The body and neck are finished on the emerald guitar. The first in the series is almost ready to finish. A great guitar so far, but an uphill battle to get the details right. Jay is feeling good about this one. The pace of the build slowed down at this point. The next pictures took place over around 2 weeks. The idea here was that all good things happen slowly. The build has been successful so far. No reason to ruin it by rushing forward and applying a poor finish.
After finishing comes set up. This is painless as the CNC makes our nut, giving us pre-cut slots and even string spacing. Getting the height of the nut is easy using a sander. After this there are a few more details, like dots and a truss rod cover, to add.
The body and neck are sanded down to 800 grit to remove all the scratches. Most of the scratches are put in by the drum sander, so using the 80 grit is the most important part. The largest scratches are the most troublesome. This takes twice as long as predicted every time. Once it’s completed the instrument feels amazing to the touch, silky smooth.
The acrylic lacquer is air brushed on. While spraying, It’s important to get even layers. The brush must be held a certain distance away to make sure the right thickness is appled. From what we’ve been able to figure out, finishing is an inexact process. It has many variables that change daily. Temperature, humidity and others affect the way the lacquer dries and cures. What we do is the best process so far that we’ve found through trial and error.
It dries then is sanded down. The amount of time it spends drying influences how hard it is when sanding.
A layer is applied and then sanded off down. The wood is like a landscape, it contains high and low spots. The goal is to raise everything to an even level. The first layers fill in the valleys in the wood, then the peaks are sanded down.
The same is done with the neck
Polished up and looking fine
The bridge is made then glued on. The finish is thin enough on the top that it can be sanded away to allow space for the bridge to be glued on.
The finished bridge. We made some changes to the split saddle bridge since the last time it was pictured. The changes were made to make the presentation cleaner. The saddle plates were turned into a singular saddle plate. The gaps between the edges were eliminate and the edges have a lift tab to remove it. I think it looks better
The nut is made
The neck is put on
The nut is trimmed to size. A pencil is used to pull the strings up then the nut is removed and sanded down. Our sander is a lathe that has a piece of sandpaper glued to the wheel. The variable speed makes it excellent for fine sanding work.
The truss rod cover is put on. In the past truss rod covers weren’t used. We heard feedback from multiple people that a truss rod cover looked better. The thought process behind leaving one out was that in a performance guitar the player wants to have easy access to the truss rod. Unscrewing a cover creates a burden. This was solved by using magnets in the cover and the truss rod slot.
A few more details were cleaned up and presto! the guitar is finished
The next round of pictures will be the final product shoot.