Classical Guitars

Handmade by Dan Kellaway

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1797 Fabricatore
The Beginning

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As you see the instrument was in a bit of a state. It came to me completely unplayable, with a smashed headstock, several frets missing , soundboard cracks and a couple of hundred years of bad repairs to sort out. Complete dissassembly was necessary as the bad work needed to be removed, cracks had to be repaired and new inlays had to be made. The major inlays in the tailblock and at the neck to body join that remained were suspect as far as originality so new ones had to be drawn in the style of existing known inlays by Fabricatore of the same period. Luckily I found a mandolin that provided the source for these new inlays.Once the guitar was opened up there was a massive amount of old glue and dodgy cleating that had to be cleaned out.

The Restoration

New tortoiseshell was needed for the headstock and this had gold leaf beneath it to illuminate the colours. The inside of the back and sides were lined with handmade Italian paper which was sourced from an art supply in Melbourne. The shell inlays were infilled with button shellac which took weeks to harden before polishing. The back of the neck and heel was inlayed with Ebony and Ivory and this was restored. The neck was fitted onto the body with the employment of a long, nasty looking nail, and this was restored and re-employed. Animal glue was used to repair soundboard cracks and the original brace was put back into the soundboard on the same angle as original. Although this had been missing it was obvious where it had been once the proper cleanup had been achieved. Old bar frets were used to restore the setup so the instrument would play well and a new bridge of the original lutelike design was constructed. Inlays were reproduced on the fingerboard, headstock and rosette by copying existing units and refitting them.

The Finish

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