Skip to main content

Dismantling the Old Workshop

Many established guitar makers began their careers in humble surroundings; working in cramped conditions without much light, and lacking basic items like a sturdy workbench or a warm room. If your enthusiasm is great, then almost any obstacle can be overcome.

Roy Courtnall, Making Master Guitars, 1993


I dismantled the "garage".

It was a simple 14'x20'building, framed in 2x4's, covered with 1/4" thick exterior grade plywood with no foundation, just a dirt floor. The wall bottom plates sat on simple cinder blocks or on the ground and most of those plates were starting to rot. The original owner had the building constructed about 1966 to protect his Cadillac when he and his wife lived here. When we bought the place five years ago, instead of dismantling the garage I framed a floor in it and added a double door for additional light. It was a good storage space for tools, firewood, chainsaws, etc., but the time has come to take down the building.


There are enough framing materials from this building to make a small 10'x12'shed, all I need to buy is the subfloor and roofing OSB sheets and 2x8's for the roof rafters. Once this shed is up and filled with all my "other" tools, the plan is to re-build a building on the site of the garage with the same foot print as the original. I know many people think that a 280 square foot building is too small for a workshop, for me, however, after working in 9'x10' spaces for the last 20 years, this new workshop will seem as large as our national Capitol building.

And it will be heated.

Comments

  1. I lived in a 1 bedroom 680 square foot condo for nearly a decade and it was room enough for all of my needs till I married and had rug rats. When we bought a home, it felt like (and still feels like) I was living in a spacious palace. My woodworking space is about 10 feet long by 4 feet deep and it feels like plenty of room (hand tools so far; power machines would need more room). You are correct in that what you are already used to greatly dictates what feels spacious or not.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

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…

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…

The Guitar's Scale Length, Your Hand Size and a Chart

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…