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Dutch Tool Chest

The other room has more floor space. There is a fine old workbench at one end, with tool cabinets and a rack for clamps and other things.

James Krenov, The Fine Art of Cabinetmkaing, 1977

My Dutch tool chest is done, well, except for painting it, installing a hasp and padlock, making a till for the back saws and a little tote to hold some smaller tools.

I am pleased with it, though today, when I loaded it with all the tools I had hanging on pegs on the wall, I realized that it is not big enough!


I plan on making another tool box that this tool chest can sit on. Having the main tool box sit higher will be a nice thing, making tools more accessible.

Would I ever make another tool box in this style? Yes, I would, but the next will I will take the time to purchase some nice sugar pine, or find some locally harvested and milled ponderosa pine, I don't like working with this plantation grown radiata pine.

And I might make the next tool chest a little bigger. Just saying!


Recent posts

Ugh, Dovetails!

How does one talk about dovetail joints without becoming a bore?

James Krenov, The Fine Art of Cabinetmaking, 1977

Those of you who follow my sporadic blog postings know that I make classical guitars, and that is all I want to make, classical guitars. The challenge of creating a box of graceful feminine lines that can produce the most beautiful of sounds is what allures me. The classical guitars I make don’t have complicated joints, there is one scarf joint, some butt and miter joints for the bindings. The guitar sides are attached to the neck by slots and wedges, a technique which dates back to the late 1400's.  There are some makers who join the neck to the guitar body with a dovetail joint, but that never appealed to me, probably because of a side job I took years ago.



It was 1995 when a friend of mine asked me to make some stereo speaker boxes out of ponderosa pine and he requested that I join the boxes with dovetails. The only book I had at the time that talked about dovetail…

Buying Another Guitar Maker's Wood Cache

A good rule is to buy as much as you can sensibly afford of any wood that excites you and then, quickly, buy a little more.

James Krenov, The Fine Art of Cabinetmaking, 1977

I received a call from a gentleman the other day asking if I would come to his house and start the appraisal of a classical guitar that his late son built in 2012. It turned out that his son was John Weissenrieder, an American guitar maker who moved to Florence, Italy and learned to make guitars under the tutelage of the Italian maker, Andrew Tacchi.

Mr. Weissenrieder asked me to appraise the guitar because he wants to loan it to the classical guitar program at University of Colorado, Boulder, so a young guitarist can have the chance to play a wonderful guitar that can help them grow as a musician. Nicolo Spera, who is head of the program, had referred me to Mr. Weissenrieder, several of Professor Spera's students own and play guitars that I made.

When I arrived at Mr. Weissenrieder's house, I was shown tw…

My Tool Sharpening Kit

Just as sharpness can mean different things to different woodworkers, so too the ways in which we go about getting tools sharp are different.

James Krenov, The Fine Art of Cabinetmaking, 1977

Sharpening, for me, is something that should be fast and easy. Over the last 25 years or so, I have tried and used several different sharpening mediums - Carborundum stones, wet/dry sandpaper on plate glass,  Japanese style water stones, etc., etc., - some worked for me, some didn't.



My sharpening system now consists of three different grit diamond sharpening stones, a vintage Eclipse sharpening jig, newsprint paper with green and jeweler's rouge honing compounds.





The iron on my Stanley No.5 jack plane needed sharpening. I use the traditional sharpening angle of 25 degrees on this iron, and yes, I have used the "15 degree only" angle, back bevels and micro-bevels, but the angles that are recommended in the woodworking books from the turn of the 20th century work best for me. I d…

On the Workbench - Redwood/Curly Walnut Hernandez y Aguado Style Guitar, Part 1

...the graceful lines and the splendor of the guitar's body possessed my heart as swiftly as would the features of a heaven-sent woman suddenly appearing to become the loving companion of a lifetime.
Andres Segovia, Andres Segovia, An Autobiography of the years 1893-1920, 1976


I made this neck more than a few years back with the intent of building a nice guitar with a 640mm scale length. It languished in "the wood pile" until recently when I pulled it out and paired it with a back and side set of curly black walnut.




The walnut bent like a dream and unlike some walnut that I have worked with in the past, it didn't spring back, a definite bonus! I thinned the sides down to 3/32" and the waist area down to a tad less that 1/16" to help with the bending process. I find with walnut that the bending iron temperature needs to be between 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit, any hotter and the wood gets too bitter and will fail.




I have discovered that I have a knack for mak…

Be Your Own Apprentice

Daiju visited the master Baso in China.
Baso asked: "What do you seek?"
"Enlightenment," replied Daiju.
"You have your own treasure house. Why do you search outside?" Baso asked
Daiju inquired: "Where is my treasure house?"
Baso answered: "What you are asking is your treasure house."
Daiju was enlightened! 
Ever after he urged his friends: "Open your own treasure house and use those treasures."

 from Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, complied by Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki, 1957

"What maker did you study with? What was his name?" This was a question I often get when I attend guitar festivals as a vendor.

"Myself," was my reply.

"Really? How?"

"I read a few books on guitar making, pulled out some old tools I inherited, bought some wood and went at it," I replied.

"Wow! Really? How did you know how work the wood into a guitar? I don't think I could make anything like this unless someone taught me …

The Best Ingredients for a Fine Wood Finish

When I first started down the road of lutherie back in 1992, I had several spectacular finish failures. Some where I had read that you could use tung oil on a mountain dulcimer, and I found out that you can, but it killed the sound of that very first dulcimer. I hung it up on the wall.

All the wood working books and catalogs of the era seemed to state that wipe-on finishes were the best, or that it was better to buy some fancy brush-on finish that self-leveled was best to use on guitars and dulcimers. I bought brush-on varnish from a big name wood finish supplier and smeared it all over a "custom" dulcimer I made for a friend. I level sanded with wet/dry sandpaper and mineral spirits, but no matter what I did, the white dust from sanding adhered itself to every little nook and corner of the dulcimer. No matter how hard I tried I could not get rid of the white dust specks. My friend like the instrument anyway and was very happy with it.

After making several dulcimers I took t…