Thursday, March 28, 2013

Awesome Kids!

We had a heavy, wet snow - 3 inches or more - a couple weeks ago.

I was sitting around looking out the window contemplating the task at hand.  Do I really want to get dressed warm and to venture out to crank up the snow blower to deal with this stuff?  Snow blowers just don't move wet snow very well, and I sure as heck didn't want to shovel.

Maybe 'the guy' will come by to take care of my problem?  No, 'the guy' didn't show up as usual - probably too much of a job.  Wet and heavy is not as much fun for the money.

So, off I went to the coffee pot for a refill to help me make a decision.  While I was loading on caffeine, I heard a soft knock at the door.  Oh, no, is the door chime not working?  One more thing to ruin my day.

I opened the door and saw two small kids standing up to their ankles in snow, with shovels over their shoulders.  "This ain't 'the guy," I thought, unless he's shrunk and has small helper."

Zach and Rachel, ten-year-old cousins from another street away were drumming up business in the 'hood.

Rachel, the spokesperson said, "Can we shovel your driveway?"

I said, "It's pretty long, so you better look at it and decide if you want to do this, 'cause the snow is pretty heavy and wet."

They tromped off to investigate, and on returning said, "Yes!, we want to do it."

I asked how much they charged, and after giving it serious thought, Zach said, "Fourteen dollars."

I said, "Just so we're clear, you're going to shovel 110 feet of driveway and the walks and stoop for fourteen bucks?"

"Yup," they said in unison.

"OK, we got a deal," I said.  And off they went.

About an hour later, they returned, having done a great job, but looking pretty tired.

I asked, "How'd it go?"

Zach looked at me and said, "I think we should have asked for more."

I smiled and said, " I agree,"  and I handed Zach twenty-five bucks, saying, "You Zach, you gotta share this with Rachel," and Rachel said, "Oh, ya, we'll share!"

My final request was, "Can I take your photo, because I want to put it on my web site, to let my friends know that a couple really cool little kids live in my neighborhood?"  Zach replied, "Oh, I thought it would be in the newspaper."  And, I replied, "Don't worry Zach, my web site is better read."

Not all kids are tied to TV and video games, and my new friends, Zach and Rachel have demonstrated it clearly.  I hope they come by to visit some time, 'cause they're 'my kinda kids.

Zach and Rachel must have some awesome parents!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Taper Jig

I was looking around the other day for a taper jig that would work with my table saw.  They're available from a variety of sources ranging in price from $19.99 to $79 and change.

None of what I saw advertised rang my bell, so i decided to create my own, using sample illustrations as a springboard for my venture.

As it turned out, it was a snap to create.  A couple pieces of real straight 1" x 2.5" x 24" poplar; a 1/4" piece of ply for the custom designed slip gauge; a hinge to attach the pieces of poplar; a turn-screw to lock the gauge down to a countersunk nut in the top of the anchor piece of poplar; a couple decorative craft dowels for handles; a small angle bracket bent to proper shape for an angle marker; and a small wedge-shaped stock stop glued to the leading edge to guide the material through the blade.

Voila!  I gots meself a real taper jig to cut fretboards, and it cost me about $5 and a hour labor.  What do you think?  Perhaps this idea will work for you.

I'm getting set up here to cut a piece of exotic ziricote.

Once I've determined the angles I want, I'll mark the slip gauge, and any future cuts will be a snap.

Contest Results Pouring In

Great response!  
Thanks, everyone.

In the short time since posting the contest request asking for suggestions in re-purposing this wood violin case into something musical, numerous replies have been offered.

But, it's not over.  I'll let this run for a while longer to allow others to offer suggestions.

Come on folks, put on the thinking caps and noodle the idea around, 'cause the person with the most original and workable idea is going to win a really nice 3-string guitar cigar box guitar.

Listed below are the ideas I've received so far:

  • Jef Long -- A harp designed to be size appropriate to the case, but in the a traditional harp design.  Jef even provided a drawing to explain his thought.
  • Jonathan Greiner -- A dulcimer.
  • Craig Koen -- A lap slide guitar with built-in amp.
  • Roland Burghardt -- A sitar.
  • Randy Bretz -- A lap steel guitar.
  • Linda Potberg -- A two-sided dulcimer. One on either side of the cantilevered top.  She says that in the old days this was an instrument made for courting couples to keep playing music, rather than 'playing' around.
  • Humidor Guitars -- A stand up bass.  Even though I had offered that possibility, I'm still going to allow for the idea to be considered.
  • Rosalyn Baker -- Says it gotta be a stomp box.
  • Todd Kasuboske -- 'Put a violin in it.'
  • Anonymous -- A CBG with amp and harmonica mic.  (Too bad there is no name)
  • S. William Moody -- A bass.  This suggestion will also be considered.
  • S. William Moody -- A lap steel guitar with amp.
  • Anonymous -- 'Use it for Tommy gun storage.' 
  • Anonymous -- 'Use it as a storage shelf'.  
  • Chris Dobbs --  A bass playable as a CBG, with antique design effects. Use the handle as a bridge.  Antique brass hardware throughout. Warwick style headstock. 'And it's gotta have f-holes.'
  • Kevin Gibbs -- A violin-shaped Uke with f-holes and scroll headstock.
  • Baltazar Zoltar -- 'Liquor storage, or if you insist on a musical instrument, a hurdy gurdy.'
  • Rik Prins -- A viola da gamba.
  • Rik Prins -- A tromba marina.
  • Geri Dalbec -- A very clever keyboard inside.
  • Anonymous -- Fill it with 100E bank notes and send it to me.
  • Rocky Tolley -- Retracting neck that comes out and forms a standing bass, but when closed it also contains a thin cigar box guitar, a nice Hohner harp, and a Jews harp, for a complete band in a case.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

'Rare Bird'

My friend Ed Paxton, owner of Woodland Cigar Company in Delaware, Ohio, asked me to build a guitar for him.  The only proviso was that it must be made from a Rare & Fine (that's the cigar brand) cigar box he would provide, which I really wanted for my own use.  But, what to heck, Ed is my friend, and that came before staking a claim for the box.

The 'Rare Bird' is a four-string guitar with a scarf joint headstock with Spanish cedar lamination, walnut neck and leopardwood fretboard.  The nut and saddle are hand formed from Corian, and the bridge and tailstock are leopardwood.  Open back geared tuners provide tension to the D, G, B, e strings from a standard set of 10-47 ga. acoustic, which are tuned to match.  The magnetic pickup is a TotalRojo design handmade with leopardwood bobbin top.

This is a very simple and straight forward build to accentuate the beautiful box.  I added small latches to the side to keep the box closed, since it comes without the usual snap tabs, but that's it,other than an output jack and strap button on the back end.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Give Me An Idea, and Win A Guitar!

A while back, I posted photos of a couple TotalRojo pickups I designed and created for my friend Carl, the wild man from Ireland, who traded me a wood violin case.  Well, here it is in all it's aging beauty.

I'm not sure what I'll do with it, but some ideas have come to mind.

What do you think about a stand-up base, small of course, built to match the size of the box.  Add a nice walnut neck with coco bola fretboard, fancy headstock, a shaped floor peg, a few strings, and it can be a real bass rig.

Or, it could become the home for a Ukulele in the shape of a Thompson submachinegun, ala Al Capone era fun tools.

How 'bout a multi-speaker amp to blow sound around the shed, while I'm busting out custom guitar orders.

But, I bet some of you readers out there have just the right idea for this little fella!  

So, share your thoughts with me here on my site, and . . . I'll gift the provider of the best idea with a custom built three-string cigar box guitar. 

That's right, you're not imagining anything.  Come up with the best idea for the re-purposing of the violin case, and I will give you a custom made guitar.

Come on now, I know you got some great ideas.