Note -- This Saga kit represents some incredibly artistry...we should all try to be this good!  Click on the photo to see it full-sized...unbelievable.

From James Fecteau

A little info on my attempt at a Saga kit.

Let me start by saying that I have been a carver for the past twenty five years or better and am just now applying it to guitars.  This is the fourth guitar I've done. The others being used ones or inexpensive new ones bought just for the enjoyment of carving.  I have also built a couple of complete new solid bodies with different woods and inlays so I'm not a complete stranger to working on one.

After getting the kit from David Drake , a Saga retailer and guitar builder himself, I started by trying to remove the finish that came on it.  It was tough as nails!  I tried different strippers but ended up just sanding it all off.  After finishing the carving I sealed the wood , antiqued it with chestnut stain and sprayed a whole can of nitro lacquer on it.  I didn't sand in between any of the lacquer coats so the finish ended up slightly textured.  Unintentional but acceptable considering it enhanced the carving some what. I didn't use it on this one but I have used Deft lacquer in a can before and I think I like it better. Seems easier to use and less expensive with same results.
The neck wasn't stripped but dulled with 400 grit paper and then resprayed with the Deft satin lacquer -- about six coats.  The fret board was steel wooled with 0000 and coated three times with low gloss Tung oil.  I applied the oil with my finger tip . I let it soak in , dry, and then wiped it with the wool again. The finish that came on the fret board looked kind of thin so this was done to close it up more and bring out more of the color in the wood.  I got some waterslide paper and made my own decal for the headstock . Just put my own name on it.

I used all the hardware that came with it except for the tuners. I got some Ping tuners from David as an upgrade. I think it was worth it. All the routs done on the body seemed good. The neck pocket and neck fit good and tight.  No adjustments were necessary. I do think that all the predrilled holes, pickguard, jack plate and so on were done either late on a Friday afternoon or first thing Monday morning. Nothing matched! This fortunately was the easiest to fix .

When I got the kit the neck was straight. After stringing it up the neck moved a good bit. I've started twisting the truss rod some a little at a time . Its still waiting for the next twist so I can't say how well it will straighten out.

All things considered I think the kit was worth the money and a good way to get introduced to guitar construction

Incredible job, James-- I'm not worthy!

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