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Showing posts from July, 2013

Making a Copy of a 1929 Santos Hernandez Guitar, Old Brown Glue--or, Sometimes You Just Gotta Glue Something Together!

copy |ˈkäpē|
noun ( pl. copies)
a thing made to be similar or identical to another : the problem is telling which is the original document and which the copy.

replica |ˈreplikə|
noun
an exact copy or model of something, esp. one on a smaller scale : a replica of the Empire State Building.
a duplicate of an original artistic work.

verb (copies, copied) [ trans. ]
make a similar or identical version of; reproduce.


A couple of years ago, I ran across a classical guitar maker's blog or a guitar makers' forum that discussed the topic of "replica" versus "copy". One maker said that he doesn't make replica's, because it is impossible to make a true replica of a famous luthier's guitar. I agree, because any guitar I make will sound like I made it, no matter how true I try to stay to the original it won't sound like a guitar made by the great Santos Hernandez. I hope, however, the guitar will sound close to what Santos wanted it to sound like.

Did you…

Rocky Mountain Mammoth Mine, Boulder County, Colorado--Restoration Work on the Cabin

In the words of the Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the founding document of contemporary preservation practice, 'the spirit and direction of the Nation are founded upon and reflected in its historic past'. Yet the historic past is intangible and ephemeral. It may be no accident that the origins of history museums and historic preservation in the United States coincided with the growth of the consumer society.

Dell Upton, Architecture in the United States, 1998


The past several afternoons thunderstorms shut down my work on the 1898 cabin at the Rocky Mountain Mammoth Mine. Lightning has hit too close for comfort and the heavens poured down buckets of rain.

The north elevation of the cabin

Fortunately it thunderstormed for only an hour allowing Brian and I to start replacing the original siding back onto the 1930's addition of the cabin. The addition is now supported with 8x8 timbers for sills and new floor joists were installed to carry the original flooring. I wish that…

Krenov Style Hand Plane, Part 5: Glueing on the Sole and Success!

Do or do not. There is no try.

Yoda


I misspoke on my last posting, this is my 200th post! I don't know if I should be excited or not! I will say it is appropriate that I talk about a success, my Krenov style hand plane does work.





I used a mortise chisel to cut out the mouth opening on the sole.




The chisel made fast work of the opening.




I decided that it would be better to index the sole to the plane with screws instead of dowels. As I mentioned in an early posting, the dowel I used was a little smaller than the drill bit!




As per directions, I ramped the mouth with a chisel using the center cut out for a guide. I used double sided carpet tape to keep the wedge in place, everyone should have double sided carpet tape in their shop, I use it all the time!




The sole is glued on!




I used a drawknife and a spoke shave to do some basic shaping of the plane body, no bandsaw needed! I spent about 2 hours finessing the mouth opening and trying to flatten the sole. For some reason, I had diffic…

Krenov Style Hand Plane, Part 4: Glue Up

...tools are essential; their grace and deliberateness make your hand reach out to them--lightning rods to ground the creative spirit.

Roy Underhill, The Woodwright's Shop, 1981




This past Monday I took time out from running errands so I could work on the Krenov style hand plane, I couldn't just let it sit. As you can see, it was a very humid day for this part of Colorado! I had to build a fire in the fireplace that night to take out some of the humidity!

Before I begin describing the photos, I want to say that this is not a tutorial on how to make a Krenov style handplane, there are many websites and weblogs that are very detailed and quite good about this kind of project. I never wanted this blog to be a "how-to", it is simply a blog about what I do.




I drilled the holes for the indexing screws with a drill press and discovered that the dowel was smaller than the hole. Next time I think I will use screws to index the sides and center blocks!




Laying out for the cross…

Krenov-Style Hand Plane, Part 3: You Can Use Hand Tools to Make a Plane!

My first suggestion would be to ask yourself, "Am I doing this out of curiosity, or do I believe in it? Do I intend to arrive at the point where this becomes the thing for me, and I know I can make a wooden plane anytime I want to and I can do fine things with it?" If it's mere curiosity, then it becomes just like anything else we do for the sake of exercise. Just to prove that we can go through the ABC's of it.

James Krenov, Making Music with a Plane, Fine Woodworking #126



I believe in wooden hand planes, I always have, but I also believe you can make a plane with the tools that you have on hand, if you have the desire, or the need to make one.

What Krenov says in his statement is true for anything that you do in life. You must believe in it, you must have a passion for it. Otherwise, there is no point in doing it. I say this to people who tell me that they want to make a guitar, and yet they still haven't held a plane, knife or chisel in their hands, nor do the…

Krenov Style Hand Plane, Part 2: Who Says You Need An Electric Router To Make One?

Old World planes, made as much to look at as to do a job, often had inscriptions and floral carving. But the completely utilitarian American plane, except for an occasional graceful handle, usually resembled a box.

Eric Sloane, A Museum of American Tools, 1964



Today, I took the plunge and started cutting out parts for a 9/10/11 inch long Krenov-style plane. I used my trusty DeWalt contractor's saw with a rip blade to rip the piece of walnut down and then it was to the Bosch sliding compound miter saw to cut the angles. Then I used a Stanley No. 4 smoothing plane to make the saw blade marks disappear, everything fits together well, though I will tweak everything on a large sanding board. In this photo I am using my Stanley brace with a 3/4 inch Irwin bit to drill out the end of the slot for the chip breaker nut. I plane one chiseling out the slot tomorrow with a Pexto 3/4 inch chisel.



A close up of drill bit and wood.




Parts cut and set out in order of assembly. I am using a 3/8 inc…

Krenov Style Hand Planes

One does not tune a Stradivari with a monkey wrench.

James Krenov






I'm waiting for the humidity to drop a little more before starting on my next guitar, which I think will have the shape and size of Antonio Torres' FE 19, with an Engelmann spruce top and California laurel back and sides. While waiting, I thought I would take the chance to make a few planes in the Krenov style. I think I must be the only hand tool wood worker who hasn't made any of these, though I have contemplated making a few over the last 20 years or so. It was all this gibberish about needing a bandsaw, boring machine and 8 inch floor jointer to make such a plane that kept me from it. I know that my skills are good enough now that I will do most of the work by hand. Okay, I will use my Dewalt contractor saw, Bosch sliding compound miter saw and Delta bench top drill press for more accuracy, but I swear I will remove saw marks with a hand plane and cut out the final shape with a shop made bow saw!

I recei…

A Visit With Tico Vogt

Man has an affinity for wood.

Alex W. Bealer, Old Ways of Working Wood, 1980


Tico showing off his Brese Planes T-shirt!

A month ago my wife and I were honored with a visit from Tico Vogt ! Tico is a one of the most wonderful people I have ever met and he just happens to be a great wood worker!

Tico first left a comment on my blog four years ago asking me if we Westerners really do burn pine for fire wood. I told him that most of us do because conifers are far more prevalent than hardwoods here in the West. Since that first comment Tico has always sent me an encouraging comment about whatever I am working on at the moment. I have discovered that he encourages many other bloggers in their endeavors.

Tico drove up to our house from Boulder, Colorado, where he, his wife and daughter were visiting his son who lives in Boulder. Tico had written to me before that whenever he was in Boulder he was going to see me and my workshop. So he did! He was a little late getting to our place, he said h…

Sometimes You Just Gotta Plane a Piece of Wood

Leveling was called "trying" and "trueing"...


Eric Sloane, A Museum of Early American Tools, 1964



I really want to get started building a guitar based on Antonio Torres's FE19 guitar, the wood is already thicknessed and the neck is carved, all I need is the time to put it together. All I need is the time. Life and the day job keep me busy, and then this holiday week is our fifteenth wedding anniversary, that will keep me busy. Plus, there have been a lot of thunderstorms here lately and since my shop isn't climate controlled the humidity (according to my really cheap hygrometer) is at 54 percent! A little too humid to be assembling guitars.




This afternoon I pulled out a Spanish cedar neck blank and sized the main shaft down to 20mm in thickness. The remainder of the piece I thinned down to 22mm, it will get cut into smaller blocks to be glued up for the heel block.


It feels good just to plane a piece of wood.