Official Luthiers Forum!

Solely owned and operated by Lance Kragenbrink
It is currently Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:48 am


All times are UTC - 5 hours


Forum rules


Be nice, no cussin and enjoy!




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 32 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 9:07 am 
Offline
Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:35 am
Posts: 96
Location: Hopkinton, MA
First name: Robert
Last Name: Ionta
City: Hopkinton
State: Massachusetts
Zip/Postal Code: 01748
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
I'm french polishing my first guitar. I'm following the Tom Bills course and getting surprisingly great results so far. The guitar is mahogany/sitka. So far I've done the pore filling with pumice and 4 bodying coats and the shine is starting to build up very nicely. But I've been using super-blonde shellac and the mahogany is looking too brown for my liking. I'd like to add some red.

I have some garnet shellac. Can anyone tell me what sort of trouble I might get into by switching from super-blonde to garnet in the middle of body coats? Will it be difficult to make the color look even?

Thanks in advance for the wisdom of the french polish gurus out there.

--Bob


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 2:50 pm 
Offline
Contributing Member
Contributing Member
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 4:44 am
Posts: 3173
First name: colin
Last Name: north
Country: Scotland.
Focus: Build
Status: Semi-pro
Got any test panels?

_________________
“There are two men inside the artist, the poet and the craftsman. One is born a poet. One becomes a craftsman.” - Emile Zola


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 4:00 pm 
Offline
Cocobolo
Cocobolo

Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2017 8:43 am
Posts: 116
If you're a member of the FB page w Luthier's Edge you may want to ask there as I know most of those guys do the same process....


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 4:59 pm 
Offline
Contributing Member
Contributing Member
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 11:07 am
Posts: 705
Location: Cobourg ON
First name: Steve
Last Name: Denvir
City: Baltimore
State: ON
Zip/Postal Code: K0K 1C0
Country: Canada
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Hey Bob, I ran into the same thing recently. I tried a session with garnet shellac, and the difference was very subtle. I imagine that if you continued with the garnet, it would darken appreciably, but you can control that by switching back and forth.

Be careful with your top though. That can go dark in a big hurry.

Steve


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 6:08 pm 
Offline
Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:35 am
Posts: 96
Location: Hopkinton, MA
First name: Robert
Last Name: Ionta
City: Hopkinton
State: Massachusetts
Zip/Postal Code: 01748
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Thanks Mr. Snow. I'm not much of a Facebook user but I'll have to check that out.

Steve, I tried it today. You're right (of course). The difference is very subtle, at least after only 1 session. In fact I don't really see a difference so far. I'm going to keep going with the garnet until it starts to look too dark. I suspect I'll be ready to call it done before it gets that dark. I'm going to stick with the super blonde for the top.

Thanks!!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:58 am 
Offline
Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 12:45 pm
Posts: 80
Location: Windermere, FL
Stay with blond or super blond until everything is even and level. Switch to darker colors. Work thin until you get to the darkness you want. If things go wrong. Lightly sand back to the "clear coat" i.e. the blond. Hope that helps.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 8:51 pm 
Offline
Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:35 am
Posts: 96
Location: Hopkinton, MA
First name: Robert
Last Name: Ionta
City: Hopkinton
State: Massachusetts
Zip/Postal Code: 01748
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Ah. Well, I already switched to the garnet shellac and have done 2 body sessions with that. I plan to do 1 more before I level sand. Do you think I'll have trouble sanding through the darker coats? The mahogany is pretty smooth without a lot of deep pores. Maybe that will work in my favor.

On the top, I did just 1 session with garnet and got a nice sort of vintage- looking color on the spruce. Then I switched back to super blonde for a few more. I hope I can hang onto that color as it is right now.

Thanks for the help.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 7:38 am 
Offline
Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 12:45 pm
Posts: 80
Location: Windermere, FL
Just be gentle when sanding. Nothing coarser than 1200 to 2000 wet and dry. Don't feel the urge to level at this point. If you find dips or a pin holes. Go back to adding more shellac. And of course try to do leveling during the french polishing process i.e. stiffing.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 9:20 pm 
Offline
Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:35 am
Posts: 96
Location: Hopkinton, MA
First name: Robert
Last Name: Ionta
City: Hopkinton
State: Massachusetts
Zip/Postal Code: 01748
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Hi Elman, could you explain a bit on that last part about "stiffing"? I can only guess that means using a very dry (stuff?) pad to sort of buff the finish as you go with the body coats. Is that close?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 12:08 am 
Offline
Contributing Member
Contributing Member
User avatar

Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2006 7:37 am
Posts: 4178
I listened to the replay of the latest webinar today as I was working today. Tom talked about shellac color somewhere around the 1 hour mark. If you search the Luthier's Edge site, he also has a few color recipes that might be helpful. I found that the kusmi gave me a nice warm color with some of the red you're looking for.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 10:57 am 
Offline
Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:35 am
Posts: 96
Location: Hopkinton, MA
First name: Robert
Last Name: Ionta
City: Hopkinton
State: Massachusetts
Zip/Postal Code: 01748
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
I really wish I had been making some test panels as I went along with this, as Colin suggested. I'm pretty far down the road now tho and it would take a week or two to reproduce what I've done so far. Good lesson for next time.

I'll check out the Tom Bills webinar. Thanks for the tip. I'm letting the guitar rest for a couple of days before sanding so I'm tackling some overdue jobs around the house. It won't break my heart to take some time out to listen to the webinar. Eat Drink


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:07 am 
Offline
Contributing Member
Contributing Member
User avatar

Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2006 7:37 am
Posts: 4178
bionta wrote:
I really wish I had been making some test panels as I went along with this, as Colin suggested. I'm pretty far down the road now tho and it would take a week or two to reproduce what I've done so far. Good lesson for next time.

I'll check out the Tom Bills webinar. Thanks for the tip. I'm letting the guitar rest for a couple of days before sanding so I'm tackling some overdue jobs around the house. It won't break my heart to take some time out to listen to the webinar. Eat Drink


I know the feeling, trust me. Let me ask you a question though. In a year, will you have wished you'd taken that week, or is the current finish something you're happy with?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 1:31 pm 
Offline
Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 12:45 pm
Posts: 80
Location: Windermere, FL
“Stiffing”

Towards the end of the bodying session.

When your pad starts to run out of shellac.
Instead of adding more shellac you start to only add alcohol and oil.
Not too much of either.
Just enough that the alcohol melts the previous layer and just enough oil that your pad does not stick.

This step will melt the shellac you’ve already added during the bodying session and now you can press harder to level any ridges, ripples or imperfections that were created during the bodying session.


“Spiriting”

Lastly, do some Spiriting to remove excess oil.
“Spiriting” is when you only add alcohol and glide in and out of your surface lightly.
All you are trying to do here is to remove oil.
Let the pad dry out.
At first, do not press hard during this step.
Here, as the alcohol evaporates from the pad you can also take the opportunity to press harder helping to level the shellac.
This is similar to stiffing but here you never add shellac.
Only alcohol.

French polishing is always a balance between shellac, oil, alcohol, light pressure and heavy pressure.
This is why french polishing is so tricky.
If any of these elements are out of balance things won’t go well.
You have to keep track of all of them.
I have decades of experience and can go months when everything is easy and then one day it all goes to $#!t.

To much of one thing or to little of the other and who knows what’s what.
At this point I just start over again by cleaning my pad and reloading it.
After reloading let it dry out for two days in a glass jar with the lit slightly open and it should be ready to go again - for the next bodying session.

Hope that helps.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 2:13 pm 
Offline
Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:35 am
Posts: 96
Location: Hopkinton, MA
First name: Robert
Last Name: Ionta
City: Hopkinton
State: Massachusetts
Zip/Postal Code: 01748
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
James Orr wrote:
bionta wrote:
I really wish I had been making some test panels as I went along with this, as Colin suggested. I'm pretty far down the road now tho and it would take a week or two to reproduce what I've done so far. Good lesson for next time


I know the feeling, trust me. Let me ask you a question though. In a year, will you have wished you'd taken that week, or is the current finish something you're happy with?


I'm actually pretty thrilled with the finish I'm getting so far. This is much to my surprise. I half expected a sticky mess for my first attempt at french polish. Instead I'm amazed at how quickly it built up into a nice, glossy finish. Well, "quickly" being a relative term - I've been working on it for a little more than 2 weeks. I'm almost tempted to just stop where I am because it looks finished and feels great under my fingers. But it was pretty easy to do and even fun. I hope I don't mess it up in the last steps.

Now that you've pushed me a little bit (a welcome kind of push) I will go back and make some test panels. I'm planning to use a nearly identical set of mahogany and spruce for my next guitar and it would be really valuable to practice on the cut-offs with some different colors of shellac. I have some kusmi button lac, and blonde, super-blonde, orange, and garnet flakes. (I've used shellac quite a lot for finishing woodwork, floors and furniture in the past so I have a supply on hand.) I also have some rottenstone that I'd like to try for pore fill to see if the darker color looks different and good on the mahogany.

Thanks for the advice and encouragement.



These users thanked the author bionta for the post: James Orr (Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:05 pm)
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 2:22 pm 
Offline
Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:35 am
Posts: 96
Location: Hopkinton, MA
First name: Robert
Last Name: Ionta
City: Hopkinton
State: Massachusetts
Zip/Postal Code: 01748
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Wow. Great explanation. Thanks very, very much. I haven't viewed the last few sessions of the Tom Bills videos but so far nothing I've seen or read in his finishing schedule mentions stiffing. I think he relies on the "paint-on, pull over" technique to accomplish the smoothing. He applies finish with a circular motion and ends with a straight-line pull back over the swirled area when the pad is getting dry. He describes that as a way to pull shellac into pores and low spots as you polish. Stiffing sounds like something I need to learn.

Thanks again. It's incredible to have this forum with folks like you who have a lot of experience and are generous about sharing it.

Elman Concepcion wrote:
“Stiffing”

Towards the end of the bodying session.

When your pad starts to run out of shellac.
Instead of adding more shellac you start to only add alcohol and oil.
Not too much of either.
Just enough that the alcohol melts the previous layer and just enough oil that your pad does not stick.

This step will melt the shellac you’ve already added during the bodying session and now you can press harder to level any ridges, ripples or imperfections that were created during the bodying session.


“Spiriting”

Lastly, do some Spiriting to remove excess oil.
“Spiriting” is when you only add alcohol and glide in and out of your surface lightly.
All you are trying to do here is to remove oil.
Let the pad dry out.
At first, do not press hard during this step.
Here, as the alcohol evaporates from the pad you can also take the opportunity to press harder helping to level the shellac.
This is similar to stiffing but here you never add shellac.
Only alcohol.

French polishing is always a balance between shellac, oil, alcohol, light pressure and heavy pressure.
This is why french polishing is so tricky.
If any of these elements are out of balance things won’t go well.
You have to keep track of all of them.
I have decades of experience and can go months when everything is easy and then one day it all goes to $#!t.

To much of one thing or to little of the other and who knows what’s what.
At this point I just start over again by cleaning my pad and reloading it.
After reloading let it dry out for two days in a glass jar with the lit slightly open and it should be ready to go again - for the next bodying session.

Hope that helps.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 3:01 pm 
Offline
Koa
Koa
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 12:17 pm
Posts: 646
City: Escondido
State: CA
Zip/Postal Code: 92029
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Semi-pro
Tom skips traditional "stiffening" or "spiriting" (I always thought of that as one step) by doing a final sand and polish using modern materials. Nothing wrong with that, just not 100% traditional.

I am a recent convert to this venerable art. I have never built more than 4 guitars in a year. If I build a dozen or more a year someday spraying some kind of UV cured or catalyzed finish would probably become a necessity. For now, the time spent French Polishing is comparable to what I spend fixing runs, Orange peel, sand throughs, working through the grits, etc. But the process is way more enjoyable, far less toxic, and so far much more consistent. Why we jump over FP and go straight to spray finishing when we start building is a mystery to me.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 4:12 pm 
Offline
Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:35 am
Posts: 96
Location: Hopkinton, MA
First name: Robert
Last Name: Ionta
City: Hopkinton
State: Massachusetts
Zip/Postal Code: 01748
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Ah. That explains the difference. Yup, Bills uses 3600 grit micro mesh followed by 3 final bodying coats and a rub-out with Novus #2 scratch remover (with genuine Bounty paper towels of course ;) ).

Incidentally, I've gotta say his course has been great. It's a topic that I'm sure would be best learned in face-to-face, hands-on tutelage with a master but Tom's video just might be the next best thing. He's annoyingly thorough, often repetitive, and sometimes the videos are a little like watching paint dry but he really gets the message across and I've found it possible to get an excellent finish on my first try with his instruction. I'm impressed and feel it's been more than worth the $29 for a month of membership. I'm planning to take advantage of some of his other courses in the future.

I'm with you on the production volume issue and appreciation of the reliability and non-toxicity of the finish. I plan to make as many more guitars as I can but I'm not sure I'll ever exceed 4 guitars/year myself. For one thing, I only know just so many people I could give them away to and I'm sure my wife would notice if I had to start throwing out furniture to fit more guitars in the house. Maybe someday I'll try to figure out how to sell some but it's not high on my list of priorities.

rlrhett wrote:
Tom skips traditional "stiffening" or "spiriting" (I always thought of that as one step) by doing a final sand and polish using modern materials. Nothing wrong with that, just not 100% traditional.

I am a recent convert to this venerable art. I have never built more than 4 guitars in a year. If I build a dozen or more a year someday spraying some kind of UV cured or catalyzed finish would probably become a necessity. For now, the time spent French Polishing is comparable to what I spend fixing runs, Orange peel, sand throughs, working through the grits, etc. But the process is way more enjoyable, far less toxic, and so far much more consistent. Why we jump over FP and go straight to spray finishing when we start building is a mystery to me.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:20 am 
Offline
Contributing Member
Contributing Member
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2007 7:05 am
Posts: 9139
Location: United States
First name: Waddy
Last Name: Thomson
City: Charlotte
State: NC
Focus: Build
Status: Semi-pro
A French polish purist would never think of using an abrasive in the process other than pumice. Stiffing and spiriting replace the abrasives, and if done correctly will give a glass smooth finish.

_________________
Waddy

Waddy Thomson Guitars

Photobucket Build Album Library

Sound Clips of most of my guitars


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:32 pm 
Offline
Contributing Member
Contributing Member
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:36 am
Posts: 5138
Location: Southeast US
City: Lenoir City
State: TN
Zip/Postal Code: 37772
Country: US
Focus: Build
It's doing it correctly that I'm having difficulty with idunno Enjoying it but still learning.

_________________
Steve Smith
"Music is what feelings sound like"


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:26 pm 
Offline
Contributing Member
Contributing Member
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2007 7:05 am
Posts: 9139
Location: United States
First name: Waddy
Last Name: Thomson
City: Charlotte
State: NC
Focus: Build
Status: Semi-pro
Aren't we all! Well, maybe not Elman.

_________________
Waddy

Waddy Thomson Guitars

Photobucket Build Album Library

Sound Clips of most of my guitars


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 7:53 am 
Offline
Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:35 am
Posts: 96
Location: Hopkinton, MA
First name: Robert
Last Name: Ionta
City: Hopkinton
State: Massachusetts
Zip/Postal Code: 01748
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
After my bodying sessions lately I see a some "smudges" in the finish. I think most of what's bothering me is oil on the surface that I hope I'll get rid of when I do the spiriting but there are some spots that don't look like they're right on the surface. I'm working hard to rub them out as I see them while applying finish and that mostly works but at the same time I'm apparently also creating new defects. I guess this is what's hard about french polish...

Are the stiffing and spiriting steps done only once at the end of all the bodying sessions or are those techniques used after each session in the later stages of the finish?

Once again, many thanks in advance to all of you with the knowledge and experience I hope to gain.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:20 am 
Offline
Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 6:08 pm
Posts: 2438
First name: ernest
Last Name: kleinman
City: lee's summit
State: mo
Zip/Postal Code: 64081
Country: usa
Focus: Build
Status: Professional
Google michael thames on youtube for his xcelent series on FP free


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:44 am 
Offline
Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 6:08 pm
Posts: 2438
First name: ernest
Last Name: kleinman
City: lee's summit
State: mo
Zip/Postal Code: 64081
Country: usa
Focus: Build
Status: Professional
For a more reddish FP look I use a red type of shellac from a ca based shellac supplier Think it comes from Thailand ?. I am very pleased with the look for EIR and other really dark woods. Sorry can/t remember the suppliers name.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:02 am 
Offline
Contributing Member
Contributing Member
User avatar

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:42 pm
Posts: 1174
First name: John
Last Name: Parchem
City: Seattle
State: Wa
Zip/Postal Code: 98177
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
bionta wrote:
... I'm working hard to rub them out as I see them while applying finish and that mostly works but at the same time I'm apparently also creating new defects. I guess this is what's hard about french polish...

Are the stiffing and spiriting steps done only once at the end of all the bodying sessions or are those techniques used after each session in the later stages of the finish?



When French polishing the best thing to do when you see a defect in process is to NOT "work hard to rub them out as you see them". For the most part ignore them and do not give them extra effort. If anything stop and give them less effort and or let the finish relax for a few hours or over night. If you focus on a dull area you tend to remove finish not add it. I am not sure what you consider a defect but a dull area or oil during the bodying sessions is normal. Just keep up with a consistent application.

In terms of stiffing and spirting off there are no rules about how often or when you do it. At any time in FP you can go back to any step including pumice fill and work your way back through finishing. At the end of a spirting off session or two if I am not happy I will go back and go through a few bodying sessions. For terminology set, I use a charge of the muneca to define a session.

_________________
http://www.Harvestmoonguitars.com


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 2:10 pm 
Offline
Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:35 am
Posts: 96
Location: Hopkinton, MA
First name: Robert
Last Name: Ionta
City: Hopkinton
State: Massachusetts
Zip/Postal Code: 01748
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
johnparchem wrote:
When French polishing the best thing to do when you see a defect in process is to NOT "work hard to rub them out as you see them". For the most part ignore them and do not give them extra effort. If anything stop and give them less effort and or let the finish relax for a few hours or over night. If you focus on a dull area you tend to remove finish not add it. I am not sure what you consider a defect but a dull area or oil during the bodying sessions is normal. Just keep up with a consistent application.

In terms of stiffing and spirting off there are no rules about how often or when you do it. At any time in FP you can go back to any step including pumice fill and work your way back through finishing. At the end of a spirting off session or two if I am not happy I will go back and go through a few bodying sessions. For terminology set, I use a charge of the muneca to define a session.


John, Thanks for this. I doubt I would have figured that out for myself, at least not right away.

One thing I'm still a little confused about - the definition of a session. In the Bills method (or maybe it was Eugene Clark's method first?) you charge the muneca by touching your finger to the top of a small bottle of shellac and tipping it, then transferring that tiny "fingerful" of shellac to the muneca. Repeat with the alcohol, then the olive oil (usually blot the fingerful of olive oil on a paper towel first because you want a very tiny amount of that). You're always working with a pretty dry pad, at least that's how it's been for me. So he ends up charging the muneca that way several times to finish the back of the guitar, for instance. He seems to use the word "session" to mean one coat of polish over the whole instrument.

So when you charge the muneca and do a session of polishing, do you charge it with a lot more material? Or instead do you charge it as Tom B does but then do a whole lot more polishing with it very dry? How many sessions does it require to polish the back of the guitar?

Sorry to seem so clueless but as you can see I'm totally new to this. I'll go and do a some more research too, including the Thames video Ernie suggested. Thanks again to all of you for helping me along.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 32 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 8 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
phpBB customization services by 2by2host.com