Workshop

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The story so far...

When I first began making guitars, almost twenty years ago, I imagined that I'd have a little tool box which I could carry around from place to place, building guitars as I went along, from bits of wood that I'd find. The reality turned out somewhat different from what I'd imagined.

 

To start with, even though it is completely possible to build guitars out of almost any wood, a big part of the craft is in finding and selecting the very best, well seasoned, quarter sawn wood with the best tonal qualities as well as the most interesting appearance. I am constantly collecting and looking out for tonewoods, which come from all over the world. Softwoods such as Spruce, Cedar and Redwood, from high, cold mountain forests. Hardwoods from every continent and every climate. Then, of course I need a dry place to store all of that wood, sometimes for years, before I finally turn it into a guitar.

Then there are the tools. Even though I use an absolute minimum of tools, since I work by hand, without machines, I am able to work in a small space. I don't have a thickness sanding machine or a bandsaw, a router table or any big machines, apart from a pillar drill. Most of the work is done with Japanese handsaws, chisels and handplanes. Nevertheless, even these need a place to be stored and arranged in a convenient way. Then of course there are the clamps. A guitar maker can never have too many clamps. Clamps of every shape and size. And measuring equipment.. rulers, calipers, dividers.. sharpening stones, hand-drills, dozens of drill bits.. and a few specialist instrument making tools, such as a bending iron to bend the sides.. it all adds up. And of course a good, sturdy workbench with a vice..

Before I knew it, I knew I was going to need a workshop. Nevertheless, life kept me moving, never staying in one place for very long, and so I moved my collection of tools and wood with me, setting up a new workshop in every place, from the plains of Nottinghamshire to the hills of Galilee, and a few places in between.. every workshop a bit better than the last, as I learned how to arrange things to perfectly suit the way I work.

My current, custom built workshop (my tenth workshop) is one of the smallest so far, with a floor space of less than ten square meters, but is also about the best setup for me. Everything is very close at hand and there is place for everything I need to build just about any instrument I can imagine.

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