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Remodeling My Current Workshop/Studio

It is a small shop, cluttered with pieces of wood, guitars of many types and in various stages of disrepair and repair, and photographs of Sabicas, the Romeros and other friends decorate the wall.

Gerald J. Bakus, A Comprehensive Reference to the Classical and Flamenco Guitar, 1977



Today, I started pulling down the old wall paneling in my studio.

I plan on replacing it with tongue and groove paneling made from aspen.

The original paneling was made to look like pine, but the owners previous to use had painted it white which made the paneling even more ugly.



Here is a before photo. My life is one big clutter.




Here is what the wall looked like at 5pm this afternoon.

The room behind the exposed studs is our bathroom, which is the next project to be done in the house.

My wife and I want to house to be ours and to reflect the tastes of the original owners, Colonel Reginald Barnsley and his wife, Jeanette. The rest of the house is paneled with pine and the faux pine paneling sheets.

And I am going to put amber shellac on the aspen to make it match the pine.

Once I finish the paneling I am having a plumber install plumbing for a washing machine and have an electrician wire in a 220v outlet for a dryer. I am tired of driving to the laundromat in Estes Park to do our laundry.

I plan on converting the current woodshed/storage shed into a studio this fall and winter. It will give me a whooping 280 square feet of room to do my work.

I'm really excited about that.

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How to Make a Traditional Froe Mallet

What holds the Holy of the Holies, what did Brahma become? Wood. Why will aspen always tremble? For the nails driven into the cross. What makes the color of wood? The soil it tastes. Cradle, fiddle, coffin, bed: wood is a column of earth made ambitious by light, and made of beauty by the rain.

Kim R. Stafford, Having Everything Right, 1986.

Rive, verb, to split
Shake, noun, a split in a piece wood. (Heart shake, ring shake)
Shake, verb, (Middle English), to split.

I know I should have been in the studio working on my back log of guitars, but the day was so nice and warm with a tall blue canopy, I couldn't stay inside. I decided that I needed to make a proper froe mallet. This style of mallet is traditional to northeastern California, primarily Tehama (where I'm from), Butte, Shasta and Plumas counties where making shingles by hand from sugar pines was an industry. I don't know if it was used in any other region along the Pacific Rim, other parts of the United States or even o…

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I will cite the case of a marvelous concert player, a Japanese lady who is barely 5 ft. tall and with hands that are real miniatures. She plays a 664 mm 10 string guitar and demanded that I build this guitar with an action 1 mm higher than normal, which she handles with incredible ease. This is serious study!


Jose Ramirez III, Things About the Guitar, 1990




Here is the hand size and scale length that I found on the forum at delcamp.com.

Thumb tip to pinky tip span of 250+ 664mm scale length
Thumb tip to pinky tip span of 230 to 250 656mm scale length
Thumb tip to pinky tip span of 210 to 230 650mm scale length
Thumb tip to pinky tip span of 190 to 210 640mm scale length
Thumb tip to pinky tip span of 170 to 190 630mm scale length
Thumb tip to pinky tip span of below 170 615mm scale length



Here is my flexible imperial/metric ruler.




Here is my hand properly placed on the flexible imperial/metric ruler.




Today my reach from little finger to thumb is 240mm. I should more or less be playing a…

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Ours is really a simple craft.

James Krenov, The Impractical Cabinetmaker, 1979


So, you want to build a guitar.

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Guitar Making: Tradition and Technology, by William Cumpiano and Jonathan Natelson
Making Master Guitars, by Roy Courtnall
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