Sunday, March 2, 2014

Acoustic Part Nine -- The Home Stretch

This morning, I completed the 'finish' process.  Four coats of sealer applied by hand to the neck and body was the first order of business in this elongated journey.  Then it was nineteen coats of oil hand applied with sanding between every third coat (graduating from 250 grit to 1200 grit wet/dry paper).

It's difficult to see the luster created on the top by the application of oil, but it is there.  The finish is not as mirror-like as it would be if it were sprayed, but after it is rubbed out with compound and then waxed, it is going to be just what the doctor ordered.  I chose not to stain any of the surfaces so the raw grain would be accentuated, and it was a great choice.  However, this really worked out well with the top in that the oil dries with a slight amber glow to it, which really mellows out the brightness of the spruce wood.  The area taped off with blue painters tape is where the bridge will be glued in place (wood-to-wood with no finish to interfere with the bonding process), which is required so the fear of separation is eliminated.

It's easier to see the beauty of the rosewood in this shot of the back and sides.  The book matched back looked exactly like I wanted, and the tortoiseshell binding accentuates it so well.

This shot shows off the grain of the book matched rosewood ribs and mahogany insert where the ribs are joined at the back of the guitar.  Many options can be applied to the insert, but I settled on the simple mahogany, which matched the neck, rather than colored plastic.  There's nothing fancy about this creation, but that is exactly what I intended from the start for my first acoustic guitar building effort.  However, I am very pleased with the result, and I'm picky as hell about my work.

Getting a good shot of the neck is difficult as it hangs in the shop, but I think you can see how well this turned out.  Now that the finish is complete, I can remove the painters tape covering the surface of the fretboard.

Like the body, the rosewood headstock overlay is beautiful.  The TotalRojo logo is there at the top, but not 'in your face', which is by design.  I want to enjoy the beauty of the wood.

The neck and body will hang for the next couple weeks in my shop, while the oil cures and hardens to the point that I can commence attaching the bridge, cutting string slots in the nut, assembly of the tuners, adjusting string 'action' through fine adjustment of the saddle, and buffing and polishing the finish.

I can hardly wait to play this little devil, which I've named "Elvira".  Hopefully, all the measuring and re-measuring numerous times, and the meticulous attention to detail, which was recommended by the experts, none the least of which is my friend Larry at Tadpole Guitars, was enough to make this thing come alive.

Thanks Larry for your guidance and encouragement!  And, thanks to David for his constant urging, without which I would never have developed the confidence to take on the project.  He scolded me several times about 'short selling' my talent.  Perhaps he is right.

Stay tuned for the final chapter on Elvira, and the commencement of the next creation.  Like one of my wife's chocolate chip cookies, I cannot have just one.

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