Showing posts from December, 2015

On the Bench: Western White Spruce/African Rosewood Concert Guitar

...the art of knowing and working with Mother Nature's wood is one of the noblest occupations created for the development and enjoyment of human beings. Manuel Rodriguez, The Art and Craft of Making Classical Guitars, 2003 We've had a cold snap here in our neck of the woods, thankfully the temperature hasn't dropped below 0 degrees Fahrenheit at the house, but daytime temperatures haven't gotten about 25 degrees F. The relative humidity has dropped and my little humidifier is having a hard time keeping moisture in the air of my new little upstairs workshop, which means I have to watch the hygrometer and the wood very carefully. I doubt I will be doing much glueing until the temps get above 30 degrees. That said, I have parts for another guitar ready for the bench, a spruce and African rosewood (bubinga). I bought two white spruce tops from Stew-Mac several years ago, it was a limited time offering, the wood sold out quickly and Stewmac no longer offers this w

A Guitar Maker's Christmas Wish List

O ne Christmas Eve, I was told, certain payments due did not mature, and grandfather found himself unable to pay his men's wages. At that time the daily fare of the village was home-cured bacon: and when it was suggested that, for the family Christmas dinner, a piece of fresh meat should be brought from the butcher, he forbade it, on the principle that such a luxury was inconsistent with the non-payment of wages. And on that Christmas day the family sat down to nothing more than the everyday bacon. Walter Rose, The Village Carpenter , 1937 Dear Santa: This December I listed every step in making a guitar and identified every tool for each step. I inventoried all of my tools and discovered more tools are needed to increase my efficiency, efficiency increases speed, speed means I make more guitars for sale, which means more money to pay off the mortgage. I searched and searched tool catalogs, websites and at last I found every needed tool. The list is a long one, but Sant

Snow, Snowshoeing and Hide Glue

Once again we are in the grip of that grim old gentleman familiarly known as Jack Frost. D.C. Beard, The Field and Forest Handy Book , 1906 The first day of winter is only four days away and we got two good snows this past week. It's been wonderful for me to trail after the dogs on my snowshoes for their morning and afternoon up the gulch to Forest Service property. There are great views such as this to enjoy... and the gulch is cozy with snow. A dead standing Douglas fir makes for a good photo opportunity. Josey and Rufus treed another chickaree (tree squirrel), Pete was off chasing a different chickaree. Today, I am trying to finish up the interior of a Conservatory model guitar so I can glue on the back. Chores and other obligations have slowed down my progress some, but now that I glued a dutchman on the neck foot I am one step closer to closing up this guitar. Hide glue and Lee Valley fish glue on my standard glues these days. I apprecia

How Many Guitar Making Hours in a Day?

Life is for doing things slow, like trees. Makoto Imai, Japanese shrine builder I recently read an interview with a well known classical guitar maker, and in the interview he stated that he worked twelve hours a day to make his guitars. The first thing that came to my mind as I read that was - does he works three days a week or five days a week? 36 hours or 60 hours? Another question was, does he make time to live a life? I can barely get in an eight hour day at the work bench. There are chores around the house and property that need attention; the dogs demand two walks a day; and I need to get in my daily run of two and one-half miles. Oh, and I cook dinner for my wife since she commutes four days a week. Yesterday, I did bend two sets of guitar sides. One set of Claro walnut... and the other was bubinga. This set of Claro walnut bent like a dream, but I have noticed that walnut tends to have more spring back than any other wood that I have bent. Bubinga is ha