Archive for December, 2008

Guitar 804 – Move forward

December 31, 2008

Look!  It’s tomorrow!  But you can find my progress right here on the immediate response web thing.

OK, here’s a little something for the 804 followers.


Oh look, it has a neck!


Oh look!  It has a fretboard.

Guitar 803 – I made it! Before year end!

December 30, 2008

Wow.  I promised Larry way back in October that I would have his guitar ready for him.  I failed, did not fulfill my obligation, and felt a bit awkward, but he and I agreed that things take their time, and his guitar would be ready at the appropriate time.  And now is the appropriate time.  I finished (relative term) his guitar and delivered to him this very evening.  It still needs the LR Baggs electronics installed, but I want him to take it home and give it the old go around and come back to me next week for tweaking and fine tuning and.. the install of the LR Baggs.


Many steps to getting the guitar ready for Larry.  Strings on is one.  Spent several iterations getting the strings settled properly.  Did have to shim up the saddle twice, but well worth it.


Just damn proud of the SMG label inside the soundbox.


The sycamore headstock turned out very nicely and without my compete knowledge, I bought (gold) strings which were complementary to the whole gold tuner/fret thing.


So, here’s the baby, bridged, stringed, cradled, and ready for Larry to accept.


So, the first thing is, you must nestle the thing in the new case.  Just to make sure it fits and it has a home.  And…yes, it fits.  More importantly, does the player/owner love it?  Oh yes.


This almost looks like a Shamwow commercial.


Now here he is riffing some Pink Floyd, or is it Moby Grape?


And finally, he looks so happy, the next thing he did was walk out the door.  I suppose he really likes the guitar.  He’ll tell me next week.

I spoke with Carl tonight, and with the combination of giving up one of my babies (guitar) and speaking with my music partner who has moved on to another city, I got a bit schmelke (sad, melancholy).

It’s hard to see your craftwork depart and your music partner so far away.

The good part is they both will come back to you someday.

Guitar 803 – Buffed and installed neck

December 29, 2008

Hey, it’s Rachel’s birthday!  Happy Birthday Rachel.  She is no longer a teenager, and she made it to twenty!

Completed the sanding of the lacquered neck and body through the 1200 wet sand then used my buffing wheel for the first time.  First, several passes with the fine compound and the muslin wheel, then finished off with the dormet and the very fine compound.  Oooh, looks great!



Since I chose to finish the neck and body separately, I needed to strip off the lacquer where the neck glues to the body.


First, mask off the area in preparation for the Stripeze.  Then apply the stripper, scrape off, apply again, then scrape off again.


Do a little sanding, practice dry fitting and clamping before applying glue (to the fretboard extension only, as I am using a bolt on neck).  Glue up the fretboard extension, bolt in lightly, apply clamps, tighten bolts, tighten clamps, tighten bolts, and….neck is installed.  It will now sit for a couple of hours before I take similar steps to install the bridge.



Guitar 901 – Zebrez part arrives

December 28, 2008

Arrived home from Florida to find my resonator cover has arrived.  Next I need to figure out exactly how to install cone/spider/cover.


Guitar 803 – My email to Larry

December 16, 2008


I spent several hours tonight with your guitar.  I know every nook and cranny (how trite is that!).  I have wired my workshop for sound, and as I sat diligently sanding with 600 grit, bringing everything down to baby butt smooth, I had Django Rheinhart on the CD player and it was about as good as it gets.  Good because the music was excellent and the results were equal.  Your neck (not your neck) and your body (not your body) have become the smoothest most glorious objects which leave me wanting only to stroke and stroke.  There’s nothing more lovely.

I examined and became familiar with every curve and surface as I sanded, and I know your guitar like no one ever will.  There are gaps and blemishes and ripples which are so small and indiscernible that only I will know them.  I say this only because, if you or I were to examine our own present guitars, these things would be there, but we wouldn’t see them.   Only the one who spent hours sanding and checking and cleaning and sanding, would recognize these small communities.

It’s really a nice collection of excellent wood.  It’s not a guitar yet, but it’s going to be a great guitar.  I’ve been doing the tap tap tap thing trying to imagine the sound it will make when finally the strings are on.  It’s soon.  I know your patience has been tried, and as new age as this may sound, and as many apologies as I can make in advance for saying it, this guitar has determined its’ own pace as to when it decided to be completed.  It currently has given me the directive to get my shit together and wrap it up.  It’s hours away from being played.

Guitar 804 – Burnish the scraper Mr.

December 14, 2008

I ranted earlier about sharpening and burnishing my cabinet scraper.  I remember using a properly burnished scraper and how quickly it worked fairing the binding on the body down to the sides.  I couldn’t get a good burnish reestablished and I was contemplating abandoning guitar making and resuming drinking.

After reviewing several interweb instructions, I resumed and got a good burnish on the scraper.  Let me tell you right now, a well burnished scraper is worth its weight in brazillian rosewood.  It curls off the binding and purfling smoothly and quickly, and I even took time to burnish again before I was finished, which is not behavior typical of Mr. Me.

One site recommended cleansing the scraper in dry ice bubbling in acetone:


but I soon realized it was bogus.

Now the body of the Koa Parlor is ready for fine sanding and finishing.  I’m entertaining the possibility of abandoning KTM-9 and trying nitrocellulose.  My wife has agreed to let me try, but she’ll let me know the second she get’s a whiff and makes me stop.


Guitar 803 – Over the hump

December 14, 2008

Much dismay over the amount of sanding I need to do to get the KTM-9 lacquered OM Maple ready for buffing.  I sanded with 800 grit until I brought on a premature bout of arthritis.  No progress seemed to be made.  I wasn’t getting down through the “orange peel” no matter how much I sanded.  I went back to 600 grit and the difference was remarkable.  So I went over the neck and body with 600 and got amazingly close to removing all the orange peel and was quite encouraged once again to go on.


Here’s Hulk after the 600 grit go around waiting for further sanding.  Behind is zebrez, the zebrawood resonator guitar body.

I need to build 2 or 3 16 degree sanding blocks to tackle the fretboard.  As it is maple and needed a lacquer finish, I sprayed with the frets in, and need to get between the frets with the sanding blocks to smooth up.


(You might notice that the pictures are a bit larger, I’ve compressed less, and like this resolution better.)

The headstock is sycamore, which I’ve learned is closely related to maple.


I spent some time this weekend collecting the parts I needed to complete my buffing station.  No one seems to carry motor pulleys, but found what I was looking for at Stone Hardware.  Only remaining “thing” for the buffing station is a clamp or spring to pull the motor away from the arbor to tighten the v-belt.



Guitar 803 – Another look

December 8, 2008

Here’s Larry’s guitar just begging to be polished.



Guitar 901 – Can’t wait for the resonance

December 7, 2008

Hello.  Larry.  You think than just because I spend so much time working on my very own personal resonator guitar that I am not spending hours and hours and hours sanding your very special green maple thingamagig.   But I do.  I do sand your thingamajig.  And I sand Iris’s thingamajig.  Both are moving toward finishingness.  I promise.  But, hey….here’s some progress on the resonator….



What removes me from progress

December 7, 2008

Sometimes, things get in the way of progress.  Sometimes it is more important than building guitars.  This time, it’s the new speakers for the kitchen.  After seven thousand hours, I have finally installed the new kitchen speakers, and…they sound soooooo nice.  I’m listening to Steely Dan, and I’m almost verklempt.

Here they are….


So, if you sit back and carefully listen, you may hear total bliss…or not.

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