Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Bubinga Tonewood


I bought a board of bubinga, aka African Rosewood, at a local hardwood supplier this summer and I finally got around to resawing some of it. I started out using a rip saw with 5 1/2 TPI (teeth per inch) but I quickly changed over to a saw with 6 TPI. That saw cut better, but resawing bubinga by hand is pretty much like sawing through a firebrick. I am sure that most of you have discovered that most kiln dried wood one buys at a lumber yard tends to want to do weird things when you open it up. It usually cups badly on me and affects the accuracy of subsequent cuts, especially since I rip by hand. I have gotten around some of this problem by ripping out the pieces all at once. A sharp saw helps, too.



I mentioned that resawing bubinga by hand is like sawing through a firebrick, it took me a total of four hours to rip out two backs from this piece of wood. It is cheaper for me to do this than to send it off to a custom resaw buisness which charges $60 an hour, plus shipping. If I pay myself what I make at my day job I still come out ahead and it keeps my right arm in shape.



I don't own a bandsaw, though there are days I wish I had one, but I enjoy working with handtools. I tend to get in trouble with power tools on my own projects, generally I make a mistake and ruin something because I was going to fast. I do use power tools at my day job, historic preservation for the National Park Service, but making classical guitars is a highly elevated craft. Luthierie not an art, but you need to approach it as an art, to make the best piece you can. I have more control with handtools. The less electricity I use helps our poor planet. Yes, I do use exotic woods, but I try to make guitars out of Claro and English walnut whenever I can. Think globally, act locally.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to see you adding to the blog. And am in awe of anyone who can resaw accurately--yeah, bandsaws were made for folks like me.

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