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Day 15 - Beginning finish

Day 15: The guitars are really coming together. I sanded a lot today and things are looking pretty good. The body is about assembled, other than gluing on the bridge. We located its position and taped it off so not to get any finish on it (i.e., it’s glued directly to the top as a wood-on-wood connection). We also learned how to apply the shellac finish and I applied the first couple of rounds to the top towards the end of the day.

One of the most important tasks of the whole project, and one I was worried about, was checking the set (i.e., angle of) the neck. I got lucky (or had been pretty careful throughout the process) and my neck was pretty close with minimal tweaking, while others spent more time getting theirs correctly lined up. While I was thankful that mine came together without much fuss, learning how to manipulate the neck set would probably have been an interesting experience. With all the work on the neck set, I’m getting pretty good at bolting and unbolting the neck and the body (i.e., attaching and detaching the neck).

Miles, the shop cat, decided he wanted to hang out on my dad's guitar.

After the neck was correctly set, we were able to find the exact position of the fretboard on the neck, and then glued it into place (the picture below is holding it in place, prior to setting it up for gluing).

In between other tasks, I glued in my inlay into the headstock. It still needs sanding, but so far it’s looking pretty good. Overall, the degrees of freedom are starting to decrease and a manageable to do list is emerging. At the beginning of the project, there were so many things we needed to do, and I had no sense of what exactly needed to be done each day. But now we “only” have a few things remaining to do; these aren’t necessarily easy tasks, but I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel: 

  • Carve the neck and heel
  • Radius the fretboard
  • Install frets and position markers
  • Finish shaping the bridge and glue it in place
  • Make the nut and saddle, and figure out the intonation
  • Put the first layer of finish on the back and sides (after putting on the pore filler)
  • Continue working on the finish on the top
  • Install the tuners and string it up!

Arrived at the workshop at 7:30, 45 minutes for lunch, an hour for dinner, and called it a day at 10pm.

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