Saturday, June 23, 2012

My Guitar Label

The classic guitar, unlike other instruments, produces its sound through direct contact of the fingertips and nails, whence the suavity and diversity of tone color.

Vladimir Bobri, The Segovia Technique, 1972





My label, simple and I hope, a bit elegant. (I just noticed a spelling error!)

One of these days I will go to a print shop and have some labels made professionally. I like to look at the labels used by the great makers - Torres, Ramirez, Santos, Barbero, Velazquez, Bouchet - and dream up fancy designs, I always come back to something simple.

I've been re-reading some of Andres Segovia's autobiography in early issues of Guitar Review and realized that I haven't posted any videos of him. Today, there are many detractors of Segovia, which is too bad, he did so much to advance the presence of classic guitar in our world wide culture. I know we've all heard this piece by Fernando Sor a bazillion times, but it's wonderful to watch Segovia at the height of his powers. (I can't tell if he is playing his Hauser or a Ramirez in this short film, I can't get a good look at the crest on the peghead!)



Monday, June 11, 2012

Disston No.12 Rip Saw

There are people who do things, and there are people who write about things.

John Brown, Welsh Stick Chairs, 1990



Yesterday, I joined Rocky Mountain Tool Collectors during their bi-monthly meeting which was held at the Carolyn Holmberg Preserve at Rock Creek Farm near Louisville, Colorado. It just so happens that my supervisor, Don Burd, is also the president of the organization. It was a small turn out, but there were plenty of tools to drool over, I took a couple of tools to sell. One was a Stanley No. 81 scraper which sold even before I put it on a table!



Disston No.12 saw and C.S. Company Padauk Level

After a short presentation about the early days, there was an auction. Before the auction I noticed a nice Disston rip saw on the auction table, it was nice and straight, some one had tried to refinish the handle, but generally was a clean saw. When it came up for auction it started at $5 and I kept raising the bid until it hit $20, at that point several of the other bidders turned around to look at me, I guess they thought I was nuts to bid so high on a saw.



Can you see the #12?

I won the saw, paid for it, sat down and looked at it. You can imagine my surprise to find out that I had just bought a No. 12 rip saw!




Here's a shot of the handle. With a judicious scraping and sanding and a few sessions of French polish, it'll look more a "real" handle.



Chapin-Stephens Company, Pine Meadow, CT. Did they make a level from padauk or is this wood cherry?

I didn't mean to buy the level, the bidding stalled at $2, I thought I would help it along and upped the bid to $3-needless to say, I won. Dennis McCaigue, a violin maker from Idaho Springs, Colorado, and RMTC member, thought that the body was padauk. I told him I wasn't sure what to do with it, but I could always cut it up into guitar bridge blanks!

One of these days I need to go and visit Dennis and his workshop, I'll be sure to post about it!


Here's Rafael Aguirre playing Gershwin's famous Prelude No.2






Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Carpenter's Ripping Sawhorse


I have read articles about Torres, a man who made guitars in the years 1843 to 1888. The authors of these articles are amazed to know that a man who once was a carpenter could make such outstanding guitars. It seems to me that these authors knew very little about carpenter work. A carpenter in Torres' day would handle and work with more wood than a guitar maker would handle in a lifetime. In the years that Torres was a carpenter, the carpenters would work all the wood with hand tools.


Arthur E. Overholtzer, Classic Guitar Making, 1974





I left my old pair of sawhorses at our house in Mariposa during our last move mostly because the mover kept telling me that we had too much stuff and we were going to have a large moving bill. As it turned out he had never moved such a light load and lost money on it, which made me happy. Anyway, I finally got around to making a new ripping horse the other day so I can rip down some wonderful Spanish Cedar to start making a neck for my ten string classical guitar.

This saw horse was made by following Sam Allen's Sawhorse article in Fine Woodworking On The Small Workshop, I've made several pairs from the same instructions and I love this horse. I used both hand and power tools to make it-my DeWalt table saw, SkilSaw, DeWalt corded drill and Disstion crosscut and rip saws, what more does a carpenter need. I use what tools I need to get the job done efficiently and safely, period.

I'd never try to make a guitar using Overholtzer's book (leave a comment asking me why), but I have respect for him because he was a craftsman who was intelligent and observant. His statement about Torres is very, very true, only an observant carpenter with a love for music and wood could make such phenomenal guitars. With a love for life, music and wood.

And I am a carpenter by profession.


YouTube for your enjoyment, my favorite young guitarist, Tatyana Ryzhkova.




All Wood Double Top Classical Guitar

  Double top , or composite top, classical guitars are all the rage these days, especially among young guitarists and I decided that I would...