Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Animation - I'll explain

This is actually quite a long story, but I'll try to brevitize it (holy crap, did I just make up a new word?)  It all started when we lived in Elkhart, IN and I worked for Miles Labs/Bayer/Haarman & Reimer (that's another story).  Anyway, in the mid '80s, I changed from working in R&D as a Research Scientist, to a Manager of Regulatory Affairs and some other junk.. I had the worlds longest title but not the paycheck to match.  But... as part of my job, I was involved in determining and documenting and submitting to FDA, information on the safety of our food enzyme products.  This is when I learned about and eventually met Dr Michael Pariza.  He had a title longer than mine and the reputation as a world's formost expert on food safety.  Later, when I took a job in California with Genencor International, in the San Francisco area, I again worked with Dr. Pariza and we became friends.  I prepared and he and others reviewed and approved our safety assessments, which were submitted to FDA for approal for use in food.

Years passed.  Dr. Pariza and I testified in a trial against Miles Labs, because someone died, allegedly as the result of exposure to Miles was thrown  out of court because the person was fully informed of the risks and ignored them.

Years passed and I prepared for retirement from Genencor.  Mike learned of this and called me to wish me well.  During the conversation, he asked what I planned to do to keep busy.  I told him that I played and was learning to build guitars.  He was surprised and said that he didn't know I had an interest in music and that he was a composer.  Soooo, a couple of weeks later, came in the mail a composition that he had done for the guitar FOR ME!!!!  Only small problem...I am not/was not a good enough guitar player to play it and do it any justice.  Enter a computer website called the Classical Guitar Forum where I had met online two very talented guitarists.Jouni Stenroos, a resident of Espoo, Finland and Denian Arcoleo, a Brit.  Somehow I talked them into arranging and recording the piece (described by Dr. Pariza as "post romantic" vs avante garde) quite contemporary.  So, you guessed it, Jouni and Denian recorded it as a VIRTUAL DUET with one in Finland and the other in the UK..  If I can figure it out, I'll attach a recording here so it's saved for posterity.  Thus the  title of this post, it was entitled "Animation". If I can't attach it here, I'll link it on Facebook.

Animation 2:22 Jouni Stenroos & Denian Arcoleo   

OK, it didn't work.  I'll try to link it to Facebook.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Just a quick update on a very busy day or two:  The top-bone's connected to the rib-bones and the head-bone's connected to the neck-bone....OK enough!  You can see what's been accomplished inthe attached photos.  Tomorrow - finish the tuning slots and holes, complete the "finiting" of the head and neck, glue in the neck and glue on the fretboard and complete and install the bridge.  Don't know if I can do all of that tomorrow, but I'm gonna give it a shot.  The lining for the back and fitting of the back braces and installing the ebony bindings come soon, too.  Some top tuning and installation of the back next and then the finish.  This won't be an easy proposition because of all the contrasting wood types and colors.  It'll be a challenge to keep everything from being smudged by the darker colors.  But we'll git 'er done.  And it's gonna be a beauty.  Check these out at this stage:

The overall look at this stage
this top is awesome

The Head with tuner fitted on one side
note the white accent if you look closely

The inside, with the neck in place
once glued in the final tentalones will be added

Monday, September 10, 2012

Can't top this

Ya can tap it, but ya can't top it cause I already did.  Last night and today I installed 100s, maybe 1000s, (just kidding) of tentalones...the little "teeth" that glue the top and sides together.  These provide for a solid connection between the top and sides that allows the guitar to be a "unit".  Hide glue is the's all natural and makes good use of Dobbin when she goes to that horsey paradise in the sky, leaving behind a large, useful carcass.  Hide glue actually (I'm told) forms a molecular bond between the pieces of wood that is truly stronger than the wood.  I buy it in flakes and make up my own hot glue.  As you can see in the photo, I've placed these little chunks of wood all the way around the perimeter, except where the neck will shortly go.  A quick check of the tap tone sounded really good.  I'll test it imperically, when the neck, fretboard and bridge go on and then tweak it if necessary before the back goes on.

Awesome top with awesome tap (tone)

Top and sides joined..neck awaiting

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Progress apace to win the race

Break in the weather, humidity down, shop busy, lotsa progress.  Pictures pretty much explain accomplishments:

Braces glued on

Go deck in use

Trim ribs to width

Soundhole reinforcement

Headpiece on

Can you figure out what this is?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Assembling...two ways to do it

Assembly can be accomplished in many ways.  Here are two:  1. family gathering for a long overdue reunion of cousins from US and Canada; 2. putting together (glueing up) C's guitar.  Photos are self explanatory:

Sister Carol Mercer Sukolics (St. Louis)

Brother Chet

The cousins

The siblings

C's guitar:  The assembly phase has started.  The braces on the upper bout were glued on today.  Tomorrow the lower bout, headpiece, and perhaps, after trimming to size, the sides and top will be joined with the neck. 

Glueing on the soundhole reinforcement

Glueing on the upper bout cross braces

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Parts is Parts

So, with the inlay of the back strip, bending of the sides and completion of the neck carving, everything is in place for the start of assembly.  There's still scraping and sanding in preparation for this, but we're getting close.  The A/C is wringing the water out of the air, but with the tailend of Isaac sweeping by, the humidity is still high for assembly.  Preparative steps will be completed though and assembly will start ASAP.  There are a couple more features that this guitar will have that will enhance playability.  The curve of the neck from one side to the other will include the fretboard, making the neck very comfortable.  With the bindings on the fretboard the fret tangs do not show and the ends are nicely rounded.  This will also enhance comfort and playability.
The back

Installing the back strip

Back and sides
Close up of back strip

Not Exactly Butter

Bent the sides yesterday and it took most of the day to do so.  Not exactly butter in my hands.  But results are what matters.  The Rosewood yielded on the bending iron into the desired shape, and as far as I can tell, very little springback.  Cutting them to exact width and shape will be followed by a lot of scraping and sanding to remove the bit of scorched resin that was cooked out of the wood during the bending process on the hot iron.  In case you hadn't seen it before, here's a pic of the iron, which is heated by an electric charcoal grill starter controlled by a heavy duty dimmer switch.  It's used at about the temperature of your pancake enough to sizzle when spritzed with water.  You really get a feel for the wood when you bend this way.  I have a Fox side bender, but with wood this valuable, I'd rather do it by hand and have full control of the process.  G'day.

Almost there

better look at the iron

Fitted into the form

another view