Saturday, July 25, 2020

Western Woodworking

The wood of choice was the ponderosa pine which was felled, split, and adzed to a workable thickness and fashioned into larger pieces of furniture, no two of which were alike. 

Kingsley H. Hammett, Classic New Mexican Furniture, 1996

I'm not comparing Western style woodworking to Japanese style woodworking in this post, I want to ask this question: Are there any woodworkers living West of the Mississippi River?

Yes, I know that there are woodworkers west of the 100th meridian - there are woodworkers and co-op's in most major Western cities, many of the world's best known classical guitar makers live here in the West - but to look at a typical woodworking blog aggregator one would suspect that there are no woodworkers living west of the confluence of the Wabash, Ohio and Tennessee rivers. I know that I haven't been posting on this blog as much as I use to, creating a decent post takes time, whereas posting on Instagram is as simple as taking a photo and telling everyone about it in 40 words or less.

Recently, I subscribed to Woodworker West so I could get an idea of who is working out here in the West and what they are doing. Like most magazines these days, it is sparse with pages and information, but I did feel a little lonely as I thumbed through the latest offering.

To find a quote for this post, I went to my small library and started to dig through the volumes to find some quote about woodworking in the West and, once again, I was surprised that the only books I had on that subject were on furniture making in New Mexico. I have a good selection on the logging and lumber industries of California, the trees of California and the West, log cabin building techniques of the Inland Empire (parts of Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington), but no books on West Coast furniture making, probably because my interest in Arts and Crafts style furniture faded away about 25 years ago. 

Are Western woodworkers too busy making a living to blog, vlog, podcast etc., about their work? Do they have enough clients that they don't have to talk about or advertise their work? Or, dare I ask, is blogging about woodworking a thing of the past? 

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Wilson Burnham Donates Concert Classical Guitar to Twisted Spruce Music Foundation

The C-G Competition is about collaboration between composers and guitarists (C-G).  Prizewinners will be decided upon by the overall creativity of their project, quality of the score, and quality of the recording.  Teams may win the prize or individuals may be named. 
Composition students who participate in the Twisted Spruce curriculum will have until Sept 15, 2020 to complete the work they began during the festival.  All new music scores must be started by composers registered for the 2020 Online Symposium. 
Compositions and performances by first and second prize finalists will be invited to open the August 2021 Festival in Colorado Springs, CO.   First, second, and thrid prize winners will be named.  The guitarist who wins first prize will win a handmade concert guitar by Wilson Burnham.

Back in February, before the COVID-19 pandemic, I repaired a guitar for Colin McAllister, a Colorado Springs, Colorado, based classical guitarist and professor. When he stopped by to pick up the guitar, he told me little bit about the Twisted Spruce Music Foundation , and that the Foundation was going to have a music composition/classical guitar competition during the summer. He asked me if I was willing to talk about classical guitar construction and how to care for a classical guitar and I immediately agreed. Colin is a great guy and a wonderful guitarist and I always enjoy talking to people about the classical guitar.

Recently, I received an email from Nathan Fischer, co-founder of Twisted Spruce, asking me to contact him. I called and he wanted to ask if it was okay to schedule me for the next to last day of the symposium. He told me that the main mission of the symposium/competition was to bring young people together to collaborate and create a new musical work. He hoped that next year the symposium would be held in Colorado Springs and that the foundation would attract enough donations to pay for room and board for the competitors. As he said that,  I realized that I needed to do more than be a presenter at the symposium, I offered to donate my latest guitar to the Foundation.

Nathan couldn't believe that I would be that gracious and gladly accepted my offer! I believe that I need to help out young people whenever I can and if this donation helps attract more attendees for the symposium, that will be great.

Good luck to all of those will be part of the 2020 C-G Competition!

Here are some of the guitar specifications:

Top - Western Red Cedar
Back and Sides - Wenge
Bindings - Bubinga
Fretboard - Indonesian ebony
Neck - Spanish cedar
Rosette - Russian made
Tuners - Gilbert
Finish - French polish
Hiscox Lite Flite Case w/ velvet interior

Scale - 650mm, compensated
Neck width at nut - 52mm
Neck width at 12th fret - 62mm
String spacing - 41.5mm @ nut, 48.5mm @12th fret, 56mm @ bridge
Overall length - 984mm
Body depth at heel - 94mm
Body depth at waist - 95mm
Body depth at end block - 99mm
Weight - 3lbs., 6oz.; 1.6kg

Ebony Classical Guitar Bindings

Happiness is making (and scraping) your own guitar bindings! Earlier this week, I ripped some Macassar ebony down to 15 strips 1/8” thick, a...