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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 2:44 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
Posts: 1319
It's been months since I've updated this blog. I had my hand operated on in October/ November and an extensive surgery on my left shoulder in December. So, things came to a screeching halt. I tried doing some french polishing without using my left arm, but it was pretty slow going.

I've been french polishing the OM for quite a while now and it has a good build up. I'm still working on it (obviously). There is a tiny spot that is in the center of a part of the grain knot that didn't completely fill when I used the aquacoat, so I'm building up the shellac in this spot. It's smaller than the head of a pin. I'll level it and give the entire back a final couple of coats when it's filled, then polish it out to mirror. The sides are done, but I'm still doing some building on the top. The sides will get more as I work the top.

At this point, I've lost track of how many coats are on this guitar. I average 2-3 coats in one fp session and I do 3 sessions per day, to start. Then I decrease to 2 sessions per day as it builds, otherwise it overworks too easily. Once the pad is well used, I usually put 5-6 drops of shellac on the pad, which will cover 1/4 of the back, so 20-24 drops per coat on the back or top. Same for the sides.

Starting today, I'm down to 4 drops of shellac to 2 drops of alcohol. So, at this rate, you can see that it takes me weeks to french polish a guitar.

The neck is Spanish cedar. Since it's a very light colored wood, I had the additional challenge of trying to match the BRW of the sides and back. I used 3 different colors of TransTint dye to try to match it. Additionally, each side of the neck has a different pore texture. On one side, the pores was to soak up the dye quickly and the other side slowly. The wood needed to be conditioned so that the dye would penetrate more evenly, but the commercial conditioners that I found were oil based and couldn't be used with the dye. I mixed a 1/2 # cut of shellac for a wash coat, which helped to even things out.

It's not perfect. I cannot turn Spanish cedar into Brazilian Rosewood, but I think I've got a pretty darn good match.

I've got a lot of interesting repairs happening, so I'll be posting those as well in the repair section of the forum.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 3:01 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 7:50 am
Posts: 425
Location: Chadds Ford, PA
That's really looking good. Can't wait to see more pictures and eventually the finished guitar!

-d.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:27 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:09 pm
Posts: 5421
Location: Hegins, Pa
looking pretty

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John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars Inc
Authorized CF Martin Repair Center
Board of Directors of Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans
http://www.bluescreekguitars.com


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 12:35 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 10, 2010 10:50 pm
Posts: 2281
Location: Seattle
looking really good!

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http://www.harvestmoonguitars.com


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:42 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2014 6:37 pm
Posts: 78
Location: Napa, CA
that neck looks slick... good color match.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:12 am 
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Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 8:03 am
Posts: 640
Location: Chestertown Maryland
Diane

What a great project to have in your resume. Beautifully done. Can't wait to hear it.

Ed


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 7:39 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
Posts: 1319
Thanks everyone. I've put the last of the shellac on the top, back, and sides. I'm spiriting off to smooth and shine it. Pics will be coming in the next 2 days. After untold coats and sessions (lost the count), the body is finished.

She'll hang a minimum of 3-4 weeks in the shop to cure the shellac.

My client wants David Nichols, the Martin inlay artist, to do the pickguard. The pickguard has to be installed on the guitar, to inlay. Hopefully the next step will be to send the body to David for the pickguard. When I get it back, I'll install the bridge, saddle and neck.

The neck is almost finished as well. It's coming out better than I expected. When done, I'll set the frets and level them. This is the first time I've fretted a bound fretboard. It shouldn't be a big deal. I picked up a tang nipper.

I found a YouTube video on rounded hemispherical frets, which I think looks really neat, clean, and most importantly, looks lile it would be buttery smooth on the hands.

https://youtu.be/moxUw3Ke2Q0

I'm seriously considering doing this with the frets. I have 2 cabbing machin s that I use to cut precious opal. They use diamond discs of varying grades and would do a great job on the frets.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 3:28 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
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The top and sides are almost complete. I've learned the real value of spiriting off with this build.

I've been using my "dirty" alcohol (roughly 2oz of alcohol with about a 1/2 teaspoon of 2# cut shellac). I make the pad wet enough to move and smooth the shellac, without taking shellac off. I'm working the entire top or side now, instead of sections. I move across the grain, then smooth with the grain. It's extra important now to keep moving. The result is that the shellac is evenly applied and the imperfections are being worked out without sanding.

I may not need to polish with Novus. The swirl marks are gone.

It's good, but can still use improvement. I'm almost there.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 3:40 am 
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Here's the neck. This is the only place where I'll use polyurethane on a guitar, because the neck finish is so vulnerable. I use a couple of very thin coats of hand rub polyurethane.

It still needs wet sanding to get the application marks out. I'll sand to 3000 then use Novus.

Dying was an issue. The grain runs very differently from one side to the other. I had to apply a coat of 1/2# cut shellac for it to dye evenly. I couldn't use wood conditioner, because it wouldn't work with transtint dye.

There have been more than a few scary moments with this build. Frankly, this build was beyond my level of skill. One of the worries was how to turn Spanish cedar into BRW. It's really hard to undo dying. It took me a lot of experimentation to find the right dye mixture.

However, it's still not BRW. But, you'd have to know your woods really well to be able to see that it's really not BRW.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 7:29 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:09 pm
Posts: 5421
Location: Hegins, Pa
looking nice

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John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars Inc
Authorized CF Martin Repair Center
Board of Directors of Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans
http://www.bluescreekguitars.com


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