Wednesday, May 22, 2013

From Ugly Duckling to Beautiful Swan

There's still a long way to go with this guitar, but the full effect of the black and red theme is beginning to emerge now that the top bindings are in place. As gradual as the process is, I'm pleased to be leaving the "ugly duckling" stage behind at last.

More soon!


Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Black and Red Guitar

I've been working on this East Indian Rosewood/Sitka Spruce OM at more or less the same pace as I have the Claro Walnut/Redwood guitar featured in recent posts, but progress has fallen behind a little in recent weeks as I've focussed my attention on preparing the Walnut/Redwood guitar for finishing.

While I wait patiently for a trio of fine days suitable for spraying, it's a good opportunity to catch up a little where this black and red OM is concerned. The purfling has been in place for a week or two, and with the end wedge now installed, I've begun the process of gluing the ebony bindings in place. It's not a task I particularly look forward to, which hints at the fact that I'm yet to feel I've attained any level of mastery over this particular aspect of guitar construction.

It will certainly be intriguing to assess the two guitars' responsiveness and tonal characteristics individually, but I'll be especially interested to make comparisons between them. Shaping of the soundboard braces on both guitars was completed at around the same time, the end result being what I perceived to be similarly responsive tops once I'd concluded the cycle of brace shaving, tapping and flexing. If popular wisdom proves to be well founded, the wood species used in these guitars will have a significant influence on the sound I'm ultimately able to coax out of them, and they'll show themselves to be very different from one another, tonally speaking. On the other hand, my assessment could lend weight to the theory that the sound of an instrument reflects the builder's individual style and methods as much as it does the materials used in its construction, in which case their tonal differences might be more difficult to detect. Whatever the result, and for the first time ever, I can confidently predict that I'll be able to share sound files and/or videos with you here on this blog. Eventually, that is!


Friday, May 10, 2013

Spray Day Delay

With epoxy pore filling of the back, sides, neck and rosette of this guitar completed, it’s a case now of waiting for a string of fine days and a concurrent break in my regular daily work commitments. Without an enclosed spray booth, I need three consecutive days of good weather to complete my spraying schedule, with a day off work an unfortunate additional requirement.

In readiness for spraying, I've calculated the bridge position and masked the top in the area of the bridge and fretboard extension with a thin, low-tack adhesive film known as frisket film. The edges of the frisket film in the area of the bridge are around 3/16" inside the bridge outline. I've found that by leaving such a margin, it's much easier to level sand and buff the finish in the vicinity of the bridge perimeter. The frisket film is removed only after the body is buffed and I'm preparing to glue the bridge.

After two brushed coats of Ilva TF23 sealer, I'll spray a maximum of five coats of Grafted Coatings’ KTM-SV per day, for a final result of 15 coats of KTM-SV on back, sides and neck, with 10 coats on the soundboard. After level sanding and buffing, I’ll end up with a thin, flexible finish that has minimal impact on the responsiveness of the soundboard while still providing an adequate level of protection.

More soon - good weather permitting!