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Showing posts from February, 2013

Making All Wood Cam Clamps

Some men have thousands of reasons why they cannot do what they want to, when all they need is one reason why they can.

Martha Graham


I need some clamps to hold guitar sides against the guitar top while I am assembling the guitar on the work board. I really wanted to make all wooden spool clamps, but I am facing a deadline. To make wooden spools clamps I would have to buy a wood threading tap and die set, then wait 2 weeks for Lee Valley to ship me some nice maple dowels. Then I'd have to turn the spool tops and bottoms on the lathe, not that that would be a bad thing, but as I said, I'm on a deadline.





The plans that I followed to make these clamps can be found here. I thank ShopSmith for posting all those wood working tips!

The plans are quite straight forward and easy to follow, though there is a misprinted dimension, it has to do with where the hole for the pivot is located on the cam lever. Double check all the plan measurements before you begin.

There are also plans fo…

Basic Sharpening Kit for Guitar Making

The tools of the traditional country chairmaker were few and simple, in keeping with the technology of the time.

Jack Hill, Jack Hill's Country Chair Making, 1993


Sharpening tools is a personal thing, you discover what works for you.

Many years ago, more than I care to count, I sharpened everything on those wonderful, good old fashioned Carborundum dual sided stones.

I miss the smell of the "4-in-1" oil/kerosene mix I used to lubricate the stone, that gritty sound of high carbon metal on silicon carbide. I spent 10 minutes at least to raise a wire edge on plane blade, and then another ten minutes stropping the edge of that plane iron on an old razor strop heavily charged with jewelers rouge.

If I had to today, I'd go back to those stones, for general wood working and traditional green wood working there is nothing wrong with them.

I used sand paper stuck to thick plate glass for about 10 years, but I got tired of driving the 40 miles to the nearest paint store that…

Stanley No. 80M Cabinet Scraper

Wood carving calls for the exercise of manual skill and artistic feeling.

Paul N. Hasluck, Manual of Traditional Wood Carving, 1911




I got an order for a guitar, the client wants a redwood top with East Indian rosewood back and sides. This set of Indian rosewood wants to be stubborn when it comes to thicknessing it with a hand plane. I'm not in a rush to complete this guitar, so I got out a card scraper and started to work on the trouble spots.

My thumbs got a little sore after a while, then I remembered that I had a Stanley #80M, a near mint one with original box, that I had picked up at an antique store about five years ago. I never got along well with cabinet scrapers, the Stanley #81 that I had didn't like me, it chattered and dug away wood at its own will. I sold it.

Now, the blade of this scraper still has original grind marks from the factory, so I very carefully honed away the marks and kept the original angle on the blade. I set the depth of the blade by setting the …

Guitar Tonewood Galore!

...out here you may have to settle on parched desert soils, or in dank, mossy forests; and you may have to take root where summers are 120 degrees in the shade or the winters 40 below year after year!

Art Boericke & Barry Shapiro, The Craftsman Builder, 1977




I might have an order for a custom guitar, I am trying to convince the client to chose from among these woods.




This is a redwood top that I re-sawed from a board that was salvaged from a barn that once was inside Yosemite National Park.




Canadian Spruce from Labrador, Canada.



A redwood top that I re-sawed from a board that I salvaged from a redwood water tank that my grandfather bought in 1942, I had to dismantle the tank in 1984, because contrary to popular belief, redwood does rot. I must point out that this piece had no nails in it, and the tannin in redwood does react to iron, hence the failure of redwood when nails are used. This top exhibits "pillowing" something that I have never seen in another chunk of redw…