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Digital Subscriptions > Guitar Magazine > Nov-18 > MARTIN GUITAR KIT PART EIGHT


We took advantage of the summer weather to finally bring our acoustic build project to a close. Huw Price applies the finishing touches…


1 Sanding the underside of the bridge to match the soundboard curve allows it to contact the wood without the ends having to be clamped flat

I’m sitting down to write this final part of our Martin acoustic guitar kit adventure exactly one year since it all began. In truth, it’s only taken so long to get to the end because I’ve been getting on with various other projects inbetween, and I complicated things by customising the kit. If I’d just put it together in the way Martin recommends, it would have been a much shorter build, but instead it’s been quite the undertaking!

In the previous instalment I covered the spraying process that gave our guitar its distinctive and unusual sunburst finish. Before getting onto the exciting parts, however, I have to get through all the grunt work involved in bringing nitrocellulose lacquer up to a highgloss finish.

I’ve covered this process in DIY Workshop several times before and as always, I move through various grades of wet and dry abrasive paper – starting with 800-grit, followed by 1,000, 1,500 and 2,000. From there, I move onto Micro-Mesh and after progressing through 4,000-, 6,000- and 8,000-grit, the finish starts to take on a lustre.

However, I did try a couple of new techniques for this project. With each change of paper and Micro- Mesh, I also alter the direction in which I’m working. So, the 800-grit goes with the grain, 1,000-grit goes across it, and so on.


As usual I polish up with Farecla G3 compound followed by 3M Machine Polish. This creates a deep gloss effect, but looking across the finish, very fine scratches are still visible on the surface. For relic finishes it looks fine, but I’m aiming for greater finesse here and so I decide to try mechanical buffing.

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