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  • Rob Parry

Guitar build diary - part V

Custom Guitar Finishing

Almost home. Final finishing, fretwork and assembly is all that remains. The finish is comprised of base coats of shellac, this seals in the stain and provides a platform that can be fine sanded smooth. This is followed by several coats of Tru-Oil, this adds further protection and shields the shellac from its natural enemy... booze. Alcohol dissolves shellac and can cause it to turn cloudy. The final finish comes from wax, this stuff to be precise:

Renaissance Wax

This is made by some sort of sorcery, it's the most incredible wax I've ever used. It dries very hard and seems to be impervious to human sweat/oils which makes it perfect for instruments.

Tapped in the string ferrules to the rear, the sapele is such a lovely contrast to the front. Fitted the machined inserts for the strap buttons, these will never chew up the wood and find their way loose:

There's always an unforeseen issue during a build, in fact guitar building is as much about problem solving as anything else. This time it was underestimating just how flat and skinny the tele bridge was. What this means is there isn't as much adjustable range of action as I'd like, the highest action possible is a little under 2mm, which is fine for me but some might prefer it higher.

Custom Brass Bridge Plate

I've taken it to heart that any problem requiring a solution is an opportunity for a feature, I'm making a 1.5mm thick brass plate that matches the bridge, only I'll leave it a hair larger all around so it looks like a contrasting trim between the green of the body and the chrome of the bridge. This also gives action adjustment ranges from the deck up to 3mm or so, which is perfect.

Fretwork and electrics left to do, the next entry will be of the finished article.

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