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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Fri Oct 19, 2012 1:11 am

Anyway...

Finished tidying up the first front, gave the rest of the uke a good spiriting off, and then made a start on the second front.

A long afternoon expending elbow grease with little that would show on a pic. Although in the flesh you can see big improvements in the fronts. More elbow grease required :)

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Sat Oct 20, 2012 12:44 am

So, I decided to follow my own advice. First job this afternoon was to mix up some epoxy to fill the pin holes around the first uke's soundhole. After that I finished spiriting off the 2nd uke.

Then three more body coats on the second uke,

Image

Image

More of the same tomorrow :)

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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:06 am

Sorry folks,

I'm at one of those boring, repetitive, stages where the shoulders, arms, wrists, and hands get tired but one pic looks pretty much like another.

The 1st uke is waiting until monday to give the epoxy plenty of time to dry. Then I'll be carefully sanding the filler in the pinholes flush and playing catch-up with the shellac.

So this afternoon I slapped 3 body coats on the second uke, strolled up to the village to buy cigarettes while they dried a little, spirited off, and applied another 3 coats. So, slowly but surely I'm building a good depth of finish.

A day off tomorrow, then on monday I'll tidy the first uke and slap some more shellac on that one to catch up :)

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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:55 pm

I was unable to post last night due to the server problems, so I'll quickly sum up yesterdays work before I head out this afternoon.

Like this pic?

Image

Less than two hours earlier the rosette and a small area of the front surrounding it had been sanded back to bare wood. I'd trimmed off the excess dried epoxy with a fresh scalpel blade and then sanded flush with 400 and 600 grit wet and dry paper. I used meths rather than white spirit to lift the sanding dust and immediately applied a thin coat of shellac to the area I'd just worked. A break for coffee and cigarette, and then I applied 3 body coats of shellac. Those pesky pinholes around the rosette are all gone, and no sign that I've done any extra work. Great result.

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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:45 am

I've been getting a little carried away and apply coats that are a little too thick, so I went over the 1st uke with a pad loaded with just meths to clean things up. Then applied 3 more coats with a little more discipline.

Image

Image

They've not really got suddenly darker. Just the flash and auto exposure on my camera behaving differently today for some reason. Anyway, I'm still satisfied.

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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby A. AuCr » Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:58 am

From 2600-odd miles away, those are looking beautiful. I'm sure they're quite nice up close too!
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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Thu Oct 25, 2012 1:22 am

A. AuCr wrote:From 2600-odd miles away, those are looking beautiful. I'm sure they're quite nice up close too!

Thank you :lol:

Up close it depends how the light catches them, but the good news is that I am building up a good depth of finish and I can see that they will come up looking good and shiny when they're completed. Each coat is really just a smear of shellac so it takes a LOT of coats to build up any real thickness. Once I've built up enough thickness the next job is to sand the surface flat with 2000 grit wet and dry paper. After that I'll switch to a thinner mix of shellac and meths for final coats before buffing to a super shine with rottenstone.

So today I alternated between them both, concentrating on cleanly applying good thin coats, allowing a little time for them to get touch dry in one area before turning to work on another, and once I completed a coat on one, I applied a coat to the other in the same way. After two coats on each I went over them both with a clean pad and meths to spirit off any excess olive oil from the surface, and then applied another coat each.

And here's how they looked when I finished today.

Image
Image

More of the same tomorrow. Although I might have to finish early to hand over a guitar I've been setting up, a friend of mine teaches guitar and if he has a young student I do budget set-ups for them on the quiet. I charge a token amount and the teacher and I maintain the pretence that I've just made a few adjustments, but really I strip the guitars down, service them properly, and give them a full set-up. It's a little thing, but having a well set-up guitar helps the kids get the most from their lessons and they can hear how well they are progressing so they stick with it.

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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:45 am

Yes, you guessed it...

Another 3 coats for each uke today. Really not worth a pic I'm afraid. Both ukes will get another 3 coats tomorrow, then a day off on Sunday. I'll look at them both on Monday and decide when it's the right time to flatten them with 2000 grit wet & dry and then move onto the 1lb shellac for final finishing.

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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Sun Oct 28, 2012 12:42 am

zenguitar wrote:Yes, you guessed it...

Another 3 coats for each uke today. Really not worth a pic I'm afraid.

Yep, it really is that 'exciting' at the moment. Avoiding rolling up my sleeves because it's getting cold now, the most exciting part of the afternoon is working some circulation back into my fingers between coats.

Day off tomorrow, and then I'll assess them both again on Monday and decide how far I am away from flattening them with the wet&dry and moving on to the 1lb coats. Sorry to be so boring.

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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby Folderol » Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:35 pm

At this stage of the game I'm sure nobody is looking for 'Interesting' or 'Exciting' :D
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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:41 am

I am!!! It's me doing the work after all. And there's no heating in the garage, the weather has turned cold, my circulation isn't great, and the meths fumes are melting what little brains I had left :)

But I shall persevere :)

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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Tue Oct 30, 2012 2:09 am

Well, a frustrating afternoon today.

Between saturday afternoon and this lunchtime it had definitely got quite cold in the workshop. I noticed that the olive oil in the dropper bottle had gone all waxy and solid. No problem there, or so I thought, when the temp gets close to freezing the oil goes waxy but once you warm it up again it's just fine. A couple of minutes rubbing the bottle in my hands and it was back to normal again.

I grabbed the 1st uke, got the shellac, oil, and pad to hand... loaded the pad with shellac and a drop of the now flowing oil, and started a new coat. But it didn't go on that well, the cloth was dragging, and there were cloudy marks all over. And thats when I had a :headbang: moment...

I might have warmed the oil in the bottle, but as the shellac hardens the oil comes to the surface of the instruments and it had gone waxy with the cold too. :madas: And as it has been raining, the humidity didn't help either.

Good news, no real harm done. But I had to put the 1st uke to one side, then I used a pad with meths to clean the surface oil from the second uke and then returned to the first uke to do the same. And I thought it would be best to leave them overnight to make sure all the oil had come to the surface and was cleaned off. So an afternoon lost.

Now, I've learned from the experience so that's good. But quite clearly it's going to be cold and/or damp a lot now so I need to think about matters. I'll examine them both again tomorrow, but I think I need a contingency plan. It's going to keep getting cold and wet from now on, and that's going to cause problems. I do have a workbench in my bedroom that I use for set-ups, electronics experiments, and general pottering. So it might be a good plan to move everything home from Mark's garage and complete the finishing at home. OK, there'll be a strong smell of meths, but I always have a window open and it will make a change from the white spirits I use to clean guitars... The more I think about it, the more practical it seems. And it means that I could even get more coats on each day and save some time in the long run.

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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby zenguitar » Wed Oct 31, 2012 1:33 am

Well, I am a much happier luthier today. It was dry and a fraction warmer, which always helps, so I was able to actually get on with some work.

Step one, go over both ukes with a pad loaded with meths to lift the old olive oil from the surface.

Step two, make a new pad with a new cover and go over both ukes again with meths. Making sure that I had lifted all the oil from the surface.

Step three, apply two coats of shellac to each uke.

Step four, stand back and smile now that both are nice and shiny again.

However, I do think that I'll be moving them both home in the next few days because the weather is going to get a lot colder and wetter before it gets better. But until then I'll keep on going while I make space to carry on at home.

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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby Frisonic » Wed Oct 31, 2012 1:53 am

zenguitar wrote:However, I do think that I'll be moving them both home in the next few days because the weather is going to get a lot colder and wetter before it gets better. But until then I'll keep on going while I make space to carry on at home.

Andy :beamup:

I think your plan sounds eminently sensible. There have been quite enough climatic calamities already! Plus it will be warmer and therefore, in the spirit of Project Ukulele, more fun.
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Re: Project Ukulele

Postby Dynamic Mike » Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:54 am

Frisonic wrote:There have been quite enough climatic calamities already! Plus it will be warmer and therefore, in the spirit of Project Ukulele, more fun.

The methylated spirit of Project Ukelele?

Sounds like a sensible idea to me. At least you'll have a stable working temperature & humidity.
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