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Entry for April 2020's Guitar Of The Month is open - ENTER HERE!

Geoff St. Germaine

Archtop Guitar No 4

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I like the clamps that appear to be made from some threaded rod, some wing nuts and washers, and some biscuits leftover from a hole-saw? That's a great Idea, ill have to build some of those at some point! The build looks just fantastic sir, it's a real inspiration.

-Brett

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Thanks a lot, guys!

Yeah, those spool clamps are just 6" 1/4-20 bolts, two pieces of cedar I cut with a hole saw and a wing nut. Doing them again I'd use plywood and make the pieces slightly bigger, maybe 2" diameter instead of 1.5" with cork or felt lining. Of the 16 I originally made I only have 12 left as the cedar pieces split under clamping pressure.

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Some progress on the bevel veneers:

I got them glued on and cleaned up. The process was using a sheet of paper placed over the bevel and applying pressure to the edges to make a mark and form a template. This was then transferred to the veneer and it was cut out. After that I used yellow glue and binding tape to glue on the veneers. The fret access bevel had a slightly concave surface, so I had to use a clothes iron to get it to adhere... A fun trick I picked up veneering some tower speakers.

On to the interesting part:

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I've been away for a couple of weeks, but I brought the neck with my to do the fret installation and start neck carving.

The fret ends are hot dog or semi-hemispherical. They are a lot more work to install, but I really like the feel of the neck. I've started the carving my establishing the shape at the heel and at the nut and I'll use a spokeshave to remove the material in between once I get home this weekend.

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Cheers!

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I've finished carving the neck. All that is left is fitting the heel to the back extension that forms the heel cap and fitting the fingerboard extension to the arched soundboard.

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I'm going to be doing a french polish with light blonde shellac. I'm mixing up a 2 lb cut to start, which means 57 g of shellac flakes in 250 ml of ethanol.

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It will take about 24 hours for the shellac flake to dissolve completely. In the meantime I'll be working on the fingerrest, tailpiece and bridge as well as finish sanding the body and neck.

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Do you find any issues with fretting before the neck carve is done?

I wouldnt think so. I always fret before its carved so i have a flat base on the back to press frets in.

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Today I got the softwood soundboard sanded to 280 and back and sides to 220 and ready for the first application of oil. Here are the photos:

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I'll do the next oil treatment later today. The idea is to use the danish oil with wet/dry sandpaper to create a slurry to fill the pores in the walnut. Once the slurry is created it is forced into the pores using a small squigee. This won't completely fill the pores but what it will do is make them easier to fill once I move on to the shellac.

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That. Is. So. Beautiful!

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Absitively possolutely phenomenomenomenonal!

I presumes the contoured piece in the cut-away was solid and curved into that nicely curved shape?

SR

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The bloodwood you see in the "cutaway" is veneer. There's a shaped piece of Port Orford Cedar underneath that was shaped to form the cutaway and then veneered to match the binding and forearm bevel.

Oh, and thanks for the compliments on the guitar. I am pretty stunned by it too. The walnut is gorgeous!

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Truly amazing and inspiring, Guitar of the year?

Guitar of the Year entries are the 12 winners or the Guitar of the Month contests.

Having said that, I'd say the odds are very good that this will end up in that contest anyway.

SR

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Thanks a lot guys. I'm glad people are digging this guitar.

I am waiting about 5 days to make sure the oil is dry before moving onto the French polish. I have some minor work to do on the neck in the meantime - drilling tuner holes, finalizing the fitting of the neck and final sanding before it gets the oil as well.

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I've started the initial stages of the french polish, which really isn't french polishing at all, but is applying the initial shellac that is to be used for pore filling.

I've applied 4 coats of shellac using a charged pad and just running it across all of the surfaces with the grain. The top really doesn't need any pore filling except in the binding and bevels, so I sealed the soundboard and built up the shellac only in the areas right around the binding and bevels.

I'll let this dry overnight and tomorrow I'll start the first pore filling sessions using pumice stone and ethanol on the shellac that has been applied already.

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A shot of a light reflection so you can see the open pores in the walnut. These will be filled with a pumice/wood dust/shellac slurry when I start the pore filling sessions.

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