Wow what a journey this has been and I can not describe to you the sense of accomplishment I feel today. as of approx midnight last night the guitar is completed. As I suspected the finish was my biggest challenge. I don't know if I would use a French Polish again if I build another. I thought it would be easier to get a good finish now I doubt that is true. Things would appear to be going smoothly then I would screw something up and have to wait, sand and start building layers again. It didn't come out perfect but eventually I just had to say good enough. Anyway Here are some descriptions of the final steps to catch you up:
After I said good enough with the finish I mounted the Bridge, I carved the bridge from a solid blank of ebony. I used the belt sander more than anything to get the blended arcs to come out good. I had to scrape away the finish in the bridge position before gluing down. You can see in the pic that I also did this in the area where the fingerboard attaches.
Then I went to work on the frets, I leveled and filed and leveled and filed. Then buffed with steel wool, I like the look of the gold fretwire.
Then I added the tuning machines, Again I like the look of the gold
Here is a pic of the tuners from the back, I used Gold Gotohs with Ebony buttons. These are in the Grover style which is what I wanted but couldn't find Grovers with the Ebony buttons.
Then I mounted the Neck and glued the fingerboard down to the top. This was a little hard to take pics while I was doing this. Blake was in bed while I was doing this part so I didn't get to take pics of measuring the angle and adjusting etc.
Then I fit the brige pins into the bridge. I drilled the hole in the bridge thru the top then reamed them to fit.
Then I shaped the nut and the saddle, I used bone for a material so it was fairly easy (but somewhat smelly) operation on the belt sander and buffer.
Then I strung it up, Made some adjustments to the nut, saddle, and neck relief. Suprisingly I didn't have any fret buzz or other fretwork issues to this point. I was just so happy that the bridge didn't just rip right off or the neck just split in half while I was tuning the strings up to pitch. I am assuming there will be further adjustment to make as the guitar settles in. I will probably make some more adjustments to the action as it is a bit high right now but I figured I would wait a little while to let the guitar get accustomed to the pressure.
Sorry about the crappy pics, The finish looks better that what they show in these pics. It was full of fingerprints etc. Also after this project my shop definitely needs a good cleanup, I didn't notice the dirty socks when I took the pic,lol
I played it for the first time just after midnight on Saturday April 30th and couldn't put it down. I just barely made my goal of finishing in April. The first string I plucked was the Low E as I was tuning it up to pitch. The sound that came from my little project really surprised me. It was very deep and warm and somehow complex. I know that I am in no position to judge as I am way too close to this project to look at it objectively but I think it sounds absolutely amazing. I guess at this point I don't care. This is "MY GUITAR" and not because I bought it, Not because I paid someone to make it but because I made it to my specifications, out of the materials that I wanted. And when you add the extra added aspect of doing the majority of this with my son it is just way over the top. This is a project that I will never forget as long as I live. I do believe I will build another but I know this one is special and will always be special to me. Thanks to all who have been following this Blog, I will try to add a video on the forum so you all can see and hear it. Now I will be able to get to some of the Awesome lessons that have been added by TG since I started this project that I havent been able to mess with. I cant wait. Thanks all for your help and motivation, I really appreciate it.