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Showing posts from April, 2012

The Western Red Cedar/Bigleaf Maple Classical Guitar is Finished!

Segovia('s)... instrument moans not, neither does it wail. It is at all times nothing more nor less than a transcendently well-played guitar-an honest and affecting sound because it is a beautifully handmade thing, in which the left hand always knows what the right hand is doing. And that, in the last analysis, is the point and purpose of the whole art of the Apollonian twang.

Frederic V. Grunfeld, The Art and Times of the Guitar, 1969


Four hours this morning doing the final rub out on the finish, worth every penny of the labor spent. I discovered that Meguiar's Swirl Remover worked the best for a gloss finish. When I took these photos I could see my reflection in the finish, me holding my camera and the guitar looking back at me.

This guitar started out as a bigleaf maple board that my friend, Leo Weber, gave me for the sole purpose of making something out of it. I re-sawed the board by hand with a Disston D-8 rip saw into the back and sides, the top I scavenged from a old pi…

Old Growth Ponderosa Pine and Cecilia Bartoli

I enjoy listening to opera at home, occasionally, but I would much rather see it than just listen to it.

Sam Waterston

I've been in love with Cecilia Bartoli ever since I heard an interview with her on National Public Radio back in 1990 when I was working and living at Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site. To me she is the most amazing mezzo soprano in the world today. I love her voice and what she can do with it.

I wanted to share this YouTube not only for her voice but for the pine trees that are in this video. Wow, I have no idea where this was shot but these trees rival some the old growth ponderosa and western white pine in Lassen Volcanic and Yosemite National Parks in California! The trees in the video are massive and so very beautiful. If you truly are a woodworker or a lover of all things good in the world, watch the first 45 seconds of this video for some wonderful trees and a most magnificent voice. Enjoy! I'll post soon a video of Viktor van Niekirk playin…

Reconstruction of a Historic Mule Barn

I caution against communication because once language exists only to convey information, it is dying.

Richard Hugo, The Triggering Town, 1979



Harney/Lastoka Barn, Milking Parlor


I am always amazed at how my mind will subconsciously adjust my hand, my wrist, my elbow, my shoulder and the angle of attack and velocity of the hammer that I am swinging so I can redirect a nail that bends and drive it home. My eye sees the problem, my mind corrects my body so success can be achieved. It is such a little thing, and yet, so wonderfully elegant that our minds can direct the here and now.


Harney/Lastoka Mule Barn, Milking Parlor and Milk House


The part of the building to the left is what is left of a mule barn that was associated with the Rex #1 coal mine that operated at this site from 1898 to 1917. We built new rafters for the barn and installed engineered trusses for the milking parlor and this week will put up the trusses on the milk house.


The mule barn would be behind the building to the ri…

Basic Handtool Kit for Guitar Making, Part 2

...since guitars were invented, those who devote themselves to a study of the vihuela are small in number. It has been a great loss, as all kinds of plucked music could be played on it: but now the guitar is no more than a cowbell, so easy to play especially rasgueado, there is not a stable lad who is not a musician on the guitar.

Don Sebastian de Covarrubias Orozco, Tesoro de la Lengua Castellana, o Espanola, 1611



Tools used by a master Spanish Luthier. From Guitar Review no. 28, 1965

Rob Reid of www.classicalguitartraining.com asked me if I would do a part 2 to a "Basic Handtool Kit for Guitar Making".

I've thought about it some and after looking at the previous posting on tools I see that I forgot to include some items.

A Word of Warning!

Before you go buy any of the tools listed here or in the other posting please read through, cover to cover, the following books:

Required:

Hand Tools: Their Ways and Workings, Aldren A. Watson

Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology, Cump…

Classical Guitar Making and Vintage Stanley No. "0" Levels

The height of a workbench is governed not by a rule of thumb but by a rule of knuckles.

Roy Underhill, The Woodwright's Apprentice, 1996


What does a Stanley No.0 level have to do with classic guitar making? Absolutely nothing unless you want to level your workbench. I had to include a post on a "whiskey stick" because I found that Rob Gates andScott Grandstaff (see "My Level") both have great articles on spirit levels currently on the Internet.


The Offcut, is a wonderful blog, and in his latest posting Robin Gates talks about the wonders of a spirit level. Rob's posts always bring me back to what woodworking is all about, elegance and style. (Thanks, Rob!) Somedays I worry about production and getting things done (or lack of getting thing done thanks to a regular job) in the shop, lately when that happens, I stop myself and remember what it is about the sound of a classic guitar that captured my heart when I was a kid and why it is that no other instrumen…

Tips on French Polishing

(Hector) Berlioz himself was a guitarist-not in Paganini's class, perhaps, but from all accounts a remarkable player.

Frederic V. Grunfeld, The Art and Times of the Guitar, 1969





A few tips on french polish.


Tip #1: if your wife is into fiber arts (spinning, knitting and beading) like mine ask her for some wool from a fleece she has sitting in one of her trunks. Wash the wool making sure that you don't felt any of it and let it dry.





Borrow her cards (this reminds me of when I showed Suffolk sheep in 4H when I was a kid, I had to cut and card the wool to the right height in order to place well in the show) and card the wool to a nice fluffy state.





The wool in my right hand is uncarded, the wool in my left hand is carded.





Tip #2: Place the wool in a 4x4 inch piece of Irish linen hankerchief material, I know that it is pricey, I paid almost $25 a yard for the stuff, but it is worth every penny of it! It's available at www.elfriedesfinefabrics.com in Boulder, Colorado.





Add 1.5m…

Logging, Limbing and Prelude Romantico by Emilio Pujol

Most woodworkers I know are compulsive makers. They build things of wood not so much to have the finished product but to satisfy an inner yearning to experiment, to learn and to create. It's a feeling, I imagine, akin to an artist's need to paint or a musician's need to play.

Paul Bertorelli, Fine Woodworking On Things to Make, 1986



Not so much logging today, though that will happen soon enough, there are trees to be fallen for fire safety/mitigation on the property.

Started to build a dog run/yard today and realized after setting several posts that limbs on the big ponderosa needed to come down before work went any further.



The tree is on the north side of the house, limbs were touching the roof and the power line leading into the workshop/woodshed. The tree should have been trimmed a long time ago.


It was a little dicey to cut the limbs, I really needed a 32 foot ladder to do the work. I cut several limbs and left them a little long for me to sit on as I cut other limbs…

Circa 1972 Genuine Duncan Butterfly Yo-Yo

America owes its fascination with the yo-yo mainly to Chicago businessman Donald F. Duncan Sr., who spotted it while on a business trip to San Francisco in 1928.

Craig A. Orr, Yo Yo Ups and Downs, 2003 online article at Smithsonian Lemeslson Center


For your enjoyment. I was digging through a box the other day and found my old Duncan Butterfly Yo Yo. I'm pretty sure I got it when I about 10 years old in 1972.




I bought the other Duncan yo yo at my favorite hardware store, McGuckin Hardware in Boulder, Colorado last week. The new yo yo is considerably lighter and thinner, but it works the way that it should.




Check out this old commercial for Duncan Yo Yo's!