The Unpacked Kit
This step is the first step where it really was clear that you needed to have read some literature on the art of guitar construction. The entire directions for installing the 3-piece plastic end piece are: "Cut a tapered slot through the sides to the end block and glue the end piece set in with model cement". Without prior woodworking experience, it would be difficult to get this right. At this point in the project, I chose to invest in a Dewalt Laminate trimmer, model number DW673K, as the only router I have is a very large Makita plunge router, and would be difficult to control doing delicate work on the guitar. This laminate trimmer was purchased from the local Woodworkers Warehouse store. It was also obvious (at least for me) from reading the guitar making books that a laminate trimmer is the best way to route out the grooves for the top and bottom bindings of the body of the guitar, so it seemed worth the investment. One of the bases that comes with this laminate trimmer is a tilting base, and lets you attach a ball-bearing guide that extends out underneath the router bit to keep the bit at a constant cutting depth from the edge. The tilting base enabled this trimmer to accomidate the angle of the back relative to the sides of the guitar as well.
I carefully marked the boundaries of the tapered slot with a utility knife, and used the laminate trimmer with a 3/16" straight bit to clear out most of the groove. I finished it with sharp wood chisels to get the groove to the exact size. The hole in the middle was drilled after the pieces were glued into place. At some point, I will use a reamer to taper the hole to the proper angle to accept the end pin.
Another place where the directions of the kit fell short was in the description of the glue to be used for this type of work. They state that you should use model cement. This didn't sound right to me, as the only model cement I knew about was airplane glue, and I really didn't think that airplane glue would properly adhere to wood. I called Martin Guitar, and they told me to use Duco cement, which seems to have the same properties as epoxy, but does not require mixing. Overall, it worked quite well. However, it does set quickly, not allowing a lot of working time.
Once the end piece set was done, it was time to move on to preparing the top and bottom of the guitar.
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