Saturday, 29 January 2011

Ready for polishing...

Add ImageThis week has been busy and I am glad that it's Saturday and I can relax a bit. Earlier this week I got John's guitar ready for finishing and the picture above shows it hanging up and waiting for a coat of shellac sealer. This stage is known as having the instrument 'in the white'; an expression that makes more sense when applied to violins, where the pale maple and spruce looks very white compared the richly varnished instrument.

The picture below shows the neck and heel after shaping was completed. These are the main tools I use to do that task. I still favour a wooden spokeshave for the main shaping. An age old design, this boxwood example is a joy to use and can remove wood quickly and accurately. The rosewood handled knife I made myself when I was a student in London and it is fantastic for carving the elegant sweep of the heel.
So now this guitar is ready for polishing (in fact I have already put the first coat on) and the Amazon rosewood is already beginning to look rather lovely. About a week a go fellow guitar maker Michael Gee phoned and one of the things we talked about was French polish. Michael is a fabulous maker who I was lucky enough to be taught by many years ago. I refer to polishing as a black art, and it really is one of those aspects of guitar making that can have you pulling your hair out on occasions. I recently heard someone say that you never properly finish French polishing a guitar;there just comes a point where you give up!

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