Friday, August 24, 2012

Gotta Have A Cool Guitar Stand

I saw a guitar stand in Acoustic Guitar magazine a while back that I thought would be really cool for a couple reasons -- to keep the guitar off the floor, and to also serve as a perfect place to hang one for photos.  But the price of the advertised stand scared me off.  So, off I went to the wood shop to create my own version of the 'perfect' stand.  What do you think?

It's made from pieces of poplar wood with the legs stained walnut, the main shaft golden oak, and the hanger itself is walnut stained.  Pretty simple build and a helluva a lot less than the price in the magazine.


I've gotten away from creating guitars from cigar boxes the past couple months, but I haven't abandoned that side of my hobby, just got a little distracted.

After 'Bigfoot', I had the urge to do something a little different, but still in the carving realm.  So, here is 'Curley' the latest effort.  Let me know what you think.

It started out as a chunk of bass wood 1.75" x 14" x 22" (again supplied by Art Richey at Carousel Works).

I drew the outline of the body I intended to create, and transferred it to the wood block.  Once that was done, I was on my way.  All the openings and cavities were accomplished with Forstner bits, then roughed out with a small hand saw, rasps, and files.  Final work was done by hand with carving tools, small files, sandpaper, and a lot of elbow grease.

The scratch plate is a piece of really cool looking maple sheeting cut to accentuate the design, while covering the electronics cavity and abutting the through-body bridge and bridge pickup.  Pickup surrounds were made from pieces of scrap Spanish cedar.  Very thin walnut veneer was glued to the tops of the pickups to help them blend into the overall look, I think it looks better than a couple black objects in the middle of the design.  You'll note the shape of the surrounds are angular, while the overall body design is softer and more flowing -- which was by design.  I wanted the contrast in shapes to bring the overall design to life.

I selected a really straight and nice Harmony neck from my inventory, modified the headstock to eliminate the sharpness of the original, and laminated a small piece of walnut veneer on it to carry on the body designs on front and back, tying it all together.

To bring the wood to life, I chose a base stain of golden oak, then washed the non-recessed areas with diluted walnut, and highlighted that with red mahogany to create a little depth in the finish.  Then came six coats of poly, each sanded with 500 sandpaper.

I chose to use neck screws with bushings instead of a large chrome plate to attach the neck to the body so as to not distract from the flame-like carving on the back.  For the same reason, I chose to use small string bushings opposite the bridge.

After 27 hours, not continuous of course, 'Curley' came to life, and she sure does play nice.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My wife caught me last night carving on the newest six-string creation.  Since the 'Big Foot' build, an idea has been floating around my head about a full-on carving of a traditionally shaped solid body, but with unique character.  Hopefully, I'll have photos of the finished guitar posted in a week or so.  Until then, you'll just have to wait to see what a honey this thing is turning out to be.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The OP Nascar Hot Seat!

A couple years ago, my buddy Bruce talked me into joining the OP Nascar Fantasy League.  It's a collection of more than a hundred die hard Nascar fans, who pick teams and meet regularly at a Great Falls, Montana watering hole called the 'Other Place', thus the OP moniker in the name.

They have some unusual events to gather around, like a 'corn dog' race, where participants build small Pinewood Derby-like cars to race down a ramp at the bar.  The unusual part is that the car must have a 'corn dog' as it's central theme.  Yes! They use real corn dogs shaped and painted in the most gawd awful themes imaginable.  Bruce really gets excited about this event.

So, a month or so ago, Bruce called with a special request.  He wanted me to design and create a 'really cool' toilet seat to be used as a golf hole surround in a tournament they are having at the end of the Nascar league season.  "It has to be funny, but also difficult for the guys to putt through to get to the hole", he wrote.

I put on my weird thinking hat -- not difficult for me -- and came up with an idea I think he'll like.  And the best part -- I'm going to personally deliver it to him in a couple weeks.  But, in the meantime, what do you think of this?

The seat is wood, which I painted black.  To work properly, I cut an opening in the front of the seat portion, which is just a bit larger than a golf ball, so putting through the opening will be a challenge, but that's what the boss wanted.  Pinstriping and graphics are all hand done with 1-Shot sign painters enamel, and then clear coated to protect the fancy stuff.  The flames are sprayed and hand outlined and accentuated.  And, the lettering on the inside of the top is all hand done, as well.

To be functional as a real toilet seat, I left all the attachment parts and spacers in place.  But, to work adequately for the hole surround and to keep it in place in the grass surface of the green, I created threaded pins to screw into the bottom of the seat, which then will be pushed into the playing surface . . . the seat can be arranged in any position over the cup without moving around.  Bruce wanted the seat top to stand upright when on the green, so I fabricated a brass plated plant hanger for support.  It is easily removed, as are the pins, which allows the seat to be used for the 'real deal'.

I think the plan is to raffle the thing off at the event, so some lucky person will have a pretty cool conversation piece for their crapper.

If you just cannot live without a custom toilet seat to adorn your privy, give me a shout and perhaps we can come to an agreement that will give you something really cool to sit on, while you're reading the Wall Street Journal, or something more suitable to the occasion.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

New Old Tools

I've been looking for several months for a 'good' wood rasp (the big box stores have tools, but for the most part they are overpriced junk made off shore), and while cruising around the monthly swap meet last weekend, I spotted this beauty lying among a host of other tools. It's old but like new except for a coloring of surface rust, and the really cool thing about this guy is that it has very small teeth on the edges, which can be used for fine work.  Also, there in the pile was a nearly new edge cutters, which I use for fret work.  And the best part about all of this is both items were made in the USA . . . for $5 each, I think I got a deal.

So, off I went feelin' good to look for more goodies.

A fella just cannot pass up a good tool, and you cannot have too many.

A couple stops later revealed a very cool scratch awl, a really nice adjustable block plane, and a like-new adjustable wrench, again all were made in the good ol' USA.

On my way home from the treasure hunt, I stopped at Menard's for a couple sanding discs, and while looking around, I damn near fainted . . . I spotted a brad point bit set (I wanted to replace the Asian items with better quality) made in Montana of all places.  I couldn't believe it, and I couldn't pass it up, since it's like buying hometown hardware.

Check out the label, it made me all teary-eyed thinking about home.

Old guys get a pass for this kinda stuff, right?