Monday, August 27, 2012

Indian Peaks Wilderness Area-My Backyard

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.

John Muir

My wife and I got to the St. Vrain Mountain trailhead at 8am yesterday morning so we could hike up to the saddle between Meadow Mountain and St. Vrain Mountain. The trailhead is four miles from our house by road, three miles as the crow flies. It took us about 2 hours to reach the saddle, here is the view. We're about 11,300 feet in elevation at this point. Mt. Audubon is 13,223 feet tall.

This is the view that you get to see when I'm not in the way: Mount Audubon, the biggest mountain in the center of the photo. Moving right is Paiute Peak, then Sawtooth Mountain. I've lived and worked in some gorgeous places-Montana, Utah, Arizona, Yosemite National Park, Lassen Volcanic National Park and Rocky Mountain National Park, but I have to tell you, this view beats all.

On the way back down the hill, about a mile from the trailhead we almost ran into this young bull moose. He was less than 30 feet from us. He was a little shy to have is photo taken, I don't blame him for wanting to stay put.

Today was a day for errands-laundry, groceries, the hardware store, working on this blog posting-now that all that is done I'll do something fun, like fly fishing for greenback cutthroat trout in the Roaring River at Rocky Mountain National Park. Should be a good afternoon!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Log Cabin Chink and Daub

Here's a link to my friend Ben Hesse's benjaminrhesse mixed media and printmaking blog.

He recently posted about working on the Ronald McDonald Cabin (yes, really, the Ronald McDonald Cabin!) at Betasso Open Space.

Brian Bartel and I are teaching this wonderful young man the ways of historic preservation, he's a fast learner, and if he sticks with it he will be a vital part of the historic preservation community.

Ben is a wonderfully talented folk/old-timey musician, printmaker and all around silver belt buckle caliber artist. Check out his work, some of his woodcut prints are amazing!

Ben's photo of the cabin, see more at his blog!

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Ten String Classic Guitar-My Latest Obsession, Part 3

No matter how simple a thing of wood, it is scarcely possible to put two sticks together decently without using a plane.

Aldren A. Watson, Hand Tools: Their Ways and Workings, 1982

Today, I ripped a piece of Spanish cedar in two (yes, with a hand rip saw), planed and jointed it down until both surfaces matched perfectly. Then I glued in a piece of ebony, a la Jose Ramirez III, this 10 string guitar's neck will have the Ramirez "racing stripe". After gluing up the pieces I kind of wish that I had jointed together two pieces of cedar that were a little wider than these, to give myself a little wiggle room. As it is I've left myself a little more then a 1/16th of an inch on either side of the neck outline. I may have to save this neck for a six string and buy some more cedar and make another neck. Or, I can step up to the plate and hold myself to a higher level of craftsmanship and use this neck, all I have to do is be very meticulous and careful.

I'm really excited about making a ten string classic guitar, the possibilities....

Here's another YouTube of Narciso Yepes, the second movement of the Concierto de Aranjuez.

New Tools

While posing to illustrate the importance of maintaining the face of teh guitar on a vertical plane, Segovia interrupted for a moment. "Bobri," he said, tapping his paunch, "caution the students to curb their appetites. Otherwise, like me, they will have difficulty in leaning sufficiently forward."

Vladimir Borbi, The Segovia Technique, 1972

I finally got around to buying new chip breakers for my 2 favorite planes: a Stanley No.7 jointer plane and a No. 3 smoothing plane. Both planes sport Hock blades, carbon steel for me, the jointer has a Hock chip breaker and the smoother has a chip breaker from Lee Valley. I am quite impressed, I have never had planes work so well, all chatter is gone, as far as I can tell. I had no problem planing a piece of ebony this afternoon, the planes literally sing through the wood.

These chip breakers are well worth the money. Do yourself a favor and upgrade to thicker plane irons and chip breakers!

The top chisel is not new, I've had it for almost 15 years, I found it in a flea market, the chisel on the bottom is the "new" one. I've been looking for a 1/8" chisel for, well almost 15 years, I did find a 1/8" sash chisel once, but it is not the same as this gorgeous one. The best thing about this chisel, other than being almost full length, it is a Stiletto brand. Stiletto made great axes, I can only imagine this will be a great chisel once it is keened up. I found the chisel at Meeker's Patented Antiques, they are great people to deal with.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Interview With A Luthier

To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.

Leonard Bernstein

Rob Reid of interviewed me via email. The interview can be found here.

Rob found my blog and was intrigued by the fact that I don't use power tools to make classical guitars. It's amazing how many people believe that you can only build a guitar with a fully equipped Normite shop. Rob is a great guy and we hope to do another interview with Skype.

Rob has posted interviews with some young up and coming classic guitar artists, one of my favorites is Simon Powis.

So, get back into the shop all of you and send me photos of your latest works so I can post them!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Shaping the 19th Fret - The One That Splits the Guitar's Sound Hole

Everyone seeks in the guitar his own twin soul....

Oscar Ghiglia, classical guitarist

Most classical guitars have a split 19th fret at the sound hole. I discovered a long time ago that it was much easier to shape the frets on a dummy fret board before they are pressed home on the guitar.

In this case I took a piece of cherry and matched the existed fingerboard and sound hole. I sawed a slot and then pressure fitted the frets.

I grind the ends on a sandpaper disc chucked into a drill press.

Finished. Now I can install them on the guitar.

Here's a YouTube of David Russell, enjoy!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bluebird Mine, Boulder County, Colorado

Cracks in eight log buildings, counting sheds
and outhouse, widen and a ghost peeks out.
Nothing, tree or mountain, weakens wind
coming of the throat. Even wind must work
when land gets old.

Richard Hugo, Montana Ranch Abandoned, 1973

The mine was named "The Bluebird" because of the azurite that was found with silver ore in its shafts, adits and stopes.

Chimney and Sky, Bunkhouse

Mine Superintendent's Office

Rail on mine dump looking south

1912 Ex-Segovia Cedar/East Indian Rosewood Classical Guitar

Inspired by AndrĂ©s Segovia’s famous 1912 Manuel Ramirez guitar, I chose Western red cedar top and East Indian rosewood back and sides from m...