Sunday, February 5, 2012

Still Experimenting

OK, I'll admit it.  I haven't a clue what I'm doing, but so far, I've been able to get onto the blog site, post something save and publish it and get to it again.  Yea for me.

Now, re: the shop:  I have a space rented in a small industrial park near here ( Jill's house).  We managed to get a semblance of a shop set up, and once properly organized (OK, I'm working on it), I think it will work out quite nicely as a guitar making shop.  This is my main workbench, obviously in need of organization.

I have a cabinet where I'm storing my wood in order to keep it in the right conditions humidity wise.  I have the basic woodworking tools and some specialty tools, such as chisels, planes, jigs, workboards, molds and fixtures for assembling guitars of various sizes and shapes.  My wood stash includes some joined tops and backs as well as some back, side and top sets yet to be joined.  I now have commissions to build two guitars, which I'll refer to as C's guitar and L's guitar.

C's guitar is planned to be a very special instrument for which I have acquired or am acquiring the following:

Back and sides - the wood for this is a set of very special brazilian rosewood obtained from a friend who has had it in storage for a very long time.  Brazilian rosewood is, of course the most desirable wood for guitar backs and sides (ribs). 

Top - I have a pretty large selection of tops, both joined and unjoined.  Some of this has been tested and shown to be potentially superior wood for tops and will be further tested through the process of making the guitar.  Most likely this will be spruce, either Engelmann or European spruce.

Tuning machines - These are Alessi, hand made machines from Italy.  I chose these for their functional excellence as well as their simple beauty and that they have a plain, unengraved backing plate which may be the palette for some custom engraving.

Rosette -   The rosette for this guitar is one of my design, but will be produced by a Russian craftsman who specializes in producing custom rosettes.  These should be delivered sometime in March.  I could add a sneak peek at this feature of the guitar....Naaahhhhh!  Later

Other - the rest of the parts, the design or "plantilla" and the design of trim, head piece, inlays, or other special features will be determined during the construction process.  I have ideas, but they are not yet firmed up.  The bridge will be Brazilian rosewood with an overlay of the Rosette design

Sound - I am working on some methods for testing the tops of guitars using techniques used by a friend who tells me that he has produced guitars judged by a group of very experienced luthiers to be equivalent to guitars that it took them up to 100 guitars to achieve.  I've a lot to learn about the testing methodology, but nonetheless, I think I can be assured that I'll have it in place in time to test and produce an outstanding top for this and all future instruments.

I intend that this instrument will be a thing of uncommon beauty and excellence.  I'll begin to post some photos of progress as it occurs.

L's guitar is already under construction and will be customized for the recipient to meet some special requirements for ergonomics.  Essentially, it is a Marcello Barbero, 1951 flamenco guitar, which will be modified to bring out the more "classical" resonances and sustain. 

Back and Sides - will be of Monerrey cypress,  which is the wood of choice, in my opinion for flamenco guitars.  It is very light, aromatic and pleasant feeling and looking.  The set on the right is the cypress back and ribs and spruce top.

Top -  The top is spruce, again either Engelmann or European, but it will also be tested and adjusted to bring out the desirable characteristics of sound. 

Rosette - the rosette is a design very close to that used in the original 1951 Barbero and will include an overlay for the bridge tie block.  The bridge will be brazilian rosewood.

Neck - The neck will be spanish cedar, again the wood of choice for flamencos because of its light weight, but desirable resonance characteristics  The fretboard will be ebony.

Other trim, inlay and design characteristics are yet to be determined. 

That's it for now.  More to come in the near future

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