Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Tomorrow is my Daddy's birthday. He is worried that he is officially going to be welcomed into senior citizenship, as he is turning 65, but it just reminds me of how much he has accomplished in that time. It is pretty amazing how many people love him and admire his talents. I mean, most of you probably wouldn't be reading this if it weren't for his ability to make awesome guitars, which I am now attempting to glean as much as possible so maybe when I am 65 people will still remember him and appreciate his work.

I asked my dad about what he did for birthdays growing up and he said he mostly remembers the dinners. Granny would always make him a chocolate cake and her famous potato salad, among other Rugby delights. He also said that many birthdays he would get a knife, because he was always wearing them out. When he was young he would bring his pocket knife to school (naturally...) and whittle during class. He would pass the time his teacher stood lecturing by making chain links from a branch of maple, a solid round ball trapped within four long posts with a solid block at either end, all out of one chunk of wood. The ball would be perfectly circular, the posts perfectly symmetrical. I guess, now that I think about it, his whittling is his calming activity, like mine is drawing or painting.
When I carve things it has quite the opposite effect on my mood, as I am pretty sure I am about to cut my finger off. Since I have had the misfortune of experiencing such a mistake, complete with surgery, casts, splints, and rehab, I am in no mood to repeat it therefore wielding a knife isn't particularly calming for me. Maybe in 60 years I will be as adept as my dad is with a knife. Probably not.

I spent most of today carving a neck for a ukulele. That is the only aspect of ukulele building that I would prefer to do for a guitar instead. Most everything else is more fun, and cuter, and is more wieldy when making a ukulele, but shaping a neck is just annoying. The belt sander's rollers are too large to fit nicely into the crook that sits on the guitar body so that has to be caved by hand, and the peghead is too small to use anything other than a knife or rasp to lower it to the correct thickness. Therefore, I carved and carved and carved, all the while wondering if I might not be attached to the tip of my index finger in a few seconds.

You should come to the shop and watch my dad whittle sometime-it is kind of amazing. I sat for 3 hours carving the valute, the tiny point on the back of the peghead where it joins the neck, attempting to shape it into a straight even point, and I show it to my dad and 3 seconds later his lap is full of shavings and it is lovely. Bah! Someday I'll get it!

Happy 65th birthday, Daddy! 





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