Wednesday, June 2, 2010

French Polish again

So I was unhappy with my progress on my first French Polish attempt. It wasn't going well, and on top of that, I sorta made an unrecoverable mistake on the back. It didn't look professional. So I stripped it and started over.

For the past week and a half or so, I've been building coats. I've been cheating with my technique. I wipe on shellac, then I let it dry. I cut the ridges with sand paper, and then rub it out. And repeat. I've built up a nice finish, and am about ready to do final bodying.

When I first finished the neck, it had a nice color, but up close it looked bad. I have not been able to get a good stain color on the neck that looks nice. The neck is a solid piece of mahogany, and it doesn't soak up stain evenly. It really looked terrible on the last application, believe me. This time, I have a clear base, and I'll be doing bodying with garnet shellac, which will darken it some. This will give the neck an even color, without streaking where the end grain is exposed on the headstock and heel. But then it will wear unevenly. Still, this will look best in terms of a coloring option.

I haven't yet been able to take a picture that looks like the real finish color. The flash makes it look too light and reddish/orange, and my digital camera does funny things with natural lighting.

Shots of the neck without flash.

Shots of the neck with flash.

The top.

Rosette detail.

The back.

Check out the rosewood binding in this picture. I really like how the color of it contrasts against the body. It came out better than I could've imagined it.

I still have work to do on the sides. This is what it looks like before it gets 'scuff-sanded'. The binding in this picture looks uneven, the upper piece looks lighter than the lower piece. That's just a weird flash effect.


  1. Are there plans available for this 0017 model?

  2. Hi Michael,
    Thanks for asking. I literally sorta winged it on this guitar. I bought a 00 mold, used body dimensions from Martin, and looked at images of bracing of old guitars, and drew a plan that looked just like those pictures. I just tried to make everything look like a Martin guitar. I did get some measurements for the placement of the x, distance from the soundhole, etc, ...and I just used all the authentic info I could get from real 30's guitars. I did make a scale drawing of the bracing plan I used. I'd be happy to send it to you, but at the moment I have no idea how to copy it. I'd encourage you instead to try to get a real plan from John Arnold. I have his dreadnaught and his OM drawings, they are great. His are copied from pre-war Martins. My 00 drawing is just a best guess, but it is probably close, as it looks just like the pictures of bracing posted early in this blog.