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Another Way to Hold a Guitar Body with Two Holdfasts and a Box!

Without some way of holding the work, a workbench is hardly more than a table.

Scott Landis, The Workbench Book, 1987


A deadline is fast approaching and I have at least one more French polish session to do on the bearclaw Sitka spruce/granadillo guitar for Kyle Throw, an up and coming young classical guitarist in Denver, Colorado.

The trickiest part about French polishing a guitar is where the sides join the heel, you have to really smash down your polishing pad to get the shellac in the corner of the junction. And you can't work the area too much at a time or you will soften the shellac you just put down.

A bench mounted vise holds the guitar by the head stock or neck when I French polish, one problem with this is I have a limited view of that junction. Really, I can't the bench light just right to reflect off the shellac so I can see how much I am putting down.


Boards cut and ready to go!

I decided to remedy that problem today, I decided to make a guitar body holding box that can be mounted to the bench apron.

I got this idea from Scott Landis's The Workshop Book. Turn to page 31 of his book and you will see a photo of the workshop of Jeffery Elliot and Cyndy Burton. In the photo you see Jeff working on a guitar that is being held in a box.

Smart idea!

There was a handful of ponderosa/lodgepole pine boards in my other workshop, just right to make the box. No plans needed, I figured two inches wider and deeper than the guitar box. The rest I "eagle eyed".




Kyle's guitar swaddled in bubble wrap

A battery powered drill, some screws and the box quickly went together...





I marked the location for the holdfast holes and drilled them with my trust Stanley brace and Irwin drill bit...





and the hold fasts, well, um, hold the box tightly to the bench apron.





In this above photo, the redwood/Indian rosewood copy of a 1961 Hernandez y Aguado guitar sits well in the box ready for more alcohol/pumice pore filling.

The beauty of holding the guitar in such a box is the quick access to the sides on either side of the heel joint. It means a better job of French polishing!

Now, get out to your workshop and make something!

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