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Latest Activity: Oct 17
Started by Luis Motta da Silva. Last reply by Luis Motta da Silva Oct 17.
Started by Michael S. Jackson. Last reply by Michael S. Jackson Oct 16.
Started by Iain Brennan. Last reply by Luis Motta da Silva Aug 6.
For those interested in learning more about the ForTune guitars I spammed the list about (My apologies for that) the web site is http://cfmorrisonguitars.com . There is lots of info there about the how and why of the design for the curious.
Jay, I realize the difficulty of the time elapse thing, and I also know there is an awful lot of touch and tactile memory stuff that only experience can yield involved. But I wouldn't mind at all paying you for your time to go over some tips with me. I'll get in touch by e-mail. I'm out of town for the next week and a half, so I'll e-mail when I get back.
I'm using shellac now. I spray it to get a build similar to a thin lacquer. I used Nitro for about 20 years before I just couldn't take the stink any more. That and seeing builders I knew and admired succumbing to rehabilitating neurological diseases.
Yes, I dry sanded between coats and only wet sanded just before polishing. Part of my paranoia about getting water under the finish. Softer waterborne sands very easily and doesn't clog open coat papers. Harder ones will clog easily.
I might mention that from what I can tell, the waterborne finishes remain more flexible than any nitro or shellac I've used. This means they don't protect against bumps very well, transferring the pressure to the wood beneath more than lacquer. I've never seen a crack in waterborne finishes.
Thanks for that very complete rundown on your process. I came to visit your shop some time back with two friends of mine, one of who is also a luthier. We were knocked out by the beauty of your instruments and the amazing sounds you were getting from those guitars and ukes. I live only about 25 miles from your shop. Would you consider teaching a finishing class for the water-based materials you are using?
Stephen, I did make this guitar with plywood sides, in 2000/2001. I steel keep it, in fact, I played it today.
The sides were made of 1.5 mm thick Tola plywood, made of 3 sheets, each of them 0.5 mm thick. The inner sheet has the vein perpendicular to the veins of the visible sheets. In this next picture, one can see that it is plywood.
Tola isn't considered a tonewood. It's usually used to make furniture (it resists to termites, which is a great quality when you live in Africa... ha, ha). In this case, however, the instrument was meant to be an experimental one, so, I went for cheap wood: the neck and back are made of Sapele. But the top is made of German spruce and the fret board is Madagascar ebony.
Bending this plywood has turned out to be a tricky job - the sheet in the inner side of the curves tended to corrugate, and I had a hard time to achieve a decent job. But I guess this is due to the fact that this kind of plywood I used was not meant to be bent...
Anyway, I hope this helps...
Thanks for the heads-up about sanding dust. I take it that you were dry sanding. Are you using traditional lacquer or have you switched to something else. I actually prefer to French Polish my instruments, but a number of my clients are playing out a lot in bars and they want a tougher finish
Yes, I understand, that the luck of the draw in a production guitar is part of the deal. I also know that the solid spruce top on that guitar was a great match for the laminated back & sides. The fact that the entire instrument was built using the exact measurement of a very successful time tested design model certainly didn't hurt either. I guess my point is really the same as your point, that if similar building techniques are employed by an experienced luthier who will take the time maximize the choice and use of the materials very successful, beautiful instruments can be the result.
Jim, I've used several water borne finishes. What gets called lacquer in this case is Acrylic/Urethane mixtures. Acrylic is softer and the mix determines the hardness (and ease of sanding/polishing) of the finish. Some can be nice and easy to work with and polish and others can be a bear. I prefer to undercoat with 3 coats of shellac. Most of the water has to evaporate for the finish to be sand-able , which can take a long time and I want as little wood swelling as possible. Even with the shellac, the finish will raise glue lines. In my usually dry Colorado climate I can usually sand and recoat in an hour or so and I tend to do 3 coats a day. The higher solids content means I could sometimes get away with 9 coats or less on non-porous woods. I don't use this type of finish any more due to developing a fairly severe contact dermatitis to the sanding dust.
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