viernes, 30 de marzo de 2012

Building 96 and 97

Here you have 2 different ways of gluing the center reinforcement to the back.
Number 96 is a 2A flamenca blanca. With German spruce top and Canadian cypress back and sides. Number 97 is a cedar top blanca with med. Cypress, soundport and mechanical pegs.

(2A means "segunda" or second. A lower priced guitar with less ornamentation and lesser grade woods.)

lunes, 26 de marzo de 2012

wood for violins

All this fiddle/violin thing has made me take the descission to start building a violins from scratch. So I surfed around and found a place in Slovakia where there were a 50% + 20% sale in February, so I bought wood for 5 violins. Lets se what future brings.

jueves, 22 de marzo de 2012

guitar 95 finished

So here is a very nice, loud and vibrant blanca with a soundport ready to leave the workshop and start a new life in sweet italy.

martes, 20 de marzo de 2012

guitar 94 finished

So here you have a dark and serious classical guitar based on the Hernandez y Aguado concept. I think its very pretty and elegant.

domingo, 18 de marzo de 2012

Playing the fiddle

As promissed, a video. An Irish reel called the Silver spear. After 18 or 20 years without playing the violin, here we go. I´ve played 7 days now and I´m happy. There´s a long way to go, but thats just great.

sábado, 17 de marzo de 2012

Fiddle finished

Well, here she is. I´ve had strings on for 6 days, but I waited untill today with polishing or better said, anti polishing. I rubbed the whole thing in a very fine pumice and oil in order to make it satin gloss instead of high gloss. The finish is a bit blotched on the belly but its not to bad. I made an error while sealing the wood that I added a bit of color and it stained the spruce to much and not very even.
The best is that it sounds surprisingly well and even better that I´m playing a lot better than I thought I would. But more about that very soon. I´ll try to record a video this weekend...

jueves, 8 de marzo de 2012

French polishing

Here you have my workshop when French polishing. I´ve been asked many times to explain how to French polish. Its something that I find close to impossible to explain. French polishing is a very intuitive and organic process and as a such its close to impossible to write it down. The different tutorials that you can find are so bad in opinion, that they are hardly worth reading.
What I´ll do, is to throw in some few thoughts of mine.
I´ll start with the photo. You see from the left:
A piece of cloth, that is where I´ll put my pad. A plate with pumice and vaseline oil. In front of this a 400 grit sandpaper (later in the process it´ll be 800 grit and 2400 micromesh) A plastic bottle with Shellack, a bottle with 96% alcohol and behind that a glass where I keep my pads so that they dont dry out.
There are some basic proceses:
*sealing the wood with a thin layer of shellack.
*On top of that you start the porefilling. You only use alcohol on the pad. Take your time, dont use to much pumice and not to much alcohol either. The idea is to dillute the shellack already on the wood and make a smeary mess that hopefully ends in the pores of the wood. Let it dry and sand it . Continue the process until more or less happy. (Although I must admit that its difficult to be happy when porefilling). Give it a layer of shellack, let it dry and take a look. Most probably you´ll find out that there werent any reason to be happy..... So more pumice, more alcohol etc.
When you´ve reached the point where you are depressed, stop porefilling, give it all a layer extra of shellack, let it dry for a day and sand it quite heavily. You need to have a more or less level surface. Now go on to next step which is building a body of shellack. Small imperfections will be filled with shellack and you can always add a little bit of pumice to that darn pore or two that wasnt filled. Porefilling can be done all the way up to the final layers.
* Building up body: Well this where its real French polishing. There are many ways of doing that. But here are a few basic concepts. The idea is to add a layer of shellack that is thick enough to be sanded level before the final layers of shellack. The pad can be loaded on the top or or from the back, inside the pad itself. It depends on you and the pad you´re using. The oil is very important and so is the thichkness of the shellack. This you have to try yourself and find what works for you.
Only use circular movements eights or circles, never stop on the surface and never do sharp turns. They always leave a signal. When not doing round movements, land and take of the surface as if it was an aeroplane. As light as possible. In general, try to add as little as possible and press very little, especially in the start of a session and press a little bit more when the pad is getting dryer. Finish every session adding a few drops of alcohol to your pad and do long strokes with the grain using the aeroplane tecnique.
* Leave to dry some days. Then sand flat with a relatively fine paper. I scruff sand very lightly with 400, sand with 800 and I finish off with 0000 steel wool, but you can use micromesh as well.
* Final layers: Thin the shellack and do mostly long straight aeroplane landings and takeoffs. The idea is to make a thin layer, as perfect as possible, of shellack. Use very little shellack and oil, dont try to cover it all in one go. Its better to do a few short sessions and let dry for half an hour in between. In practice, on a guitar body that means doing all 4 sides, play a tune on your favorite instrumen or pet your favorite animal, then go back and do all 4 sides etc. When its all covered, then sing a song or dance because thats it...
* Well, it used to be "Thats it" BUT in these days of stupid perfection, we the professionals have to leave the surfaces as close to glossy glass as possible. So here we go again. Sand with 2000 grit or finer or use micro mesh. Dont take to much off and pray to your local or favorite devine that you are not going to take to much of because then you have to go back to the final polishing state.........
* Polish the guitar with a car polish without silicone or a vinyl sealer. And be proud. Thats important. You have entered the world of mysterious old fashion ways of doing things.

miércoles, 7 de marzo de 2012

lunes, 5 de marzo de 2012

Fiddle in white

So here you have the fiddle before varnishing. I have no bow at the moment, so I havent tried it. It looks very good on the photo, but it has its things and dings.
I didnt take any pictures when I fitted the neck. I was so concentrated that I forgot the world.

jueves, 1 de marzo de 2012

Closing the box of the fiddle kit

So here we go. Closing the box. I decided to clamp the box together before gluing. The edge of the soundboard and the sides I had given a thin layer of Hot hide glue and then after it had dried, I clamped the box together and slowly started dilluting the glue with a palette knife that was soaked in boiling water. It went very well. No problems at all.