‘Florentine Cutaway and Advanced Binding/Purfling Methods’ Workshop

This is a 4 day IN-PERSON Florentine Cutaway Workshop, during which we also tackle Mother of Pearl/Abalone purfling, Side Purfling and Perfect Miters between all of your binding/purfling scheme.

There are just 2 students per class, each building a soundbox with a florentine cutaway.

Consider it like a 102 course (where the standard workshop is 101)

In the end you leave with a florentine cutaway soundbox (OM, 000, Parlor, or Dreadnought) made from your choice of topwood (Sitka Spruce, Western Red Cedar, Redwood) with Ebony Bindings, Mother of Pearl or Abalone Top purfling, and dyed fiber strips for the side purfling.

For most beginner and intermediate luthiers, this would be the type of skills-acquisition course that would catapult you into that next level of Lutherie.



  • Machine Bending Sides
  • Cutaway Bending
  • Shaping the tip block
  • Shaping the neckblock
  • Shaping the Endblock
  • Rim Assembly
  • Making Side Purfling Strips
  • Bending the Ebony binding/maple purfling strips


  • Radiusing and installing back braces
  • Radiusing the rimset and installing kerfing
  • Carving back braces and attaching the back
  • Pearl/Abalone Rosette Making
  • Radiusing and Installing soundboard braces
  • Carving and voicing the top
  • Closing the Soundbox


  • Endwedge
  • Cutting Binding Channels
  • Cutting the tip channel
  • Managing side purfling miters
  • Installing Binding and Teflon filler strips


  • Mother of Pearl/Abalone installation
  • Levelling and Scraping Binding/Purfling
  • Soundbox Finiting

Workshop Cost

Workshop Tuition: $2,200 – $2,475 (depends on choice of Model)

Materials: $620 – $800(depends on wood choices)

To Calculate the Total cost, follow the steps below:

First choose a Model:

Orchestra Model or 000 | $2,350

I like to think of the Orchestra Model as the right guitar for most people. This model boasts the most balanced tone between the bass, mids and trebles, and therefore, is a favorite amongst recording artists, folk singer-songwriters and fingerstyle players. The Orchestra Model features a long scale length (25.34″) which gives the instrument more projection and easier articulation of the notes for the player.

In short, if you are not sure which model to choose for your workshop, pick the Orchestra Model!

The 000 is the same exact body size as the Orchestra Model but it features a short scale (24.9″). The short scale sacrifices projection a little bit, but the looser feel of the lower tension strings allows the player to be more expressive (think easier string bending). Also, if you struggle with wrist or finger pain when playing, the lower tension strings allow for easier fretting, and a shorter span between fret spaces. The 000 can sound a little bit warmer (more bass response) than the Orchestra Model.

The distinction between OM and 000 does not matter for the Florentine Cutaway and Advanced Binding/Purfling Methods Workshop since you are only constructing the soundbox. In other words, you can use this soundbox to complete either an OM or a 000 later simply by using a long or a short scale fingerboard.

Parlor (Size 1) | $2,200

My Parlor Model most closely resembles a Size 1 in the Martin family. In other words, adorably small. You might mistake it for a baritone ukulele! It is a 24.536″ scale length with a 13 frets to the body, which is a very unique arrangement.

This is a recent addition to my catalog of offerings and I wanted to include it here because, if you have not experienced a guitar like this, you really should! Of course, the small size lends itself to ease of transportation and ease of playability, but oh man, does this feisty little thing speak! Surprisingly loud and projecting for it’s size, with punchy trebles. It truly gets you thinking and playing differently. This would be a great addition to a collection because it is unlike anything you already have.

Dreadnought | $2,475

The largest body size. This guitar sacrifices some of it’s balance for raw power! Bluegrass players are especially fond of the Dreadnought for it’s ability to cut through other instruments like the fiddle in a bluegrass jam.

Now let’s take a look at tonewood options:

Soundboard wood

The available options are Sitka Spruce, Western Red Cedar, and Redwood.

Sitka Spruce is a common staple in the guitar industry. It is easy to “drive” a sitka top and get extra volume and projection from it.

I find Western Red Cedar and Redwood both to be more brittle and resonant than Sitka Spruce giving a more complex and more sustaining tone.

In short, Sitka Spruce = raw power; Red Cedar/Redwood = Richness/sustain

Aesthetically speaking, Sitka is a brilliant white color that mellows out slightly with finish. Western Red Cedar is an amber color, and Redwood is a nice, deep red.

My personal favorite is the Redwood.

Back and Sides Wood

The only choice for the ‘Florentine Cutaway and Advanced Binding/Purfling Methods’ Workshop is Wenge. This is because learning the craft of side bending is a core part of this workshop and ruining a set of sides is not only possible; it is likely.

So, no, we cannot sub out the back/sides for that flamed mahogany you’ve had your eye on. The purpose of this workshop is to develop these skills, and I found that Wenge is the best teacher here.

Also, Wenge works well because it is exceptionally predictable in it’s color tone and grain orientation, making it easy to match up a new set of Wenge with your back plate, when you crack a set (and you will!)


The base material cost for this workshop is $550

Add your Soundboard Wood:

For Western Red Cedar, Add $70

For Sitka Spruce, Add $130

For Redwood, Add $250

Now, your Total Cost for a ‘Florentine Cutaway and Advanced Binding/Purfling Methods’ Workshop will be the Model Cost + base material cost of $550 + Soundboard Choice.



1. To schedule the week for your class, please call 610-639-2777 or email eric@ericschaeferguitars.com with your preferred dates.

2. Send a deposit check for $1,150. The remaining amount is due at the start of the class.*

3. All payments should be by Check or Money Order in U.S. funds payable to: Eric Schaefer. Registration confirmation/receipt and further information will be provided to each student by email.

4. Please mail deposit payment to: Eric Schaefer 166 Tulpehocken Street Bernville, PA 19506



Acoustic Guitar Workshop
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*Note: Deposits are non-refundable and will be forfeit if the student cancels or does not attend workshop.




Classes are held at Eric Schaefer’s Guitar Building School in Bernville, PA (just outside of Reading)

The address is 166 Tulpehocken St., Bernville PA 19506

Coming from out of town? On-site studio lodging is offered at $550 for the 4 days. The lodging is reserved for just one student. So book it early if you wish to lodge on-site. Otherwise, there are several hotels in the area.