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Showing posts from September, 2014

Antonio Torres "La Suprema" 1864 FE 19 style Classical Guitar: It's Completed and For Sale!

Torres assembled his guitars face down on the solera, having the plantilla of the guitar already cut to shape.

Jose L. Romanillos, Antonio de Torres, Guitar Maker, 1987




I recently finished a guitar that is based upon Antonio Torres's guitar FE 19, aka "La Suprema", which he constructed in 1864. Click here to see the plans that I used to make this guitar.

It has an Engelmann spruce top, California laurel back and sides, Spanish cedar neck, an Macassar ebony fret board, ebony binding and is French polished.

The string length is 650mm, width of the neck at the nut is 51.5mm and 62mm at the 12th fret.

I did not use the standard Torres style of "fan" or "kite" bracing on the guitar's top, instead I used a parallel bracing that Santos Hernandez used on several of his guitars. This bracing helps give the guitar a very beautiful, singing voice that is quite loud, its volume is more than adequate for a concert guitar. Another change from the original guita…

1860's Greek Revival House: Almost Done!

The great majority of people lived in rural areas where building was largely in the hands of carpenters and mechanics who relied on books. Thus it was through pattern books that the Greek Revival spread across the nation and became for nearly forty years the national style.

Leland M. Roth, A Concise History of American Architecture, 1979




Here's the house when I started working on it in late June...




This is what it looked like two weeks ago when I and my colleague, Mike, walked away to other projects.

We completed the siding repairs and I even found a door that matched the original door that you see on the right side of the building.

It was amazing that it took us 3 days with a skid steer loader to remove enough soil so water would drain away from the house.

We removed so much soil that we were able to fill in part of a washed out on the pasture that is next to the house, the hole we filled was over twelve feet deep, twelve feet wide and twelve feet long!

Yesterday, 9/26, I spent…

New Tool Racks

Simple flat shelves for small tools ranged along the walls at random, fitted in between beams and windows. Saws and large tools hung from pegs in the wall over the bench.

Aldren A. Watson, Country Furniture, 1974



I glued the back bindings onto the Hernandez y Aguado guitar copy (click here to learn more about that guitar) last Friday afternoon with great success. Then I turned my attention to my studio.



My studio is about 9'x11', space is at a premium, and I was hanging saws, braces and other tools that I use on a regular basis on the wall in a rather un-artistic manner, umm, the tools were hanging on nails. Not that that is a bad thing, just not aesthetic.

Several months ago I bought several bags of small shaker pegs at my local Woodcraft store so I could make better racks. Funny how long it can take me to get around to doing something, like finishing my new cabinet work bench so I can chuck my tool chest onto the trash heap where it belongs and clear more floor space.




Don&#…

Otis A. Smith Plow Plane, Fales Patent 1884

Fales' Patent Variable Bench Planer: Constituting Plow, Dado, Filletster, Matching Sash, Hollows, Rounds, Beads, Rabbets, Nosings, Case Mouldings, Quarter Rounds, Bevel Planer, Snipper Bits, etc., etc.

The greatest time and labor saving combination of tools ever invented. Universally endorsed by carpenters.


Otis. A Smith advertisement in Carpentry and Building Magazine, December 1888




This plane has been in my mother's family for years. I used it once, when I was a teenager, to cut the groove in the bottoms of some "long board" skis that I attempted to make. I think it had two cutters then, I used the widest one to plow with, both cutters have since disappeared.




Just the other day I was surfing eBay looking for a plow plane and I was a little shocked to find that this plane with most of its parts was up for auction! I think the bidding was at $1200 when I saw it, I have no idea what the final price was.

I was pretty happy to discover that I owned an Otis A. Smith …

On the Bench: A 1968 Hernandez y Aguado Classical Guitar Copy - Glueing on the Ebony Bindings

Manuel Hernandez and Victoriano Aguado originally worked together in a piano factory. In 1941 they set up as furniture and piano restorers, subsequently making guitars for their amusement, but then they invited Modesto Borreguero, who had worked for Manual Ramirez, into their workshop and learned from him. More than 400 guitars had been built by 1975, when Hernandez died. Aguado had retired in 1970.

Colin Cooper, The Classical Guitar Book, 2002

Between my day job, fly fishing with my wife on the weekends and trying to complete a "honey do" list, I don't get much time in my studio. I did get the Torres/Santos guitar completed, it sounds wonderful and is a joy to play, I will post about that guitar soon.

Preparing to glue on the binding strip


This afternoon, after running some errands and a little fly fishing, I did make some time to glue one more binding on the Hernandez y Aguado copy. I bent the binding stick, made sure that the binding ledge was uniform in depth and wid…

Make a Mountain Man Green River Knife in an Afternoon...Well, Sort Of: Part 1

There is no doubt that the products of the Green River Works were of the best quality available. The reputation of the knife generated various sayings such as "Give it to em up to the Green River", meaning to stab a foe up to the handle where "Green River Works" was stamped, or "Done up to Green River" meaning to do something to the fullest extent possible.

However, the J.Russell & Co. did not start stamping their products with "Green River Works" until some time in 1837 and it is not likely that any were even available to be shipped to rendezvous until 1838 or later, if they were ever even shipped to rendezvous.


from the website, Mountain Men and Life in the Rocky Mountain West Malachite’s Big Hole


This winter I want to build a Lyman Great Plains Rifle, a muzzleloading rifle that is based upon the famous Hawken rifle. Building this rifle will be a great diversion for me, I will have quite a few guitars to make this winter.

So looking ah…