The 20th of August 2011
It has been an interesting few weeks with not much actual work being achieved, I’ve just found out I’m diabetic and the first set of pills quite effectively knocked me for six. Now that everything is normalising (and for the first time ever I’m on a diet and exercising) it feels like I’ve been operating through a haze for the past year or so; it feels like someone has turned a switch on in my head and turned on an under utilised section of brain! Anyway, I’m back and raring to go!
Continuing the new push for video footage of everything Crimson Guitars here are a couple of time lapse videos following the building of the PAF 25 from raw planks to the final sanding processes.. I hope you find them interesting. You can find all our videos on YouTube and Vimeo or watch them here.
Now, back to business, the twin neck is nearing completion but the headstocks are looking rather bare.
Good old Photoshop can help here.
The idea is to use gold leaf, for the first time on an actual piece. The trick to custom guitar building is to never stop learning and trying new things!
For the first attempt I used a transfer to mark the logo onto the headstock but this looked too untidy, I’ve never been a fan of transfers anyway..
While considering my next move the office gets a bit of a make over, I’m going to be recording the demo’s in here and the room is altogether too bright for good sound!
First attempts removed it is time to try again…
After a road trip to find a properly tiny brush the logo is painted onto the headstock in gold size. I gently marked this out using a scalpel through a printout, the size fills the cut and it works perfectly!
The gold leaf is applied to the size and left to cure for a while.
It took pretty much all day to build up the designs, gold leaf is not really designed for such detail after all.
But the end result is stunning, it looks more ‘hand made’ than inlay but is 3d and brings a touch of class to proceedings.
Finally lacquer is applied… it will need quite a bit to successfully cover the raised gold leaf but that’s the nature of the job.
While I’m thinking of lacquer the twin necks body is rubbed down.
There are some minor imperfections caused by bubbles in the lacquer so it is back to the spray booth for this one.
Time for some non-essential work (at this stage of the game my glucose levels are all over the place and I don’t trust myself with anything precious… a £2000 guitar for example!
Some ash is band sawed down.
planed nice and flat by hand.
Carefully shaped and rounded over.
And finally put together, I’ve been meaning to make a set of custom clamps like this for years!
They don’t provide all that much pressure in the configuration shown here, the two bolts are a bit too close together, but there is enough for the job required, a simple bridge replacement.
Back to Robert Fripps next custom Crimson Guitar, the finish has cured nicely and the rubbing down process begins in earnest.
Over several days the entire guitar is flattened perfectly, it is this stage that ensures the final gloss finish that we require.
Though it must be said that better spray gun control on my part would have reduced the amount of time spent here.. still learning!
We move up through the grits from 600 to 2000 being careful to change all the water and rags in use between grits, there’s no point in sanding at 2000 grit and then rubbing down with a rag that is impregnated with 600 grit pieces of… grit…
The custom Delta guitar is at the same stage.
I can’t wait to see this beauty all shiny.
Again there are a few places where the open grain of the walnut top veneer have sucked in more lacquer creating small dips in the finish.
Spots of lacquer are dropped in and left to cure.
On to the final polishing of Roberts hollow rosewood guitar. It takes quite a few passes at several angles to get the gloss I’m after.
But it all comes together perfectly, though I am disappointed with the quality of the photo’s, they do not do the actual thing justice!
The headstock inlays are still my favourite part of the build, the blend of the ‘in yer face’ Crimson Guitars logo and the subtlety of the crow silhouette really appeals to me.
The guitar is the absolute best that I am currently capable of, may there be many more like her!
All my best,
Crimson custom Guitars UK