Been busy in this forum showing off some things I do. The proof is in the pudding.

Here are some slides of the latest finished "GammelGura", a small Levin parlor from 1909. All birch with nice Eropean spruce in the top. The neck is soft alder, new fretboard and bridge in rosewood. The guitar have a carbon rod, new bracing, nut compensation, composite sadle bone (spruce) and a spruce "cross" as bridge plate. 63 cm mensur.

Also a sound clip, some standard open chords, a climb over the fretboard with a dim chord and the F shaped barré up to the 12:th fret. Not music, just a sound byte.

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That guitar sounds bigger than it looks. A lot bigger.

Glad that came through the recording, even bigger in real life. Levin parlors are small, about 95 cm long total length and not a big volume inside the body.

This is in fact a pretty close copy of a standard USA made parlor from the 1890ies, only with common European woods! The maker, Herman Carlsson Levin, worked in New York as a guitar builder for the Metropolis brand from around 1890 to 1900. He returned to Sweden to start the Levin factory 1900 and with him he probably had one or two Thompson& Odell parlors, I have compared one with an old Levin and the body shape was almost identical (see the picture, Levin on top and Thompson & Odell below) ;-) Also the non-dovetail joint with straight sides on the neck was the same in both. This means that the neck is only held by the glue and almost all of these has needed a reglue at some time.

Levin did all their instruments in the American tradition, in the thirties they copied a lot from Gibson.

I usually have better luck with parlor guitars made in the European tradition with more curves to the shape and bottom. They tend to sound better.

Pretty and sounds nice.

One thing I forgot to mention is a trick that works on both spirit and shellac varnish. I paint the spirit varnish on with a brush and it gets over the top glossy. Doesn't look right so I dull it down with 0000 steel wool and hand polish it back to semi gloss. On this one I happened to find a way to get back some more of the gloss using a hot heat gun! Constantly moving the heat gun (at about 300 degree Celsius) not to overheat the varnish I could "paint" gloss melting the varnish I put on the day before just a bit on the surface. Works really great as you can see on a couple of the slides. Will do that on all "GammelGura" from now on  :-)

What is the varnish you're using there, Roger?

I buy it from this site in Germany, (select English version, Online Shop link and select English language...). Not the best site out there, can be a bit hard to find stuff. Here is a direct link They have a couple of variants of the varnish, I buy the cheapest one and it's really good.

Talking with my friend Per Marklund he has also noticed the same "glossing" effect with heat. He told me that the spirit varnish layer will shrink in thickness too, the varnish will dry out below the already dry surface acting as a barrier to the not completely dry varnish below the surface. When heating just one spot a mirror varnish will get a dimple. Not a problem when going over the whole surface as I do.

Also, when adding spirit varnish to an unknown old varnish, the old varnish may not react to heat as pure spirit varnish does. I tried it on an old Levin with a mystery varnish that crackled below the new spirit varnish when heating, I had to stop right away!

Per also mentioned that spirit varnish can be put on top of any lacquer/varnish, the shellac will stick to it really good :-)

On raw wood they also have a primer for the spirit varnish. Dries quickly.

Wonderful job on that Parlour there , Roger. The guitar sounds really good and the intonation is remarkable up the neck.
Your string compensation at the nut and saddle have really paid off!

Thanks! Yes, I do like to have the guitar well intonated :-)


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