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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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A snowflake is one of God's most fragile creations, but look what they can do when they stick together!

Author Unknown


Cold weather and snow delayed me in getting down the corrugate tin roofing on the new workshop. January 3rd proved to be a day of snow flurries and sunshine which at least allowed me to install the roofing. Then it snowed six inches.


The temperature fell to -5 degrees Fahrenheit and it kept snowing...


...until there was 22 inches of snow on the ground. And the temperature fell some more to register -14 degrees Fahrenheit on the thermometer.



Yesterday, the temps warmed up to 36 degrees Fahrenheit with the wind gusting up to 50 mph and we lost power for about two hours.

This morning we woke up to rain and warmer weather. I am very glad that I got the new workshop "dried in" before all this snow fell.



The high reached 40 degrees today with rain and snow flurries, there is a good six inches of slush underneath all the snow. No wind to speak of today, though…

Basic Hand Tool Kit for Making a Classical Guitar, Revised

Ours is really a simple craft.

James Krenov, The Impractical Cabinetmaker, 1979


So, you want to build a guitar.

Since the original post, Basic Hand Tool Kit for Guitar Making, click here to see it, is the most popular post on this blog, I thought I would revisit it and adjust it to what I am using now to make a classical guitar.

The first thing I recommend doing is to buy or borrow copies of the following books:

Guitar Making: Tradition and Technology, by William Cumpiano and Jonathan Natelson
Making Master Guitars, by Roy Courtnall
The Guitar Maker's Workshop, by Rik Middleton

These are required reading before you begin making a guitar.

Also required reading are these books by Roy Underhill:

The Woodwright's Shop
The Woodwright's Companion
The Woodwright's Workbench
The Woodwright's Apprentice


Why these books by Mr. Underhill? You will learn valuable wood working techniques if you make any of his projects. The dovetail joints used to join a drawer together are far mor…