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Showing posts from May, 2013

One of My Favorite Guitarists-Ottmar Liebert

The summer of 1990, while I was working at Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site, my friend Andrea Gunderson (please visit her website and tell her that I sent you!) loaned me her copy of Nouveau Flamenco, by Ottmar Liebert. I have followed Mr. Liebert ever since and I continue to enjoy his music and flamenco guitar style. That same year I also discovered Cecilia Bartoli, and I have been in love with her (voice) ever since!



The Bridge for Julia's Guitar-Making a Copy of a 1933 Santos Hernandez Guitar

At first sight, the Bridge appears to be a complicated and difficult thing to make, but you will discover that it is quite simple when you begin to follow the sequence of operations. Once again, it is a matter of care and patience as in all the other aspects of guitar construction.

Stanley Doubtfire, Make Your Own Classical Guitar, 1981




I finished carving the wings on the bridge today and glued on the mother-of-pearl overlay on the chordal block. I also found out how hard mother-of-pearl is, it will quickly dull a plane, knife or card scraper edge and wears out sand paper pretty fast.

I sanded the bridge using some 220 grit, then 400 grit and followed that by burnished the whole thing with an old dish towel.

It has a wash coat of shellac on it, now you can see how pretty this piece of Indian rosewood is.

Handmade Marking Gauges and Making a Copy of a 1933 Santos Hernandez Classical Guitar Bridge

Ours is really a simple craft.

James Krenov, The Impractical Cabinetmaker, 1979



I took this photo a while ago, that is one problem with having a day job, it gets in the way of what you really want to do. A day job is there to pay bills.

The top gauge I made a little over 20 years ago from some Claro walnut that my neighbor, who was a logger, gave me from a claro walnut tree that he had fallen along Cottonwood Creek in northern California. The tree had been cut up for firewood. I got the idea for the gauge from an article in a Woodwork magazine where the author made a gauge from madrone.

The lower gauge, which is really a cutting gauge, is also made from walnut, but the wood came from a tree that my grandfather planted in 1942.

I am always grateful that I made my own gauges, that I never had to buy one. There is something about using a tool that you made for yourself. Click here for an article that I recommend on how to make your own marking gauge.

I've finished shaping the wings …

Two Good Reasons Why You Should Consider Using French Polish

It is an essential condition of highly polished work that the surface should be so perfectly smooth that no marks or ridges of any kind should be present to mar the ultimate effect, which should be like a mirror, capable of reflecting a good image.

Paul N. Hasluck, Manual of Traditional Woodcarving, 1911


I give two good reasons why you should consider using French polish to apply shellac to your next work.




Onereason is the finish that it creates. This is the back of Julia's guitar, a copy of a 1933 Santos Hernandez, after only three French polish sessions using a 1 pound cut of shellac. It simply astounds me as to how wonderful this finish is becoming!




This is the top of Julia's guitar after only two French polish sessions!




The best reason to use shellac and French polish is for your health!

What other finish is there that you make out of bug secretion and grain alcohol? The only chemical in shellac that will do damage to you is the grain alcohol and you have to drink that stu…