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Fern's Guitars logo


Weissenborn construction

Plate joint

The top and back plates are glued in a traditional way with ropes and wigs. This old fashioned methode has proved to be the most safe and simple way to join the thin plates.

Joining the plates traditionaly with ropes and wigs


Soundhole inlay

Weissenborn Style 3 soundhole inlay and circle cutter

The Weissenborn Style 3 has a rope pattern soundhole inlay made from pieces of maple and walnut. Circles are being cut with a special hand cutter. The decoration is inlayed in the top piece by piece.

Weissenborn Style 3 soundhole inlay and circle cutter

Top bracing

To brace the top I use a patterrn very close to the original Weissenborn guitars. The bracing is made from fine grained Sitka spruce and split from bigger pieces. I buy blocks that are intended for ship building. The top is clamped into a hollow working board to get a slight dome shape wich make the top stronger. Alle parts connected to the top wood are being glued with traditional haze skin glue. After glueing all parts are cut by hand and fine sanded. I don't try to achieve a certain tone in the top, but I want to hear as many as possible tones that are more or less equal.

top being clamped in a go-bar desk to glue the bracing wood


Side bending

bending the side wood by hand with a hot pipe

The solid mahogany sides are bended by hand with steam and a hot pipe. They dry in a special mould.

bending the side by hand with a hot pipe

different stages of bending the side wood

Neck reinforcement

The big difference between a regular guitar and a Weissenborn is of course the soundbox that goes al the way to the head. This 'hollow neck' has some sitka spruce reinforcements glued in before the head joints the last few centimeter.

Weissenborn under construction with visible sitka spruce neck reinforcement



Weissenborn backplate

The solid mahogany back also has sitka spruce bracings. I try to adjust the back plate so it fits the top as good as possible. This makes the instrument one balanced object instead of some loose parts together.

Weissenborn backplate

Top plate binding

The Style 1 has a single maple binding around the top and back, the Style 3 has a robe pattern binding around the top. The channels that hold the bindings are being cut by hand. I use some special cutters to do the job. I tried in the past many different ways, including some complicated router stands with special moulds to hold the instrument. I found in the end that hand cutting is more safe and gives a better result although it takes a little more time to do. Bindings are not purely decorative, the binding makes an extra glue joint to the sides and prefent damage to the plates by surrounding them.

Weissenborn binding channels are being cut



Weissenborn Style 3 top binding under construction

To achieve the rope binding around the top of the Style 3, I inlay the pattern piece by piece around a maple line. This way the finished instrument shows no endgrain wood, wich is a bit different in color and structure and makes the binding looks different from top or side.

Weissenborn Style 3 top binding under construction

French polish finish

The Weissenborn is being finished with a thin layer of natural French polish. The pores are half open visible. The finish is rubbed in by a rag, no brush or spray is used for this finish. The finished layer is a bit more sensitive for damage (it dissolves with alcohol), but it gives just the right shine and feel you want on this type of instrument. In time, the finish will look the better. The finish does hardly affect the resonance of the instrument and is easy to repair. The bridge is finished seperate from the instrument and glued on later.

Weissenborn being french polished