Skip to main content

End of Year Thoughts on Woodworking and Other Ramblings

We are not in an age of folklore, but be it superstition or science, the results have certainly been interesting: the New England Farmer says, "The moon has potential influence in the various parts of her orbits, that by cutting one tree three hours before the new moon and another of the same kind of tree six hours afterwards, a difference in the soundness of the timber will be noticed." "When the moon is new to full," reads an old almanac proverb, "timbers fibers warp and pull." There were rules even for cutting firewood, for an entry for January 6, 1799, in an early Almanac advises, "At this quarter of the moon, cut fire wood to prevent it from snapping and throwing embers beyond the hearth."

Eric Sloane, American Barns and Covered Bridges, 1954




For end the year I have to give a warm and hearty Thank You! to Luke Townsley of unpluggedshop.com for picking up my blog. Luke, may you never grow tired of my blog! I hope to always post something that will interest you and hopefully, help you learn something new! Thanks to his site my blog has gotten over 19,000 hits in the last six months! I had been blogging for 4 years before this and had only received 640 hits! Thank you, Luke, because of your work I have gotten to meet such great folks as Terry Kelly, Tico Vogt, among others, and all the people who have viewed my blog. This December, Robin Wood, that wonderful English bowl turner extraordinaire, also discovered my blog. I believe that he has single-handedly revived the art of bowl turning on a spring pole lathe world wide. Thanks to all of you!


It was a touching year, my wife and I moved from my ancestral home in northeastern California back to her ancestral home land of gold, Gilpin and Boulder counties Colorado. There are many people who are gone and still loved that I would like to talk to again to make sure that everything that I am doing is "correct and proper" because they were the ones who taught me in the first place.

Wood working is a very personal act and any part of creating is, but remember, always look over your shoulder because somebody is looking, there is always an audience and you must strive to always to do your best.

I have 2 guitars that I will be building this year and I am already worried about who will play them and what kinds of music will be played on these guitars. I know the sounds, richness, fullness, depth and clarity that I want these guitars to create, I want them to express the music of Llobet, Smith-Brindle, Tansman, Thea Musgrave, de Visee and Dowland with all the nuisances a performer can get out of them.

Don't comprise quality, fellow woodworkers and don't be slaves to copying James Krenov or Dave Ellsworth! Robin Wood, Tico Vogt and Terry Kelly have it right, take the work that was done before us, honor that work by equaling or exceeding their work!





Terry, this emblem of the Red River Lumber Company is for you, this is what Paul Bunyan really looked like, Everett Jackson (The Marvelous Adventures of Paul Bunyan, Louis Untermeyer) was close with his illustrations but Paul really did have facial hair. Though Paul may have started the destruction of the old growth forests of the United States, because of him and my grandfather's hand tools I started wood working, I also gained a love of trees and what can be created from them. We are not the first people to love and know trees, our Bronze age ancesters knew what wood made the best bows and arrows, knife hafts and living structures.




Fifteen years ago or so, a good friend of mine, Andrea Gunderson, reminded me that winter is the time to come to one's self to regroup and become quiet in thought, like the trees and rocks around us that embrace winter with the eternal knowledge that spring, and new growth, always return, life is revitalized and with it new thoughts and acts of creation.

Here's to a happy, wonderful and productive New Year!

Thanks everyone!

Wilson

Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Off the Bench and For Sale: Miguel Rodriguez Style Guitar

This guitar has a Western Red Cedar top, Claro walnut back and sides, Royal ebony fretboard, Indian rosewood bridge and a 650mm string length.

This guitar has a beautiful voice and is loud! I was amazed at how loud it is as soon as I got the strings on and tuned to concert pitch. It is easy to play and I am blown away by the musical nuances that can be created with this guitar.

Please click on Guitars Currently Available or Studio Model to read more about this wonderful guitar!



1961 Hernandez y Aguado Style Classical Guitar, Redwood/Indian Rosewood, For Sale

The partnership of Manuel Hernandez and Victoriano Aguado was one of the most successful in guitar making history.

Roy Courtnall, Making Master Guitars, 1993

Please note that this guitar is currently for sale at Savage Classical Guitar. Please click here to see this guitar!

I made this guitar several years ago, but because of custom orders, I had to set it aside. I put strings on it two weeks ago and it is a most magnificent sounding guitar! It has good, clear separation string to string, wonderful sustain with evenness and balance throughout with a very lyrical voice. I originally made this guitar for myself, but someone with a good strong technique and a good understanding of musical interpretation should own this guitar and play it on a regular basis.



This guitar is a fairly close copy of a guitar made by Hernandez y Aguado in 1961. The body length is 480mm, most of the HyA guitars had a body length of 490mm; string length is 650mm, many were 655mm and longer; other than that I trie…

How to Make a Traditional Froe Mallet

What holds the Holy of the Holies, what did Brahma become? Wood. Why will aspen always tremble? For the nails driven into the cross. What makes the color of wood? The soil it tastes. Cradle, fiddle, coffin, bed: wood is a column of earth made ambitious by light, and made of beauty by the rain.

Kim R. Stafford, Having Everything Right, 1986.

Rive, verb, to split
Shake, noun, a split in a piece wood. (Heart shake, ring shake)
Shake, verb, (Middle English), to split.

I know I should have been in the studio working on my back log of guitars, but the day was so nice and warm with a tall blue canopy, I couldn't stay inside. I decided that I needed to make a proper froe mallet. This style of mallet is traditional to northeastern California, primarily Tehama (where I'm from), Butte, Shasta and Plumas counties where making shingles by hand from sugar pines was an industry. I don't know if it was used in any other region along the Pacific Rim, other parts of the United States or even o…