Building the Nylon OM Cutawy
page 1

In Progress

Front Back

Making the body form

Body Form

Raw material - a piece of scrap melamine covered MDF that served as part of a crate for a bow window.

Cut it up for the main pieces of the form.

Body Form

Cut the shape on the band saw.

Body Form

More construction scraps for the spacers.

Body Form

It's done.

Body Form

Blackwater River Guitars

Building Guitar 006
Nylon OM Cutaway (prototype for #007)


I wanted to make a nylon string guitar with a cutaway, a slightly larger body than most classical guitars, and a neck width and shape like a typical finger picker's steel string guitar. Coincidentally, Cindy, the wife of a good friend wanted me to build a similar guitar for her husband, Rich. So this guitar (#6) became the prototype for Rich's guitar.

Since this was my first cutaway, I decided to use wood laying around the shop.

Chet Dickerson, an accomplished builder, repair guy, and musician, gave me some walnut that he didn't want due to some knots and other defects. Woody McKenzie, another accomplished luthier and musician had given me some redwood cutoffs that he had gotten from someone's hot tub project. Perfect for an experiment.

So my plan was to build a nylon string, OM shape with walnut back and sides, and a redwood top.

The Original Top and Back

Here you can see the top and back layouts.

Top Back

The Failed Cutaway Bend

I thinned a the walnut side to 0.080" and bent them in the bender with some new stainless steel slats that I got from a local metal shop. At right you can see the failed bend.

I think I had two problems, maybe three.

  1. The slats were too thick and they kinked in the bending process. I decided to go back and use my aluminum slats.
  2. The side should be thinner for the tight cutaway bend. For the next bend, I thinned the cutaway area to 0.065".
  3. I think the bending form was providing enough support but I added a middle section to the form just in case.

Kinked Slats Form

Successful Cutaway in Cherry

Bending Cutaway Bent side

Unfortunately, I didn't have another piece of walnut suitable for a side but I was able to scroung a piece of cherry. Making the corrections described above, I successfully bent the cherry side.

Not wanting to waste the successfully bent side, I altered the plan for this guitar. I would make the half the back walnut and the other half cherry. And the bass side would be walnut, and the treble cutaway side would be cherry.

This page under construction.