Thursday, January 07, 2010

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to you all! Fortunately the snow let up for long enough to allow Amanda and I to drive down to Hampshire and deliver El Corazon to Chris. It was a 6 hour round trip and we were very grateful that Chris’s wife cooked us a delicious lunch. So, did Chris like it? Let’s just say, we’re already talking about the next project: nuff said!

So, what’s on the bench? Well, Richard’s mandolin is coming along; yesterday the last piece of binding was glued on. The purflings and bindings consist of 31 separate pieces so the whole process takes a fair bit of time.

The bindings are ebony and take some very careful bending: it’s always a surprise when such a hard, dense wood as ebony bends to the tight curve of the mando’s waist.

With the mandolin bound, the next stage is to fit the neck and below you can see how I route out the slot which takes the neck’s tenon. That’s tomorrow’s main job.

Whilst I’ve been waiting for the glue to dry on the mando’s bindings, I’ve started work on Martin’s baritone uke. You might remember the Thuya Burl that I’m using for the head overlay- I’ve made up a matching rosette and have started to brace the front. Below you can see the circle cutting jig that I made for my router. My router seems to appear a fair bit in this blog- but it is the one power tool that is invaluable to any luthier.

Unlike many uke builders, rightly or wrongly, I approach the uke’s construction in the same way as a classical guitar and although it’s a much smaller instrument it still takes a fair amount of time to construct; probably too long for what you can charge for a uke!!


Ray Burley

You may remember that a while ago I mention the acclaimed classical guitarist Ray Burley? I was absolutely delighted when Ray put a favourable comment about my work on his website.

Anyway, he has now got some excellent videos on YouTube with John Etheridge and Gordon Giltrap: take a look.....


I hope you saw Sting’s “If On A Winter’s Night” on tele over Christmas. What a change to see some real musicians on the box, instead of all this derivative X-Factor rubbish!! What a great collection of instruments he had......I’d like to get a closer look!

Matt Bellamy

You may remember that earlier in the year I made a classical guitar for Matt Bellamy? I see he’s featured in this month’s Total Guitar magazine as “Guitarist of the Decade”: quite an accolade eh?

Grumpy old man?

I get quite a few emails every month from would-be luthiers asking for advice and generally, I’m glad to give it. When I was starting out there was no internet and information and guidance was difficult to come by; so I do have a deal of sympathy. However, I’m getting a bit grumpy that I spend time answering these enquiries and get no thanks or acknowledgement. As my Nan used to say, “Manners cost nothing!”


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