Girdis Guitar Finish Work Complete

March 29, 2013

After considerable wait time, the finish work on the Girdis guitar is complete and the box arrived yesterday.  Very nice finish, very nice guitar.

130328finishtop

130328finishback

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130328finishneck

Happy New Year to All

December 30, 2012

This will be my last post of 2012.  Some things were accomplished in 2012, but all in all, the pace of this year’s building has ebbed in relation to previous years.  I could chalk that up to a new career teaching mathematics, but really it’s a case of shifting priorities.  I have endured a few crisis moments all around finishing with spray lacquer.  As reluctant as I was to put down the spray gun, it is for the better.  I cannot continue to subject my families health and my health to the lacquer fumes inherent with nitrocellulose lacquer application.  My options are twofold:  send guitars out for spray services ($500) or procure hard to find water based lacquer and spray with this less toxic alternative.  I’m still on the hunt for water based with mixed results.

I have been working diligently on my uke, Rachel’s parlor and Susan’s OM.  What follows is an except from recent work.

Rachel’s parlor has taken a step forward with neck shaping and fret dot design.

121230back

The fretboards for Rachel’s parlor and Susan’s OM are seen below the beautiful Myrtle back.

121230necks

The parlor neck is on top with the Cocobollo headplate.  The OM neck is shown with the rosewood headplate.

I’ve managed to shape bracing and install the back to the sides as well as lay down the top bracing for the OM.

121230beforetrim

121230aftertrim

The second picture shows the back after the scarf has been trimmed.

121230topbracing

Uke 1001 – Wrapped Up and Ready to Play

January 18, 2012

It’s a snow day, a day before my son’s 19th birthday, and the birth of my second uke.  The finish is KTM9, a water based lacquer which I believe I will continue to use for future instrument finishes.  I took several months to apply, knockdown and buff the finish, and I believe it improved the results.  Also, 24 or more very thin coats proved to be the right approach.  I avoided drips and orange peel effect, and the knockdown was more straightforward.

120118finished

There’s nothing like a fire, dog and uke to complete a snow day at home.

Uke Lacquer – Uke Cure – Myrtle Join

November 6, 2011

Devin dropped by today and we polished up his frets, nut, saddle, and installed a pickguard.  Looks like it’s really done.

I’ve been applying lacquer to the Bubinga Uke and the Koa Uke.  The Bubinga is fully lacquered and is sitting in cure mode for a couple of more weeks.

111106curing

The Koa uke has 16 coats, and I think 24 will be the cat’s pajamas.  I should be able to get the 24 applied by Tuesday evening.

111106coat16

Between lacquer applications (wait one hour please) I’ve been bracing the Myrtle Parlor (for Rachel) and I joined the back plates.

111106myrtlejoin

111106myrtlejoint

I’m liking this myrtle, and it seems like it will be nice to work on.  It planed easily while preparing the plate joint.

Uke Lacquer – Fretboard Markers – Lava Light

November 30, 2011

Let’s start with the Lava Light.

111030lavalight

After William left for UW, several items which I coveted were left behind.  Lava Light (or Lamp)!

I mapped out a schedule for the completion of Uke 1101, and it is possible to complete before I go to Salt Lake for Thanksgiving.  It will be a bit tricky to continue working on the uke while the lacquer is curing.  Today, I finished the 8th coat of lacquer, with an intention of putting on 20 coats.  Tomorrow I’ll add 4 more coats.  Coincidentally, I am adding coats to the Bubinga uke, and after tomorrow’s application, it will have 24 coats.

111030backlacquer

This is the back of the Bubinga.

111030toplacquered

111030headlacquer

Between coats I attached the fret markers to the Hybrid’s fretboard and the Thorn and Vine to 1202 (Bob).  The shell is glued to the surface with white glue.  I will score a border around the glued shell, then pop off the shell in preparation for routing a channel.

111030thornandvine

Uke 1101 – Resumed

October 24, 2011

Teaching has been wiping me out.  I have been immersed in such a way that my building opportunity was minimal.  I will be visiting Salt Lake for Thanksgiving, and I would like to have my sister’s uke finished by then.  It is completely possible as I am at the finishing stages.

The original uke has been sitting waiting for additional lacquer coats, so it’s part of the deal.

111024ukestosprtay

The koa is ready to accept the first coat (sanding sealer) and the bubinga is ready for coat number 15.

111024porefiller

The pore filler is a brown base so initially alters the color.  After it is applied a squeegee is used to scrape it off, hopefully leaving behind a smooth surface.  It will be scuffed down to remove any haze on the surface of the wood/purfling/binding.  It may require a second application if the pores are not fully filled.

The koa with its first coat of sanding sealer.  After scuffing the finish smooth, pore filler is applied.


Guitar 1002 – Bracing Continues

June 12, 2011

I have begun the process of finger planing/shaping the back braces.  I’m also 75% complete on gluing/clamping all the top braces.  I’m heavily preshaping the top braces as my past experience has been that this is a more efficient method than planing/shaping after the braces have been installed.

The owner of 1001 dropped by to request a tweak.  His open A string had the dreaded wolf-tone which was really a small gap underneath the nut on the fretboard side.  A simple filing of the nut slot to release the gap fixed the problem.

I’m also continuing to apply lacquer filler to the headstock for the 12 string Ovation repair.  I’ve reattached the sheared headstock, repaired are relacquered the truss rod cover, and after the lacquer filler cures I’ll spray several coats of touch up lacquer then sand and buff.  It should be ready later next week.  I would like to get this back to the customer before we head out to Alaska for our RV adventure.

Guitar 903 and 1001 Lacquered

April 10, 2011

Guitar 903, the Walnut OM, and Guitar 1001, the Koa Dreadnought, have received their fair share of lacquer coats (12 to 20) and are resting for two weeks to cure.

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110410lacqueredbody

110410lacqueredtocure

The lacquer needs at least two weeks to develop a hardness which is appropriate for the final knockdown and buffing.  Neck install, bridge install and setup will finalize.

What is it?

March 19, 2011

Rachel returned from China/India Tuesday and she brought me a present.

110319chinainstrument_0

She’s not sure what it’s called, so what’s it called?  I need to restring, and I’m not sure what the bridge orientation should be.

Today I added more lacquer coats to the koa dreadnought (6 of 12) and the uke (9 of 12).  The uke is a disaster.  It became dislodged from the spray booth bracket and fell to the cement causing a reasonable amount of damage, including pebbles throughout the wet lacquer coat, a chip out of the headstock, and a segment of binding with road rash.  Oh well, file it down, keep going.  Thank god this is just a “test uke”.  I’m sure it will sound lovely, but it will look like shit.

I’m also refinishing a headstock on an eBay purchased Fender koa uke.

110319fenderhead

I have some aerosol nitrocellulose that I am using to refinish this headstock.  It’s got 4 coats now, and I’ll probably go as far as 10.

I devised a little jig for drilling holes in my uke bridges.  I’m going to use bridge pins with strings secured inside the body with bone beads.  I’ll get a picture up later of the string beads.

110319bridgejig

Guitar 1001 – 3 of 12 Lacquer Coats

March 18, 2011

Today is a day off school, so I’m spraying.  I’ve applied the 9th coat to the uke and the walnut OM, and the third coat (of 12) on the koa dreadnought.  It’s looking fine, after an exceptionally well executed pore filling step.
110318firstcoat

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