"Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made Thee glad." Psalm 45: 8

Saturday, November 9, 2013


Recently, Reece and his crew finished our wiring.
Here's Elmo, whose background is industrial wiring, demonstrating his skill with a conduit bender:

It wasn't long before the nerve center looked like this:

So with power running all over the place, the rest of the crew  could start installing lights:

And this view of the north wall, where assembly benches will run--each bank of windows will have these mini spots to throw light down on the benches:

Thanks for watching along!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Where were we?

It has been far too long since an update! And now my Texas lutherie buddies are starting to ask, "Did you ever finish that shop?" Short answer is: "no". Turns out that's also the long answer.
But I can elaborate a bit. There has been a great deal of interior work going on.
Like this shot of Jonathan working on the middle wall. To the right will be the Big Hall Of Tools.
To the left, where Jonathan is working, will be our assembly area.

Let these guys loose, and after a while there is this--a building within a building:
That two foot overhang is the walk way for our upstairs wood storage.
Now meet Daniel, son of Melvyn. He and his Dad are installing our HVAC system.
His burden is to keep us cool in the Summer and warm all winter. He looks optimistic, doesn't he? 
Fast forward through installation of wiring (failed to photograph that stage) and we are ready for insulation. Here is a view of the east wall, and the north east corner. Our drywall crew did a great job taping off exposed wood, not to mention protecting the floor:
And here is our drywall crew, seen from inside the "Clean Room":
Let these guys loose, and it wasn't long before we had real, enclosed spaces.
Here's a view of the front door area, and past my Dad's shoulder is our "Clean Room".
Only, it's not too clean just yet. Hopefully that will be soon.
So this is where we are, 29 September, 2013.
Thanks for watching along!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Bob Singer OM

New guitar going out today. Glamor shots to come, but here's the peghead.
It sports a rainforest theme, and the inlay was done by Craig Lavin.
Bob wanted Snakewood tuner buttons to match the overlay and bindings (and fretboard).
We're pleased with the way the buttons compliment the head:

Thanks for looking!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Rick's Cocobolo FS

Lest anyone think all we do is build shops around here, it seems prudent to post some pics of actual guitar work. This guitar was finished recently and sent to its proud new owner in New York state.
Rick's favorite wood (for back and sides) is Cocobolo. So it was with pleasure we used our best set for his guitar. With that we paired a top of really silky Lutz spruce. Here's a view of the front:

And a close up of the left shoulder, where you will find a sound port. An auxiliary sound hole, but this one aimed at the player's ear. Like a stage monitor, it enables a bit more sound to reach the guitarist:

Another interesting feature of this guitar is the Ryan-style arm bevel. Done in a dark piece of Macassar ebony (like the bindings) it adds a level of comfort for the player's right arm. No sharp edges digging in!

And a shot of that pretty back:

Finally a view of the end wedge detail, which also shows the Cocobolo's grain to good advantage:

Thanks for dropping by!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Closing In

It would be a shame not to show something of this Spring's finery, and the approach to our new shop viewed through the azaleas:

Now, meet Mason. He's the lithe young man laying out roof panels, while Jonathan keeps the decking from floating away:

With the roof panels started, Mason is able to cut the wall panels to their proper angles:

Which enabled the crew to install the rake trim, yielding something of a finished appearance. This no longer resembles the Alamo, but we are quite pleased with the lines nonetheless:

The roof was finished fairly quickly. Seems that before we knew it, the guys were installing the east wall sheets:

And this is the view as of Saturday, 6 April. It is a little hard to see in this shot, but most of the front window trim is now installed. A bit more Hardie board, a front door (!) and we'll be dried-in:

Thanks for dropping by!

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Eric and Jonathan have been doubling as carpenters for the past week or so.
Here the north wall (window wall) is getting sheathed with plywood. The inspiration for this wall is the Sculptor's Studio at Mt. Rushmore, the one used by Gutzon Borglum. This will be a far cry from his timber frame wonder, but the best we can do!

Back to the west wall. Here Jonathan is nailing up a stucco-patterned board as wainscot. The metal sheets will terminate on the wainscot cap (cedar) which we hope gives the building an appearance more inviting, less industrial:

With the wainscot in place, we are finally ready for the metal siding. You can tell that Spring has started in earnest here in East Texas:


And the view of our west wall after the sheets are all applied:

Of course those sheets will be trimmed to follow the rake of the roof, which will give the finished appearance. Good job, guys!

Oh, and a final shot showing the shop cat. He suffers from a severe case of curiosity, and he was intrigued by this high corner once it was closed in:

Predictably, he could not get himself down. That was my job. Fortunately, we have a number of ladders around the place.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Wood and Steel

"Wood and Steel" may not be an original title, but it is a descriptive one.
Our plan has been to attach a wooden section to the metal frame--both increasing floor size and making the whole building a bit more organic. This 8' x 40' addition will have a bank of north-facing windows, and benches along that north wall to take advantage of glare-free light. And, get a nice view of the back yard as a bonus. Here, Eric and Jonathan are attaching ledger boards to the eave strut. You can see the framing for those north windows:

And to the ledger boards, rafters are nailed for a shed roof:

Add some plywood decking:

Then some 30# felt, and it's starting to look like an enclosed space:

Time to start on the side walls. Plywood sheathing has been nailed up, and next comes the vapor barrier:

Which enables the crew to install the west-facing window:

This was most welcome. With our window in place, we can open it up for some fresh air...it was getting rather stuffy in there.


Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Doors

We welcome Eric and Jonathan to the project. They have been doing the really difficult parts of the metal work this week.  Here they are admiring the eave struts and roof purlins just installed. It is wonderful having their expertise around the site!

Take this next shot for instance--I'm delighted that's Eric up there and not me:

Or this one, hanging the roll-up door:

Until finally the doors are hung, and fully functional:

Which is a load off my mind. Now we can lock the place and prevent unwanted intrusion.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Here it Comes...

After the slab had cured for a couple of weeks, we were prepared to take delivery of the metal building. Perhaps I should mention that 3/4 of this new shop will be a metal building, giving us fairly large expanses of open floor space. The remaining 1/4 of the shop will be conventional framing with a bank of north-facing windows. We are really looking forward to that amount of natural, glare-free light. So here comes the package:

Notice to the rear of the delivery truck pink evidence of an early spring.
And here is Keith, unloading our shop, bundle by bundle:

Starting to go up!

And UP!

Until we have something starting to resemble Ironhenge:

Our crew: Ryan on the ladder, James and I studying the south east corner, my dad scrutinizing the progress, and Trinity (James' wife) walking around, classing-up the place. We are certainly glad to have gotten such marvelous help, and hope that sore muscles will soon recover!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Done, and Done!

What a treat to post this news, and these shots. After much thought, labor, bad weather etc., we finally have a foundation. As a plus, it's fairly handsome as these things go. In this shot one of the finishers is preparing to remove the bolt template which held anchor bolts in place:

Marco manned the trowel machine all afternoon, getting finer and finer results with each session:

Later in the afternoon the guys are still at it with machine and hand tools:

By Sunday all that was left to do was hose down the slab to aid in the curing process. Here is my dear wife Billie, also our C.O.O., happily lending a hand.

So now all that remains is for the concrete crew to remove the forms and in a few days we'll start going up with the frame. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Progress, Part 3

Saturday, Jan 26--at long last we have made some concrete advances.
Crew arrived and got busy immediately, for the cement truck arrived right at 7 a.m.
Before long, it was running down the chute:

The quickly-paced job was to grab the wire mesh and lift it into the mid range of that concrete, while pulling the heavy mix into position. Like everything else, the pros make it look easy:

After a bit, the forms are getting loaded up with what will be our shop floor. They are working on our tool room in this shot:

And more leveling, tugging, pulling, etc...

The third truck brought out about half a load, giving us something like a 25 yard pour. Here's the last bit getting dumped into the west side of our tool room:

And Marco cutting in the slope for our roll up door.

Hard to believe we've actually arrived at this point....