Thursday, February 20, 2014

Acoustic Part Eight -- Finish Line in Sight

The finish line is in sight, and like all other stages in this acoustic ride, preparing for finish has been an interesting experience.

I don't have a spray booth in my workshop, and I don't think I can convince my wife that the smell of lacquer in the morning would be a good thing, so off I go on the path of least resistance . . . have the guitar finished by an outside source.  Well, easier said than done.  The pros (Martin Guitars) don't mess with anything outside the confines of their company creations.  The luthier shops in Columbus and Cleveland have determined that, if they decide to take on outside work, it is costly, with the least expensive being $1,200 to spray a guitar neck and body.

The most experienced luthier in Columbus, and also the most expensive, made a comment that got me to thinking critically.  He said, "We think a person who builds a guitar should take it all the way from start to finish."  I think he is correct!  Thank you, John for motivating this cautious old guy.

So, off I ride on the research journey. After phone calls and product research, my friend Larry suggested that I consider gun stock oil.  "What," I asked him?  "I'm building a guitar, not a weapon."  That's when he explained the advantages of using TruOil.  It's easy to apply.  It's inexpensive.  It's durable (think of a rifle being banged around in the back of Bubba's 4-wheeler).  And, the final result is beautiful.

A call to Birchwood-Casey (they're the folks who manufacture TruOil) and a step-by-step tutorial from a real live person on the other end of the call, I'm expecting to receive the stuff I need (sealer and finish) today. Woohoo, I'm almost at the finish line.

However, this stage too, requires a couple special tools.  Geez, in the nearly 80 hours involved in this project, about half the time has been involved in creating special tools or waiting for glue to dry.  But, it's time well spent, or in my case, money saved for the next creation.

Since I'm hand applying the finish, I need a method by which the guitar surfaces can be accessed without difficulty and so that I don't screw up the finish.  StewMac would gladly sell me a metal gadget that will clamp nicely in my bench vice and which will turn in any direction.  A great device, but the down side is that it will cost nearly three hundred bucks.  I don't think so!

What to do?  Whoa!  For years, I've been stumbling over a bicycle stand my son thought I needed, when he wanted to get rid of it.  It adjusts in height and angle.  The top bracket is designed with a trough and clamp to hold a bike frame top tube.  It's sturdy, so why won't it work for a guitar finish stand? It will, and it does.  And, the best part is it's free.

All I needed to do to make this thing work was to create a part that would attach to the guitar body and fit the stand.  A wood dowel with piece to fit the neck joint on the guitar and a threaded metal shaft to attach to the guitar body did the trick.

It's fully adjustable and it turns easily in the clamp.

The same principle works for the neck.  After finish is applied, I can hang the neck to dry without worrying about anything getting screwed up.  I love it when a plan comes together.

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