Monday, September 24, 2012

Re-lacing Wood and Rawhide Snowshoes

Back when I was young, we called 'em Indian webs, snowshoes were skis!

from a 1976 interview with Frank Black, a Northern California buckaroo, logger and Forest Service ranger.


My wife bought me these Indian webs right after we got married, about 13 years ago. The rawhide lacing has seen better days, several laces are broken and I should've varnished them last year. Last year for Christmas I got Gil Gilpatrick's book on snowshoe making.


Here I've got the foot cut out.


Now I've started the lacing. I used 1/8 inch thick braided nylon cord, it's cheap, 10 cents a foot!



The main cord wrapped and the lacing is finished, for the foot, that is. It took me about 3 hours to get to this point and after I got done I discovered I made a mistake in the lacing. Oh, well, next shoe should be better!



Now I need to go buy some mason's line so I can do the toe and heel, something that I hadn't planned, but will do so the shoes will be done entirely with nylon cord.

Since this took so long, I had no chance to work on any guitars, I want my webs to be ready for the first good snow which should be in about 2 months!

El Santuario de Chimayo



On the way down to Hubbell Trading Post NHS in northeast Arizona, we stopped at El Santuario de Chimayo in Chimayo, New Mexico. I had never been there and my wife hadn't been there in 18 years, she said that the area had changed so much that we got turned around quite a bit before we got on the right road. The inside of the sanctuary is amazing-ancient hand made wooden statues of various saints and Christ along with gorgeous hand painted retablos, it is such a peaceful and holy site, it is easy to see why miracles happen there. The folk art alone is a religious experience!


Here's a Ganado style rug that I purchased at Hubbell's. When I worked there as a National Park ranger in the very early 1990's I was too poor to even buy a Navajo saddle blanket, now I'm making up for it!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pat Hawley's Thickness Sander


Several years ago I almost completed making a shopmade thickness sander that was going to be a copy of Grit Laskin's sander (which you can find in Fine Woodworking's Shop Accessories You Can Build). I bought every thing I needed, pulleys, flange bearings, etc., and I made the drum and was ready to mount it in the stand that I built for it. The only problem was finding a 2 hp motor for under $300 (even used they were way over priced!) and the 1/8 inch thick rubber sheet to cover the drum. Not to mention finding a sheet of sand paper wide enough for a 16x18 inch drum. Then we got ready to move to Yosemite National Park, I threw most of it on a burn pile and sold the bearings, etc., to a neighbor and swore that I'd do everything by hand!

Now I'm in need of a thickness sander because I want to laminate the sides, a la Ramirez and Friedrich, of the guitars that I want to build this winter. Again, I was going to use Laskin's plans, but was running into the same problems, finding a 2 hp motor, rubber backing and sand paper, etc. Then I came across this website for Pat Hawley's Thickness Sander! I think I have found what it is that I want! Don't forget to check out Pat's website!

Thanks to Matthias Wandel for posting this great plan on his website Woodgears.ca!

Expect future posts on this project!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Terry Kelly, Master Windsor Chair Maker

If you haven't discovered my friend, Terry Kelly, his website and blog, you owe it to yourself to find out what kind of chairs this guy can make!


This chair reminds me of one that is in Michael Dunbar's book on Windsor chair making, the original is at Jefferson's Monticello, but honestly, Terry's chair has surpassed the beauty and originality of the Jefferson chair. I can only imagine what it is like to be in the presence of this chair, I'm not sure that I would want to sit in it, I only want to look at it like, it is a wonderful piece of sculpture!

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Bench Hook for a 10 String Classic Guitar Neck

There can be nothing exclusive about substantial art. It comes directly out of the heart of the experience of life and thinking about life and living life.

Charles Ives, American Composer



The Obsession Continues....


I glued the peg head to the neck shaft this morning, it worked, but the scarf joint always slips a little from the pressure of the clamps. I plan for that and try to set the neck shaft about a 1/16th of an inch proud of the peg head when I glue up the pieces. Once the glue has dried I correct any problems either with a sanding board or my trusty Stanley No. 7 jointer plane.



The only problem with using the jointer plane was finding a block of wood tall enough to compensate for the 14 degree peg head angle. With such a long peg head (it's four inches longer than a six string guitar peg head) I knew the block should be about 5 inches tall, which I don't have. Then I remembered why I had that piece of 1x6 pine leaning in the corner.

A few quick cuts with crosscut and rip saws, a few screws and I solved my problem by making a bench hook. You all know what a bench hook is, don't you? I make them for a task, forget that I've got one hiding in the shop and when I find it I remove the screws and use the wood to build a fire in the cook stove.



My mother showed me how to make a bench hook when I was about 11-12 years old. I wanted to try relief carving but had no way to hold the board. We found some old boards, Mom told how to cut the pieces and nail the cleats on, all the while telling me stories of how her dad would make them for just the same reason. It was a great moment because I was using his tools.

New Video - European Spruce/East Indian Rosewood Concert Grand Classical Guitar

My friend,  Nathan Fischer , made a video of him playing a Concert Grand classical guitar that I made. Nathan is such a wonderful guy and bo...