Skip to main content

A Carpenter's Ripping Sawhorse


I have read articles about Torres, a man who made guitars in the years 1843 to 1888. The authors of these articles are amazed to know that a man who once was a carpenter could make such outstanding guitars. It seems to me that these authors knew very little about carpenter work. A carpenter in Torres' day would handle and work with more wood than a guitar maker would handle in a lifetime. In the years that Torres was a carpenter, the carpenters would work all the wood with hand tools.


Arthur E. Overholtzer, Classic Guitar Making, 1974





I left my old pair of sawhorses at our house in Mariposa during our last move mostly because the mover kept telling me that we had too much stuff and we were going to have a large moving bill. As it turned out he had never moved such a light load and lost money on it, which made me happy. Anyway, I finally got around to making a new ripping horse the other day so I can rip down some wonderful Spanish Cedar to start making a neck for my ten string classical guitar.

This saw horse was made by following Sam Allen's Sawhorse article in Fine Woodworking On The Small Workshop, I've made several pairs from the same instructions and I love this horse. I used both hand and power tools to make it-my DeWalt table saw, SkilSaw, DeWalt corded drill and Disstion crosscut and rip saws, what more does a carpenter need. I use what tools I need to get the job done efficiently and safely, period.

I'd never try to make a guitar using Overholtzer's book (leave a comment asking me why), but I have respect for him because he was a craftsman who was intelligent and observant. His statement about Torres is very, very true, only an observant carpenter with a love for music and wood could make such phenomenal guitars. With a love for life, music and wood.

And I am a carpenter by profession.


YouTube for your enjoyment, my favorite young guitarist, Tatyana Ryzhkova.




Comments

  1. Hi Wilson,

    I have two pairs of the same Sam Allen horses in my shop. Each pair is at a different height. One I have ready to set up my "outdoor" shop with, consisting of the horses, a light weight torsion box, and one shim (setting up on irregular ground means one corner will be low). I can thus sand, route, scrape, plane, and biscuit join in the open air.

    Another heavy version, with a 4" x6" beam for timber frame work, is out in our pole barn.

    Like you, I love the design of these horses. Thinking about it now, mine deserve some attention, covered as they are with drips and streaks of paint, stain, finish, and glue...

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

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…

The New Workshop: New Roof, Snow, Rain, Sub-zero Temperatures

A snowflake is one of God's most fragile creations, but look what they can do when they stick together!

Author Unknown


Cold weather and snow delayed me in getting down the corrugate tin roofing on the new workshop. January 3rd proved to be a day of snow flurries and sunshine which at least allowed me to install the roofing. Then it snowed six inches.


The temperature fell to -5 degrees Fahrenheit and it kept snowing...


...until there was 22 inches of snow on the ground. And the temperature fell some more to register -14 degrees Fahrenheit on the thermometer.



Yesterday, the temps warmed up to 36 degrees Fahrenheit with the wind gusting up to 50 mph and we lost power for about two hours.

This morning we woke up to rain and warmer weather. I am very glad that I got the new workshop "dried in" before all this snow fell.



The high reached 40 degrees today with rain and snow flurries, there is a good six inches of slush underneath all the snow. No wind to speak of today, though…

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…