In the Workshop

Appying the shellac
Appying the shellac
French polishing is usually pure agony. It's thirty hours of hard work spread out over 3-4 weeks. The sound and the look make it worth it however. It's often no more than .003" thick - less than a hair - but looks as deep as the ocean.

Shellac gloss
Shellac gloss
Speaking about the ocean, here it is! That gloss is from polished beetle excrement (shellac). Maybe beetles have an ear for classical music??

Polished jewelry
Polished jewelry
As the polishing process moves ahead, the woodworking starts looking more and more like jewelry. It's truly the diamond in the rough being exposed. A great feeling!

Prepping the soundboard for the bridge
Prepping the soundboard for the bridge
The glue that holds the bridge on will not bind to shellac. After taping around the bridge outline, the finish is carefully scraped away.

Gluing on the bridge
Gluing on the bridge
It only takes a couple of hours for the glue to set up under the bridge, but I have to resist stringing it up for a day or two. The strings exert almost 100 pounds of force and could easily dislodge the bridge if not totally cured. No reason to ruin all that work at this stage!

Ready to string up!
Ready to string up!
Finally, the moment has come. The bridge is secure, and was sucessfully attached while avoiding squeeze-out. Now I can put the strings on and find out how well she sings. Life is good!