Saturday, December 24, 2016
This old guitar, which I found at a thrift shop, was collecting dust in my shop, and it was useless for anything other than a fly swatter until I saw something created by another goofy guitar maker.
My Granddaughter Ellie loves anything rtelated to skeletons, so my creative juices started to flow, and as a result we now have 'Ellie's Boneyard Boogie'.
Thanks to leftover Halloween supplies at the local drug store, I was able to put some boogie action into the boneyard, but not without an abundant amount of thought and difficulty.
The project required ripping the guitar apart. It's shaped like a guitar, but that's about the extent of the original piece.
The top was carefully removed from the body so as not to damage it beyond further use. A Shire horse skeleton complete with a boney rider in armor astride the beast fills the soundhole. A makebelieve bridge serves as handles to open the doors to the sound chamber (note the hinges on the side).
The body required reinforcement throughout to stabilize it after removing the top, but that worked out well, for the hinged doors.
Nothing is ever easy during a project like this, but I opened a can of worms with this idea.
The legs, at the hips, were the only moveable parts on the seven-inch-tall skeletons, and I discovered soon that I had no glue in the shop that would attach severed pieces. I don't have a clue what in hell the Chinese used to mold these boney creatures, but the only way I could reattach the surgically altered arms and legs was to use my heat controlled woodburning tool.
I built a piano, upright bass, drum set, acoustic guitar, coffin, and the mic the singer is holding. Then I had to posture each of the skeletons to fit the instrument they were destined to 'play'. In short order, I got well skilled at rearranging heads, hands, arms, and legs and welding them together. After each piece was complete, it was glued into position inside the guitar body.
To finish off the process, I attached computer downloaded illustrations and Ellie's favorite band names to the doors.
Here's the cast of characters. The piano players hat is an old amp knob converted for effect.
Wrapping fingers around the necks and mic were a real fun experience, and uncomfortable as hell to boot, because of the heat from the iron.
This was a lot of fun to create, but once is enough. Hee, hee.
My Granddaughter Maggie has been pestering me for a long time to make her a ukulele, and I have been avoiding the project, but she got the best of me about a month ago.
I don't have a body mold or any of the necessary jigs to accommodate building a traditional uke, but I did manage to wrap my head around the project and I came up with what I think is a reasonable facsimile.
A 9-inch diameter black walnut nut bowl was gathering dust in my shop, so it became the body for the new venture. A through-body walnut neck with Indian rosewood headstock overlay and leopardwood fingerboard was adapted to the bowl. With the neck in place, the curly maple top was added to finish off the design.
I cut specially designed soundholes in the top to allow sound to escape the sound chamber (the bowl). But, to add a little oomph, two piezo transducer pickups were glued under the bridge and connected to an output jack, so Mag can play he 'uke' through an amp.
Open-gear tuning machines draw the strings from the exposed tailpiece over a custom made Corian saddle and nut.