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Mark Hatcher 01-10-2021 01:20 PM

French Polish
 
I'm just getting into the final sessions French polishing my latest Woodman 00 guitar. I enjoy French polishing because it's such a hands on process:

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/...37854719_b.jpg

After I get the final coats on next week it will need to harden up before I do a final buff. During that time I'll make and attach the bridge. I'll also be doing the other details such as the nut and saddle, truss rod cover, mounting the tuners and finally stringing it up and the initial set-up. I hope to have that much done by the end of the week.

BrianM99 01-10-2021 03:52 PM

I love all of your updates on my Woodsman Mark. It's looking great and I'm getting more excited the nearer it comes to completion. Like I said before, this model just exudes "old tone".

Lonzo 01-12-2021 09:05 AM

Hi Mark, how many of those coats or layers are applied ? Is that the same for each wood or does it differ ?

Thanks,
Lonzo

Mark Hatcher 01-12-2021 03:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BrianM99 (Post 6600998)
I love all of your updates on my Woodsman Mark. It's looking great and I'm getting more excited the nearer it comes to completion. Like I said before, this model just exudes "old tone".

It's coming together nicely. The traditional unbleached shellac technique I use helps me get to the unfettered tone of vintage guitars. It also adds to that old look.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lonzo (Post 6602491)
Hi Mark, how many of those coats or layers are applied ? Is that the same for each wood or does it differ ?

Thanks,
Lonzo

I do French polish a couple of ways. With the Woodsman I try to keep it to how it was more commonly done in the 1800s. There are a couple coats of egg used as a binder and sealer and then I apply the the shellac. It goes on heavier than more contemporary techniques as I am not using any oil in this process. I am sealing the pores but am not attempting to fill them so there are only about 18 coats or so.

With regular French polish using bleached shellac and oil the coats go on much thinner and are pretty much burnishing in. I do probably 70 micro coats or so.

Here are some progress pictures of the Woodsman:

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/...94070892_c.jpg

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/...8ef16bea_c.jpg

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/...9f7c9f49_c.jpg

ukejon 01-13-2021 07:45 AM

Do buff with a compound? By hand or machine?

Mark Hatcher 01-14-2021 04:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ukejon (Post 6603398)
Do buff with a compound? By hand or machine?

I buff French polish by hand. On the Woodsman I go a little more traditional with rottenstone and a felt pad.

Lonzo 01-14-2021 06:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mark Hatcher (Post 6604170)
I buff French polish by hand. On the Woodsman I go a little more traditional with rottenstone and a felt pad.

.. and „only 18-70“ coats ...by hand. Good exercise it seems. Thanks for the insight!

BEJ 01-15-2021 12:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mark Hatcher (Post 6602963)
It's coming together nicely. The traditional unbleached shellac technique I use helps me get to the unfettered tone of vintage guitars. It also adds to that old look.



I do French polish a couple of ways. With the Woodsman I try to keep it to how it was more commonly done in the 1800s. There are a couple coats of egg used as a binder and sealer and then I apply the the shellac. It goes on heavier than more contemporary techniques as I am not using any oil in this process. I am sealing the pores but am not attempting to fill them so there are only about 18 coats or so.

With regular French polish using bleached shellac and oil the coats go on much thinner and are pretty much burnishing in. I do probably 70 micro coats or so.

Here are some progress pictures of the Woodsman:

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/...94070892_c.jpg

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/...8ef16bea_c.jpg

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/...9f7c9f49_c.jpg

Mark, good info on the process. Have you ever read any finishing articles by the late George Frank writing in Fine Woodworking? He always had great stories to go with the finishing knowledge. He did a French Polishing article (issue #58 May/Jun'86) that had a lot of detail on materials used and why and how to use various devices for application. His included story on how he became a master at FP is worth the read. The guy was a true piece of work in a good way.

Bruce.

Mark Hatcher 01-16-2021 11:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BEJ (Post 6604940)
Mark, good info on the process. Have you ever read any finishing articles by the late George Frank writing in Fine Woodworking? He always had great stories to go with the finishing knowledge. He did a French Polishing article (issue #58 May/Jun'86) that had a lot of detail on materials used and why and how to use various devices for application. His included story on how he became a master at FP is worth the read. The guy was a true piece of work in a good way.

Bruce.

Thanks for commenting Bruce. I havenít read George Frankís article yet but I look forward to. I was introduced to French polishing by Frank Finochio when I made my second guitar at one of his classes. I later picked up some nice tips from Ervin Somogyi while attending his Masters Voicing Classes. I also got a good start following the methods written by Bob and Orville Milburn.
I made an early commitment to mastering French polish because when well done I personally feel there is no better finish for guitar.

Mark Hatcher 01-16-2021 03:45 PM

What does a luthier do on the weekend?
 
The weekend is here it's time to work on the shop as opposed to in the shop. But I guess I have to be in the shop to work on the shop. In the shop to me means working on guitars, except it's the weekend so it means I'll can work on the shop. Hmm, Maybe I'm spending too much time in the shop :)

If you've been following my posts lately you may know that I'm slowly converting my shop over to non-powered hand tools only. The soul of a power free woodworking shop is the workbench. So I got the best I could afford and I've been making it my own and setting it up for the things I do when making guitars.

I'm in the process of building out the hand tool wall behind it as well. The first thing I added on the back of the workbench was a 6" wide tool shelf. I added it not so much for tools but for catching small stuff that falls off the back of the bench. The bench weighs hundreds of pounds so it isn't easy for one person to move.

The second reason I added the tool shelf was to pull it away from the wall a little bit. It gives me more access to the bench top because I have tools hanging on the before mentioned tool wall. They get in the way and worst case scenario a tool drops from the wall and goes right through the back of an almost finished Tree guitar back.

Then I added a clamping shelf onto the bench end. That comes in handy and it uses the 3/4" hardware I already have. The bench itself has 1" bench dog holes. Another big advantage is it goes over the trash can. I've had a couple small items drop off the tool wall and mysteriously disappear. That won't happen any more!

So this weekend's project is a woodworking job. I saw this picture in an ad for this swing stool:

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/...3be5d594_c.jpg

It would be perfect in pretty much the same spot on my workbench. I do almost all of my work standing but for close work like inlays or cutting the miters around an end graft it's best to sit. This is perfect for that and when I stand up I can easily knee it around out of the way under the bench. No more tripping on that stupid roll-around stool that is always lurking, waiting to strike.

The swing-away stool comes with or without the seat. I have just enough European Beech left over from the tool tray I made to make my own seat. The Beach matches my workbench perfectly with a couple coats on linseed oil on it. I expect the shipment this Wednesday or Thursday and I aim to have the seat ready to go.

I'm joining 5 pieces together to make the seat. My workbenches' laminated top has splines running down the joints for strength and to prevent warps so I thought I'd do that on my seat too. To make it mine I'm making the splines out of Eastern Black Walnut. The ends will show and have a nice contrasting touch:

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/...6c9f2063_c.jpg

Here it is on the workbench getting glued up:

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/...aa379efb_c.jpg

Tomorrow I'll unclamp it and clean it all up and put the finish on. Then back to work in the shop on Monday!

Thanks for getting through all that!
Mark

Guitars44me 01-16-2021 09:49 PM

Work ON the shop
 
I love the idea of a hand tool only Shop! And your seat top will match the bench? How cool is that???

Very nifty!

Enjoy it

Paul

Erithon 01-16-2021 10:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mark Hatcher (Post 6606448)
a tool drops from the wall and goes right through the back of an almost finished Tree guitar back

Honestly terrifying, Mark. Just thinking about it makes me shudder.

Thanks for sharing your bench. I love reading about your iterative shop. I'm looking forward to seeing how the stool turns out under finish.

Carpinteria 01-17-2021 06:55 AM

Great improvements to the shop, Mark, increasing both safety and functionality at the same time. I put a removable tool tray on the back of my bench and am happy with it for the same reasons. The seat should look super with the walnut splines! Thanks for sharing! Dave

cigarfan 01-17-2021 07:54 AM

Guess I wouldn't recognize the place (on the inside). That is an awesome seat Mark. Cool stuff!

Mark Hatcher 01-17-2021 02:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Guitars44me (Post 6606711)
I love the idea of a hand tool only Shop! And your seat top will match the bench? How cool is that???

Very nifty!

Enjoy it

Paul

Thanks Paul, A hand tool only shop offers many opportunities for me to improve both the accuracy and quality of my work buiding guitars. It also improves the environment in which I do the building. It's healthier and more conducive to creativity.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Erithon (Post 6606723)
Honestly terrifying, Mark. Just thinking about it makes me shudder.

Thanks for sharing your bench. I love reading about your iterative shop. I'm looking forward to seeing how the stool turns out under finish.

Thanks Erithon! I do try to keep things changing. I learn more and am more inspired that way.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Carpinteria (Post 6606862)
Great improvements to the shop, Mark, increasing both safety and functionality at the same time. I put a removable tool tray on the back of my bench and am happy with it for the same reasons. The seat should look super with the walnut splines! Thanks for sharing! Dave

Thanks Carpinteria, While it is an improvement both for safety and functionality I'll admit that it was the cool look of the swing away stool that first caught my eye!

Quote:

Originally Posted by cigarfan (Post 6606896)
Guess I wouldn't recognize the place (on the inside). That is an awesome seat Mark. Cool stuff!

Thanks cigarfan! There are a bunch of changes but I think you'd still recognize the overall layout.

Well the glue dried and I cleaned up the Euro Beech seat this morning:

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/...0076e9e2_c.jpg

Here it is with the first Linseed oil coat drying:

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/...ec801a06_b.jpg

So I'm all set for the base to come this week and I'll get this all set up!

Mark


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