So, where has GBG been? I'm sure my avid readers (all three of you) have been wondering about the progress of the black guitar.
Well, as I have now explained to M why his guitar has been delayed and decided that it's not really good enough to only blog the good parts of the project I will explain.
The black finish is proving very tricky, to say the least. On my first attempt I installed the rosette first and polished it up before applying the stain, knowing it would scrape off the rosette componants. Unfortunately, in polishing the rosette I damaged the grain of the spruce. This was only evident once the black stain was applied because the timber around the sound hole wouldn't take the stain in the same way as the the rest of the top. After several attempts to fix this I also realised that getting the finish back off the rosette was much harder than I had thought. So, I started again. I routed the green malachite back out of the top and put it aside.
I stained and finished top number 2 before routing it. I planned to create the rosette in another piece of board, polish it and then insert it in the new top complete. The finish came out very well. Then whilst routing the rings (and despite taking every precaution I could think of, vacuum suction, masking tape, sheets of paper between all surfaces) I managed to scratch the black top. I may have become a little frustrated at this point!
I also googled for any tips from fellow luthiers who have completed similar projects. In the top 3 search results was MY OWN BLOG! I'm sure there's a moral there somewhere...
So, after trying to repair the top and failing I completed the routing, removed the finish and started the finishing process AGAIN this time with the routed circle in place. I used the same set-up on the circle cutter to rout a channel in which to create the rosette for installation as a complete unit.
At present the rosette is complete and ready to be inserted once the top finish is complete. I have to leave it 48 hours between coats of finish so it's taking sometime to prepare.
I am hoping the mahogany back and sides will be rather easier to finish, they at least don't have a rosette to worry about!
As for future projects I think I will stick to natural coloured guitars unless the customer can be persuaded that a 'distressed' finish is the height of cool. So don't worry M, when you finally get your black guitar it will truly be one of a kind.
On the positive side I have completed the fret-board fox inlay. When the guitar has a body I'm sure this little fox will set it off beautifully.
In other news, I am just putting the final touches to my second album. Perhaps surprisingly it does not contain a song called 'Black Guitar Blues'. Maybe for album three...