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The Secret to Woodworking Is...

Art and life are one and the greatest of the arts is the art of living.

Dorothy L. Pillsbury, Adobe Doorways, 1952




We got to enjoy a wonderful spring snow storm over the last several days, by early this morning we got close to a total of 36 inches of very wet snow at our little house.

One small community in Larimer County recorded five feet of snow from this past storm!

My wife and I dug out the Jeeps yesterday so we could drive to town to get groceries and dog food and this is my last week of freedom before I return to my day job as a historic preservation carpenter.

Here's where I heave a big sigh, I will miss my days in the studio making guitars.


Tools for making guitar bridges

I've been very busy on 3 guitars, 2 are custom orders and one is a "speculation" guitar that I assembled several years ago but couldn't complete because of orders, work and life.



A Lee Valley router is the ticket to inlay some mother of pearl

I started French polishing 2 guitars last week. I work at a day job seven months out of the year so when I get back to French polish I have a short learning curve to work through. It is frustrating at first, then the shellac becomes glossy, the polish builds up and the wood underneath it is gorgeous.

One glory of French polishing is it makes me slow down so I can consider what is really important in life.



Mother of pearl overlay on an Indian rosewood bridge

Many people dislike French polish because they say it takes too long to complete, just go to any forum on guitar making and you will see what I mean. You have to do from 4-12 sessions of French polish to cover the guitar, not to mention you need to let the shellac harden for 2 weeks before you can do the final rub out and there is that tedious task of pore filling open grain wood with pumice and shellac.

I did go to one guitar forum to see if anyone was using a certain brand of epoxy for pore filling, sure I was thinking about speeding up the pore filling time on next guitar in line, most thought the epoxy didn't work well or it took too many coats, hence too much time. Most of the older luthiers all said to give up the new stuff and just use pumice and alcohol for the pore filling. Not many liked those comments.

One guitar maker I know of states a person can French polish a guitar in one week, and there is an article on the Internet that says you can do it in three days!

Me, I'd rather take my time at it.



Three bridges distorted by the camera lens

If you have read this much of my posting, you are probably wondering why I am not disclosing The Secret to Woodworking!

Maybe you have figured out what that secret is, turned off your computer and have walked to your shop to start making something new or continue work on a current project.

Perhaps you are thinking about "surfing" to look at another woodworking blog.

Just bear with me another moment.



A redwood/Indian rosewood guitar

There will be close to 150 hours of work on the guitar in the above photo and I will sell it for $3000. I know some people think that is not enough money for the time spent.

I am not in this game for the money, if I was I'd have a big factory of workers that would crank out 50,000 guitars a year and all I had to do is to sit and watch the money roll in.

No, I work with wood for the experience, the joy, the knowledge and all the other stuff that comes along with time spent in the shop.



A Sitka spruce guitar top with some nice bearclaw


What is The Secret to Woodworking?

It is patience and love.



Comments

  1. Hear here!

    Woodworking is a respite. Patience is the only way I find satisfying. Add some love and it's all the better!

    Well said Wilson.

    ReplyDelete
  2. A quote I came across on a luthier forum last year that stuck with me:
    "I don't make guitars to sell; I sell guitars so I can make more guitars".

    Snow also teaches us patience, I think.

    ReplyDelete

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