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mhw48 09-14-2020 03:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wengr (Post 6444152)
My guitar was built in 1992. It measures 3 1/2'' at the neck and 3 7/8' at the tail block. I purchased it some years back from Bat McGrath, and he referred to it as a Prairie State. I cant say What Nick called it.

Nothing new is happening with my build at the moment so I have had to satisfy myself with related pursuits, including roaming the internet looking at listings and descriptions of Franklin guitars.
When I noticed that a Franklin guitar that was listed at Luthiers Collection is referred to as a Franklin Prairie State: https://luthierscollection.com/guita...prairie-state/
but the exact same guitar, when it listed at Guitar Gallery, is called a Franklin Jumbo: https://www.guitargal.com/collection...birdseye-maple
I was reminded that a couple of posts ago Wengr had asked about why Nick’s Jumbo is sometimes referred to as his “Prairie State” and whether Nick had ever called it that. I had posted a short reply after I asked Nick about it.
Then I stumbled across another discussion of the Franklin “Prairie State or Jumbo” name question from a late 2003 thread on the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum. It adds a few more pieces of information, although it also adds some more confusion as well.
Here’s the post on the UMGF that got me going:
https://umgf.com/the-return-of-nick-...rs-t49609.html
From this discussion — which gets quite heated at one point — it appears that initially the guitar shape was labeled “Jumbo” in the earliest Franklin Guitar Company brochures. You may have seen them posted in a thread on AGF, but if not, here’s the link:
https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...=541520&page=3
When I asked Nick about it he said he hadn't named the model himself: the “Jumbo” moniker was a decision in the 80’s by his distributor, Laury Ostrow at Guitar’s Friend, when Nick first started building and selling Franklin guitars. Laury Ostrow was responsible for putting out the Franklin Guitar Company Brochures and he decided to label it the “Jumbo”. Nick added that calling it a “Prairie State” doesn’t really make sense because Prairie State is actually a whole line of different sizes and shapes that includes the jumbo (actually a re-topped archtop guitar) that Nick based his model on.
In the thread on UMGF, the OP announced that he had just received his new “Praire State” Guitar from Nick, and says that’s how Nick referred to it in their correspondence. However, he later mentions that the build (and all correspondence) was actually handled through a friend and former assistant of Nick’s, Mike Dulak of Middle Missouri Mandolin. In the early 2000s Nick was starting up Franklin Guitars again after a hiatus. According to the thread on UMGF, Mike helped Nick start promoting his return to building guitars. It was actually Mike Dulak who informed the OP that Nick was making two models: A Prairie State and an OM. So once again it may have been someone acting as an intermediary for Nick who named the model, this time the “Prairie State.”
The thread on UMG adds an interesting footnote — at that time, 2003, John Greven was offering a “Praire State” model, and apparently credited Nick’s guitar and Stefan Grossman’s original Larson Bros. guitar as being the inspiration. It was initially going to be a “Stefan Grossman signature model,” but that doesn’t seem to have come to pass.
If you look at the current Greven website, he doesn’t offer a “Prairie State” anymore. While he does have a Jumbo, the shape seems inspired by a Gibson J200.
As a footnote to this footnote, here’s an old listing for the Greven Prairie State prototype:
https://reverb.com/item/32777463-gre...show_sold=true
It seems that John Greven only made about a dozen of his “Prairie States” and discontinued the model in 2018.
So, that’s the long answer to the question.
The short answer is that it was a “Jumbo” in the early brochures, and is currently a “Jumbo” on Nick’s website. Apparently at one point in the early 2000s Mike Dulak briefly marketed it as a “Prairie State,” probably in reference to the Prairie State guitar that belonged to Stefan Grossman. I think Mike Dulak's involvement with Franklin guitars was short-lived. Nick seems to have been managing Franklin Guitars on his own fairly soon after this, calling the model a Jumbo. In any case, neither name seems to have originated with Nick.
I think the bottom line is that no matter what you call it, it’s an incredible design with an incredible history. It was Nick who repaired Stefan Grossman’s original retopped Prairie State Jumbo — the replacement top had “caved in”, according to Nick, because it was too lightly braced. Nick was enchanted with the shape of the guitar and traced it, going on to build his own version. Later he showed it to Stefan who loved it, but asked Nick to build him one that was not as deep — closer to the depth of an OM. Thus was born the fantastic guitar that Nick continues to build.
Maybe to be most accurate, it could be called a “Franklin Stefan Grossman Prairie State Jumbo”, but that’s a mouthful!

mhw48 09-18-2020 12:42 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Some news to report -- Nick dis-assembled my guitar in preparation for the finish. "I miss it!" he told me. He's been playing it every day since temporarily attaching the neck and bridge about a month ago. Nick applied a coat of shellac to the body:

mhw48 09-18-2020 12:47 PM

Nuts and Bolts
 
2 Attachment(s)
The morning after updating me on the current state of the finish, Nick sent me another photo, stating "I didn’t show you my bolt-on neck. The bolt is made of Brazilian Rosewood and the nut is Pernambuco with a carbon graphite ring."


Nick's waiting to put the finish on the neck until after the body is done. He wants to be able to stain the neck to match the final color of the body.

4mykey 09-20-2020 09:02 AM

When I met with Nick a few weeks ago, he showed me those bolts. They're really amazing and quite ingenious. He said he designed them in response to criticism for using bolt on necks instead of dovetails. No metal hardware used now.

mhw48 09-20-2020 06:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 4mykey (Post 6502853)
When I met with Nick a few weeks ago, he showed me those bolts. They're really amazing and quite ingenious. He said he designed them in response to criticism for using bolt on necks instead of dovetails. No metal hardware used now.



It is quite an elegant solution, and quite attractive as well!

mhw48 09-24-2020 04:21 PM

3 Attachment(s)
4mykey, I envy your proximity to Nick's workshop, and the fact that you can stop in and see things in person, but I have the compensation that Nick sent me some of the test wooden neck bolt sets -- along with instructions -- The black stripe on the Pink Ivory nut is carbon fiber strands that were saturated with epoxy, then set in a groove in the nut.

4mykey 09-26-2020 08:52 AM

Mhw48, that's really cool Nick sent you some test bolts. I was really impressed with the idea and his execution of it. Not only are they functional, but elegant and beautiful at the same time. It just shows me his high level of care and thoughtfulness that he puts into his builds.

Yeah...I am lucky to able to visit him. It's going to be challenging for me to avoid wanting to drop in all the time once he starts my guitar! I just want to give him the space and time to do what he does best.

mhw48 10-05-2020 03:52 PM

Photo finish
 
2 Attachment(s)
Nick sent me some pictures of the varnishing process. The first photo is of amber chips, which Nick is sorting and cleaning. They get heated (outside!) to around 380°C. Once melted and the impurities have burned off, the heated amber is combined with cleaned oil. The second photo is of the oil being cleaned. It gets shaken several times with water. Once the water and oil fully separate, the water (at the bottom) containing any impurities cleaned from the oil is drained off.

mhw48 10-05-2020 03:55 PM

2 Attachment(s)
This is the varnishing workstation -- brush, varnish, and a kind of "rotisserie" for holding the sanded guitar body.

mhw48 10-05-2020 04:34 PM

4 Attachment(s)
To Work!
Attachment 44829 Attachment 44839

Attachment 44840 Attachment 44841

iim7V7IM7 10-05-2020 04:43 PM

Knowing Nick, those shots were taken at 2 AM and not 2 PM...:)

mhw48 10-05-2020 04:44 PM

4 Attachment(s)
The varnish really brings out the grain of the African Blackwood. Nick says that because the lighting is not ideal for photos in his finishing room the color is not completely accurate, and he'll send me some under natural lighting when he brings the guitar out of the finishing room

mhw48 10-05-2020 04:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 (Post 6516565)
Knowing Nick, those shots were taken at 2 AM and not 2 PM...:)

No question! And probably another 2-3 hours before Nick called it a day.

4mykey 10-09-2020 05:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mhw48 (Post 6516567)
The varnish really brings out the grain of the African Blackwood. Nick says that because the lighting is not ideal for photos in his finishing room the color is not completely accurate, and he'll send me some under natural lighting when he brings the guitar out of the finishing room

It looks beautiful!!!

blindboyjimi 10-09-2020 05:50 PM

This for sure makes me want to trade something in for a 16” or jumbo. I wish I had something I didn’t absolutely love so I could trade up. It’s awesome.

mhw48 10-09-2020 05:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by blindboyjimi (Post 6519845)
This for sure makes me want to trade something in for a 16” or jumbo. I wish I had something I didn’t absolutely love so I could trade up. It’s awesome.

Thanks! I'm really looking forward to getting this guitar in person!

pegleghowell 10-13-2020 08:39 AM

The varnish really brings the wood to life.It`s going to be glorious when finished.

mhw48 10-14-2020 03:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pegleghowell (Post 6522641)
The varnish really brings the wood to life.It`s going to be glorious when finished.

I am amazed by the way the wood looks, and Nick says the photos don’t really do it justice.

FormerFoodie 10-14-2020 05:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mhw48 (Post 6523860)
I am amazed by the way the wood looks, and Nick says the photos don’t really do it justice.

I'm getting excited and amped up, and I'm not even the person who is going to receive the guitar!!!!!! :D

mhw48 10-15-2020 04:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FormerFoodie (Post 6523978)
I'm getting excited and amped up, and I'm not even the person who is going to receive the guitar!!!!!! :D



I am similarly excited, but it seems slightly unreal for the moment - I look at the photos, re-read all the posts and catch myself thinking “I’m so jealous!” I am constantly wanting to bug Nick, not only to get the lastest updates (“the varnish is drying”), but to reassure myself that it’s actually happening!

iim7V7IM7 10-15-2020 04:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mhw48 (Post 6524716)
I am similarly excited, but it seems slightly unreal for the moment - I look at the photos, re-read all the posts and catch myself thinking “I’m so jealous!” I am constantly wanting to bug Nick, not only to get the lastest updates (“the varnish is drying”), but to reassure myself that it’s actually happening!

“Drying” refers to the evaporation of the solvent which results in a solid film. Nitrocellulose Lacquer is a common finish that changes to a solid through a “drying” process. “Curing” refers to a chemical reaction that occurs in the finish to bring about the change from liquid to solid. Oil Varnish is a common finish that changes to a solid through a “curing” process...:)

mhw48 10-16-2020 07:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 (Post 6524724)
“Drying” refers to the evaporation of the solvent which results in a solid film. Nitrocellulose Lacquer is a common finish that changes to a solid through a “drying” process. “Curing” refers to a chemical reaction that occurs in the finish to bring about the change from liquid to solid. Oil Varnish is a common finish that changes to a solid through a “curing” process...:)



The distinction between "drying" and "curing" is an interesting one. Both lacquer and varnish "dry" as well as "cure". As you point out, the processes are different for each. Lacquer "drys" through the evaporation of solvents, and will continue to "cure" over at least the next month as the finish continues to "off-gas" the remnants of the solvent. Oil Varnish dries through a chemical reaction -- precipitated by UV. Nick has a UV box into which he places the guitar for 12 hours to dry between coats. Although dry to the touch, the varnish will continue to cure for several months. In both cases the finish hardens as it continues to cure.

justonwo 10-16-2020 10:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mhw48 (Post 6525066)
The distinction between "drying" and "curing" is an interesting one. Both lacquer and varnish "dry" as well as "cure". As you point out, the processes are different for each. Lacquer "drys" through the evaporation of solvents, and will continue to "cure" over at least the next month as the finish continues to "off-gas" the remnants of the solvent. Oil Varnish dries through a chemical reaction -- precipitated by UV. Nick has a UV box into which he places the guitar for 12 hours to dry between coats. Although dry to the touch, the varnish will continue to cure for several months. In both cases the finish hardens as it continues to cure.

I’m not sure you and Bob are agreeing here. He’s saying drying is a physical process (evaporation of solvents) and curing is a chemical process (not related to solvents). It sounds like you’re saying solvents are evaporating in both cases. I actually know little about finish chemistry.

mhw48 10-16-2020 01:26 PM

Yes, varnish and lacquer go from liquid to solid through different processes. However "drying" and "curing" are different parts of that process: "Most paints and varnishes, as well as many lacquers, undergo both drying and curing processes. Drying is the initial phase, where the coating shrinks due to the loss of the solvent component. Curing is the second (usually much longer) phase where the coating changes physically and/or chemically; it may swell slightly during this process."

justonwo 10-16-2020 01:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mhw48 (Post 6525382)
Yes, varnish and lacquer go from liquid to solid throughdifferend processes. However "drying" and "curing" are different parts of that process: "Most paints and varnishes, as well as many lacquers, undergo both drying and curing processes. Drying is the initial phase, where the coating shrinks due to the loss of the solvent component. Curing is the second (usually much longer) phase where the coating changes physically and/or chemically; it may swell slightly during this process."

I’m fairly sure your guitar is going to dry and cure into a work of art!

mhw48 10-16-2020 02:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by justonwo (Post 6525256)
I’m not sure you and Bob are agreeing here. He’s saying drying is a physical process (evaporation of solvents) and curing is a chemical process (not related to solvents). It sounds like you’re saying solvents are evaporating in both cases. I actually know little about finish chemistry.

I'm not disagreeing with Bob. I think a confusion of tongues occurred between us because, as Bob rightly noted, "drying" of lacquer refers to hardening through evaporation of solvents, while "curing" of oil varnish refers to chemical polymerization. However, for a craftsman "dry time", for either lacquer or varnish, refers to the length of time between coats, "cure time" refers to the time before the instrument can be put to use. So when I call Nick for an update, he'll say "the varnish is drying" because he just put on another coat and stuck the guitar in his UV drying box. Once all the coats have been applied, he'll say "the finish is curing for a while" before he sends it to me.
Both statements mean I have to wait!

Quote:

Originally Posted by justonwo (Post 6525406)
I’m fairly sure your guitar is going to dry and cure into a work of art!

That's the important point!

stuartb 10-23-2020 09:33 PM

oh man, I'm going to have to hear a recording of your guitar once it's in your possession. Particularly given the African Blackwood choice - I'm so curious - makes me want another Franklin! I've listened to some specific African Blackwood guitar recordings, and it's a beautiful sounding tonewood for sure.




Quote:

Originally Posted by mhw48 (Post 6450008)
The back and sides with a wipe of Naptha gives an idea of how the African Blackwood will look under finish and shows off the backstrip. The color is very rich, not a solid black but more like a really dark chocolate.


mhw48 10-24-2020 04:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by stuartb (Post 6531786)
oh man, I'm going to have to hear a recording of your guitar once it's in your possession. Particularly given the African Blackwood choice - I'm so curious - makes me want another Franklin! I've listened to some specific African Blackwood guitar recordings, and it's a beautiful sounding tonewood for sure.

I'm very curious to hear it too. Nick has had experience building with African Blackwood, and spoke highly of it. He had my guitar set up before he varnished it, and was playing it for about two weeks -- he was really entranced with the sound! He's very curious to hear how it sounds under varnish.

blindboyjimi 11-18-2020 02:12 PM

Any updates?

mhw48 11-18-2020 03:57 PM

Nothing new to report at the moment. Work on the varnish has been interrupted by the fact that Nick is in the process of selling his house -- and he has his finishing room set up there. BUT, the moment there's news, I'll pass it along!


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