Skip to main content

What I've Learned About Woodworking - Hand Tools and Machines

Modern technology, with its vast capacity to produce cheaply everything needed by a burgeoning world population, has replaced the hand tools and the hand craftsmen which have attended mankind since its earliest days.

Alex W. Bealer, Old Ways of Working Wood, 1980


Perhaps I could cut out the back of the bubinga/ebony guitar faster with a bandsaw, but the coping saw makes me be aware of the wood and when I am done with this task the coping saw will hang on a peg.

A bandsaw makes noise, requires more space and electricity. I get to burn a few calories using a coping saw.

Now, if I were making doors and sashes for a living I would have shop full of power woodworking machines, I see their value in speed and efficiency for that kind of wood working.

I don't make doors and sashes for a living, I make guitars in a small shop.

Hand tools best suit my work...




...because they allow me to be intimate with the wood.

A guitar is a very intimate instrument, especially for the player.

Yes, I know that these days the sound of a guitar must be able to bounce off the back walls of a 3,000 seat concert venue, that is because the majority of people are use to loud noises and have lost the ability to listen well. I wonder, is that inability to listen well due to the noise of modern technology?

For me, woodworking is about taking my time to understand the tools and how they work with the wood...

...which means I learn how to work with the wood.




Comments

  1. Hello Wilson,

    this is a neverending story. The wood tells us, how we have to work. An amazing exercise.

    sincerly

    Uwe Adler, Germany

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Off the Bench and For Sale: Miguel Rodriguez Style Guitar

This guitar has a Western Red Cedar top, Claro walnut back and sides, Royal ebony fretboard, Indian rosewood bridge and a 650mm string length.

This guitar has a beautiful voice and is loud! I was amazed at how loud it is as soon as I got the strings on and tuned to concert pitch. It is easy to play and I am blown away by the musical nuances that can be created with this guitar.

Please click on Guitars Currently Available or Studio Model to read more about this wonderful guitar!



1961 Hernandez y Aguado Style Classical Guitar, Redwood/Indian Rosewood, For Sale

The partnership of Manuel Hernandez and Victoriano Aguado was one of the most successful in guitar making history.

Roy Courtnall, Making Master Guitars, 1993

Please note that this guitar is currently for sale at Savage Classical Guitar. Please click here to see this guitar!

I made this guitar several years ago, but because of custom orders, I had to set it aside. I put strings on it two weeks ago and it is a most magnificent sounding guitar! It has good, clear separation string to string, wonderful sustain with evenness and balance throughout with a very lyrical voice. I originally made this guitar for myself, but someone with a good strong technique and a good understanding of musical interpretation should own this guitar and play it on a regular basis.



This guitar is a fairly close copy of a guitar made by Hernandez y Aguado in 1961. The body length is 480mm, most of the HyA guitars had a body length of 490mm; string length is 650mm, many were 655mm and longer; other than that I trie…

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…