Monday, 5 March 2012
A week in the workshop (Monday)
Many years ago, a friend lent me a copy of Andy Manson's book charting his life as a guitar maker over the course of a year. Manson, one of England's finest steel string makers, gave a highly personal but insightful glimpse into the everyday life of a craftsman, and it was this book that provided some initial inspiration for this blog.
For some time I have been thinking of charting my guitar making activities over the course of a week, and this week seemed as good as any. Let's hope something exiting happens...
The thought of Monday morning is not one that gives me a sinking feeling; I am incredibly lucky to enjoy what I do. I normally walk into the workshop and take stock of the work I plan to do in the week ahead, check the diary and make a list of jobs to be done. This week I must finish off some small repairs. The guitar above, a 1979 Ken Roberts, came in a few weeks ago when we were in the grip of freezing weather. The extremely dry conditions had resulted in a small split appearing below the bridge which had opened up to leave a gap of about a millimetre. For the last couple of weeks I have slowly been re-hydrating the guitar (the bag in the sound hole has a damp cloth in it) and finally the crack has closed. Now, by gently flexing the soundboard (below) I have run some hot hide glue into the split and later on in the week I will glue a couple of supporting cleats on to the inside of the soundboard. The owner of the guitar has decided it is time to refinish the top anyway, so this split will be invisible.
I have 2 new guitars under way and so I am busy assembling the parts for these. Today I glued struts on one of the soundboards so the go-bar press was busy. I have some old blocks of European spruce under the bench and I split these first to ascertain the grain direction to ensure maximum stiffness. On these guitars I am also using some Adirondack spruce from the USA that is wonderfully light and strong.
The picture below shows the finished backs (birds eye maple, Madagascan rosewood) and one soundboard with the rosette inlayed. I will be building necks towards the end of the week for these instruments.
I haven't been alone for much of the day. David, from Old School Guitars, has been in finishing off some repair work he had undertaken, and later in the evening Jim and Max were in building guitars. A busy day leaving me with an untidy workshop!