Mahogany

Quex Instruments are made from locally sourced timbers, a good amount of which are grown in the grounds of Quex Park itself. The Quex MahoganyMahogany tree is not one that grows in the UK, but ‘sourced’ is a word, and concept, that has a wide meaning. So when some baulks of solid mahogany were stripped out from one of the galleries that is being re-furbished in the Powell-Cotton Museum and became available, it would have been Continue reading

A Short Week

The week ahead is a little shorter than usual, having been closed on Saturday thanks to the Power Network people doing maintenance on the electricity network and unplugging the whole yard in the process. That will be followed on Monday and Wednesday by late starts as I make my way over to the Kent & Canterbury Hospital for my next dose of Anti-body treatment from last years chemo. We will be open both afternoons though.

Cherry boards in the drying chamber.
Cherry boards in the drying chamber along with some other species

Last week’s Cherry Log however, has been sliced up into Continue reading

Stormy Times

I do believe I have mentioned my reactions to stormy winds before in these pages,but allow me to re-iterate.  High winds have a tendency to knock down trees that are perhaps past their sell-by date as decorative items. And in this day and age, landowners very often have them cleared away either for aesthetic reasons or for those of Health and Safety.

Now, when I see a fallen tree, my first thought is about the type of tree. Some timbers are not very good for making musical instruments but others are very suitable. Numerous species have arrived in the yard outside the unit over the last few weeks, the by-product of our next door neighbours  being (rather busy at the moment) Tree Surgeons. So, you can imagine my delight the other day when their wagon came into the yard and tipped the remains of a large Wild Cherry (Prunus Avium). Included was the entire trunk in two logs around four feet long and a good 16 inches in diameter. :) Negotiations with Bruk, their boss, didn’t take long and I acquired  one of the two logs.

So it occurred to me that following this particular log all the way through the processes used to turn it into a musical instrument might just be a nice subject for this blog.

1st cut through the log
1st cut through the log

Firstly it is cut into manageable pieces, but lengthwise, down the grain. This is basically four quarters Continue reading

A Funny Year

2013 has been a bit of a funny year for me. And I don’t mean funny haha, more of a year of vicious twists that, 12 months ago, were totally unimaginable.

New Bass-Baritone (Fretted)
New Bass-Baritone (Fretted)

At the start of the year all sorts of plans were in place, virtually none of which have come to fruition.  Even early in the year things were starting to go wrong and by the end of February the main reason became very apparent. Most of the rest of the year has been spent coping with the fallout from a diagnosis of Cancer. Not very many instruments have been built, and of those that have, some have subsequently been scrapped!

However, now that I’m feeling so much better than the Continue reading

Many Thanks

I have to say an enormous Thank You to everybody that has called, messaged and dropped into the new workshop with good wishes now that I have the ‘all clear’ from my recent course of Chemotherapy. The

The Bass-Baritone prototype
The Bass-Baritone prototype

response has been most heartwarming and both myself and Shirley, my wife, really appreciated all the good will.

The response to our new instrument, the Bass-Baritone Ukulele, has also been Continue reading

New Workshop

Good news! Last week I got the all clear from the hospital after a dire summer of chemotherapy. :) It will take a little while to get back into the full swing, but I am feeling so much better than I did a few short weeks ago.

So, in celebration, we have moved into a new workshop. The units in the Craft Village at Quex Park are _IAN1998great, but somewhat restrictive in both size and facilities. The new workshop, which is still on the Quex Estate,  albeit just outside the Park proper, is around 4 times the size of the old unit and has Continue reading

Summer Update

When I last posted, some while ago now, I was joking about the number of different hospital appointments I was having to attend. The outcome of those appointments is the main reason for a lack of communication in the meanwhile. Where I had been putting back-ache down to bending over the bench too much, it turned out that a rather large tumour had grown between my kidneys and was getting larger. Combined with a growth over my left eye that was steadily closing the said optic, it hardly surprising that I was beginning to get a few things wrong!

As I write, I’m two-thirds of the way through the prescribed course of Chemotherapy  and looking _IAN2014forward to things for the first time in a while. I’m probably looking at the end of August or beginning of September before I Continue reading

Week Ten

Local Timber is more appropriate
Local Timber is more appropriate

Trips to the hospital, for three separate tests, at three different hospital on three consecutive days have occupied a fair amount of this week, along with a fair amount of mileage! They have covered QEQM at Margate, William Harvey at Ashford and the K&C at Canterbury, so the way things are going I’ll probably end up seeing a consultant in Maidstone for the results! ;)

For environmentalist, there has been good news coming out Continue reading

Week Nine,Legislation

chris dulcitarA week missed and a day late! Not very good, is it? I’d like to give a bunch of excuses about being busy and that sort of thing, but unfortunately they wouldn’t be true. I just haven’t been able to concentrate, but that has now been righted by a trip to the Oncologist to sort out the lump on my temple that has been growing for the last few weeks. So this week coming, apart from a blood test and a couple of scans, I should be able to get back on with things. :)

Some important legislation comes into force this week, namely The EU Timber Regulations aimed at reducing the trade in illegally logged timber, estimated by Interpol Continue reading

Quex Instruments maker, purveyor of local timber artifacts