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cornfedgroove
10-24-2009, 09:51 AM
I did some searching with no luck as to a simple process to staining and finishing up an instrument real nice to get good protection and shine.

sooo...how do we do that?

dave g
10-24-2009, 11:28 AM
Thus far I have simply been spraying about 5 or 6 coats of spray can nitrocellulose lacquer, sanding with 220 after the first 2 or three coats, then going over the final coat with super fine steel wool, then buffing with a soft cloth. I'd skip the steel wool if the finish looked great as-is (which happened about half the time).

The new plan is to wipe on a coat of shellac, sand, then spray on 4 or 5 coats of water borne polyurethane, sanding after the first couple coats. That's the plan anyway - I've only done this on scrap pieces so far, but I think it looks real good.

It should be noted that I don't understand or have any use for the whole grain filling thing, nor am I shooting for a glossy finish (I prefer matte).

Pete Howlett
10-24-2009, 11:55 AM
In the US Behlen's wipe on finish...

I learnt an important lesson from a couple of old French polishers who sprayed my Art Deco furniture when I was a cabinet maker. They employed FP techniques to conform (pre-catalysed and acid catalyst) lacquer - multiple thin coats on top of a well prepared and filled surface.

I suggest you use William King's oil-filler technique because it is nice and easy then apply thin coats of your prefered finish. I sand 320 with the early coats then 600 just before the ast coats - the flatter the early coats the better. It takes time but you get the superior finish this way.

cornfedgroove
10-24-2009, 12:27 PM
all I've ever done if any was stain it and spray it down with some poly and polish up...

you guys use regular stain and then do all the fancy finishes?

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-24-2009, 01:40 PM
then going over the final coat with super fine steel wool, then buffing with a soft cloth.

Try putting a little carnuba wax (Maguire's) on your 0000 steel wool pad as your final rub-out. It'll give you a nice, buttery, high satin sheen.

cornfedgroove
10-24-2009, 05:21 PM
Thus far I have simply been spraying about 5 or 6 coats of spray can nitrocellulose lacquer, sanding with 220 after the first 2 or three coats, then going over the final coat with super fine steel wool, then buffing with a soft cloth.

cool beans...sounds like a simple plan. can you link me to this item so I can see what I'm looking for and where I can get it...

Pete, your post was a little over my head...You said 2 different things that I'm not equating. Behlens or William Kings or do you mean both, and each for a different aspect of finishing? Its safest to presume ahead of time that I dont know anything about what I am asking:)

thanks homies

Matt Clara
10-24-2009, 06:34 PM
cool beans...sounds like a simple plan. can you link me to this item so I can see what I'm looking for and where I can get it...

Pete, your post was a little over my head...You said 2 different things that I'm not equating. Behlens or William Kings or do you mean both, and each for a different aspect of finishing? Its safest to presume ahead of time that I dont know anything about what I am asking:)

thanks homies

I had to read it twice, too. The way I read it was, use William King's technique to apply Behlens. Behlens was the product, William King's was the technique.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-24-2009, 06:38 PM
Give Pete a break. Given the time change he has to deal with, he writes these posts late at night under the covers.

Pete Howlett
10-25-2009, 01:59 AM
Really late...

There are four stages in the finishing process:
Sanding
Filling
Building the finish
Rubbing out

use William King's oil-filler technique This refers to the filling stage. If you read his articles on his blog/website, you lazy boys, you will see that he uses this technique for his 'oil' finishes and also for pore-filling prior to his cellulose finish. I don't think I could be much plainer.

So to repeat with a little more of the subtext...after you have used the 'oil-fill' technique to fill the pores you slap on a coat of french polish to seal the oil finish and create a layer that other finishes will easily adhere to - cullolose, wipe on eurethane, Behlen's wipe on finish, lark's vomit or monkey spit!

I have to point out with my curmudgeons hat on (I have 'flu) that this topic comes up every 3 months or so and there is a huge amount of information in this forum and others on the subject. :spam:

PS
Part of being a craftsman is continual research - it is always helpful to use other forums, builder's blogs, Frank Ford's site (http://www.frets.com) to get information. I spend a huge amount of time poring over what my peers are doing (particularly Chuck Moore and Dave Means), watching video on YouTube of factory tours and techniques, even looking at video and sites that are about other wood crafts. By doing this I become better informed but more important - motivated to do better and be better than thelast instrument I built. Unless ya'll budding luthiers do this you will not get a 'perspective' on the craft. To simply mine this one board for information will skew your view - especially if you hang on every word I say - heaven forbid! :eek:

Sven
10-25-2009, 05:52 AM
Pete, you're a gem when it comes to either information or inspiration. As is the builders you mention, and... Oh well you're right. Thanks man for vids and posts and advice.

Sven

dave g
10-25-2009, 07:07 AM
Try putting a little carnuba wax (Maguire's) on your 0000 steel wool pad as your final rub-out. It'll give you a nice, buttery, high satin sheen.

Thanks - I'll give that a try!

Pete Howlett
10-25-2009, 07:12 AM
Behlen's manufacture a product called Wool Lube - I dilute this with soapy water and use it with 0000 wire wool, 1000, 2000 or 4000 Abralon pads depending on the finish I require. If you are looking for a satin finish that is really hard to distinguish from a spray finish, the Abralon pads are your product - no stray wire wool hairs to leave scratches in the work.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-25-2009, 02:06 PM
To simply mine this one board for information will skew your view....
:agree:
I'll go one further. IMO, about 25% of the information on this board is actually practical, helpful or even factual. I will admit however that it is often entertaining. But as Pete says folks, do your homework. A serious builder or even serious enthusiast should not be getting all their information here. There are much better resources.

Pete Howlett
10-25-2009, 02:58 PM
My one-time finisher did his training with jaguar cars. His automotive knowledge made him the ideal spray man - working with the awkward contours on a car, the crooks and nannies... he was well trained finishing ukes straight from the gun with a satin finish that has stood the test of time. It's a pity he can't do it any more because my pathetic attempts at replicating his work are not worthy...

Hence, get your info from more sources than here - if you look at Chuck's background you will find he hasn't always been a luthier just as I haven't. A rich background fits you well for this job and generally teaches you the key ingredients for success:

Patience
Attention to detail
Self sacrifice
A dash of humility
I'm still working night and day on that last one...

cornfedgroove
10-25-2009, 04:35 PM
I mentioned in another post that Dominator and I think Chuck had talked about a great luthier book, but I couldnt remember the name and nobody replied. If you give me the name of that book...I'll probably be able to leave you guys alone for a while.

Dominator
10-25-2009, 05:12 PM
I mentioned in another post that Dominator and I think Chuck had talked about a great luthier book, but I couldnt remember the name and nobody replied. If you give me the name of that book...I'll probably be able to leave you guys alone for a while.

I have this book, Guitar Making - Tradition and Technology, and find it to be a great resource.

http://www.amazon.com/Guitarmaking-Tradition-Technology-Construction-Steel-String/dp/0811806405

Pete Howlett
10-25-2009, 05:15 PM
There isn't one book IMHO. Your best resource is visit a builder and pay to watch him work. Like all hand skills, confidence is acquired through repetition over time. When you see a person, no matter what their craft, going about their daily labors in a sure footed way you can bet that they have perfected those skills over a long period. None of this can be distilled in the frozen moments of a book or video on YouTube. My visits to Petere Sensier, Brian Cohen and Michael Sprake on a single day in 1976 inspired, informed and motivated me to be the best instrument maker I could - that Peter drew on the immense and diverse culture of South America to make his 'agricultural' yet fascinating guitars; that Brian was building with neat patience his last steel string guitar before embarking on a glittering career that would lead to building guitars for Julian Bream; that Michael could build al ute in 2 days and used a dental burr and drill to carve a rossette in one hour with such accuracy and perfection showed me the way. No book could have given me the insights these luthiers did on that one day in Novemebr in London England.

cornfedgroove
10-25-2009, 05:48 PM
There isn't one book IMHO. Your best resource is visit a builder and pay to watch him work. Like all hand skills, confidence is acquired through repetition over time. When you see a person, no matter what their craft, going about their daily labors in a sure footed way you can bet that they have perfected those skills over a long period. None of this can be distilled in the frozen moments of a book or video on YouTube. My visits to Petere Sensier, Brian Cohen and Michael Sprake on a single day in 1976 inspired, informed and motivated me to be the best instrument maker I could - that Peter drew on the immense and diverse culture of South America to make his 'agricultural' yet fascinating guitars; that Brian was building with neat patience his last steel string guitar before embarking on a glittering career that would lead to building guitars for Julian Bream; that Michael could build al ute in 2 days and used a dental burr and drill to carve a rossette in one hour with such accuracy and perfection showed me the way. No book could have given me the insights these luthiers did on that one day in Novemebr in London England.

I hear you, but we all gotta start somewhere...I'm set to go down and visit Thistle at his emando shop sometime in november, but it would also be nice to begin to get a better grasp on building basics in general. I'm learning from the ground up with nothing more than a love for instruments...I understand some basics, but you gotta remember that when you and I say "basics" we mean different things. It would be beneficial for me to read and see pictures ahead of time since there the opportunity to visit a builder is limited, so although watching him is great, understanding what I'm seeing (the how's and why's) would really maximize the opportunity

Pete Howlett
10-25-2009, 05:59 PM
Believe me, you will understand more than you know when you se it IRL... visit other instrument makers - I learnt in Finland how to bend binding. Juha Lottonen (a guitar maker just learning how to make ukulele) who told me learnt it from an accordian maker. And it is such a clever trick I am not going to share it... ever!

cornfedgroove
10-25-2009, 06:24 PM
Believe me, you will understand more than you know when you se it IRL... visit other instrument makers - I learnt in Finland how to bend binding. Juha Lottonen (a guitar maker just learning how to make ukulele) who told me learnt it from an accordian maker. And it is such a clever trick I am not going to share it... ever!

LOL...so everyone has been passing it down and sharing it, but the buck stops in the UK? Hahaa, dang brits

so here's a question...dont answer it if you dont want. I saw a homemade uke the other day, traditional style, but it was all bumpy on the bends and not smooth, know what I mean? why is that

Pete Howlett
10-25-2009, 06:34 PM
Yep - it's a secret haha! Get in touch with Juha if you want to know - it cost me a plane ticket, a train ride, 7 days airport parking and a trip in taxi...

Matt Clara
10-26-2009, 06:19 AM
so here's a question...dont answer it if you dont want. I saw a homemade uke the other day, traditional style, but it was all bumpy on the bends and not smooth, know what I mean? why is that

Are you sure they were bumps, or did they just look like bumps? My first uke had flamed maple (veneer) sides, and the fancy grain looked like it had wrinkled in the bends. The sides looked something like this (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?VISuperSize&item=250519630490).

If that link doesn't work, go here (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=250519630490&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT) and click the Enlarge button on the picture.

cornfedgroove
10-26-2009, 06:59 AM
no, this was a finished uke, I held it in my hands.

it was bumpy...hard to mistake beautiful flaming for ugly bumps

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-26-2009, 07:42 AM
Believe me, you will understand more than you know when you se it IRL... visit other instrument makers - I learnt in Finland how to bend binding. Juha Lottonen (a guitar maker just learning how to make ukulele) who told me learnt it from an accordian maker. And it is such a clever trick I am not going to share it... ever!

How hard is it to bend bindings? I must be missing something.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-26-2009, 07:50 AM
no, this was a finished uke, I held it in my hands.

it was bumpy...hard to mistake beautiful flaming for ugly bumps

Kinky sides are the results of poor bending technique. Iron too cold, bending too fast, too little moisture, sides too thick, etc.

cornfedgroove
10-26-2009, 08:29 AM
Kinky sides are the results of poor bending technique. Iron too cold, bending too fast, too little moisture, sides too thick, etc.

thank you...thats what I was wanting to know

Matt Clara
10-26-2009, 08:31 AM
no, this was a finished uke, I held it in my hands.

it was bumpy...hard to mistake beautiful flaming for ugly bumps

Thanks, I'll remember that. ;)

cornfedgroove
10-26-2009, 08:42 AM
Thanks, I'll remember that.

lol...cool brudda

dave g
10-26-2009, 09:56 AM
Try putting a little carnuba wax (Maguire's) on your 0000 steel wool pad as your final rub-out. It'll give you a nice, buttery, high satin sheen.

Thanks again - I got some Trewax clear. Buttery indeed :)

Pete Howlett
10-26-2009, 03:24 PM
Depends what type of binding Chuck - I was struggling wityh ivoroid round the pointy bits on my fret board ends. I know you use wood bindings and stuff which is straightforward...

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-26-2009, 04:16 PM
I'm familiar with the procedures required to install most types of bindings including plastics, celluloid, micarta, and (in the olden days) real tortoise shell and ivory, as well as the natural wood that I prefer.