Skip to main content

Reclaimed Redwood Guitar Top and 2 Panel Saws

American soil and American spirit have created Paul Bunyan. His forerunners are heroes who fed on fable and thrived on exaggeration: Hercules and Gargantua and Gulliver. Bunyan is not only more humorous but more high-hearted than any of his predecessors. He was born in the days when the forests of the Northwest were dark and immense, and the men who lived in them were few and lonely. The trees dwarfed the men; the men had to make themselves big, if only in imagination.

Louis Untermeyer, The Wonderful Adventures of Paul Bunyan, 1945



I'm waiting for the bread to rise, thought I'd practice writing a bit.

I have 2 guitars that I want to get started: one will have a spruce top with California laurel back and sides and will be a loose copy of guitar FE 19 by Antonio de Torres; the other will have a reclaimed redwood top with Indian rosewood back and sides, I hope to make this one a very close pastiche of an early 1960's Hernandez y Aguado guitar. Now is the time to start, the humidity is low in my studio.



This redwood board was saved from a picnic bench. I couldn't let it sit out in the elements anymore, the board has almost perfect vertical grain and rang like a bell when I first tapped it with my knuckles. It is similar to a redwood top set that I re-sawed from an old redwood water tank, the wood is something to behold! It had been so long since I re-sawed anything, I had almost forgotten what to do!





Here are the two tops together. I bought the Englemann spruce top about 10 years ago, it has a great tap tone and some very light bear claw. I should post photos of the rosettes that I am going to use, they were made in Russia and I purchased them through LMI. I look forward to building these guitars side by side, it'll be interesting to hear the differences in the tone woods when I finish them.




A close up of the two tops.




This neck is being made from some Spanish cedar (cedrus species) that I bought from Marc Culbertson at Gilmer Wood a little over 5 years ago. At the time of purchase Marc told me that the company had bought this cedar from a newly retired pattern maker who had had this wood for over forty years. It is marvelous stuff! This is for the redwood guitar.




The neck staff is a little too narrow for my comfort in cutting out the peg head, so I added 2 little "ears" to the head blank. As you can see I am copying even the crest that Hernandez y Aguado used on their guitars. I think I will skip texturing the field of the peg head like many of the H y A's where, I did some looking on the internet and found some H y A guitars that had peg heads that weren't textured.




For you tool geeks here is another project I have in mind. I was ripping down brace wood stock for the 2 guitars the other day and I was wishing that I had a shorter panel rip saw instead of the gorgeously large No. 7 Disston rip saw that is my "go to" rip saw. I've 2 other panels saws that are crosscut, but I lack a rip one. Then I remembered these 2 saws hiding out in my other tool chest. So, tomorrow I will drive the Jeep to a nearby wood store and look for some wood for proper handles. (I tried to put the saw nuts back in my grandfather's saw, now they don't fit!)

The saw with the handle is an 10 point 20 inch panel saw, the saw nut states "Warranted Superior" and you can just barely make out the same on the saw etch, the etch is very faded. The saw belonged to my maternal grandfather, he made a handle for it out of black (red) oak, [quercus kellogii] that is indigenous to northeast California. I have no idea how old the saw is. The saw without the handle I made by cutting down an old Disston, I think it might have been a No.7 or a D-7, but the etch is so faded I can't really read anything other then Disston. I think I bought that saw 15 years ago with the intent to make it a mate to the other saw, but to make it an 8 point rip saw. I do remember working on it, reshaping the teeth to rip configuration, I did about 1/4 of the teeth then quit. I must have gotten frustrated. As if I don't have enough projects all ready!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

Basic Hand Tool Kit for Making a Classical Guitar, Revised

Ours is really a simple craft.

James Krenov, The Impractical Cabinetmaker, 1979


So, you want to build a guitar.

Since the original post, Basic Hand Tool Kit for Guitar Making, click here to see it, is the most popular post on this blog, I thought I would revisit it and adjust it to what I am using now to make a classical guitar.

The first thing I recommend doing is to buy or borrow copies of the following books:

Guitar Making: Tradition and Technology, by William Cumpiano and Jonathan Natelson
Making Master Guitars, by Roy Courtnall
The Guitar Maker's Workshop, by Rik Middleton

These are required reading before you begin making a guitar.

Also required reading are these books by Roy Underhill:

The Woodwright's Shop
The Woodwright's Companion
The Woodwright's Workbench
The Woodwright's Apprentice


Why these books by Mr. Underhill? You will learn valuable wood working techniques if you make any of his projects. The dovetail joints used to join a drawer together are far mor…

The Guitar's Scale Length, Your Hand Size and a Chart

I will cite the case of a marvelous concert player, a Japanese lady who is barely 5 ft. tall and with hands that are real miniatures. She plays a 664 mm 10 string guitar and demanded that I build this guitar with an action 1 mm higher than normal, which she handles with incredible ease. This is serious study!


Jose Ramirez III, Things About the Guitar, 1990




Here is the hand size and scale length that I found on the forum at delcamp.com.

Thumb tip to pinky tip span of 250+ 664mm scale length
Thumb tip to pinky tip span of 230 to 250 656mm scale length
Thumb tip to pinky tip span of 210 to 230 650mm scale length
Thumb tip to pinky tip span of 190 to 210 640mm scale length
Thumb tip to pinky tip span of 170 to 190 630mm scale length
Thumb tip to pinky tip span of below 170 615mm scale length



Here is my flexible imperial/metric ruler.




Here is my hand properly placed on the flexible imperial/metric ruler.




Today my reach from little finger to thumb is 240mm. I should more or less be playing a…