Sunday, March 16, 2008

Carving the inside of the Archtop

I thought that I would show you the next step of carving the archtop. With the outside profile more or less there, the inside is carved out.

The first step is to drill a series of holes to give me a rough guide to depth whilst carving. I’ve set up this post on the pillar drill, the outside profile of the top sits on it. The drill is set so that it stops 8mm away from the post.

I can now drill holes all over the inside of the top and they will stop 8mm from the outer surface, this gives me my rough guide.

The next step is to sharpen up the gouge and plane and get carving!

This is going on whilst the baritone is being sprayed and it’s looking really good! I’m also preparing the wood for the mandocello, doing some design work for the cittern and sourcing some exotic materials for the left-handed cutaway steel-string. Any one got any Snakewood!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Magazine Article

This month I’m featured in the Richmond Magazine: it’s a glossy lifestyle magazine for the area that I live in. Ironic really as I don’t have a glossy lifestyle! Joking aside, I’m really pleased with the article. The journalist, Tanya Reed, did a really good job; she managed to take my technical ramblings and write an article of general interest. I’m also pleased with the amount of room that I got. So a BIG thank you to all at Richmond Magazine!!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Interesting Commissions

Things have been quite busy lately so I haven’t had many opportunities to update the blog.
The twin point mandolin has now been sold and has found a home in the Western Isles.
It’s always a worry sending an instrument so I built a crate for this one and I was glad to hear of its safe arrival.
Its new owner Ruaridh seems to be very pleased with it and has said some nice things. I guess he must like it, as we are currently discussing me making him a cittern!
All my recent commissions seem to be for less ordinary instruments: a baritone, a hybrid archtop, a mandocello, left-handed cutaway steel-string and a possible cittern!
It’s always exciting getting a commission and going through the design process with a new client. These less usual instruments give you a great opportunity to develop your knowledge as a luthier.

The photo below shows the baritone in the middle of being fretted, the neck has now been shaped and it just needs a major clean-up before spraying.

Making an Archtop guitar (my way!) Part 2

I’ve reshaped the profile of the archtop. I used a Wagner Safe-T-Planer to create a consistent 6mm rebate around the edge and reshaped the profile to blend it in. You can see below the Planer look quite vicious.

It’s set 6mm above the bed of the pillar drill and piece of 6mm plywood is clamped in place to act as a guide. You then feed the top into the spinning cutter, although it’s a bit nerve wracking at first it does work remarkably well.

You can see the finished rebate below.

Walnut for Mandolins

As the mandolin was going out, I got this batch of walnut for mandolins; 3 sets of English and 2 of Claro. It’s beautiful stuff and will make some stunning instruments. But not yet! It will spend the next year at least in storage and then a few months in the workshop before I start work on it. You have to make sure that your wood is dry and stable before making with it.