Friday, December 13, 2013

Detroit Reclaimed Wood Guitar Design Competition

As part of the course I teach at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, 3D Digital: Form and Fabrication, students had the opportunity to participate in the Detroit Reclaimed Wood Guitar Design Competition. Four students choose to do so.

The project was run by Mark Wallace who received a grant from the Knight Foundation. Mark is interested in creating guitar designs using recycled wood salvaged from abandoned Detroit homes and using Detroit manufacturing and labor.

Several students went to Reclaim Detroit to pick up the wood. They have two warehouses stocked with salvaged material. From left to right are John Gabriel, Mirae Moon, and Kelly Sadlon.


Some samples of the wood before any jointing or planing. The students chose some flooring, 2x4s, joist framing lumber, and some trim boards. The wood was Red Oak, Southern Yellow Pine, or Douglas Fir.

After carefully inspecting the wood for nails and screws using a metal detector I jointed and planed the wood in my shop. I used the Lumber Wizard 4 to find the metal. That's the first time I used it and it actually worked very well.

Here's some of the yellow pine partially glued-up. You can see in order to achieve the 1.75" thickness required for the guitar body some pieces had to be resawn and laminated.

Here's some Douglas Fir after glue-up - sitting on the router bed:

The tool path programming was done in Mastercam. I assisted with Mastercam, setting up the jobs, and running the router during the cuts.

Here's the final contour cut after the pockets for the neck, pickup, and tone controls have finished. These were cut on the Onsrud 3-axis router:

Three of the guitars fresh from routing. It was all done with a 3/8" down-shear end-mill and in some cases a 60 degree chamfer bit. This one is by Jordana Schrager:

The design below is by Rachel Snyder:

This design was created by Mirae Moon:

Here are the four guitar designs side by side. From Left to Right these were created by: Kelly Sadlon, Rachel Snyder, Mirae Moon, and Jordana Schrager:

Kelly used the map of the streets of Detroit as part of her design. Rachel used part of a Motown logo in hers. Mirae engraved overlapping outlines of the districts in Detroit. Jordana used the state of Michigan for the overall shape. She incorporated the address where the wood was salvaged from. She also used a wood burner to inscribe the names of many of the artists who came out of Detroit along the sides of the instrument.


The Winner

Rachel Snyder was chosen as the winner of the contest. Her guitar body is currently being outfitted to make a playable instrument.
The runner-up was Kelly Sadlon. She received a neck and pickup to help outfit her guitar.


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