bracing. It's a little hard to see because I draw lightly especially on cedar.

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Andy Culpepper -> RE: LMI guitar templates? (Jul. 9 2012 23:41:36)

Oh and that's shellac on the back of my hand, not a skin infection [:)]

TANúñez -> RE: LMI guitar templates? (Jul. 10 2012 2:10:51)


Tom, where are you getting the acrylic sheets to cut up for templates?

Home Depot. Get a size closest to the length of your plantilla. Make a copy of the top, cut it out and spray with 3M spray adhesive. Stick it to the acrylic then take a saw, usually a jewelers saw and cut it out. You can also just bandsaw it out but the acrylic particles will stick the the blade and get up all in the guide rollers so I don't use this method. Use some files to shape it up. Acrylic is clear so you can see where you want the top to be in relation to the grain.

You can also just use some posterboard. That is easier since all you need are scissors or an xacto knive to cut it out.

estebanana -> RE: LMI guitar templates? (Jul. 10 2012 7:14:31)

*smashes his own head against wall repeatedly*

This is what it's come down to. Premade crap. I use a piece of tissue paper to trace the braces and make little holes with a pencil and make tiny dot on my top to indicate where the fans go. Or I just put them on where they go because I don't need a pattern to do it.

Good thing LMI sells this stuff, you know old Santos really missed out on this good stuff, not.

* continues to bang head against wall *

Here's what you really do:

You get a great guitar that you want to copy. You measure the holy living fucck out of out it and learn it's proportions. You stick a fraking light bulb in side of it and throw tissue on the top. You lightly trace the braces without marring the top.

Done, build the guitar.

I have a collection of tissue paper brace patterns for all kinds of guitars, because every good builder does.

Plantilla half pattern: tape two pieces of typing paper together. Lay guitar backdown on the paper. trace with pencil. Cut out pattern. It worked for Antonio Stradivari. He left an archive of paper patterns which he build masterpieces from.

Andy Culpepper -> RE: LMI guitar templates? (Jul. 10 2012 21:14:03)

Yeah.. having a wood/acrylic/poster board template (something with a little thickness) will make your life a lot easier. You can trace around it with a washer to space out the pencil so you leave a little extra wood all around the edge when you cut it out.

But definitely make it yourself and if you can measure a guitar you really like and draw a plan from that all the better. It's a lot more satisfying to have a shop full of stuff you made yourself than a bunch of crap from LMI. [:)]

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Shawn Brock -> RE: LMI guitar templates? (Jul. 11 2012 1:53:38)


ORIGINAL: deteresa1

Oh and that's shellac on the back of my hand, not a skin infection [:)]

LOL Andy, watch where you get that suff... Thanks for the pic man and your willingness to share.

I may do like Tom said and cut my first template out of cardboard. Seems generic and cheep, so it will be akin to my building skills. I guess that I'll try my hand at one and see if I'll ever need the template again... If I decide that I do I'll make the acrylic or wooden template. Also thanks Tom for pointing out the use of the jewelers saw, I knew I didn't want to gum up my bandsaw with the acrylic...

TANúñez -> RE: LMI guitar templates? (Jul. 11 2012 2:29:34)

And don't forget what estebanana put so eloquently "You measure the holy living fucck out of out it and learn it's proportions."

I like that so much it is now my new foro signature!

constructordeguitarras -> RE: LMI guitar templates? (Jul. 12 2012 1:31:22)

PAPER templates work well. If you have a guitar whose plantilla you like, trace the FRONT of it onto paper and cut it out (the plantilla is often distorted at the back). Mark locations for the ends of braces and poke holes at those points with an awl or a pencil. You're done, and it can last for many guitars.

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