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Showing posts from July, 2012

Axe and Draw Knife Work at Caribou Ranch Open Space

It would benefit children to have early music exposure, both to develop neuronal pathways for the comprehension and appreciation of music and to augment other skill sets, such as math.

Joseph Eger, Einstein's Violin, 2005



I made some partial buck and rail fencing (just one buck at the end of a rail, not bucks on both ends of the rail) for the Artist-in-Residence housing at Caribou Ranch Open Space last week.


Okay, I did use a chainsaw for some of the work, but I used my axe and a huge firmer chisel to clear out the cuts.


I made sure that both bucks would look about the same.


Kerfing with a chainsaw goes a little faster.



I then drilled a hole in the buck with a 2 1/2 inch hole saw, marked the end of the rail through the hole so I had an idea how much to drawknife away. Sorry, I couldn't get any of my co-workers to take a shot of me and my drawknife, something about the camera would break....


I made sure that the rail would stay in the hole so I did something that you would do …

Axe Handles and Helves

The Cruiser was originally developed for use by the timber cruisers of the Pacific Coast who needed a first-class, efficient ax, yet one light enought to be carried while cruising afoot.

Bernard S. Mason, Woodsmanship, 1945



from American Barns and Covered Bridges, by Eric Sloane

Terry Kelly of tkellyfurniture.com (check out his website!) asked me if I would discuss why axe handles for single bit axes went from being straight to the curved fawn foot that we see most often today.

Single bit axes changed with regions and the kind of trees that the axe men encountered as they moved across the North American continent. Some trees needed a wider bit, others a narrower bit and blacksmiths made these adjustments at the request of the "choppers". Note the different regional styles of axe heads in Sloane's drawing. In 1969, the Mann Axe Company had over 70 patterns that they could make.

Some men liked a straighter handle, some made a handle with a curve in it. It all depended on …

My Other Workshop

Silver runs in ledges and gold is where you find it.


Hard rock mining saying



Looking west up Delonde Creek

I get to spend the rest of this week working at Caribou Ranch Open Space at the Artist-in-Residence barn at the Delonde Ranch. Just little pickup work-cutting in an opening for the water tank lid, putting more barrel bolts on the door, making sure that the shower works, etc.

The lean-to shed on the left side of barn is for the Artist-in-Residence


The I get to build some bucks to close off the road to the barn so visitors won't walk up to the artist's residence and disturb them. Once the bucks are made I'll put a longer pole across the two so as to make a short fence. In Montana lingo that would be "buck and rail".

Side view of buck

Another view of buck


I'll do most of the work by hand, I'll try to remember to take photos of the work.



The Ten String Classic Guitar-My Latest Obsession, Part 2

And because Billy Malone lived almost his entire life on the Navajo Reservation working as a genuine Indian trader, a great deal of his story is a story about reservation life, Navajos and old time trading posts.

Paul Berkowitz, The Case of an Indian Trader: Billy Malone and the National Park Service Investigation at Hubbell Trading Post, 2011





I got a nice piece of Spanish cedar from LMII for the neck for the 10 string guitar, but to make the neck I needed to do a full size drawing of the peghead, neck and body. This allows me to figure out how the whole guitar is going to look and work.




The peghead is based upon photos of 10 string Ramirez guitars that I have found online, the only set of plans that I found for a 10 string guitar is from Roy Courtnall's website, but he charges 25 pounds ($38) for the plans. I'm cheap, I have Scot Antes plans for a 1960's Ramirez and my own mind and hands to develop a pleasing head stock. I think it works. I'm not sure if I want to in…

Logging, Logger Boots and a Plumb Brand "Hudson Bay" Axe

In the comparatively flat forest land of Oregon and California before the days of the trailer, high wheels served to get the short logs off the ground and horses skidded them to landings. They were a phenomena peculiar to the pine of Central and Southern Oregon and Northern California.

Ralph W. Andrews, Glory Days of Logging, 1994

Thunder clouds dumped almost 2 inches of rain on our neck of the woods yesterday, it was welcomed, the forest has been so parched here of late that it is down right scary. Since we moved into the house I've been trying to make a defensible zone around the house, we love this place so much we don't want it to burn down in a forest fire.


My boots were made by Nick's Boots of Spokane, Washington. I bought them at Dave's Boots in Red Bluff, California, I went in to get a pair of White's, a fine boot also made in Spokane, but came out with a pair of Nick's. A friend of mine went to Dave's to buy a pair of Nick's but came out with a…

For Sale: Handcrafted Classical Guitar, Sitka Spruce/Black Walnut

"This is the guitar I wanted when I first started playing the classical guitar! Wilson, I think you have found your niche"

A statement made by Warren Haskell, former head of the guitar department at California State University, Chico after I showed him two of my guitars in 2002.



This guitar is SOLD! It is no longer available! Please visit the Guitars Currently Available page!

The Sitka spruce/eastern black walnut guitar is complete and for sale. I am asking $1595, which includes a tweed covered hard shell case and shipping.


The top is very lightly bear clawed Sitka spruce purchased from Stew-Mac; the ebony fingerboard and rosette from LMII; the bridge is cut from a piece of padauk and the bindings are American cherry. The top is braced with six fan struts and a diagonal bar below the sound hole angled towards the side, a design used by Hernandez y Aguado


The back and sides are hand cut, using a Disston #8 ripsaw, from a board of eastern black walnut that was purchased from t…