davee5 Posted July 18, 2010 Report Share Posted July 18, 2010 So I finished grad school recently and used my extended initials to get a slightly better paying, more interesting job back in the real world. This has a few important implications: 1. I have regular paychecks again. 2. I have my nights and weekends back (well, I got married 8 months ago too so not all of that time...) 3. I'm resuming business trips across the Pacific where I spend weeks on end in factories and design offices before heading back to the hotel. 4. I'm dang ready to start in on some purely personal projects! I've been building up plans, the reading, and the wood stash to build an acoustic guitar for a while now. The plan is to use only woods native to my beloved home of California, preferably of trees that are of personal significance to me. Here's he general list: Top: Sinker/Salvage Redwood (LOVE the redwoods dotting the Northern CA coast where I play) B/S: Curly Claro walnut (maybe Bay Laurel / Myrtle, which I smell on every mt.bike ride I take and even cook with. I have sets of both woods.) Neck: Curly Monterey Cypress (hard to come by, but I know tree doctor from when I lived in the area and he hooked me up big time with some spectacular offcuts from wind fallen logs) Fingerboard/Bridge: Apricot (also hard to come by, but my grandparents lived in the orchards that later became Silicon Valley and kept an old Blenheim in the fornt yard. When my g.pa passed this last year the house was sold and the dying tree was to come out. I took the widest portions as a keepsake and am letting it dry now) Bracing: Port Orford Cedar/Cypress (Backpacking through the north coast mountains and sierras you'll find these lovely trees, and daaaaaang the woods smells phenomenal. The wife actually requested we keep one of the spare billets in the living room for the scent!) Binding: Figured Sycamore (Uh, this wood grows here, is pretty, and available from LMI. Nothing to see here, folks.) Shell Inlay: Abalone (Found on the beaches of the Monterey Bay when I lived there for 2-3 years. Any larger heart pieces I found were kept for this project) So. that's the long term plan and why it all matters to me. Still, despite all my prep I'm still a bit nervous and wanted a quick startup project to get the jitters out with less pressure. Combined with my desire to have a travel instrument the logical conclusion was to start the... California Ukulele Project! Same woods, same general aesthetics, less pressure and simpler construction. A win all around. Status Report 1: All the materials are in house, though some have more drying to do and a lot more millwork remaining to boot. I have a rudimentary bending iron lefotover from the binding work on the semi-hollow, enough handtools to be dangerous, a drill press, and a very small workspace in the carport behind our lovely rental shack. Go time! Woke up jetlagged after returning home from Taiwan yesterday so I dropped the wife off at work (surgical resident, she's on call for the weekend so I can work aaaalll day.) I got out the wetstones and sharped all my chisels, the plane blades, and trued up all the surfaces. Then I jointed the Back and Soundboard and planed both to thickness. Lots and lots of shavings, but it was not nearly as hard as I had expected. 3 hours of careful blade honing was worth it for sure. It seems like everyone in the business sands their boards to thickness, which would have been fast and easy by comparison, but if Cumpiano hadn't textually encouraged the use of a handplane I might not have gone for it. It's slow, it's probably not perfectly even, but the surface is beautiful and the work is blissfully meditative. The curly walnut is gorgeous and the little sinker top is almost the same color but pinker. All in all, a good start and I'm happy to make some wood dust again. I feel waaay less anxious about a building a uke than a small jumbo, so I'm looking forward to the next steps. I'll keep you guys posted and get some pictures up soon. Peace, Dave P.S. Anyone else's fingers and palms stain a strange, splotchy purple when they handle cast iron while cutting certain woods like rosewoods or walnut? Everytime I spent more than an hour with a plane, chisel, scraper, or even hand files (plus a lot of wood dust) my hands looks frostbitten! It doesn't wash off entirely, but it's not real bothersome, I just have never seen anyone else exhibit these epidermal symptoms. Just curious. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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