March 7, 2008

Cheated it by a day. Started sanding and polishing. The polishing used a foam disk on my power drill and it was a chore to keep everything stable while I tried to polish. I’m not sure the lacquer finish will be my choice for future guitars, but if it is, I need to look into a buffing wheel, perhaps mounted on my bench grinder.

After buffing, glued on the neck. It wasn’t as good a fit as I desired, as the dovetail is a difficult prospect. My next guitar has a bolt on, and I’ll compare the quality and ease of working.

Followed with the bridge. Found I didn’t have clamps to reach the 5″ reach from the sound hole to the bridge ends so foolishly clamped directly to the top and back. It was a technique of desperation and it worked out well, but could have been a disaster to the box. I will need to acquire the proper clamps for the next guitar.

March 11, 2008

Final setup included filing the frets, recrowning, installing the end pint, reaming the drilled string holes in bridge, sanding and inserting the saddle, and notching the nut for strings. I really messed up the string slots by over sawing the width. Fortunately I left the nut too thick, and may be able to sand the top down beyond the string slots and reslotting as the action is way too high. I’ll let the guitar sit with the strings on and let it settle before doing final setup, nut reductions, truss rod tweaking, saddle adjustment, fret leveling, recrowning, buzz removal, etc.

Added a personalized label inside the soundhole and played it. It sounds great and really needs detailed setup to improve playability. Took a victory lap around the yard. Whee!

March 30, 2008

Revisited nut size and shape last week to reduce height and re-saw string grooves as I butchered them the first time around. Fortunately for me I had the nut way too high, and was able to file down all the way through old notches and re-saw. In the meantime I received a StewMac fret tool kit which included the files of specific width for shaping each string notch. Kit also included a string spacer, nut vice, feeler gauges and files.

After refiling and renotching, action became quite a bit better, and the high E string first fret buzz virtually disappeared. A few buzzes still remain. Went to Dusty Strings to get a gig-bag for travel, and had my guitar admired by staff, and even a few suggestions. I was told the nut angle was too shallow, and that I could improve action if I rounded more. So, I’ll pull the strings, refile the nut, do a little weenie fret dressing, lemon oil the fretboard, then restring with Medium Light instead of Medium in anticipation of using it for my first Monday music night with Larry and Carl.

I bought a black pickguard and will obsess all day today on whether I should install or not. A few punch list items also remain: Toothpick out all the buffing compound residue in the wood grain. This would not be necessary if I had properly grain filled very early on in the finishing process. Stain/seal megagouge in the headstock, which came from clanking it against the vice. Install strap pin in neck heel. Buff out scratches from string installation (don’t do that again).