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Armrest

Armrest


It is quite popular nowadays, to install a special support for the right hand of the player on the lower bout of the side. To add some modernity to our pine guitar, we will make such armrest out of oak, as well as another one, in parallel, out of rosewood with slightly different way of fixing.

Armrest serves for several purposes.

  • First: the aesthetics – it just looks nice and neat.
  • Second: it physically protects the edge of the guitar from all sorts of impacts from the warm and wet forearm of the player, constantly rubbing that area.
  • Third: many people believe that the forearm touching soundboard is muting the guitar - armrest protects the soundboard, as the forearm stays away of contact and does not interfere the vibration.
  • And fourth: if you shape the edge of armrest half-round, it will be of more comfort for the player, as the edge of the guitar will be less stressful for his forearm.

So, we make our armrest for pine guitar out of oak. The width of one existing piece is not sufficient, so I glue it out of two parts. Then trim its outline, shape the inner and outer forms.

A small detail to form the groove on the inside. On the oak armrest, I make the groove with router. In fact, just on the eyes, without any template. I do a light touch with the cutter and then lift and look. (Remember, you are the responsible one for all the safety while handling any tool and equipment!)

The rosewood armrest is made differently. It is made of 4mm rosewood plate – a leftover cut off from the side blank. So, I glued the small ledge on the inside. In the last image of the article you can notice the gluing seam.

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In the image you can see the rosewood armrest, which is made in parallel to the oak one for another guitar of Madagascar rosewood. The nuance is how this armrest will be attached to the guitar. In the pine project it is much easier. The guitar is not varnished, therefore the armrest can be glued to the clean wood of binding before applying the oil.

In the pine project, I can glue the armrest with a small margin and then do final shaping on the guitar. But usually the guitars are varnished guitar and that’s where the question arises, at which point we should glue and shape the armrest. You can read about it after the photo report about the oak armrest.

 

Armrest of oak for pine guitar. Click on image to enlarge.

 

Gluing the armrest on varnished guitar

It is convenient to fit the armrest along with the shape of guitar before varnishing. We have to clearly define its position and work out the contour. We should not chamfer the edge of binding.

After varnishing, the ready armrest is glued with Titebond to the binding scraped up to wood. Excess glue can be wiped with a damp cloth while it is still wet. You can see the glue in the macro image. When it dries up, then rubbing becomes longer.

Armrest for the completed guitar with a chamfer along the binding contour

Eventually, armrest can be glued to the completed guitar that has a chamfer on the edge of binding. We have to shape the armrest as close as possible, then define its exact location of attaching and then do final shaping accurately along the contour. Visual accuracy is enough: just put it on, detect the difference and grind it off. We should glue the armrest with certain shift caused by chamfer on the edge. No problem to step a bit on the soundboard, as its periphery is supported by linings, so do not be afraid.

There is also a possibility of sticking the armrest with double sided tape. I would suggest to use straight away the tape with a thick base, although you can tinker with a perfect fitting and use an adhesive tape with thin base.

Armrest for varnished rosewood guitar. Click on image to enlarge.

Mykola Roodenko