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 forward 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 Summer Update→
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.
From time to time we get asked about exotic timbers. The most popular timber for making Ukuleles is a wood called Koa. It is one of the Acacia family and is native to the Hawaiian Islands (among other places) where the Uke was invented. The reason it was used was quite simple. It was local and available.
Of course, today, Hawaiian Koa is still available in small quantities, but at a high price. Think in terms of a set of boards for a soprano starting around the £60 mark and going up from there!
However, ‘local and available’ were the criteria for using this timber in the first place, and here in the Garden of England, Continue reading Exotic woods→
Although I’m not advocating that anyone should make unnecessary journeys, the Craft Village is still accessible with care. Today was spent having a mass tidy, along with a bit of snow shoveling. Isn’t it weird that cleaning up seems to increase the amount of mayhem, at least to start with. I’m sure with another day, all will sort itself out and room to swing a cat will once more emerge!
It is fortunate that the weather was fair for the Quexmas Event, staged in the Powell-Cotton Museum on Sunday 27th November. That is because the queues of people stretched well into the car park for a good couple of hours after the event opened. Of course, the weather had an effect on how many people ventured out, but we’ll ignore that for the moment.
Bigger kit, whole trees to convert, and planning on building guitars as well as Ukuleles, the time has come to say goodbye to our little unit in the Craft Village! But fear not, we haven’t gone far. In fact the move was completed in a little over twenty-four hours with no more transport requirements than a Continue reading Moving On….→
With the timber already mentioned in earlier posts coming in 4″ thick boards, the 3″ depth of cut on the tabletop bandsaw we were using was of little help. An upgrade was the only option but to get a decent depth of cut on one of these machines can be an expensive exercise. Searching the available options in research brought up one example that seemed almost too good to be true and, bearing in mind you normally get what you pay for, we were wary! But to get a comparable depth of cut (6″) would otherwise cost around twice to two and a half times the asking price.
So we took the plunge and ordered the Fox F28-186 bandsaw from Poolwood in Kent. (We like to keep things as local as possible). 24 hours later it was delivered and it was with a little trepidation that it was unpacked and assembled. The pleasant surprises started with the realisation that the table was a cast iron one, as in this price bracket we expected an alloy one. The supplied leg stand was of decent gauge metal rather than the flimsy efforts seen on some kit. The whole thing went together without hassle, with all holes lining up well and a complete compliment of fixings. The next nice surprise was Continue reading Bigger kit….→
Quex Instruments maker, purveyor of local timber artifacts