Archive for January, 2013

If I can’t take scrutiny I can’t improve

January 27, 2013

I sent my uke to a fellow who applies lacquer finishes to guitars and ukes as a service (read: $$$) to guitar builders who avoid finishing their own.  I got a call last week essentially letting me know the uke wasn’t ready for lacquer application.  I could tell he was a bit nervous having to inform me of this situation.  He was kind enough to say this is typical of the dance he goes through with new clients, but that his interest was only in producing the best finish possible.

He will put post-it notes on the uke with a description of the issue for each post-it.  He implied there would be many post-its.  In the past, I may have felt that this was an insult to my building ability.  But today, I consider it a healthy critique of my process and understanding of how detailed I need to take an instrument before it is ready for finish work.

I’m standing by, awaiting the return of my uke, so I can detail it down to “finish ready”.

Guitar 1202 – Binding and Purfling

January 27, 2013

I have finished installing the binding.  I’ve taken an alternative approach to this guitar.  When purfling the top with Abalam, I have, previously, installed the binding, purfling, teflon, purfling sandwich all at once.  It has been a tricky juggling process which guaranteed binding cracks, gaps, unseated purfling strips, all because I had to weave 4 different layers into the channels which were slathered with glue, then with my third hand (which I don’t have) apply the binding tape to hold it all in place.

This time, I installed the binding solo, and will clean out the glue overage, then drop the purfling, teflon, purfling sandwich into the open channel.


The photo shows the purfling strips with teflon between, and abalam in the channel after the teflon is removed.  Currently, the binding glue is drying, and a variety of cracks are being repaired under clamps.


Guitar 1202 – Butt Graft

January 4, 2013

Love to say “butt graft”.  Attached the top, cut off the scarf and installed the butt graft.  Next, binding!



Guitar 1202 – Box On Garth

January 3, 2013

Good news from LMI:  KTM9 water based lacquer has shipped from the manufacturer.  Availability to me starts January 9th.

Did some packing of the uke after fully prepping it for lacquer finish.  I’ve sent it off to Athens, GA for finishing.

The box for the OM aka “Bob” is closed in.  I did neglect to install the electronics, but justified my mistake by saying that I need practice installing these after the fact anyway, so we all say.

First, completed sanding and prepping the back and sides to accept the top.


In the past I have wreaked havoc on spruce tops while bracing.  I learned since to mask the top while I’m bracing to avoid dings and dimples.



Hey, it was from a calendar my WIFE gave me.  The top is all braced and trimmed back ready for installation.


A couple of hours to dry, then I can cut off the scarf and start thinking about the binding and purfling.