Wednesday, March 28, 2012

All By Myself!

This afternoon, with aching thumbs and tired eyes, I sat back and looked at the compilation of wood that is now the body of a quadruple ought guitar. It was even more satisfying because, with the exception of a couple short visits from passers by, I was alone in the shop all day and had to make decisions, fix mistakes, and glue with conviction all on my own. Having my dad as a safety net is really comforting, but it is much more empowering to say that, for sure, I did this work alone, and it ended up meeting my dad's high standards. So far this week, with having to work on my own much of the time, I am more sure than normal that it is not mistake choosing to learn this craft instead of pursue a career in environmental law.

Monday while my dad was in Marion all day running errands, I looked around the shop and found several pieces of spruce from which to fashion the braces for the top of the guitar. After I dug those out from under several layers of sawdust I consulted my "Guitar Notes" (an 8 page word document that contains step by step instructions for making a Henderson guitar complete with side notes and tips that I made during my third guitar, and have been adding to ever since. As I have mentioned before, am a J. I just can't help such things.) Anyway, thanks to those notes, I managed to saw out a perfect X brace on the first try without anyone providing backseat sawing advice.

Yesterday was a fun Tuesday, as most all are, but there were fun Tuesday visitors to accompany the usual General Loafers. While the shop was crammed with people, I stayed in my corner and shaved my top braces and fitted the top onto the body. Unfortunately my camera's battery has been depleted of energy and I seem to have left its charger in a wall socket somewhere, therefore I am unable to document the progress of this guitar until I either locate said charger or order a new one. My dad's good friend Tom Watts, one of yesterday's visitors, took some great pictures for me (and you all) so luckily all is not left to your imagination! (All of the ones from today's post are courtesy of Tom.)
Getting some pointers. Haha. Pun intended. 

Today I made myself a list of tasks, the J-ness coming out again, and of course crossed them off as I completed each one. First I had to remove the newly glued together body from the form, and route the excess wood from the top and back. Then I measured and routed the space for the end piece that covers the joint of the sides at the base of the guitar. After that I made rosewood binding; it has to be pre-bent so it fits snuggly around the body, and then routed the space for the binding and the top inlay.  While routing the back of the body, I did not readjust the router correctly to account for the extra angle and ended up with a space that was too deep for the width of the binding. After a momentary freak out I decided, well that is ok, I will just add a couple of thin black and white lines between the binding and the body to fill the void. That task took some finagling, but I ended up supergluing the black and white veneers to the binding and gluing it to the binding together. Finally, I sanded all of that inlay flush with the rest of the body. It probably took you a few minutes to read all of that, but it took me about eight and a half hours to carry it out, including mess ups, freak outs, and a couple of ball throwing breaks for Harper. Oh and my cousin Leah called to chat a while which was a really exciting, welcomed break.


Check out my sweet braces! Harper approves.
View of the back in the form.

Signing the top. 
So that is what happened today. When my dad got home I was so tired I actually let him convince me to go to the "Log Cabin" for dinner. If you aren't aware, the Log Cabin Country Store is a gas station on the corner of route 58 and 16 with some booths attached and a grill in the back room. Their specialties are the likes of chicken fried steak, chicken and dumplins (that is how it was spelled it on the dry erase board advertising the specials we passed on the way in) and vealsteak. I don't know what that last thing is, but I guarantee it would make my body incredibly angry if I ingested it. Anyway, that type of cooking is not my scene, but my dad likes it, and rather than make him a nice tofu and broccoli stir fry, I indulged him and we went. As a compromise though, after eating our matching chicken fillet sandwiches, I made him take a walk with me and Harper to downtown Rugby (the corner of our street and Rugby Road) and he didn't even complain! It was a really nice, though rare, evening with just us.



2 comments:

  1. Those "Oh, I've messed it up now!" moments are when the learning really takes a leap upward. Congrats on dealing with it without outside assistance.
    And the eight pages of "Guitar Notes"? You might consider making them into an article in the magazine American Lutherie. I am sure they'd love to see them. I know I would.

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  2. "without anyone providing backseat sawing advice" - the dreaded backsaw cutters with tips for easier cutting. Ha-ha! Yep, I endured that myself last week, cutting a radius for a kitty-cat shelf on the porch.

    I've started at the end . . . err, the beginning, the oldest one, I mean. These are all great reading! . . . I should make a hardwoods sawdust sachet to complete the reading experience . . . would a soundtrack be G-rated? My thumb is currently swollen and purple. I know I wasn't cursing in "Disney movie" verbiage . . .

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