Binding, Fingerboards and Necks

Back home from the GFA and pluggin' away at these two guitars. One is a Torres model and the other is a new Concert model. Here are a few photos from the last couple weeks cutting binding and purfling channels, slotting fingerboards, carving necks and wiping on the first wash coats of shellac. Happy to see these almost done and excited to string them up.

Finished Guitars for GFA Convention

Finally strung up these two guitars this last week and I'm very happy with how they turned out. The first is a spruce/European flame maple Torres model. It's light, lively and sweet. The next is a spruce/Indian rosewood guitar inspired by Antonio Marin Montero. It has strong singing trebles and loose gravely basses. Both have Spanish cedar necks, ebony fingerboards and Gotoh premium tuning machines.

Necks, Frets, Sandpaper and Bracing

The last week in the shop has been a bit chaotic. I've been finishing up the French polish on two guitars for the GFA and then getting back to work on two others.

In other news, I tried out a few new products that I feel compelled to write about because they are really great. I finally got around to trying out some Jescar fretwire and it is far superior to any other fretwire that I've used. It's consistent, the tangs are accurate and the barbs are a bit smaller and sharper than most other fretwire. I also purchased a small Japanese fret saw with a .022" kerf from a German supplier over here; I feel that it is smoother and cuts much faster than the English fret saws one finds from suppliers like LMI and Stewmac. The last thing that I received in the mail today was a big stack of Mirka sandpaper. As it turns out, it is seemingly impossible to find good sandpaper in Austria. After wasting much time and money on various sandpaper that was all unbelievably and frustratingly terrible, I finally broke down and ordered a bunch of Finnish sandpaper from an auto supplier in Germany. It was well worth it.

Assembly of Guitars for GFA Convention 2017

Haven't had too much time to update the blog recently, so this is a pretty big collection of photos. These are the two guitars that I'll be exhibiting at the Guitar Foundation of America convention in Fullerton, CA this year. One is a spruce/rosewood Granada/Bouchet style guitar and the other is a spruce/flame maple Torres model. I'm very happy with how these are turning out and excited to get some finish on them later this week.

Bending, Planing and French Polishing

Here are a handful of short clips and photos from the last week of building. Planed and cleaned up tops, backs and sides for three guitars, started bending sides, glued the bridge on another and started the final polish. Had to make new bridge cauls since I didn't bring them in the move. If you are wondering why there is aluminum foil on the bending iron, it's so that the residue from bending rosewood doesn't get all over that nice white maple.

French Polishing the First Austrian Guitar

Finally finished cleaning up and started sealing the first guitar here in Graz. One of the many items that didn't make it in the move was the old ratty woolen pad that I used for French polishing. I had been using the same one ever since I began building guitars, but it didn't make sense to bring it. So, I cut up a new/old wool sock and made a new one. It felt sentimental for some reason.\

It's always nice to see how the shellac brings out the grain of the wood. This particular set of Indian rosewood is pretty much perfect. Dark, fine, straight-grained and light. The Spanish cedar has a bit of figure to it bordering on a flame pattern and the spruce is clean, consistant and with plenty of medulary rays.

Detail of Ladder Motif for Rosette

I've tried to document the process in a bit more detail that usual of making the ladder motif that is used in many rosettes including my Torres model. The process is simple in idea, but somewhat tedious in execution. For this particular lay-up of veneers, I'm using padouk and sycamore. From my last blog post you can see the first stack of veneers cut and piled up prior to gluing. After the glue dries, I calculate the number of cuts necessary to end up with the correct final length to use in the outermost and largest ring of my rosette. I stack the subsequent blocks and glue them again into a long strip. After that, I plane all sides of the log and take care to keep everything parallel and square. I then glue a long strip of veneer along the end grain sides. Once the glue dries, I cut these strips off, plane the fresh side of end grain to the final thickness and glue another strip of veneer. Finally, I slice off strips with a knife and clean them up with a plane. The hardest part is planing the end grain by hand to a consistent width within the tolerance of a thousandth of an inch, so that when all is said and done, the side grain is on display which results in cleaner lines and more reflective figure.