The Mopus Project

It sure took Spring long enough to get here, but now that it has….

Time for a new project. This time, I’m going to build an acoustic orchestra model (OM) guitar, pretty much from scratch. My first acoustic was built from a Stew-Mac kit, and although it was very challenging some of the tricker parts came already done. For example the sides were bent, the rosette channel was already routed, the back and front plates were thicknessed and joined, the sound hole was cut, the fretboard was radiused and slotted, and the neck was rough formed. Boy, saying it like that I wonder why I was even challenged. Actually, it was plenty overwhelming at the time, but now that I’ve built 4 guitars and they all work, I guess I’m getting cocky.

I’m calling this the Mopus project. I needed a name other than “guitar build #4”. I see this project more about setting myself up to be able to build any guitar rather than one specific guitar. It’s not even completly about building guitars, but that’s my main goal. I was recently reminded of a kitten named Mopus I once had long ago, and the name stuck in my head. It’s a pretty random name for a project, and I like random, at least for project names.

I will not only be building a guitar, but also many of the tools, forms, and jigs required. This should not only save a boatload of money (which is critical to me doing anything these days), but also be more flexible and ultimately more useful. That said, I will need to tool up in a few well chosen areas. Maybe the most significant is that I’m finally getting a bandsaw. I bought a 14″ Grizzly, and it’s already been shipped.  To me, that’s like graduating to the next level! It’s amazing how much I did with that toy Black & Decker, but calling it a toy is just being kind.

Other prerequisites are in motion. The guitar wood and hardware is on its way. All my chisels are very sharp. A while ago I bought some old (~100 years) Stanley planes on eBay, and they are now all ready to rock. I’ve made many adjustments to the microshop and there’s now more of an actual shop. And theres a whole guitar side bending story to tell later. If it looks like a project, and smells like a project, it must be Mopus.

So to close this first post of the Mopus project, here is my inital attempt at a homemade thickness caliper. I will have to modify it, because the body has too much flex, but it sure looks cool so far :) Maybe I’ll write about it when it actually works as planned.