Guitar & Woodwork Projects

Oh, God of Luthiery, why hast thou forsaken me?


Up at 6.00 am yesterday and straight into my workshop to begin the sprint finish on Danielle’s guitar. The tape is in the distance. The adoring crowd is cheering.

At 3.00 pm I flipped the guitar onto its side to carefully cut a scalpel line along the masking of the neck in order to ease it away from the polished lacquer. I didn’t notice that a very hot spotlight was just 2 inches away from the side on the lower bout. It must have been there a couple of minutes as I concentrated on my delicate manoeuvre.

I looked up to find my lovely smooth lacquer bubbling away under the heat. My heart hit my socks. I exclaimed (I didn’t even swear, honest).

The heat damage to the lower side - sanding repair begun.
The upper side. What the lower side looked like before the heat damage.

I turned off the lights. Turned off the radio. Closed my workshop door and went and sat quietly in the Garden Room. I was joined by one of our cats who sensed the severity of the situation and sat quietly beside me, silently willing me to cheer up. I knew that the only thing I could do now was to sand the whole section back to the wood and re-lacquer the whole side – a patch repair wouldn’t work. This meant another 7 – 10 days work.  “Oh, God of Luthiery, why hast thou forsaken me ?”  “A harsh lesson. Stop when thy body is tired,” he sayeth, “for I shall move the finishing tape beyond thy sight until thou learnest.”

At 5.30 pm I sought a local watering hole where succour and solace was to be found in the busom of the barmaid my peers.

Sleep  – and let the repair begin.

13 thoughts on “Oh, God of Luthiery, why hast thou forsaken me?

    1. Thanks, MS. When the guitar is finished it should look lovely. You can’t really repair just the damaged area by replacement. Taking out a side is a major dismantling of the instrument. I should be able to repair the lacquer if the side itself isn’t burnt (which I don’t think it is). It’s just annoying and time consuming to have to do this again when I was almost there. 😦

  1. Hmmm…I don’t know much about musical instruments ( In fact, know nothing at all ). I would like to believe this guitar is dear to you. Someone else might have just flicked it out & bought a new one. I sincerely hope your guitar is back in shape. Cheers * adds a meeowww along with the cats *

  2. Ouch. So sorry. Don’t you hate it when it’s the mistakes you make are the ones you have to clean up, too?! I think swearing would have been in order, but sometimes it’s so bad it’s beyond swearing. Kudos to your cat. They can be very helpful by just sitting and commiserating in silence. I’m commiserating too. All that work. Sigh.

  3. After you have finished the repair and the sanding have a nice ham on rye with a beer and try not to hurt yourself anymore.

  4. Nah, this is no curse — it’s the beginnings of the best guitar ever. It’s a troublemaker; hence it’s got a personality. If the spirit of music is dischordian (which it seems to be), and so long as you do pierce that tape, than you will have weathered the storm and made something truly great! This is this instruments story, it’s wounded, rebellious, and yet still beautiful, three traits that make great music 🙂

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