Panormo Guitar Building Process

Panormo Headstock
This is what I’m attempting to duplicate for the headstock - neck joint. It’s an inserted V-joint, and pretty tricky to make.
Original Headstock

Original Headstock

Plans

Plans

Making Plans
I start by making a poster board template of the guitar. I’ll use this template as a guide when bending the sides, and cutting the top and bottom. The neck shape and exact length are critical for layout as well.
Headstock Template
I’ve glued a figured piece of curly maple on top of the clear white maple - this will give a nice figured appearance on the top, but will be stronger than a solid piece of figured maple. My headstock template is ready to trace once I center it on the wood.
Headstock Template

Headstock Template

Ramped Jig

Ramped Jig

Difficult Joint

Difficult Joint

V-Neck Joint
I’ve created a ramped template to route the angled surface required in the headstock. I sawed the angled sides with a super fine toothed hand saw and then cleaned the rest of the wood out with a chisel. The second photo shows what a complex joint this is.
Finished V-Joint
I glued and clamped the joint and let it set overnight. This is a critical joint and needs to be strong. The V-insertion design used by Panormo makes this joint very strong indeed.
Rough Carved Neck

Rough Carved Neck

Panormo Heel

Panormo Heel

Building the Neck
Now that the headstock is roughed out, it’s time to carve the heel. Panormo and Lacote carved their heels with a very tiny heel cap and an abrupt radius which renders a very petite heel compared to modern day guitars. It is unique and I am very fond of the look. Here you see the tiny carved heel. Panormo used a fairly large slipper as compared to typical Spanish necks. I have left it wide and long, and will dress it up a little before assembling the neck to the guitar body. I have no specific measurements for the heel or slipper so I am approximating based on photos I’ve seen. The center portion of the neck remains unshaped until after the neck is glued into the body. This aids in alignment and clamping in the upcoming construction sequence.
The Soundboard
Now that the neck is as far along as I can take it right now, I’ll start on the sound board. The wood selection and bracing pattern for the sound board are the largest contributors to the tone of the instrument. For this guitar, a hybrid spruce was selected. It is Picea X lutzii (Lutz Spruce)which is a cross between sitka spruce and white spruce. It is only found in parts of lower Alaska and in British Columbia. This wood is very stiff and makes excellent sounding instruments. These two pieces are a book-matched set and were cut from a perfectly quartersawn billet. I will start by truing the joining edges to prepare for gluing the pieces together. In the second photo you see the top wood clamped into place with a 24” straight edge. This will serve as a guide for my router to make a perfectly straight and true edge.
Spruce Soundboard Planks

Spruce Soundboard Planks

Straight Edge Trimming Guide

Straight Edge Trimming Guide

Routing the Edge

Routing the Edge

Trimming the Edges
In this photo you see the top wood clamped into place with a 24” straight edge. This will serve as a guide for my router to make a perfectly straight and true edge.
Finishing the Soundboard
The top has been glued, cut to shape, and sanded smooth. Here is a close up photo showing the unique grain and figure in this wood. The company that harvests this wood calls this particular grain pattern “shattered glass” spruce. It has strong vertical and horizontal features. I wiped some Naptha on this piece to bring out the color for this photo.
Glued Soundboard

Glued Soundboard

Lutz Spruce Close-up

Lutz Spruce Close-up