Whenever I can I like to use reclaimed or salvaged wood. Currently I am joining up a soundboard purchased years ago from Alaska Specialty Woods.
This set was reclaimed from a bridge that spanned Bear Creek River in Alaska in the 70’s. Its stringers were made from two 60” logs.
After 10 years of service the bridge was dropped to the forest floor and a new metal bridge installed. The logs were reclaimed around 2000. It was cut into sound boards that are stiff, with a beautiful loose grain and a naturally aged color that can’t be sanded out. I have used this before in a guitar called “Bridges”. This set exhibits a bit of bear claw and a warm amber rose color. Beautiful!
Recently completed; I recently received one of my guitars from my finisher. This instrument came out beautifully. This large bodied guitar, 17 inched across the lower bout, features ;
AAAA Lutz spruce top with Black and white geometric rosette, Back and side are of AAAA Quilted maple. The neck is a 5 piece laminate of 40 year old mahogany with a double maple center strips, an ebony fingerboard with hand cut white gold MOP maple leafs motif, the head plate of ebony with a gold white MOP, JR logo, fingerboard is bound with ebony and a strip of maple, bridge of ebony, the body bound with ebony and b/w purfling and trim. Assembly of major body components are constructed with hide glue.
I recently completed the build of a Walnut parlor guitar. This is currently at the finishing shop getting a nitrocellulose finish.
This steel string acoustic features 50 year old american walnut back and sides, red spruce top, 12 fret to the body 24.9 inch scale length ebony fingerboard on a mahogany neck with slotted headstock, classical tuners with butter bean knobs. Traditional Russian handmade classical rosette, rosewood head plate with abalone JR logo, rosewood bridge, bone nut and saddle. This instrument will be ready for sale by June 2014
Looking back at 2013, it has been a very productive year in the guitar workshop and other areas of my luthier business.
Most recently I completed the closing of a new guitar body. This one is constructed of East Indian Rosewood. The soundboard is from a 40 year old Alaskan Sitka Float Log felled in the 70’s that I purchased from Alaska Specialty Woods in 2010. It has been on my shelf seasoning. The Braces are Sitka from the same supplier. This instrument will be less ornate than my previous builds without to much pearl or embellishments keeping my focus on the sound of this instrument.
The bridge-plate is Rosewood that matches the sides. The center strip is also cut from the remains of the back. The x brace has an ebony inlay into the joint for added stiffness at the center.
This newer body style is smaller and a little more rounded than my large body instruments. It sits comfortably in the lap and has enough body depth to provide a good bass response.
In progress right now is another parlor guitar. This instrument is about 2/3 through the process.
This instrument is constructed of 50 year old American Walnut back and sides. I received an 8 foot by 12″ x 5/4 board as a gift from a friend. There were long checking about a foot into each end of the board. After resawing the boards I was able to salvage 4 sets of backs and sides.
The wood was not quarter sawn but being such an old age is very stable and went together beautifully. The top of this guitar is Red Spruce that I acquired from Carl Barney. The rosette is a classical style, handmade rosette, of wood fiber and very beautiful from LMI. Currently the body is complete, the neck is done a temporarily installed. It needs the nut, bridge, saddle tuner and strings and an initial set up.
Another instrument almost near completion is this quilted maple large bodied guitar.
This one has a Lutz spruce top, ebony geometric rosette, ebony bindings, ebony fingerboard with maple strip inlay, hand cut mother-of-pearl maple leaf position markers, Chippendale headstock design and an ebony bridge.
These photos show it in a test assembly for preliminary setup and is now being spray finished by my good friend and luthier, Tony DiDomenico. This should be completed early 2014.
Earlier this year I finished this beautiful Quilted Maple parlor guitar.
This has a Lutz spruce top, AAAA Quilted Maple back and sides, hand carved mahogany neck with slotted headstock and Schertler tuners, hand made geometric rosette, hand toned back and sides with a golden amber stain. Ebony fingerboard, bridge and headstock, domino dot position markers, Ebony end-graft and ebony bindings .
I have other guitars and projects in the works. This year was also a good year for my repair business. There have been many repairs I have made to keep guitars playable for other musicians. Add to that the addition of the LR Baggs line of pickups and installations and having the Phil Jones line of amps available for sale and I think 2014 will continue to show growth in guitar building and repairs as well.
I want to thank you for reading my blog and I hope you enjoy these posts.
Wishing you all a Happy New year, a great year for playing, music and song.
All my best to you for peace, health and prosperity.
Maplewoodstock 2013 was this past weekend. I want to thank all of my friends and musicians who entertained us and all the folks that came out Saturday and Sunday to visit my booth. Both days were filled with great music and people. Everyone was having a great time.
My tent was slightly rained out on for an hour Saturday, but Sunday, although hot, was dry. The tent looked great and because I was under a tree in the shade many people hung around. It didn’t hurt to be under the tree on Saturday either when it rained as it kept people around helping sales too. I received many inquiries about repairs and requests to commission me to build acoustic guitars.
On the day of the event I was displaying a Joe Mendel 5 string banjo. I will have it in my shop for about two more weeks before I send it back to Joe. This one has a Padauk tone ring, maple neck and brushed brass hardware. It’s a beautiful instrument with a deep, rich tone. If you are interested in this banjo please get in touch with Joe or myself. Joe can be found at http://www.jmendelfrets.com
Keep in mind I have and install LR Baggs pick-ups and pre-amps . Drop me a line to find out more about pricing and such.
On May 8th., 2013, I will be showing photos and speaking about how I build acoustic guitars.
The presentation will contain over 200 images highlighting the building process of my acoustic guitars from start to finish, the tools I use, woods, jigs, brace layout and assembly, attaching the back, top and sides together, creating my geometric rosette, making the bridge, bindings, neck forming and shaping, and the basic assembly process that I have documented while making several of my guitars.
This event will be held at the Central Jersey Woodworkers Association Monthly meeting at the Old Brick Reformed Church, 490 Route 520, Marlboro, NJ, in the Church Parish Hall, located behind the church .
I will have some of my completed guitars on display and my friend Frank Sole will play a few tunes on one of my instruments for you listening pleasure. I will also have samples of the woods used in the building process and templates to pass around for review.
I want to thank the sponsors who are my suppliers of the woods and tools I use in the building process and have generously donated materials, tools and templates to help me demonstrate some of the steps used in making guitars. I hope you will contact them for any of your instrument parts and needs.