Saturday, March 26, 2016

I'm Selling My Tool Collection

I have but to look into a tool basket to know the quality of a carpenter.

Walter Rose, The Village Carpenter, 1937


For those of you who follow my blog, you have probably noticed posts about tools that I am selling on eBay.

Yes, I am selling off most of my tool collection, which I am selling only through eBay.

Why am I selling the collection?

There was a time when I thought collecting vintage tools was a cool thing. Now I have too many old tools that sit lonely in a nearly forgotten tool chest, those tools need to be used, they need to be on another woodworker's bench.

I have all the tools I need to create classical and flamenco guitars, and others to help me build cabinets, tool trays and other things for the shop.

It is time to let things go.



I am paring down to the essential tools that are needed to complete the task efficiently.

So, stay tuned for updates on the vintage tools that I am selling only on eBay.

These will be nice tools, I always bought good tools that needed very little tuning to I use in the shop.




Wednesday, March 23, 2016

On the Bench: A Santos Hernandez Style Concert Guitar, Black Hills Spruce/African Rosewood

I saw a lot of walking guitars then and I thought how fitting it was that guitars should resemble in so many ways the beautiful women on Andalucia.

Manuel Reyes, world famous flamenco guitarrero


"Zoraida" is on the bench for the final sanding before I start applying the shellac for French polishing. She is very beautiful, one of four guitars that I will be French polishing over the next 2 months.

Monday, March 7, 2016

I "Upgraded" My Folding Workbench

Remember that a good workbench won't make you a better woodworker, but it sure helps.

Scott Landis, The Workbench Book, 1987


My workbench has a vast amount of sentimental value to me. I built it in 1994 from incense cedar (pencil wood) and black (red) oak trees that were on my property, I felled the trees and milled boards from them with an old, old McCulloch chainsaw attached to a Granberg Alaskan mill. I wasn't much of a hand at chopping out mortises or dovetails back then, but I continue to use the bench on a daily basis. The best part about the bench is the incense cedar top, whenever I flatten it the spicy aroma that comes from the wood immediately takes me home to a patch of land in the Sierra Nevada of California.



For those of you who are fans of Roy Underhill, you will recognize this bench from his book, The Woodwright's Apprentice, a book every woodworker should own. I made this bench because I was a seasonal park ranger with the National Park Service at the time, this bench was easy enough to throw into the back of my pickup truck.

It's a great design, but, it is very light, I have to use two fifty pound bags of sand to weigh it down and now after twenty years of use it racks so much that it is almost unusable.




Yesterday, I spent a couple of hours "upgrading" the bench with a little help from the late Carlyle Lynch. Carlyle Lynch drew up plans for a "Woodcarver's Bench", which can be purchased from Tools For Woodworking, and one of the fasteners that he recommended for attaching the stretchers were lag bolts. I have made several benches using lag bolts and they turned out great!

I made two new stretchers from Douglas fir, added two alignment dowels at the ends of the stretchers, drilled corresponding holes in the legs...




then drilled a 5/16" hole for the 3/8x6 inch lag bolts.



After tightening the bolts, the bench racked more that I wanted, so I added two pieces of Douglas fir and screwed down a shelf of 3/4" thick pine plywood.



The bench looks more like a "conventional" bench, I miss the spindly look it had, but it is more solid that it ever was before I did this upgrade. I put both bags of sand back on the shelf and eventually I will build an under cabinet in the hopes that a cabinet full of tools, etc., will add enough weight to the build to dispense with the sand bags.

Though I can't fold up the legs in just two minutes by removing just two carriage bolts, when it comes time to move it will take longer to carry it down the stairs then to remove the few screws and lag bolts.

This was two hours of time well spent. Good thing I did this work, I will be planing an ebony fretboard today!





Friday, March 4, 2016

The Real Use for an Auger Bit File

Whereas a chisel can be sharpened for years without noticeably shortening its life, the cutting head of an auger bit has not metal to spare. Bits should therefore be treated with fanatical restraint. Remove the least amount of material to restore the cutting edges.

A tapered auger bit file and a slip stone are the tools you need.


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


The true use of an auger bit file is to clean up binding rabbets on a guitar.


It does a crackerjack job, it doesn't remove too much material at a time, it's thin enough to work in the binding pocket where the neck meets the top and I can use it to sharpen my auger bits (I have a separate file just for that task).

A very handy little file.


Finished bindings on a Western red cedar/Indian rosewood concert guitar.

Along with the auger bit file, I also use emery boards to clean rabbets, they are especially useful at the guitar's waist, always a tricky spot to get right.

Work continues in my shop, three guitars are keeping me busy at the moment. When all of those are completed I will have four guitars that need to be French polished.

Did I mention I need to build a new workbench? My the joints on my old "Roy Underhill-esque" are getting loose, she rocks too much anymore and it always was too light in weight. I have plans for a new one made out of alder and Douglas fir.

Did I mention I need renovate my workshop?

Too much work and not enough time.

Here's a video of my former classical guitar teacher, Warren Haskell.

Enjoy!


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...