Skip to main content

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 on a Windsor chair leg, I split the end with the firmer chisel...

made a wedge...

then drove it in to ensure a good fit of rail to buck.

The finished product.

The Delonde Barn, where the artist-in-residence gets to stay for about a week. Go to for more information on the artist-in-residence program.


  1. It's good to work with big timber and fundamental tools. The design of that gate makes perfect sense, too.

  2. Most ranchers that I've known and worked for, built buck and rail fences- you need something to hold the cattle in the mountain meadows for the summer. When fall comes around you move the cattle down to winter pasture, then you cut up the fences for stove wood. Then you do it all again next year.



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…

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 Maker's Backsaw for Cutting Fret Slots

The overall correct process of placing frets in a guitar fingerboard ("fretting"), is far less straight forward than most people believe. A perfect job, for perfect playability, requires some careful preparation.

Anthony Lintner, guitar maker

Twenty five years ago, I bought my first fretting saw from Luthiers Mercantile. It was made in Germany and had a straight handle on it, basically it was a gent's saw.

First thing I did to the saw was to take off the straight handle and make a nice handle for it from some wonderful Claro walnut that came from a Cottonwood Creek bottom wild grown walnut. I used it to cut fret slots in dulcimer and classical guitar fret boards. The saw served me well for several years until I made the mistake of cutting some brass with it.

Well, I never did get around to sharpening the thing.

The blade is .015 of an inch thick with the teeth set at .022-.023 of an inch. I think it has 22 teeth per inch. It is a great saw and I was very sad to see that…