Installing Classical Guitar Linings

If you haven’t already done so, be sure to read the articles Types of Guitar Linings and Making Guitar Linings. Installing the guitar linings is really the easiest part of the whole lining process. If you have done your job in making high quality lining, this section will be a breeze for you.

Getting The Taper Right:

With many guitars there is a taper from the butt of the guitar to the head-block. Is is best to try and at least rough cut this taper so your linings will fit quite closely to that taper. What I have done in the past is to dry fit the guitar back and mark it on the side with a white pencil and then trim the sides with Planes and a Crown Sanding Jig.

Installing the Lining for Back Plates:

Assemble everything before the gluing process begins. Also, check the sides for squareness by fitting them with the top of the guitar down into the Inside Form. Put the Spreader Jacks in place and look at the joint as it touches the bottom of the form. Mark any areas that may be high and sand these down with a Large Surface Sander. Repeat this process until the fit is perfect.

Dry Fitting The Linings:

First dry fit the first lining. Start tight against the tail block. Install a clamp as often as you need to keep the lining tight against the side. When you get to the head block, trim as close as you can with a Japanese Pull Saw. Now dry fit the other side in a similar way. With bent solid linings as used on a Classical Guitar Back, it is really important that these are not force-clamped. If they need additional fitting, take them over to the Side Bending Iron and re-bend as necessary to get a good fit.

Clean and Prep The Woods:

Do any final sanding you need to do before installing the linings. If you haven’t already, clean the exotic wood sides with Acetone. Do final sanding on the side wood.

Assemble the Clamps:

There are two types of clamps that I would recommend for the lining. One would be small metal or resin spring clamps. You will need about 30 to 36 per side. The other is a homemade clamp made from wooden spring clothes pins and rubber bands wrapped around the jaws. You will need about 60 of each of these per side. See our article on Wooden Clothes Pin Clamps for information on making these useful clamps.

Spread the glue thinly and very evenly on the glue surface of the lining only. Do not spread glue on the guitar side as this is too time consuming and too much of a mess to clean up. Spread out the glue with a flat piece of wood veneer so it is spread evenly over the entire surface.

Start to Clamp:

Start at the Tail Block end and line the lining up with the side. I like to glue the lining just a bit above the side. About 1/16″ or so. This gives a little extra sanding area to work with on the sides for back fitting. Loosely clamp the lining around the sides to that the glue won’t mess up anything.

Place the clamps shoulder to shoulder and work your way around the entire side. Make sure things are tight and even every few clamps. If you have a stubborn area where the lining is not tight, use a small 1″ C clamp to tighten it up. Be sure to use a caul on the C clamp jaws.

Note: If you plan to install a Classical Guitar Top with a “free floating top” follow the procedure in the Installing Free-Floating Lining Installation Section. This is the method of choice for mounting a top on a quality classical guitar.

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