SIMSCal Annual Meeting Highlights

(First Quarter Meeting was held on Saturday, March 21, 2015)


  • Election of new Officers
    (all offices were filled by volunteers)


  • Larry McCutcheon, …………………… President
  • Sheri Peterson, ………………………… Secretary / Treasurer
  • Dan Greene, …………………………….. Director of Communications
  • Eric Nichols,……………………………… Director of Guitar Operations

and, in a non-elected role

  • Bill Gourlay……………………………….. Returning Volunteer Webmaster




  • Featured speakers from the Orange County Fair invited all SIMSCal members to enter the Musical Instruments Division of the Fine Woodworking competition at this summer’s OC Fair.

Encouraging information:

  • Besides swell ribbons for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, there are cash money awards; check out page 10 of the Competitions Guide



  • Bill Gourlay has added the SIMSCal library to the Resources section of our website.
    • The feature attraction is the two-volume set of books by master guitarmaker Ervin Somogyi, The Responsive Guitar and Making the Responsive Guitar. – a theory, and practice set. Many ideas there will make you a better guitarmaker.
  • There are also a couple of good books on the art of inlay.
  • Anybody seen this one? It seems to be missing.




  • Larry McCutcheon, brought a couple of items to the attention of the members.
    • There is a new(ish) shellac product out there: Royal Lac a polymerized shellac product from in San Diego. They also have a shellac-based wood sealer and pore filler called Seal Lac.

      Robbie O’Brien has a Luthier Tips du Jour Mailbag 35 minute YouTube demonstrating his finishing schedule for brushing and padding-on Seal Lac and Royal Lac.

      As Royal Lac can also be sprayed on, the following is a discussion of that process from the Official Luthiers Forum.

      The Shellac Finishes website has a couple more videos of guitarmakers using Royal Lac.

      Anyone interested in having ViJay come make a presentation to us? Anyone still reading this?

      •  LMI’s house-brand instrument makers glue has a new formula. Its new and improved features include: Discreet florescent dye additive allows you to clearly see (in black light) “invisible” glue residue that can ruin a finish, saving untold hours spent repairing finishes.

      •  Hibdon Hardwood in St. Louis is having a March promotion with 15% off T’zalam, a Koa / Acacia cousin, from the look of it. 
      Be sure to include the promo code: LS2015MAR


  • Bill Gourlay shared some new favorite tools:



Stephen Boone
Hand Made Wooden Finger Plane

  • Tapered sides
  • Blade to about 1mm from side

Bill insisted all in his class get this tool – it’s that good, particularly for use on braces..


Ultimate Scraper

  • Doesn’t fatigue hands
  • No pointy edges to gouge wood

Dale Terrien said that he has a couple and that they are as good as Bill says.


LMI Digital String Height Gauge

  • Look closely to see the plastic feet that stand on the face of the fretboard.
  • Decimal and metric
  • Accurate to .001”


  • Carl Bernhardt shared a couple of small banjo restoration projects that he has been working on (small banjos, not necessarily small projects).
  • John Fitzgerald shared a recently completed 00 steel string cut-away guitar that he plans to ship to his customer this week. Sinker redwood top, flamed and figured walnut back and sides, cocobolo binding. At his customer’s request there were a couple of Christian symbol inlays, one on the headstock, and one on the fretboard. Finish was ReRanch ( ) nitrocellulose in spray can; five cans of nitro, one can of sealer. John said building only one or two instruments a year, rattle cans are the way to go, even if they seem a little pricey. Convenience trumps price. The key is the fan-spray nozzle – “as good as any gun” that he has used. And the results were excellent. Another understated, elegant guitar from John. I think Bill Gourlay got some photos, which will likely be on the website soon.