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How Many Guitar Making Hours in a Day?

Life is for doing things slow, like trees.

Makoto Imai, Japanese shrine builder

I recently read an interview with a well known classical guitar maker, and in the interview he stated that he worked twelve hours a day to make his guitars.

The first thing that came to my mind as I read that was - does he works three days a week or five days a week? 36 hours or 60 hours? Another question was, does he make time to live a life?

I can barely get in an eight hour day at the work bench.

There are chores around the house and property that need attention; the dogs demand two walks a day; and I need to get in my daily run of two and one-half miles. Oh, and I cook dinner for my wife since she commutes four days a week.

Yesterday, I did bend two sets of guitar sides. One set of Claro walnut...

and the other was bubinga.

This set of Claro walnut bent like a dream, but I have noticed that walnut tends to have more spring back than any other wood that I have bent.

Bubinga is hard to bend, meaning you have to take your time when you work it against the bending iron. I found that the iron needed to be at least 415 degrees Fahrenheit to really bend the bubinga, the wood didn't want to cooperate at temperatures below that.

It may be hard to bend, but bubinga had much less spring back than the walnut.

Today, I need to attach this top to the cherry neck I made for this guitar.

I also need to take the trash to the transfer station (no trash pick up in this part of the Rocky Mountains), check for mail at the post office, drive into Estes Park to pick up a few things for dinner, go for a run, take the dogs for another walk...

I haven't mentioned the fact that I need to build a new shop, re-insulate the ceiling in our house and build a whole bunch of bookcases.

One thing at a time.


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Kim R. Stafford, Having Everything Right, 1986.

Rive, verb, to split
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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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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
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