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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:41 am 
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Koa
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First name: Brad
Last Name: Combs
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Hello,

For those that French Polish, what order to do assemble the guitar? The reason I'm asking is that for other builds I've finished the neck and body separately and then fretted the instrument after assembly. I did this with a Uke I'm working on that was French polished. I was really attentive to the finish and with my tools / surfaces but I still managed to scratch and dent the finish in a couple spots. :(

I'm thinking it would be better to assemble the neck and body and at least press the frets in before finishing. I'm also wondering about the bridge, putting it on first before finishing. If I did that I may as well just make the nut and saddle and set it up in the white and the French polish. Of course the tuners would have to come back off before finishing, but that would be all that is needed after finishing.

What are your thoughts on this? I've always though that finishing with the neck off and before the bridge is on was for serviceability. Does that matter with FP as much since it's thinner and more easily repairable?

Brad




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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:13 pm 
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Cocobolo
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First name: Mike
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I'm doing my first bolt-on neck now (the rest have been classicals.

I plan to FP the body with no bridge or neck attached. The neck to body intersection is very difficult to FP as is the fingerboard to top area. And of course, most people mask the bridge area and fp right over the masking and attach the bridge after finishing for the same reason.

FP is more delicate but also far more easily repaired if you did get a little scratch here and there,
Mike



bcombs510 wrote:
Hello,

For those that French Polish, what order to do assemble the guitar? The reason I'm asking is that for other builds I've finished the neck and body separately and then fretted the instrument after assembly. I did this with a Uke I'm working on that was French polished. I was really attentive to the finish and with my tools / surfaces but I still managed to scratch and dent the finish in a couple spots. :(

I'm thinking it would be better to assemble the neck and body and at least press the frets in before finishing. I'm also wondering about the bridge, putting it on first before finishing. If I did that I may as well just make the nut and saddle and set it up in the white and the French polish. Of course the tuners would have to come back off before finishing, but that would be all that is needed after finishing.

What are your thoughts on this? I've always though that finishing with the neck off and before the bridge is on was for serviceability. Does that matter with FP as much since it's thinner and more easily repairable?

Brad




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These users thanked the author Imbler for the post: bcombs510 (Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:04 pm)
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:24 pm 
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Koa
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Location: Litchfield MI
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Many makers finish completely assembled instruments, brush, spray and FP -- check out youtube for tricks and techniques.

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http://www.kennethmichaelguitars.com/



These users thanked the author kencierp for the post: bcombs510 (Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:03 pm)
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:47 pm 
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Mahogany
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Well, first off the disclaimer: I'm a beginner, just finishing my first guitar (with French polish).

I assembled the neck to the body (bolt on, glued fretboard extension) and masked off the bridge location.

I agree with Mike that the neck-body area is a little more difficult to french polish but I think I'm getting it. (My problem is that I didn't sand it well enough and left a mark on the heel that I didn't recognize until I started building some gloss.) I think with more careful sanding, the polish in that area would look great without much extra effort. For example, I've had no problem around the edges of the fretboard extension.

I've wondered if I should have glued the bridge before polishing. I'm sure it's easier to f.p. around the bridge masking than around a bridge but I don't think having the bridge on there would be a show stopper by any means and now I'm a bit nervous about the challenge of gluing and clamping the bridge (and routing the saddle slot) without damaging the finish.

Lastly, I wonder if the particular f.p. technique used might make a difference. I'm doing "Tom Bills (a.k.a. Eugene Clark)" f.p. and that technique uses a small muneca, very dry, which means polishing around the heel or bridge is not much of a departure from the rest of the f.p. process. Other techniques I've seen in YouTube videos use a much larger pad with more material on it which would not let you get very close to the joints, so it seems like you'd have to switch to a smaller, drier pad there. That would seem to be a pain.



These users thanked the author bionta for the post: bcombs510 (Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:03 pm)
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 1:28 pm 
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First off, I would say that there is not a universally accepted proper order of assembly. Some folks complete all the woodworking, then move to finishing the completed instrument. Some folks finish the neck and body separately before assembly, then put them together, then put the bridge on. Others may put the bridge on at various other times. So, no matter what you decide to do, there is probably someone else doing it that way, too, and lots of folks doing it differently.

I have so far only French polished with the neck off, then put them together after finishing. I might try finishing one after the neck and body are joined, just to compare.

I have finished both before and after gluing the bridge on. Both have good and bad things associated with them; both are valid ways of doing it.

In general, it is harder to finish around the bridge and have it look as good as when you finish before gluing on the bridge. But it can be done. You just have to get good at finishing into tight corners. The Tom Bills course is excellent on that topic (it is excellent on French polishing, period). I assume the same is true for finishing around the fingerboard extension, and again, it is harder, but it can be done.

I don't think the main issue with finishing after assembly is serviceability. I think the main thing is that it is tough to get into the corners and have it look good, so finishing before assembly gives you a better looking finish.



These users thanked the author doncaparker for the post: bcombs510 (Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:03 pm)
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:09 pm 
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Koa
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First name: Brad
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Thanks for the replies. I definitely don't want to start a "which is the right method" discussion, because that leads us in circles.

What I'm mostly interested in is how much of the assembly I can do before finishing without causing more headache than it's potentially worth.

One detail I should have mentioned. I'm a bit of a klutz and most times I feel like a caveman in the shop. This is even more apparent after having watched some of the videos of people working at the Northwoods seminar. I'm working on it, but I lack a certain finesse. :)

I'll seek out some videos like Ken mentions and rewatch the parts of the Bills videos where he focused on the heel to body and FB extension areas when teaching his FP technique.

Brad


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:15 pm 
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I've build classical guitars and strung them up in the white so as to let them have a break in period before fine tuning and then finishing. Since I do bolt on now even on classical I have found it way easier to finish with everything apart. So much so that if I build another classical guitar I'd even consider taking the bridge off to finish it, then reglue it. Could just be that I'm not good at it but I'd always have build up around the bridge that looked bad. The neck heal seemed to be easier for some reason.



These users thanked the author jfmckenna for the post: bcombs510 (Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:45 pm)
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:43 pm 
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Cocobolo
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Absolutely, there are many ways to do most of the tasks in building a guitar, and I've picked and chosen to avoid my weaknesses and play to my strengths. The guy next door might do the opposite, and that would be right for -him-!

Depending on how concerned you are by this decision, you could glue a piece of wood onto some scrap to simulate a fingerboard or bridge and see how it affects your FP style. You'd get a little extra FB practice which is always good, and have a pretty good feel of whether "in pieces" or assembled is the best choice for you,
Mike


bcombs510 wrote:
Thanks for the replies. I definitely don't want to start a "which is the right method" discussion, because that leads us in circles.

What I'm mostly interested in is how much of the assembly I can do before finishing without causing more headache than it's potentially worth.

One detail I should have mentioned. I'm a bit of a klutz and most times I feel like a caveman in the shop. This is even more apparent after having watched some of the videos of people working at the Northwoods seminar. I'm working on it, but I lack a certain finesse. :)

I'll seek out some videos like Ken mentions and rewatch the parts of the Bills videos where he focused on the heel to body and FB extension areas when teaching his FP technique.

Brad


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These users thanked the author Imbler for the post: bcombs510 (Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:45 pm)
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:51 pm 
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I've done it assembled and was never happy with the results around the extension and the heal/body joint. On my latest I completed the fret work and test fit the neck in the dry. I then masked off the fingerboard and the area where the extension will glue down. I let the finish cover about a 16th" under the extension. I'll do the same with the bridge when I razor scrape the footprint. I put a full finish under the heal. I'm also, for the first time, letting the finish cure for at least 3 weeks before I even touch it. It seems each successive build is a steep learning curve. I like that. Finishing is my weakest skill. I'm hopeful this one will meet a higher standard. Good luck with yours.



These users thanked the author BradHall for the post (total 2): Imbler (Tue Sep 05, 2017 5:51 pm) • bcombs510 (Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:53 pm)
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 5:52 pm 
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I FP all tops and most backs and sides [although I have used a combo of varnish/FP on backs and sides.

All my necks are hand rubbed English oil finish. [headplates same as back/sides]

So I finish prior to neck setting.

Does not apply to traditional classical/flamenco construction, but I haven't built one ....... yet...so we'll just have to see.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 10:12 pm 
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Koa
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Steel strings here.
I FP the body & neck separately, then glue the neck in the body. Bridge goes on, string it up, play it a bit, let it hang some days to harden the finish. Do a really good set-up.
Take it all apart, strings, tuners, FP all the scratches. Let it hang again. Put it all back together, ready to go.

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These users thanked the author David Newton for the post (total 2): pat macaluso (Sun Sep 17, 2017 1:54 am) • bcombs510 (Sat Sep 16, 2017 11:02 pm)
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