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!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Almost complete...

Johns guitar is now ready for filling and polishing and these few pictures show the guitar as it was on the bench at the end of last week. I always enjoy fretting and since I have acquired this soft faced hammer I am even happier. The picture above shows the last few frets being installed. The metal block in the picture is held under the fingerboard whilst the upper frets are being tapped in and helps to prevent the soundboard splitting. Regular followers of this site will know that Johns guitar has featured more than any other guitar I am making at the moment. This is due to the fact that John is on the other side of the globe and so must share in the making of his guitar by digital means!

Here is an earlier picture of the fingerboard being glued and clamped, and below is the fingerboard prior to clamping. The masking tape on the soundboard keeps the excess glue in check. The next post will show the completed guitar awaiting polish...

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Happy New Year!

I think the fact that I have only just been able to post a Happy New Year message is pretty much indicative as to how busy the past few weeks have been, and at the moment it very much looks as though 2011 is going to proceed in a similar fashion.
Johns guitar is nearly finished and ready for polishing; pictures to follow in the coming week. Various small repairs have been taken in, completed and dispatched. Simon brought his Ramirez round on Saturday and we spent a happy half hour discussing guitars and kite surfing! I have also drawn a N. G. Ries terz guitar from the mid 19th century, and I intend to knock out a copy later this year. I am also gearing up to make a Stauffer copy with an adjustable neck, although as that is just for fun it will have to slot in between commissions. I will post more on these guitars soon.
Polishing continues: I am polishing a walnut and spruce guitar made by Max in my workshop. It's a lovely looking guitar and we are all keen to hear what it sounds like. Max takes the wonderful pictures on my main website including the one at the top of this post. This guitar has long gone from the workshop but its hard to resit showing it again! So a busy year in front of me-keep watching!