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The Workshop

  • Around the Shop – Machines, Work Stations and Tools
  • The Job of Guitarsmithery
  • Highlights of Everyday Work: Setup, Regulation & Adjustment – Frets
  • Unusual & Challenging Projects – Damage Repair – Neck Rod Replacement – Control Circuit Mods

Welcome to the shop. Every shop/work space is unique, reflecting the requirements and personality of the craftsman who works there. While my current operation represents a greater range of resources than any of the six sites preceding it, paradoxically it is the smallest among them. The result is that every single cubic foot of space is utilized to the max with storage, work stations and power tools crowded cheek-by-jowl. In a basement location, there are few opportunities for distractions, and climate control is much easier to maintain than in above-ground areas.

40 years ago in rural NH I had two large shop areas with expansive views of the countryside and Mt. Aschutney when I looked up from the bench. Such a beautiful backdrop with its panorama of nature was difficult to resist, presenting constant competition for my attention.
In the view above my 12×36 metal working lathe is visible in the background to the right. The guitar in the foreground is resting on a mounting board bolted to the drill press. This provides a versatile work station which sees as much use as the main bench. The work can be adjusted over a range of heights, facilitating the approach to different instruments and operations. In the view below you can see how this arrangement allows an instrument to be secured, leaving both hands free for the job. The addition of shaped cradles allows even difficult to anchor bowl-back instruments to be firmly mounted for a variety of jobs.
Above is the main workbench. Frequently used hand tools are kept close at hand in the tool rack spanning the back side of the bench while many small tools and accessories are stored in the tool box to the right. In the left foreground is a medium-size vise and directly behind it is a stand full of files and rasps. Behind the bass are two digital multi-meters and to the right, my soldering station. Several small plastic boxes hold frequently used items and parts from current projects. This very heavy 21/2 x 7 foot bench is none too large, frequently becoming crowded with clutter.

At left is the lathe set up as a disc sander with the port to the dust collector visible below and to the right. Multi-purposing of tools is . . . . .

 

 

 

Finish sanding on a mahogany body held in my big woodworking vise mounted to the drill press table. The drill press sees more use adapted to . . . . . .

 

At left is a very useful machine, a small milling machine or “drill-mill.” Although often used for more straightforward metal machining work, it is very useful for applications such as this – milling the bridge saddle slot in a little delicately built cavaquino. Although the site of such an instrument in the clutches of this brute of a machine looks incongruous, it is perfectly safe with the instrument padded with leather where it is clamped and . . . . .

 
To the right is a view of the spray booth, a sealed room with filtered air inlets. Paper suit and hair cover are worn to minimize contamination of the finish. Respirator and goggles protect me from toxic overspray. Compressed air for the spray gun is supplied from a remotely located compressor and delivered through . . . .