Skip to main content

Posts

My eBay Listing: Make a Chair from a Tree: An Introduction to Working Green Wood, John D. Alexander, Jr.

To honor the memory of Jennie Alexander, I am selling my copy of Make a Chair from a Tree, on eBay. Click here to see the listing.

This is a 1st edition paperback book that is in very good shape. I hope a young woodworker buys it and discovers the wonders of working green wood!

Good luck!





Recent posts

Want to Hear What a Wilson Burnham Guitar Sounds Like?

Want to hear what one of my guitars sounds like?

Click here.

I have a 2017 Redwood/East Indian Rosewood classical guitar at Savage Classical Guitar and
Rich has posted this recording of him playing the guitar.

He comments on the sound and playability as he plays.

It is a wonderful recording. Thanks, Rich!





Off the Bench and For Sale! 2017 Redwood/East Indian Rosewood Classical Guitar

Hi, Wilson, guitar arrived in excellent shape. I'll be photographing and listing almost immediately today. She's a beauty, brother. Very nice.

Richard Sayage, owner, Savage Classical Guitar

I shipped a very nice redwood/East Indian rosewood classical guitar to Savage Classical Guitar on Monday, and it arrived in Bohemia, New York, this morning!

This is really a wonderful guitar, it is loud with a beautiful bel canto voice, all notes are very even up and down the fret board, and, as my wife pointed out, every note is clear, clean and crisp. It is one guitar that I wish I could keep for myself, but it needs to be in the hands of a player that wants a truly outstanding guitar.


The bracing is an adaptation of one used by Jesus Belezar, Manuel Hernandez's son-in-law. I purchased the redwood top from Luthiers Mercantile.



I bought this set of East Indian rosewood back and sides sometime around 2002, I wish I had bought more back then, it is really hard to find rosewood this nice …

My Forty Year Old Shaving Horse

I've made all my tools, matter a'fact, everything I got. Well, this shaving horse I guess is about fifty years old.
Alex Stewart, bucket and butter churn maker, Foxfire 3, 1975

I made this shaving horse in 1978, when I was fifteen years old. I was tired of trying to hold stock in the leg vise on our grandfather's workbench, sticks of wood often would slip out when I took Grandpa's drawknife to it, and the jaws limited access to the wood I was trying to shape. I saw a photo of one in Foxfire 3 and decided I could make one.



My parents had all sorts of pieces of wood cached up in the attic of the old workshop, both were children of the Great Depression, they squirreled stuff away "because you never know when you are going to need it!" There was a five foot long piece of chainsaw milled incense cedar, pieces of old painted window, miscellaneous Douglas fir 2x2's and one piece of old growth Douglas fir that was just right for the bridge table.




I can't reme…

The Impractical Guitar Maker - Why I Make Guitars, Part One

The gifted hands of these makers turn these rare old woods, ideas and dreams into beautiful musical instruments.

James Sherry, classical guitar importer

I am often asked by the people who view and play my guitars how I got into this thing called "guitar making".

My pat answer is "I couldn't afford the guitar that I really wanted".

Good classical guitars are never cheap and here are some examples of prices past and present.

When I started studying classical guitar in 1974, at the age of 12, a Jose Ramirez III 1A classical guitar cost something like $3000 to $4000 - $15,175 to $20,234 in today's money. Back then, great players such as Andres Segovia, Christopher Parkening, Liona Boyd, Douglas Niedt played a Ramirez, because those guitars were the best.

In 1990, I stopped by a well known guitar maker in New Mexico to check out one his higher end guitars. It was $3000.  I think my take home pay at the time was only $800 a month, and I had to decline because I …

More French Polishing

Whenever you smooth down a freshly polished surface, always use your glass paper very lightly...

The French Polisher's Hand Book, 1910

I've been very busy lately pore filling two guitars, which gets to be a pain in the ass, pore filling is my least favorite part of finishing. It seems like no matter how hard I try to get the pores completely filled with wood dust and shellac, that when I get ready to start padding shellac I discover spots that aren't completely filled. I go ahead and pad down some shellac, wait for it to harden then go at those spots with a pad loaded with shellac and pumice then sand with Micro Mesh when the shellac is hard.


I pore fill with a combination of shellac and wood dust, East Indian rosewood dust for this guitar.



It makes a goopy mess that I sand back to (almost) bare wood with 400 grit sand paper. Lots of elbow grease and heart ache.

I know the old recipes for French polish use tallow or tinted whiting for pore filling, but for some reason in th…

A New and Practical Chisel/Tool Rack

Woodworkers are pack rats of the highest order.

Scott Landis, The Workshop Book, 1991

I am in the middle of making two classical guitars, one is a close copy of a 1926 Domingo Esteso, the other one a close copy of Andres Segovia's famous 1912 Manuel Ramirez guitar. The Esteso style has a 640mm string length on a body smaller than the Ramirez style, almost three quarters of an inch shorter, and the Ramirez is fairly textbook, meaning that from the outside it looks like a 1912 Ramirez guitar. The inside is braced a little differently than the original, but the "fan" pattern of bracing was in use in the Ramirez shop at the time.

The Esteso style guitar...


The 1912 Ramirez style guitar...

In all of this chaos of scraping down bindings, glueing on fret boards, making bridges, etc., I realized that I needed to rehabilitate my chisel-tool rack. There were chisels and pliers on the floor of the studio because there was no place to put them, a problem that needed a remedy.

The orig…