The new bridge is finished. If I keep making enough of these things, one day I'll get a really good one. But that will take 50 years for me to get that good and I probably won't live that long.
It took me three blanks to get one that was reasonably decent.
At any rate, it's far better than the hacked-up on that was on the guitar originally.
But as I cleaned all of the filth off, the truth was revealed.
There's hardly any finish on it at all! What you see is all of it. Some around the bridge and a couple spots here and there. As much as I didn't want to do this, I'm going to have to refinish the top.
I hate hate hate to touch the finish on old instruments, except for cleaning, polishing and a small touchup here and there. But if I play this guitar as is, I'll just proceed to grind dirt back into that beautiful spruce. (Which is probably 90 or 100 years old to begin with.) So refinish it is. Fortunately, the back, sides and neck are in ok shape. Only the top needs to be finished.
I made up a small batch - a few drops of amber Color Tone liquid and even fewer drops of medium brown. Here's the final test on a scrap piece of spruce - the blotch on the left is the winner.
I may have shown some of the awful scratches around the bridge that were made when the original was taken off and replaced. At least this was an opportunity to get them off. Or, at least, made less noticeable.
I didn't dare go lower than 120 grit paper - I used that sparingly on the scratches and places were dirt was ground into the wood. I couldn't get all of the deep gouges out, but it looks much better than it did.
Then I used 220 and 320 for the final sanding. Look how white the spruce is! How wonderful it must have been to have worked at Martin in the 1930s - imagine the smell of spruce, mahogany and rosewood mingling everywhere as the craftsman did their work. And this little guitar was one of the instruments they crafted.
The grain is just wonderful. You can also see how Martin glued the top so the tighter grain is near the center seam, and the wider grain is further out. (The tape is to mask the bare wood where the pickguard and bridge will go after the finish is done).
I considered using varnish or shellac as the finish period, but I decided to use nitro lacquer since that's what Martin originally put on it.
This is just the first coat of toning lacquer. I'm using a Preval sprayer - I don't have a spray gun (yet), so this will have to do.
The color is not bad, I think.
I'm thinking 2 coats of toner, and then 7 or 8 coats of clear. We shall see. This first coat is still drying as I write this.
As an aside, this is my 500th post on this blog!