Friday, July 25, 2014

Zouk in progress part 3

As promised earlier in the week, here is part 3 of Adrian’s Irish Bouzouki build.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

All work and no play......

This week has seen the neck of Adrian’s zouk carved: oh my, it’s long!
I have seven different spokeshaves and for some bizarre reason, when I’m shaping a neck, one of them always seems to work better than the others on that particular neck. This is the one I used on the zouk, you can see that it had worn so much that I added a rosewood insert!
I wear a leather apron when I shape a neck; not essential luthier kit, but I find that if I don’t,  because I use myself as a clamp, I end up with a bruised belly!
We’ll be making "Zouk the Movie part 3" tomorrow so more soon…..

On a very different note we had a great day out at the Parson Drove Custom Car and Bike Show. We had been meaning to go for the last few years but as Jacob and Luke were up here with us it was the perfect excuse! Here are a few select photos…..

When you look at these machines, the care, love, passion and attention to detail is incredible and although my medium is wood and theirs is metal you can’t help feeling that you are amongst kindred spirits.
 In spite of trying to introduce Jacob to American muscle cars, it’s clear that he prefers a British classic.
Whilst there I splashed out and bought myself this……
Can you guess where I’m going with it?


Saturday, July 05, 2014

Zouk in progress: Part 2

Here’s the next instalment of Adrian’s 'zouk build. We’ve just bought ourselves a new video camera and we’re really pleased with the results!

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Wednesday, July 02, 2014


Had a good session of bending yesterday. The first thing that I did was to give the bending iron a thorough clean; I needed to bend the maple bindings for Adrian’s zouk and any old build-up of burnt-on resin could stain the maple.
After bending the maple bindings I did two sets of rosewood; one for Phil’s twin-point and the other for Ewart’s Standard Plus. If you look at the bending iron now, you can see the rosewood resin building up again!

 After the sides have dried out the various blocks, that hold the sides together, have to be shaped and glued. Here’s the tail- block on Ewart’s…………
..........and the points on Phil’s
 In this situation heavy duty rubber bands make excellent clamps.
And of the maple bindings are going on to the ‘zouk in the time honoured fashion.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Zouk in progress video

In this little video, you can see the progress being made with Adrian’s zouk.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Slight Detour

 What a great Father’s Day present; craft beer for a craftsman, along with an artisan card. Clearly Amanda and I bought our son up to appreciate the finer things in life! It’s also so reassuring to know that there are people out there, like ourselves, putting their heart and soul into their products.
Those of you, who have known me for a while, will know of my love for two-wheeled things. I was thrilled to find this bike……
it’s a Pavemaster made by the Trusty Manufacturing Co. built probably in the early 1960’s. This is going to be a nice little restoration project for me and eventually Jacob’s first proper bike! It will be stripped down to the last nut and bolt and re-built, so it will be in full working order but still with the patina of age. Watch this space.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Let’s start on the ‘Zouk!

With the polish on David’s mandolin being left to harden, work has started in earnest on Adrian’s bouzouki. This will be Adrian’s 3rd instrument; someone coming back for another instrument is, to me, the finest compliment that I could have. In fact looking at my current waiting list, out of the next ten instruments, five are for returning clients; for which Amanda and I am extremely grateful.
The neck blank is pretty much complete. As the neck will be long and slender (660mm scale length with 17 frets clear of the body!) I decided to make it from maple- it’s laminated with black and mahogany lines; this will complement Adrian’s other two instruments. Carbon fibre also adds stiffness and additionally there is a dual action truss-rod.

The back and sides are Indian rosewood. Back in the late 1970’s when I was at the London College of Furniture, four of us, Bill, Maz, Walter and myself, decided to buy some rosewood- not so easy in those days. Off we went to an importer’s yard somewhere near the docks- this was when London Docklands was synonymous with ships and the import and export of actual physical goods and not banking and electronic trading ! We bought a number of huge boards and struggled back to college on the tube. After a gift of a bottle of whiskey to one of the technicians we managed to get our wood re-sawn into usable sized pieces! Well then, this rosewood back and sides is my last remaining set!

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