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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:59 pm 
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Location: Southeast US
City: Lenoir City
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All the pieces and parts are complete. I'll finish it in a few weeks, I have shoulder surgery tomorrow morning so expect I won't be in the shop for a while.

Here is the ebony pick guard - the last part to get completely finished.
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Last edited by SteveSmith on Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 9:06 pm 
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First name: Bob
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Good luck with the surgery, Steve. I see the surgeon tomorrow for torn rotator cuff and torn bicep tendon in my left shoulder.

Bob



These users thanked the author Bob Shanklin for the post: SteveSmith (Mon Jul 06, 2015 6:36 am)
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 4:27 am 
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Good luck to you too Bob. I'm waiting to go in now.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:24 am 
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I hope your surgery went well. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

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These users thanked the author Haans for the post: SteveSmith (Mon Jul 06, 2015 6:37 am)
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 8:40 pm 
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Hope all went well Steve. Heal quickly. I get mine done Aug. 21.

Bob


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2015 6:30 am 
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Hans, Bob. Thank you. They sent me home yesterday. Now it's just a matter of time and physical therapy.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 6:39 am 
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Not moving real fast with one arm but am slowly getting prep done for finish. I'm doing some tests with Royal Lac. Here's my top two contenders one has been dyed to pop the grain, the other is plain. Both have 4 coats of Seal Lac so far and I think the un-dyed sample will look best under clear. Image

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:25 am 
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What? No sunburst? Lacquer instead of varnish?
Hope your shoulder is healing well...

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 8:00 am 
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Hi Hans, yeah, the client saw it in the white and decided he wanted it finished in clear. The Royal Lac is a shellac finish.

And thanks, my shoulder is doing very well. Still 4 more weeks in a sling but getting better every day and I can use my left hand (surgery side) some too.

I have not done a varnish finish before but am willing to try it (on scrap first, of course) - any hints as to what type of varnish and what the finishing schedule would be?

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2015 8:37 pm 
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Great write up Steve. You do such justice to the details. Hope that your shoulder makes a quick recovery.

Pete



These users thanked the author pdolan for the post: SteveSmith (Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:38 am)
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 6:00 am 
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Steve, if you are selling it, I would stick to what the owner wants. The varnishes I use are violin oil and spirit varnishes, and it's a whole world apart from other finishing. It is a pretty fragile finish, and a lot of folks just get used to a dinged up mandolin. It's all about the tone when you consider it, and I doubt anyone would refuse that wreck of a mandolin that was Monroe's.
I've started to "distress" the last F5C that I will make and it is a slow process...

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These users thanked the author Haans for the post: SteveSmith (Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:38 am)
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:43 am 
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Thanks Pete - I try to include the information that I think would have been useful to me.

Hans, I can see that making a mandolin is only a small first step towards becoming a mandolin maker and I still have a lot to learn about the mandolin world. I suppose I will skip the varnish idea for now, the Royal Lac is a shellac finish and is pretty thin too. Hopefully that will work out as a positive for the sound.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2015 8:48 pm 
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Finally the shoulder has healed enough so that I could get back to this project. Over the last few weeks I did do a lot of finish samples, some with lacquer and some with Royal Lac.
Attachment:
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I got the grain raised on the mandolin and then did the finish sanding and ready to start finishing. I use a few things that might be of interest. To get under the fretboard extension and for leveling sides I use spring steel with sticky back sandpaper - it's a slow process in the narrow spots but does a good job.
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Finally there is an awkward little area under the edge of the fretboard on the front of the extension. I just shape a stick, put some super glue on the sandpaper, accelerator on the stick and make a little sanding block. I do these all the time for little spots.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2015 5:11 pm 
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Managed to get two coats of Seal Lac sprayed on today. Did not thin it, straight out of the jar.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 9:31 am 
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I haven't abandoned this thread but am still in the midst of finishing. Turns out that Seal Lac is great for highlighting any inconsistencies in your finish prep (this is a good thing). After the first two coats I sanded back and all the little shiny spots just jumped out so I ended up putting on 6 coats total of Seal Lac and sanding them all back to wood with 320 - that gave me a surface I was satisfied with. Next I did 4 coats of Seal Lac, 2 at a time (2 coats Seal Lac let dry overnight- sand with 320). Now I'm spraying with the Royal Lac. Have put 4 coats on and am using the beige tint RL on the maple and the regular rL on the soundboard. I'll post some photos when I get done spraying the RL before I let it cure.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2015 5:27 pm 
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I've finished 12 coats of Royal Lac and am going to let it cure a week before I level sand and spray the finish coats. My customer provided a case and I got that today - the fit check looks good. Finish in the photos is straight off the gun.

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These users thanked the author SteveSmith for the post (total 2): CharlieT (Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:37 pm) • Johny (Mon Aug 10, 2015 10:42 am)
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 6:08 am 
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Hard to see but the grain lines, especially in the top and back, stood out more than I expected after the finish cured for a week. Since the surfaces started out flat I can only guess that the finish shrinking caused a difference between the hard and relatively softer wood. I decided to wet sand the back and top level just to be sure it would be ok - it was. So I scuff-sanded the back and top with 400 then went over the rest of the instrument with 400 too. Shot 4 relatively heavy coats of Royal Lac thinned about 20% with Everclear at about 15 minute intervals. (EDIT: heavy for me means wet but with no danger of sags or runs.) And again, I could see the grain lines as soon as it dried. I'll let it sit for 4 weeks before I do the final level and buff.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 6:15 pm 
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Here's a couple of photos of how much the Royal Lac shrunk 2 1/2 weeks after I leveled and shot the final finish coats. Not a big deal but it definitely shrinks more than I'm used to with other finishes and a good reason to allow it to cure a full 4 weeks. Another 10 days or so and I can do the final level and buff. I always get impatient around this time :?

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 9:25 am 
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Nice work, Steve. A nice documentation of the building process, too. Please come back in a couple weeks with the finished piece, sanded, buffed and re-strung.



These users thanked the author cphanna for the post: SteveSmith (Wed Sep 02, 2015 1:50 pm)
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 1:53 pm 
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Thanks Patrick, I'll be sure to add more photos when I get to the end phase.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 6:59 pm 
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The 30 days are up so time to level this thing. I decided to wet sand with p1000. I used small blocks, some water with a drop of dish soap in it, and a bright raking light. The Royal Lac leveled easily and I probably could have moved a bit faster with P800 but was a bit worried about sanding through.
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Last edited by SteveSmith on Sun Sep 20, 2015 9:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 7:02 pm 
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After I leveled with P1000 I kept wet sanding with MicroMesh and worked up the grits from 1800 to 6000. When I finished that I polished with Novus #2 scratch remover. I'm happy with the results but I sure would like to get a buffer :?
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2015 5:10 am 
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[quote="SteveSmith"]After I leveled with P1000 I kept wet sanding with MicroMesh and worked up the grits from 1800 to 6000. When I finished that I polished with Novus #2 scratch remover. I'm happy with the results but I sure would like to get a buffer :?




Looks fantastic, if you want to buff it you know where I live. :mrgreen:



These users thanked the author Clinchriver for the post: SteveSmith (Mon Sep 21, 2015 6:07 am)
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2015 5:15 am 
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Fantastic is right - very cool mando Steve!!!



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2015 5:37 am 
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Looks good Steve...
String it up!

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