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Showing posts from November, 2013

Making a Gramercy Bow Saw

The Office of the Cheeks made to the Frame Saw is, by the twisted Cord and Tongue in the middle, to draw the upper ends of the Cheeks closer together, that the lower end of the Cheeks may be drawn the wider asunder, and strain the Blade of the Saw the straighter.


Joseph Moxon, Mechanick Exercises, 1677



I made my first bow saw over twenty years ago using an idea from Roy Underhill and Drew Langsner. I still use that saw, I made the frame from some black oak (quercus kellogii) that I had harvested from my Paynes Creek, California property and the handles are mulberry that were turned on a spring pole lathe. The blade is made from a band saw blade.

Like many wood workers, I have longed to have a sexy curvy bow saw just like those joiners of old, so last night and most of this morning I made a nice bow saw from some black walnut.




It was over six months ago when I purchased handles, pins and blades from Tools For Working Wood and I had this crazy idea that I was going to convert a couple o…

Krenov Style Scaper Plane, Part 2

Up to the middle of the seventeenth century at least, most joiner's planes were made by the craftsman himself. As they were largely confined to the ordinary bench planes and only one of each type would be required, this was a fairly simple matter.

R.A. Salaman, Dictionary of Woodworking Tools, 1975


I made the wedge last night and then went at the plane body with a horseshoeing rasp (a leftover from a previous occupation) and a series of spokeshaves. The plane works on soft wood, but I need to round the corners of the blade and then turn a hook on the edge. The real test will be on Indian rosewood that I am using for one of my guitars.

The only power tools that I used to make this plane were a table saw, used to rip the sides off the main body, and a sliding compound miter saw to cut the bed angles. I did use a drill press to drill the hole for the cross pin. I could have done that by hand with a brace and bit, which you can do if you do your layout properly. The other tools used w…

New Guitar Tops-Hernandez y Aguado and Santos Hernandez

I love order and clarity and balance.

Andres Segovia



Next week I finally get some time to start building two new guitars.


The top on the left will become part of a close copy of a guitar constructed in 1968 by Manuel Hernandez y Victoriano Aguado. The top is redwood, I re-sawed it (by hand using a Disston rip saw) from a board that came from an old barn outside of Yosemite National Park and I was able to get only two good tops from that board. The original guitar had this asymmetrical bracing, this helps to center the fundamental mode (or tone) of the guitar on the bridge and will help make this guitar's sound carry to the back of a concert hall. Hernandez y Aguado are believed to have developed this style of bracing after seeing the inside of a guitar that was made by Jose Ramirez III in the early 1960's. I used this bracing on my guitar No. 5 with great success. This guitar will have Indian rosewood back and sides.

The top on the right is Englemann spruce and will have near…

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

Shacks are brown, big where things were sold,
wheat or girls, small where miners lived.
Some fell while we were crawling up the hill.
Standing shacks are pale. Old weeds believe
in Spring.


Richard Hugo, Ghosts at Garnet, The Lady in Kicking Horse Reservoir, 1973


Friday, November 8, 2013, I and my crew walked away from the cabin at the Rocky Mountain Mammoth mine. Everything is done, new roofing, foundation, siding, flooring, even half round gutters (which are not historically correct, I'm not the one who wanted them!). Drainage and landscaping is done and I am happy. I am also sad, it is a wonderful place to work and to visit.

South elevation



South elevation



West elevation



North elevation



East elevation




An aspen leave that was stuck to the siding. A beautiful parting gesture.