Uniting tone, beauty, and ecology, Jedidiah Planet Saving Guitars are here to redefine what a guitar can ultimately achieve! Hand-built by luthier Jedidiah Wiebe, these guitars are the pure expression of one man's devotion to nature.

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Rosette inlaid and sanded smooth.

The soundboard was also thicknesses and graduated this morning. Now ready for sound hole reinforcement ‘patch’ seen in edge of picture.

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Rosette inlaid and sanded smooth.

The soundboard was also thicknesses and graduated this morning. Now ready for sound hole reinforcement ‘patch’ seen in edge of picture.
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Accurately cutting the Rosette recess. (Oscars guitar)

It will be 1.7mm deep. The quarters the depth of the soundboard.
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Gluing the non kerfed kerfling!

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Yes Those are handmodified Uber clothespins you see here functioning as the world’s best kerfling clamps! They once were regular clothespins, but then a strip of baltic birch (strongest wood product around town( was laminated on the back for super strength, the jaws were cut to be perfect for this task and finally the springs were enhanced by a whole bunch of elastic bands stretched around many times.  Try letting one of these grab onto your ear!  Yikes.

 


Customer plays his guitar for first time.

David’s reaction when he plays his new guitar for the first time.  Sorry only caught 17 seconds of it :-(


Accidents happen to me too.

Though I would prefer that those of you on the world wide internets were to believe that I am infallible… I’ll settle for this.  My craftsmanship is guaranteed infallible.  My ability to make hooks to hang guitars on, and to remember to install padding on the floor of my spraybooth (like is installed the the rest of the shop) is not infallible.  Turns out this hook I just made has a centre of balance as such so that the guitar can slide off.  Cement floor is still just as unforgiving as always.   Sorry John!  It’s going to take a whole bunch longer before you see your guitar.  The entire guitar will be inspected for damage and all broken elements replaced.  When i’m done (a gazillion labourious hours later) no one will be able to tell the difference.  Fortunately in the world exists ONE MORE matching topset to this one. (literally only one more, the rest of this tree has been sold off)

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New model. Model ‘P’

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New varnish brushes!

This is what expensive handmade lacquer brushes look like!  Handmade by the last remaining person in north america who knows the craft, each bristle on these brushes ends at the end of its natural end, none are trimmed.  Thus you can apply lacquer as smooth or smoother than with spray equipment.

 

 

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Here’s a mind blowing video of the brush lady making these amazing brushes!

http://www.toolsforworkingwood.com/extra/images/brush/MakeAbrushShortX.mov


Braces scalloped and ready to go.

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Gluing back braces on with a ‘go-bar-deck’

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The go-bar-deck is ancient Chinese technology. Exerting outward pressure with Spring like rods against a radiussed dish it perfectly applies gluing pressure and forms the back of the guitar to the perfect twenty foot radius curvature


Making guitar braces out of piano braces for Oscar’s guitar.

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Scraping the back smooth.

It helps a ton if I scape the deep scratches left by the thickness sander off before the guitar is assembled.

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Headstock overlays.

Two layers of pre bent veneer being glued here. Note the piano braces in the background, ready to be milled for bracing.

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The magic of side bending.

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Efficient wood usage.

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band saw repairs

I’ve been having quite a bit of trouble with broken bandsaw blades lately.  I took two damaged Woodmaster CT blades in to the blade shop to have them welded in Malaqua BC on Friday, but after many attempts they decided it was impossible.  Some strange alloy that would not handle the annealing process.  So anyways, Adam gave me two sample blades to try.  The first one, a bimetal blade broke.  (after spending all the time setting up the fence for perfect cuts, compensating for blade lead etc.)  So I decided to mount the other blade.  It is larger than my saw is designed for.  1.25 inch, though my largest size is supposed to be 1 inch.  So I whipped out the ol’ grinder and cut away a small bit of metal from the frame of the saw.  You can see in the second picture a small curved cut right above the wheel.  When the blade is tensioned the wheel pops up, and brings the blade very close to the metal.  With such a wide blade the teeth stick out and would have cut through this.  Wish me luck milling the sides for Oscar’s guitar tomorrow.  Hopefully this large blade (hence higher tension) will make a nice straight cut!

 

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truss rod cross section

I just wanted to show off here the cross sectional of the truss rod system.  As you can see there are three slots.  One in the middle for the two way adjustable ‘hot rod’ truss rod.  The two on either side are carbon fibre rods made by me, inside the neck.  They are not made external and then later glued into a slot!  At the end they appear yellow, That is because the end will be cut off. The carbon fibre only goes exactly as far as it is needed, and the rest I filled in with epoxy and sawdust for this picture!  So here it is, I just wanted to show off the rounded profile of the bottom of these slots.  This is to allow maximum depth without worry that it will come close to the edge of the similarly rounded neck profile when the neck is carved later on.  Thus the bottom of the carbon fibre rod set, has a matching curvature to the neck itself!  Maximum strength!  This is what you call squeezing every ounce of performance out of your truss rod system!

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Triple truss rod system for Oscar’s guitar

Having glued up two sections of piano leg which exhibited fabulously solid grain alignment, I began the process of  cutting it into a more recognizable guitar neck shape!  Once the silhouette of the guitar’s neck was cut, and everything planed to it’s correct angles I used the tablesaw to cut three truss rod slots.  One in the middle which precisely and snugly fits the ‘hot rod’ two way adjustable truss rod, and two others which are  profiled, on the bottom to match the curvature of the neck.  these two slots, are then ‘laid up’ (or in this case ‘laid full’ perhaps?) with the raw components which are used to create carbon fibre.  Utilizing a two part thermosetting polymer and unidirectional carbon fiber strands I literally create two extra truss rods in place in the guitar neck.  Unlike buying pre-fab carbon fibre rods like many guitar makers this allows my carbon fibre rods to bend around corners!  This allows the tone transferring properties and incredible strength of the CF rods to reach literally as far as the  D and G tuning machines.  Exactly where they are most needed.

 

 

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Here you can see the hardened, and cleaned up CF rods after thermosetting has completed and squeeze out sanded back to clean wood.  By itself, carbon fiber is stronger than steel (and light as wood). When formed inside a guitar neck, as an integrally bonded part of a guitar neck, it increases the strength of said neck far more than the combined strength of the wood and carbon fibre rods by themselves!  The resulting effect is a stiffness which transfers tone in the purest, cleanest resonance possible, AND a stiffer neck means more precise adjust-ability for smooth low action!

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guitar neck made from piano legs

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I’ve begun a project of building a jumbo guitar utilizing as many pieces as possible of the original wood taken from the clients heirloom piano. Here you can see I’ve aligned the front 2 legs with perfect grain orientation to glue up the next block.  It took a little game of real world mental tetris to figure out how to mill and align the pieces together for perfect grain orientation, but as luck would have it the wood did contain within it the necessary quartersawn grain in a usable alignment to produce a perfect neck block.  Way to go Yamaha for building pianos with quality wood!

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Today’s custom Inlay.

At the moment I’m working on the pilot model of my new guitar shape, Model P: The Prairiemouse. The client has requested a custom inlay in the headstock. A rendition of David Roe’s album cover art for Jon Anderson’s Olias of Sunhillow, which is a story of the arrival of aliens to planet earth. The symbol is the design of Anderson and it “represents the concept of oneness of God and diversity (creation) and acts as a reminder of our path back to God through finding our oneness and embracing our diversity.”
Check out shadowolf’s excellent post about the Olias symbol!

Original Olias Symbol

Here’s My version!  It uses sacred Haida Gwaii Argillite for the black, Minnesota Pipestone for the pink, and the sun and stardust in the image are pure brass.  Hope you like it!

Here’s my version!


Spencer’s Green Machine.

An end to the blog silence…  After more than a few months of neglecting this planet saving blog I would like to post some updates.  My summer was spent in Yukon territory experiencing life in a tipi.  After summer I finished up a project that I’d been working on for since spring.  A custom Fan Fret Jumbo for a customer in West Virginia.  This instrument was commissioned by a customer who sought my services after noting the void of availability of ‘green’ instruments in the guitar manufacturing world.  Over the course of many months the two of us dreampt up a visual design scheme that would suitably fit the philosophy of the Green Axe.   Perfectly in line with my ethos, this guitar utilized surface mined Green rickolite stone from Marla at Eye Candy Gallery, Mammoth Tusk reclaimed from gold mines in the Yukon, Kwilla wood back and sides from Ray at TerraMai. (reclaimed from an ancient building).  The soundboard was crafted from one of only a handful of reclaimed ‘claw’ figured spruce bolts in the world supplied by Mario.  In it’s previous life this soundboard passed 40 years as part of a bridge built of Lutzs spruce!  Even the binding and overlay has it’s story, as it was reclaimed from an exotic hardwood floor.  It’s a rather rare piece of curly copal.  Anybody ever seen a piece of copal with figure like this before?  I know I haven’t!

 

 


Jumbo Fan-Fret


Rosettes

A day in my shop making rosettes involves more funky fungi than you might expect! I know… after seeing these images it is hard to believe that I did not mean the Magic kind! You see I make my rosettes out of spalted wood. Spalted wood is wood that has been infected by fungal mycelium and bears the evidence in the form of brilliant colour patterns!
First I use my cool pattern finder scope/ viewfinder. No, it is not all magical like a dowsing rod. I use a painstaking, methodical and very intentional process to find a section of wood with the perfect types of patterns to make my final kaleidescope like rosette.

I then carefully cut out section and match the edge of piece 1 to the edge of piece 2, and 2 to 3 and so forth. The final result is a pattern that looks like a mirror image in two directions.

Then later I cut it out and… Voilà! Rosette! Just that easy right??? I am deeply and truly sorry that I forgot to take pictures of me inlaying the rosette using proprietary.. and top secret knife and chisel method…


Phoenix’s Cardboard Guitar

A company called Musicmakers Kits from the US sells this ingenious kit for a Luthier project with kids. It’s a Cardboard Guitar! And it really plays like a guitar too! I LOVE this kit. The first time I did this kit was with my buddy Andrew back in our university days. (We were 20!!!!) It was a riot – then and now. This is an awesome project to do with kids. If you follow the instructions it only takes a few hours and the sense of accomplishment the youngster attains upon completion is unmatchable.

Phoenix carving the neck of his Cardboard Guitar.

So lately I have been helping my buddy and local rockstar Phoenix Goldsmith (11.something years of age) build his own cardboard guitar – using the kit as our base. However, I asked Phoenix if he would like to just follow the instructions or if he would like to make a totally Awesome cardboard guitar – using real luthier techniques! He chose the latter. I must emphasize that if you follow the instructions on the kit you end up with a great little instrument. However, being friends with a real live guitarmaker has its advantages. Phoenix’s cardboard guitar is going to be Awesome!