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PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 3:05 pm 
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First name: John
Last Name: Parchem
City: Seattle
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I put my definition of a session in because there are no real standard. I've successfully tried so many methods they all sort of smear together in my head. Now I charge my muneca like Robbie O'Brien teaches. I remove, for me a felt wad, from the muneca put a bunch of something close to a 1 pound cut of shellac on the felt. I ring it out and re-wrap it in the out side linen cloth. I tighten the cloth until I can just see shellac steep through and then I back off. Starting with a very light touch so as not to squeeze out shellac. I go across the guitar with the grain until I start to feel the muneca pull. I add maybe a drop of oil and start polishing the surface. While watching how the shellac is going on (a quickly evaporating tail) I slowly add pressure until the pad is quite dry. I end the session with long with the grain strokes, still with a lot of pressure. With this method I can go over a surface many times before the muneca is really dry. When I finish a session the surface already feels dry. This would be on a top or a back or a side not the whole guitar in what I call a session.

The amount of pressure and how you move with the muneca is a touch sort of thing, I thought about the learning experience and the best analogy I could come up with was learning to ride a bike, it seemed impossible until it wasn't.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 5:45 pm 
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johnparchem wrote:
I put my definition of a session in because there are no real standard. I've successfully tried so many methods they all sort of smear together in my head. Now I charge my muneca like Robbie O'Brien teaches. I remove, for me a felt wad, from the muneca put a bunch of something close to a 1 pound cut of shellac on the felt. I ring it out and re-wrap it in the out side linen cloth. I tighten the cloth until I can just see shellac steep through and then I back off. Starting with a very light touch so as not to squeeze out shellac. I go across the guitar with the grain until I start to feel the muneca pull. I add maybe a drop of oil and start polishing the surface. While watching how the shellac is going on (a quickly evaporating tail) I slowly add pressure until the pad is quite dry. I end the session with long with the grain strokes, still with a lot of pressure. With this method I can go over a surface many times before the muneca is really dry. When I finish a session the surface already feels dry. This would be on a top or a back or a side not the whole guitar in what I call a session.

The amount of pressure and how you move with the muneca is a touch sort of thing, I thought about the learning experience and the best analogy I could come up with was learning to ride a bike, it seemed impossible until it wasn't.


Sounds quite different from the Tom Bills techniques. I'm starting to think the methods have similar elements but operate on different scales. (Of course this is just my own, possibly very flawed, understanding of both methods.) Plunging boldly ahead in the hopes of revealing and hence relieving my ignorance, the common idea seems to be: start out with a decent amount of material on the muneca, apply the material to the surface, as the stuff is deposited and the pad dries out, continue to polish the surface to work material into pores, draw it around to level things out, and end by polishing with a very dry pad to harden the surface. Where they differ seems to be that, compared to TomB, you start with more material on the muneca and spread it over a larger area before the pad dries out and then polish that larger area with bigger strokes. Maybe.

Maybe I'm trying too hard to figure this out intellectually. I hear you saying I have to just keep practicing until I develop my own feel for it. TomB says pretty much the same thing.

Today I did another bodying coat and tried practicing some of the techniques I've read about in this thread. Stiffening seemed to make a pretty big difference for me. It disappeared most of the smudges I've been seeing. Spiriting was a little less successful for me this time because I left a lot of streaks behind. Guess I'll have to practice that some more, maybe with more or less alcohol. In general, I think I'm happier with today's results because I worked a little faster and finished off with some longer strokes across the surface. I think the smudges I was getting were something like lap marks where I started and overlapped sections as I moved along the back. So it seems like I'm evolving toward some kind of a hybrid - somewhere between your method, Elman's, and Tom B's.

Thanks a gazillion for your help. This guitar may not be perfect but I think I'll get a decent finish on it after all and the next one will be better.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 6:11 pm 
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Having watched both videos recently and trying both methods I've had better success with the Bills approach. I believe the reason is indeed with how dry he's working. For someone with no technique, it's easier to manage, IMO.

If you are using the Bills method, a session is indeed working over the whole instrument once. Try to do this 2-3 times per day, that gives time for the finish to harden a bit. That's what has worked for me so far.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 6:13 pm 
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Also, I'll add - If you are using the Bills method, don't stress too much about the pad smears, if you are getting that. Like when the pad gets stuck a bit or small fibers pull out of the pad when working with it super dry. You'll clean all that up with the micromesh later.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:12 am 
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Thanks Brad. When doing this for the first time it's hard to know what's a problem and what's an expected result. This helps.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 2:49 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 12:45 pm
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Location: Windermere, FL
Here is how to prepare your core for your muñeca.

1 - Drop the core into a 2 lb cut of shellac.
Let it saturate.
2 - Take it out of the shellac.
3 - Ring it out until it stops dripping - gloves are handy here.
4 - Place it in a glass jar. I use glass mayonnaise jars.
5 - keep the lid semi open.
6 - This will let some of the alcohol evaporate from the core but not all.
One or two days should be enough.
7 - Rap the core in your favorite covering and it’s ready to use for first bodying session.


Explanation:
After 24 to 48 hours, the shellac in the core has gotten harder.
This will prevent it from flowing out too fast.

When you add 3 to 6 drops of 1lb. shellac and 3 to 6 drops of alcohol to the face of your muñeca,
what you are actually doing is to remelt the harder shellac in the pad and this lets it wick out.
The # of drops is of course variable.
You need to adjust until the muñeca is performing well.
i.e. Getting a nice thick vapor trail.
When you start to loose your trail is probably time to add more drops of shellac and alcohol to the muñeca.
Always redistribute shellac by tapping on palm of hand.
You can also just squeeze it in random ways :-)

As the shellac on the surface starts to get a little too soft. i.e. gummy.
Stop adding shellac to the muñeca and only add alcohol.
This is where you enter the stiffing stage.
You don’t have to do this very long.
You are just trying to minimize any thing you consider to be objectionable imperfections.
It’s better to fix things now than to wait for the shellac to get too hard.
That being said you are not looking for perfection at this stage.


After stiffing:
Now heavily reload the muñeca from the face with 2lb,
redistribute the shellac by tapping on palm, and place it back in the jar with lid slightly open.
This is also variable - Some times I just leave the lid off all together, If I’m in a rush.
After an hour brake you should be able to come back and do another bodying session.


Next bodying session:
Before starting a new bodying session.
Add the alcohol and shellac to the face of the pad.
Tap it vigorously agains the palm of your hand to redistribute shellac.
Have a scrap piece of wood for testing ( dark is better)
When everything is going good in the test surface, and you are getting some nice vapor trails.
You are ready to take it to the guitar.

Always get the pad working well on the test surface before going to the guitar.

When you are done for the day.
Follow steps 1 through 5 above.


Disclaimer: I did not deal with pumice and oil.
I’m going to assume you understand how those work ?
Just incase. This is how I deal with pumice.
Put a little pumice in test surface.
Rub it with your finger to grind it.
Pick it up with the face of your pad.
Clear it from the face of the pad by adding a little alcohol to the face of the pad.
Rub the face of the pad against the palm of your hand.
Go back to the test surface to test.

Hope that was not too confusing.

Cheers


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:34 pm 
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Country: USA
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Status: Amateur
Great tutorial. Thanks so much for this, Elman.


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