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
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
That short month I mentioned last week got even shorter over the past week when we decided we needed to re-arrange the workshop. Not just moving a couple of bits, but changing the whole thing around! It took three days out of the week, and will take a couple more to complete the process properly.
The whole exercise has been worthwhile though, with a couple of major benefits already noticed. The first, and the most obvious Continue reading Week 6
January was a month that, at times seemed to drag, and at other moments simply shot past. In
retrospect it has gone pretty quick! It has seen the completion of seven instruments (One of those five tenors got a bit behind due to some extras needed on it) They include 4 tenors, Ben’s 8 string, Andy’s Soprano and that project instrument that those of you following this will have seen glimpses of.
I’ve called it a Continue reading Week 5 already!
Using a workshop that is no more than a converted cattle stall, combined with sub-zero temperatures, and now, a carpet of snow, has had it’s moments this week. Most glues state ‘Protect from frost’ on the label and should not be used below 10 degrees C, and keeping the workshop at those heady temperatures has bee difficult. Thank heavens for Hide Glue!
The instruments seen here all had their necks caved during the course of Continue reading Sunday Sermon, Wk 3
I’ve not been very good about keeping this site up to date of late, so for 2013 I have decided to post religiously, every week. And to keep the religious theme, I’m going to call it the ‘Sunday Sermon‘! The religion, of course, is the Ukulele!!
The tail end of 2012 got a little busy, not least because, for a while the bugs got into the staff (me) and I didn’t feel up to doing a lot at all. Fortunately, most of the jobs that had to be done got there, and those that didn’t weren’t a disaster. On the bench for the start of 2013 are Ben’s 8 string Tenor (is that a Taropatch?) and Andy’s Soprano while a third instrument, an experimental one, is also Continue reading Sunday Sermon
The weekend was spent at the excellent Smugglers Festival, held in a field somewhere between Deal and Dover (It took me one and a half hours to find it, and I knew where it was being held!!) The feedback we got was little short of amazing, with a constant stream of compliments about our ‘beautiful’ instruments. The most interest, throughout the weekend, was Continue reading Smugglers Festival
The website has been quiet of late, mainly because the workshop has been busy! Andy’s and Ian’s Concert models have been delivered, along with the completion a couple of project instruments, a Bass Cuatrolele or Q-Bass (whichever you want to call it!) and an 8 string tenor which can be seen on the left in this image. Despite both being 1st build pattern models as far as we are concerned, the results have been particularly pleasing, both in Continue reading Three Tenors
Ken Middleton, ukulele player extraordinaire, and a well known figure in the world of Ukuleles, has produced his own range of Ukulele strings. He swears by them, and I have always respected the gentleman. But is he, in this case, a little biased?
All the Ukes we produce are fitted with Aquila ‘Nylgut’ strings as standard. They are popular, sound good and are made in Europe rather than the Far East. Ken’s strings, however, proclaim to be ‘Made in Heaven’, although I understand that that is somewhere in England!
So, the only fair thing to do was to give them a try. Using a Tenor cutaway Uke finished recently, which has quite Continue reading Living Water Strings
Again, it’s a while since I posted any progress reports, so to whet your appetite for next weekends Craft Fair, I thought I’d show a couple of instruments that are underway.
The Cuatro, which is No 3, along with the tenor Uke that might just remind you it is Olympic year, should both be strung up and finished by the weekend, while the Concert body and banjo bits are work in progress, both for customers.
The banjo is, in fact a prototype and will be shortly followed by an open-back banjo Uke.
The Craft Fair, which will be held over the weekend of 16th and 17th June attracts a good number of stands and, for the weekend only, it will cost you £1 to enter the village, through which you get to all the stalls. The money though, goes to a good cause, that of the Kent Air Ambulance, which runs purely on donations, so come along and support the event.
Don’t forget though, that the Village itself is open all year round and is free to visit, it’s just this weekend that a charge is levied.