Monday, 7 March 2011

V joint

Here are the first pictures of Julio's guitar which is a Hauser type instrument in spruce and rosewood. With the top and back joined up, I thought I would complete the neck and for this I have chosen some rather striking figured mahogany. It was cut from some extra thick stock which I needed for the v-joint that had been requested.
As a sixteen year old, I was fascinated by the book 'Guitars-From the Renaissance to Rock' by Tom and Mary Evans. It included a photo essay on a youthful Jose Romanillos in his workshop. There were detailed pictures of Jose making a v-joint but it was some time before I attempted this technique for myself.
Once I was at the London Collage of Furniture I had no excuse for not making one of these head joints. My first v-joint took forever and probably wasn't the best in the world, but I was proud of it. At the time I was making it we had a visit to the workshop by the esteemed Spanish guitar maker Paulino Bernabe, who was brought along by that great figure of the English guitar scene, Ivor Mairants. Bernabe was communicating through a translator (Jeff Giddings, the workshop technician. Jeff was a keen fiddle player, instrument maker, Morris dancer and many other things.) Bernabe stopped at my bench and I could here him and Jeff deep in conversation about my work. Not speaking Spanish myself, I imagined the great Luthier to be commenting on my great skill, particularly for one so young. Perhaps he would even offer me a job in his workshop...
After the visitors had gone, I rushed up to Jeff and eagerly asked what Paulino Bernabe had been saying about my v-joint. Jeff laughed as he told me; 'he wondered why you were bothering!'
Bernabe had a point as the commoner scarf joint is so much quicker to accomplish and that's the head joint that I do as standard. Every so often it is nice to do the v-joint as it shows your technical skill as a chisel master, but in a restrained and subtle way. I like that - a quiet and gentle flourish. Today I am expecting to take delivery of a set of tuners from Nicolo in Italy and these are to be fitted to this head. This will be a striking guitar in many ways.

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