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  1. #1

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    Hey there!

    Some of you may not remember me. I haven't posted in the builder's section in a long time. Well, even with all this covid stuff going on (and living in a dormatory) i've been able to start working on small projects to try and build some experience doing minor wood working. Finger rests! I didn't know how easy it'd really be to carve one out. Got myself a dremel and have some hand tools. I got some really cheapo wood and made one just to make it. Really I just traced the one in the Benedetto building book.

    Anyways, two questions.

    What's the best finish for wood pickguards? I have some maple and I'm thinking of doing oil because I don't want it to be very glossy. I once got a nice Ebony one from StewMac and it seemed to be finished maybe with oil because it wasn't glossy or anything. But I don't know much at all about finishes. But I know I liked that feel. I want it to look more natural. But I also might experiment with gloss in the future. Not to begin with though. Especially since I don't have a good working place and I'm on restriction from going anywhere including workshops and stuff.

    Also, (#2) is there somewhere that I can find finger rest templates/designs to copy just to try making some? The one below isn't the maple. This is just some cheapo wood that I was experimenting with. I don't even know if this is real wood LOL. But it looks real, feels real. It's pretty soft. It's not plywood, it doesn't have any layers it's just a piece of wood but I couldn't tell you what it is. Maybe pine or something like that? Anyways, this wood doesn't matter right now. I'm just using it to experiment. I've got some more cuts of it so I'm gonna experiment with some more designs (maybe try to design some on my own) and experiment with some polish as well before I start trying out the maple.

    I'm really excited to dig into this maple though. It's some pretty nice flamed maple so I think it'll make an awesome looking finger rest. But anyways, ANY help would be lovely.

    Thanks a lot guys!
    - BT

    Experimenting with Finger Rests!-img_2888-jpg

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  3. #2

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    Ebony isn't normally finished, just polished mechanically. Maple and other woods do need to be finished, to prevent dirt and grime from making them ugly. You can use whatever finish you like. Waterborne poly would work in your situation, as would Tru-Oil or something similar. In a dorm you don't want something that smells and could possibly give off VOCs.

  4. #3

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    I still prefer the look of tortoise reddish with binding. Otherwise a straight black ebony and ebony can be buffed.

  5. #4

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    not much to add here, but for my ebony finger rests, i'll put a thin coat of carnauba wax on mine. Less shiny than using any sort of oil, such as tru oil or boiled linseed, etc.

  6. #5

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    Check out Bob Benedetto's book, "Marking an Archtop Guitar", 2nd edition. He has some templates for several of his fittings, including a couple of finger rests.

  7. #6

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    ebony or some walnuts are very hard woods...they don't even need oil....but something softer like maple will be prone to scratching...you'd want a tougher finish than just oil or wax...a satin wipe on poly would do it

    if you sand it back a bit between coats, you can build up a hard surface without much gloss

    pine is very soft...but maybe good to practice on

    luck

    cheers

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by mikeSF
    Check out Bob Benedetto's book, "Marking an Archtop Guitar", 2nd edition. He has some templates for several of his fittings, including a couple of finger rests.
    Yes I have this book, and that's where I got the template for the above finger rest mockup. There are only two in there though. I was hoping to find some other templates somewhere on the internet but I can't find a single one!

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    Ebony isn't normally finished, just polished mechanically. Maple and other woods do need to be finished, to prevent dirt and grime from making them ugly. You can use whatever finish you like. Waterborne poly would work in your situation, as would Tru-Oil or something similar. In a dorm you don't want something that smells and could possibly give off VOCs.
    Thanks for the reply! I'll definitely check these out!

  10. #9

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    There are some templates available, although mostly for solidbody models. There are tons of those. It may take some patience, but putting something like "archtop pickguard fingerrest template" in a search engine should keep you busy for awhile. I just don't have the patience nor the incentive to go through the hits.

  11. #10

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    Well, you can certainly look at photographs of classic fingerrests or pickguards to get some ideas for shapes. Several makers have distinctive designs such as Heritage, Benedetto, Zeidler, D'Aquisto, D'Angelico, etc. I very much like the shape of the pickguard on Peter Bernstein's Ziedler.

    Anyway, you can draw your own designs out based on photographs and getting an idea for proportion, shape, etc. My guitar has a Benedetto-ish shaped fingerrest (this is known, BTW, as the "Chuck Wayne" shape) like yours and I like the size and shape of it. It's there when I need it and it's unobtrusive when I don't.

    And congratulations for plunging into this. What an interesting way to get started in guitar woodworking. This is not only a functional item but its shape, color, binding, etc., lend a lot to the visual personality of the instrument.

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara
    Well, you can certainly look at photographs of classic fingerrests or pickguards to get some ideas for shapes. Several makers have distinctive designs such as Heritage, Benedetto, Zeidler, D'Aquisto, D'Angelico, etc. I very much like the shape of the pickguard on Peter Bernstein's Ziedler.

    Anyway, you can draw your own designs out based on photographs and getting an idea for proportion, shape, etc. My guitar has a Benedetto-ish shaped fingerrest (this is known, BTW, as the "Chuck Wayne" shape) like yours and I like the size and shape of it. It's there when I need it and it's unobtrusive when I don't.

    And congratulations for plunging into this. What an interesting way to get started in guitar woodworking. This is not only a functional item but its shape, color, binding, etc., lend a lot to the visual personality of the instrument.
    Hey thanks so much for interest. I did take your advice and I made a design which is a modified Benedetto style pickguard. I took that design and made it wider to accommodate my volume/tone knobs! Pics coming soon.

  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    Ebony isn't normally finished, just polished mechanically. Maple and other woods do need to be finished, to prevent dirt and grime from making them ugly. You can use whatever finish you like. Waterborne poly would work in your situation, as would Tru-Oil or something similar. In a dorm you don't want something that smells and could possibly give off VOCs.
    Just an update, I went with Tru-oil! I've got a good build on there now, and I'm gonna be applying the final coat tomorrow and then i'm gonna let it cure for like a week. I've watched a lot of videos and read other people's methods. Tru-Oil actually gives a pretty nice gloss, surprisingly! I'm loving this stuff. I'm gonna be posting an update pic below in a bit.

  14. #13
    Thanks everyone for your responses! Here's an update. It's two-ply flame maple with a Tru-Oil finish. Not done yet, but it will be in about a week. I took the Benedetto design and modified it. It's almost a cross between the Benedetto pickguard and an L-4C pickguard. I'll post some more updates when it's all finished. I'm thinking about doing some more of these in the future as well.

    Experimenting with Finger Rests!-img_2923-jpg
    Last edited by broturtel; 09-03-2020 at 02:14 AM.

  15. #14
    Here's also a side-by-side of my current project. The unfinished one is the practice finger rest that I made from a direct tracing of the slim pickguard in the Benedetto Making an Archtop book. The honey-blonde one above it is my new shape. Sorry for the reflection of the foil. I have it on there so that the finish can dry.

    Experimenting with Finger Rests!-img_2924-jpg