Showing posts from February, 2014

Pore Filling with Dyed Drywall Compound: It Didn't Work for Me!

I'd rather be a s--t sucker than a drywaller. Part of a conversation that I overheard on a construction site. I'm on a bit of a deadline. I go back to my day job as a historic preservation carpenter in one month and I just got an order for a seven string flamenco guitar. I've got 2 guitars in the works, I want to get them all done by the middle of this summer while working a full time job. A long time ago, I used a pore filler on an early guitar thinking that it was "the way to go!" in finishing that guitar. All I remember is the endless sanding down to the wood only to find that I needed to fill the pores again. It sucked. This week I succumbed to what I thought might be quick, easy and high quality, I got some drywall compound and stained it black. I filled the pores, wiped off as much of the compound as I could (I went through a lot of shop paper towels!), let the compound dry for a couple of hours and then sanded the back and sides. Hmm,

Making a Copy of a Hernandez y Aguado Guitar: How a Guitar is Assembled

This is a very exciting moment. With the gluing of the Sound-board your guitar really begins to take shape; it resonates when you tap it, and you can almost hear the sonorous tones it will produce once the strings are on. Stanley Doubtfire, Make Your Own Classical Guitar , 1981 I am in the process of pore filling this guitar today, so I thought that many of you would like to see how the sound box of a guitar is assembled. I have left out some steps, what follows are the basic steps... Gluing on two upper harmonic bars, I add one more bar underneath the fret board. These are glued on with Lee Valley's fish glue. The ledge for the sound board is cut into the heel block of the neck. I did this step with a router on several earlier guitars with almost disastrous results, I cut this by hand these days. Aligning the center line of the top with the center line of the neck. Gluing and nailing the top to the heel block. Antonio Torres did the same thing! I pre-drill th

Paul Bunyan, Logging and Model Trains: Sierra Lumber Company, Lyonsville and Porter Locomotives

Yes, I knowed Paul Bunyan. My father worked fer him when I wuz a little shaver an' I uster allus tag 'long. Logger? Wal, I sh'd say-cut m' teeth on a peevy an' rooled logs in m' first long pants. "Twuz some loggin' them days-trees all round here twelve t' fourteen foot thru. Ida Virginia Turney, Paul Bunyan Comes West , 1928 My apologies! I thought I had published this post already, Blogger is up to its usual tricks! This book, Legends of Paul Bunyan , collected by Harold Felton, showed up in the mail the other day, and I must say, if you have never read any books about Paul Bunyan then you should read this one! It's a wonderful collection of stories, poems and songs about Paul and his life, there is even a poem by Robert Frost in this collection. There are stories by the usual Paul Bunyan authors: W.B Laughead, James Stevens, Esther Shepard, Wallace Wadsworth, etc., and stories that were gathered from real loggers. Gorgeous illustrati

A New Bench Stop

Bench Stop : A wood or metal pillar which projects above the surface of the Bench against which the workpiece is held when being planed. R.A. Salaman, Dictionary of Woodworking Tools, 1989 As some of you know, my workbench is based upon the bench in Roy Underhill's book, The Woodwright's Apprentice . When I built it 20 years ago, I didn't want to use the bench stop that Roy used, I knew I would be planing fairly wide wood and at the time, such a small stop, or bench dog, didn't make much sense to me. At the time, I owned an issue of a now defunct wood working magazine that had an article on bench accessories, and this wide stop was part of the article. I think I used a nice piece of ponderosa pine for the first one, then I replaced that with a chunk of red oak. When that broke I made a stop from a scrap of 10 ply plywood that was left at a new home construction site that I was working at. Fifteen years or so later, I finally decided to replace that pi

Paul Bunyan, Logging and Model Trains: Things That I Forgot Are Important

Paul Bunyan! the mightiest man that ever came into the woods! Never do woodsmen tire of hearing of him. Never do the stories of his tremendous labors grow old to them, for not only was he the first one of all their kind, but he was also the greatest lumberjack that ever lived, the hero of them all. Wallace Wadsworth, Paul Bunyan and His Great Blue Ox , 1926 A couple of weeks I had a few bad days in the shop, mostly having fits over my French polish technique or maybe it was the shellac I was having problems with, I don't know. I walked away from the bench, sat down, glanced at a bookcase and my eyes fell on my collection of books about Paul Bunyan. Then I remembered what is important - family, stories and hobbies. Paul Bunyan was a hero of mine since I was a little kid, when you grow up in a family of storytellers who simply told about the things that they did in everyday life - ranching, logging, mining - the exploits of Paul Bunyan aren't that far-fetched. The West is

Making a Copy of a Hernandez y Aguado Guitar: Gluing the Fan Braces

Hernandez y Aguado guitars are very highly regarded and rarely seen. Aaron Green, luthier It was -15 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday morning with snow. The temperature got up to 2 degrees by noon, but quickly dropped back down to -3 degrees for the rest of the day. Needless to say, I went out only twice, I am so glad I don't have to work out in that kind of weather anymore, even the dogs realized that it was too cold to be outside. I spent the day doing the final rub out on the guitar it the photo above, it is based on a Hernandez y Aguado guitar. It has the same plantilla, or shape, as a HyA guitar, but is built with a 640mm string length. It has a Douglas fir top with mahogany back and sides. I had to do some touch up on the finish, I figure 3 more quick sessions of the French polish touch up, let shellac harden and this guitar will be ready! The new copy of a Hernandez y Aguado guitar is coming along fine, I got the braces glued on Tuesday afternoon. Once again, I will