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Richard Johnston visits
C. F. Martin & Co.
© Frank Ford, 9/16/02; Photos by Richard Johnston

In April of this year, Richard Johnston spent a week delving into the Martin archives, researching material for the soon to be released update of Mike Longworth's Martin History. While he was at the factory, he took the opportunity to wander around and shoot a lot of photos - more than 400 of 'em. I've narrowed them down to 164 interesting pictures that tell a pretty good story of what's currently happening at this most venerable guitar factory. At a thousand words each, that's a fair sized novel in itself. So, I'll let the pictures do the talking.

The first page contains pictures of the shop layout, tools, and work in progress. The next three pages have detailed photos of the building process, and the last page shows various display boards in both the public and work areas.
It's a big modern shop, with an elaborate network of dust collection ducts that snake all around the building.
In the foreground, a large white "Timesaver" sander for thicknessing top, back, and side material.
Martin operates a sophisticated kiln for wood treatment to assure consistent moisture content.
More shop.
These milling machines stand ready to make tooling for the CNC mills, and for various hand operations.
It takes a lot of lumber to make 200 guitars a day.
Wood "stickered" for acclimating, stacked almost to the ceiling.
Rough cut neck blanks
Necks ready for shaping
A rack of necks right off the CNC shaper.
Some fingerboards, along with some of the ubiquitous paperwork that follows things around the factory
"X" model necks, ready for installation.
Necks in the finish curing area.
A rack of body parts.
Pre-bent herringbone purfling.
Stacks of side assemblies.
Aluminum molds. You'll see these in action in the building section.
Bodies travel around the shop in carts
Style 15 bodies right from the spray area.
Some very nice koa dreadnoughts drying.
Herringbone dreadnought bodies.
More finish curing.
I had to include this one. It's a template for a special model M.O.T.
Back to the drawing board. . .
A little guidance for the brace shaping operations.
More sides.
A room full of tops.
Glued up 3-piece backs.
Stacks of backs.
Racks of braced tops and backs.

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