Friday, July 16, 2010

Reaching the Finish Line - KTM-SV

I've made significant advances with many aspects of guitar construction in the recent past, but achieving a quality finish has proven to be a persistent frustration as well as one of the last major hurdles. It's especially pleasing then to be able to report that the finish used on this guitar - Grafted Coatings' KTM-SV - has proven to be a watershed where confidence in the standard of my guitars is concerned.

While there's still plenty of scope for further improvement of my skills and knowledge - most noticeably in the area of fretwork and setup - I'm quietly confident that my guitars are approaching a standard comparable to that of other fledgling independent builders. If I ever make the leap and decide I'm ready to sell my guitars, the prices I ask will of course reflect this cautious assessment!

Finding a finish product which works for me is cause for celebration, but rubbing it out to the high gloss that guitar owners expect has been yet another challenge. Thankfully, after taking the plunge recently and ordering a buffing arbor from LMI in the US, I'm pleased at last to be able to bid farewell to the more laborious hand-polishing methods. Not only was it an onerous task, but I was never entirely satisfied with the end result. With motor-driven buffing wheels and two grades of Menzerna dry buffing compounds at my disposal, the process is an absolute breeze and the gloss I'm now able to achieve reduces the pain of having purchased a hefty piece of equipment from overseas. International freight charges - as always - are a real headache!

I guess some vital statistics are in order:
  • Back and sides: Australian blackwood
  • Soundboard: Sitka spruce
  • Neck: Queensland maple
  • Bridge and fingerboard: ebony
  • Bindings: ebony
  • Frets: EVO gold
  • Tuners: Gotoh 510 minis
  • Rosette and fingerboard inlay: paua abalone
  • Finish: Grafted Coatings KTM-SV
  • Scale length: 24.9"

Click any of the photos for a larger view.