Ca 1915 Masspacher guitar resto 1

The story of this guitar as far as my ownership is concerned, goes back about two and a half years. I bought it on eBay ‘for a song’ in France, where it was made – in Paris. As far as I can work out from research, it was made between 1915 and 1920, which makes it about 100 years old 🙂 Masspacher was a retailer and manufacturer, with a shop and workshop and was better known for its accordions. This particular guitar is unusual and quite rare, as they were made in their own ‘artisanal’ workshop and preempted the gypsy-jazz or manouche style, which they also made later on in ‘petit-bouche’ after the Selmer/Macaferri makers in the late 20s and 30s.

It was in a sad state when I received it, damaged from being too long in too dry an environment (centrally-heated?) and as such the wood of the top was split and had shrunk in all directions. I started by stripping it down as far as possible, also removing the frets and the varnish/laquer, so that it could breathe again and the top could take up some moisture from the atmosphere. I made a simple humidifier and hung it in the wash-cellar for months on end in an attempt to humidify it. Here are a few pics of it in it’s condition as I received it back then in 2017? It looks a lot better in the pics than it really was, as the shrinkage was everywhere…

There was a sponge inside the pot which was wetted every day and the whole thing was hung in the wash teller foe a few months, until we left for the UK…

Diana large davits Part 2

The construction of the davit block was fiddly, requiring more than two hands and ten (fat) fingers, so I need time to work out a better way to do the other three with more precision and less luck. In the meantime I managed to steal a few minutes to cut out the hatches for the hull, which required some accuracy:

To complete the topside of the davit block, I decided to have a go at the blocks that the launch sits on. As proposed in the kit, these are flat-sided and so not very true to life, so I decided to make them  three-dimensional as they should be, to improve their appearance in the rather prominent position that they sit in!

This is what they should look like:

They were primed for folding as originally planned and carefully lined up on both sides. In between I placed a third sheet (made of two printed layers back-to-back after thinning them down by wetting, rolling and stripping the printed side from the white back). You will see that the sheet is both cut and punched to give the right shape, here only part-finished.

Look at the difference between what was originally intended and my extra effort:

After that the pair I made were mounted on the davit-block:

At this stage, after trying it out for size on the ship, I discovered that the curve of davits themselves was a bit flat, meaning that the launch wouldn’t be able to sit on the blocks at all, so that has been corrected and the others have been corrected to suit. The davit-heads still have to be addressed as well as other details before the davits are fitted properly later.

Like other protruding and/or fragile items that might become damaged while handling the ship during the build, these will be fitted near the end when I consider it safe to do so.

Some of these parts were included in the acid etch sheet, but would have been difficult if not impossible to incorporate, due to the construction. The whole sheet I find was filled with unnecessary parts and omitted many more that would have been far more useful – the wheels for the Lafetten, for example, that are missing altogether and would have been more appropriate. I shall use those left over from my Bogatyr 🙂

For the full report, please go to