Quex Instruments are made from locally sourced timbers, a good amount of which are grown in the grounds of Quex Park itself. The Mahogany 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 Mahogany
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.
Last week’s Cherry Log however, has been sliced up into Continue reading A Short Week
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.
Firstly it is cut into manageable pieces, but lengthwise, down the grain. This is basically four quarters Continue reading Stormy Times
My name is Wally, and I’m Walnut. That’s the wood I’m talking about, not the seed I was grown from. I was born back in 1785, or maybe 1783. It depends on when you count a tree being born, when the seed is planted in a growing pot, or when the young sapling is planted out in it’s permanent location. I was put in quite a nice place, in front of a big house along with a few of my brothers and some other relatives. I remember that when we were young we were quite well looked after by a man in baggy trousers and a big flat cap. It took a few years, but it wasn’t long Continue reading My Name is Wally..
A question I’ve been asked a number of times recently is whether I buy in or make the ‘rope’ binding that adorns some of the instruments that we build. Well, buying in would almost certainly violate the concept of building instruments with locally sourced timber. Therefore the answer is that we make our own. It appears, however, that the majority of Luthiers Continue reading Shop made.
In the Craft Village, Crafters plan a monthly Pure Craft Fair, which will probably be held on the first Saturday of each month, commencing in September. Pure Craft means that there will be no stalls with bought-in tat from afar. The majority of Craft Fairs seem to be inundated with these type of stands, which have nothing at all to do with the word or concept of Craft!
On the bench in our Craft Workshop this week has been Andy’s Concert Uke, with Walnut body, Maple neck and cedar soundboard and he is saving a few shillings by collecting it unfinished, ready to apply the shiny stuff himself. Alongside is another concert neck, this time for Ian’s Concert, which is similar to Andy’s but with a flat headstock to take geared peg tuners. Ian has come up with his own design for a soundhole, which should be interesting to execute.
There is also the body for an experimental Q-Bass Ukulele, a project I’ve been thinking about for a while now. I might also try an eight string Tenor, perhaps in all European Maple, just for the fun of it. In the meantime, going to chase up some Yew that I’ve been having cut up for me.
It occurred to me that I’ve not posted any progress reports of late, what with all the tree felling going on but work in the shop has been progressing well. This week, no less than three instruments will get finished, the first of two Venezuelan Cuatro’s, a Cool Hand Tenor and a Cutaway Tenor, all featuring rope binding.
The Cutaway Tenor is an all Walnut body with a Continue reading In the works…