musical instrument - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum

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post #1 of 13 Old 02-16-2017, 08:01 AM Thread Starter
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musical instrument

just completing my first hollow body instrument - mountain dulcimer. cherry with a walnut veneer fret board. curious what you all think would be the best finish for this. thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 13 Old 02-16-2017, 08:28 AM
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A nitrocellulose lacquer has pretty much been the standard beginning with the industrial revolution. Before that they used plain old varnish. With lacquer you either need spray equipment or use rattle can. The finish brushes poorly.

I think I would do a great deal of homework before choosing a finish. The finish can affect the sound of an instrument. I saw a somewhere they think it was the varnish Stradivarius had formulated that made his violins special.
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post #3 of 13 Old 02-16-2017, 09:21 AM
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Like Steve, I would use Nitrocellulose lacquer. Got any photos we can see?

David

Nothing to do with woodworking at all, just our music at church (I'm the guy with the Koa Takamine) - Airline Baptist BC Songs
Romans 3:23
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post #4 of 13 Old 02-16-2017, 09:34 AM
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Nitro is huge for telecaster solid body guitars. I would definitely consider it for other instruments.
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post #5 of 13 Old 02-16-2017, 10:00 AM Thread Starter
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no spray system yet. is the rattle can lacquer nitrocellulose? I have used rattle can lacquer, but don't remember reading nitro on it.
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post #6 of 13 Old 02-16-2017, 11:23 AM
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no spray system yet. is the rattle can lacquer nitrocellulose? I have used rattle can lacquer, but don't remember reading nitro on it.
Not all rattle can lacquer is nitrocellulose, it's just the most common. More than likely you would have to find a professional supplier to get another type lacquer. Certainly the box store lacquers would be nitro. They are very similar to each other anyway. The biggest difference is nitro lacquer tends to yellow as it ages and can affect the color of the project especially if the wood is light in color. Nitro lacquer is made by dissolving cotton in nitric acid to make the cellulose. You know how a cotton tee shirt yellows when it gets old, so does the cellulose in the lacquer. Other lacquers they use plastic resins in it and they tend to stay clear longer like that of plexiglass.
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post #7 of 13 Old 02-16-2017, 01:18 PM
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no spray system yet. is the rattle can lacquer nitrocellulose? I have used rattle can lacquer, but don't remember reading nitro on it.
I buy it by the gallon and spray with an HVLP gun but for quick prototypes of small objects or just to whip something out quickly I have found that Deft has the best spray nozzle. The product is good, too. HD has it but Lowe's does not, at least where we are anyway.

David

Nothing to do with woodworking at all, just our music at church (I'm the guy with the Koa Takamine) - Airline Baptist BC Songs
Romans 3:23
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post #8 of 13 Old 02-16-2017, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
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a few pics. bought a set of plans since this was my first. i think i learned enough to tackle the next one without. think i will try a ukulele. popped for the $100 circular saw fret blade, but made that job easy. cutting fret tonite.
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post #9 of 13 Old 02-16-2017, 10:13 PM
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Looks nice, Tim. I thought about getting the saw blade but opted for the StewMac Japanese fret saw and made my own fixture for cutting frets.

Keep posting photos!

David

Nothing to do with woodworking at all, just our music at church (I'm the guy with the Koa Takamine) - Airline Baptist BC Songs
Romans 3:23
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post #10 of 13 Old 02-16-2017, 10:36 PM
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I've been thinking about taking the plunge into making my first musical instrument. I have one guitar and play it some, not a lot, but being I don't read music and I'm limited in the talent department it'll probably remain closer to the thinking about taking the plunge than taking the plunge.
On the other hand I might actually turn out better at making musical instruments than using them.
After all, I made a baby craddle and to the best of my knowledge I'll probably never take a nap in it unless I shrink drastically.

I figured it's time to change my signature so hold your breath. This is it.
Impressive, huh?
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post #11 of 13 Old 02-17-2017, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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thanks all. I found some deft lacquer today, will give that a try.
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post #12 of 13 Old 02-17-2017, 03:31 PM
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I've been thinking about taking the plunge into making my first musical instrument. I have one guitar and play it some, not a lot, but being I don't read music and I'm limited in the talent department it'll probably remain closer to the thinking about taking the plunge than taking the plunge.
On the other hand I might actually turn out better at making musical instruments than using them.
After all, I made a baby craddle and to the best of my knowledge I'll probably never take a nap in it unless I shrink drastically.
I know what you mean on that - several years ago we needed a Cajon (box drum) in our Praise Band at church so I built one. I knew what one was but not sure I had seen one at the time but I forged ahead. Turns out that I build a mean Cajon!! LOL! The guys and gals who play it tell me it has a rich, deep, loud sound that theirs doesn't have. I knew it sounded decent to me but didn't have anything to compare it to. We leave it at church for anyone to play and it gets played often.

You should build a guitar, like I have room to talk... I started my first two years ago and it isn't finished yet but it is very close. One of my guitars is made by JW Gallagher & Sons but Mr. JW didn't play guitar but he started building them anyway. They were good enough for Doc Watson to use for most of his picking for the last 30 years or so of his life so being able to play isn't a requirement.

David

Nothing to do with woodworking at all, just our music at church (I'm the guy with the Koa Takamine) - Airline Baptist BC Songs
Romans 3:23
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post #13 of 13 Old 02-17-2017, 11:59 PM
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If I were doing rattle can lacquer on an instrument, I'd be inclined to go with this:

http://www.stewmac.com/Materials_and...r_Lacquer.html
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