Monday, April 9, 2012

Tips on French Polishing

(Hector) Berlioz himself was a guitarist-not in Paganini's class, perhaps, but from all accounts a remarkable player.

Frederic V. Grunfeld, The Art and Times of the Guitar, 1969





A few tips on french polish.


Tip #1: if your wife is into fiber arts (spinning, knitting and beading) like mine ask her for some wool from a fleece she has sitting in one of her trunks. Wash the wool making sure that you don't felt any of it and let it dry.





Borrow her cards (this reminds me of when I showed Suffolk sheep in 4H when I was a kid, I had to cut and card the wool to the right height in order to place well in the show) and card the wool to a nice fluffy state.





The wool in my right hand is uncarded, the wool in my left hand is carded.





Tip #2: Place the wool in a 4x4 inch piece of Irish linen hankerchief material, I know that it is pricey, I paid almost $25 a yard for the stuff, but it is worth every penny of it! It's available at www.elfriedesfinefabrics.com in Boulder, Colorado.





Add 1.5ml of EverClear then 1ml of 2lb cut shellac, make your pad and start polishing. I was amazed at how well the Irish linen works as a pad cover, you can't go wrong with this stuff.





(Ron: This photo is for you. I spent an hour this evening working on the cedar/maple guitar and the finish is building up nicely again after the crack repair. I'll work on french polishing the neck tomorrow night and then work on the body on successive nights. It is such a wonderful guitar, when I work on it I think about when my friend, Leo, gave me the maple board for the back and sides, finding the right cedar shakes for the top, resawing out the back and sides, assembling the whole dang thing. And it sounds wonderful to boot!)


Tip #3: Buy and watch Ron Fernandez's DVD on French Polishing for Guitar Makers!


Rob Reid at classicalguitartraining.com just linked one of my posts to his site and asked me if I would do a Part 2 on the basic tool kit for guitar making. I will, so stay posted. In the mean time, if you want to make a guitar buy Wm. Cumpiano's Guitarmaking and Making Master Guitars by Roy Courtnall, those books will tell you everything that you need!

Here's a YouTube of Reid performing a work by Jorge Morel. Enjoy!



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