Hibernation

One of the bonuses when I bought my house was that it had an extra, one-car garage, that allowed me to set up a workshop and start my woodworking life in earnest. One of the drawbacks when I bought my house was that it had an extra, one-car garage, that wasn’t designed to be a workshop. That means, limited electrical, no finished walls and, more to the point nowadays, NO HEAT! I have upgraded the electrical to take care of my power needs, but the heat issue remains. And in the dead of winter, even with a couple of space heaters, no insulation makes for a very unpleasant time out there. Its hard to do fine work when every tool’s metal surface feels like a block of ice. Not to mention the variable stability of the wood out there. (Cut a lap joint too tight and bring it into the house, it will be too loose within a week!) I envy those of you that have a nice, WARM, shop to work in, whenever they want; even if it is in a too small basement, say, in the wilds of Michigan.

So, locked in a hard freeze, with snow predicted almost daily, now is the time to plan and dream. I know I have one or two coffee tables to work on this year. I want to turn a set of plates out of some 8/4 cherry. I had planned to work on a modern adaptation of a Morris chair and accompanying ottoman, but the more I looked at various Arts & Crafts books, the more I am liking the lines of the Frank Lloyd Wright inspired Prairie chair. (Plus, I think the cats will appreciate the large area of perching surfaces better.) The upholstery is a little trickier, with the back cushion getting a wedge shape, but that can be worked out.

I am going to be continuing the progress of Acorn House Guitars; expanding the line to include an electric guitar. I have come up with a design which has met with the approval of almost everyone I have shown it to; original, but not just for the sake of being different, it has ties to traditional models. It will have a mahogany body and neck with a spalted or birdseye maple top (depending on whichever one is nicer from my stock). I will be using a through-neck design; which means that there is no join between the neck and body, the sides of the body are attached to a long, through, neck. This allows me to have deep cutaways for the hand to reach the highest notes on the fingerboard easily, without having to compromise structure. Some double cutaway models have had problems because, after routing for the upper pickup, there was not much wood left where the neck attaches to the body (yes, I’m talking ’bout YOU, Gibson!), this design avoids that issue.

An electric guitar poses different challenges versus an acoustic. An acoustic is much more hand tool intensive, while an electric is more dependent on power tools – particularly, a router. There is also more interaction of wood with metal hardware, and, of course, wiring and soldering. But, the design has been determined and components are being assembled.

My little website has been garnering some attention online. I have joined with Matt Vanderlist over at Matt’s Basement Workshop for a new project of his called the Spoken Wood podcast. Matt has enlisted a number of woodworking bloggers to produce audio version of some of their past postings. Just the thing to load into an iPod for those short trips. Also, I was honored to be included in an article about woodworking sites. (I’m #1! I’m #1!) Welcome to all new (and old) visitors.

Man, I’m really jonesing to get back into the shop. I think its time to change the patch of cherry veneer on my arm. To dream, perchance to build…

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3 Responses to “Hibernation”

  1. Pretty soon we’ll be seeing you take time away from your luthery to build furniture! Can’t wait to see the electric guitar, especially where you decide where to go with the grain and finish of the top.

  2. That sounds like my very first shop. Spring for insulation for the whole thing and seal it up tight, and you will be amazed at how easy it is to heat. My current shop is larger, but insulated, and when you get it up to 50 deg.F. it is surprisingly comfortable if you are busy.

  3. Tom Collins Says:

    I just listened to you on the Spoken Wood podcast and now I am visiting your site. I thoroughly enjoyed both! Please continue to contribute to the Spoken Wood. Thank you for sharing your woodworking.

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