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Brokeoff Mountain Luthierie
Vintage Fulton Tool Company Transitional Jointer Plane, 26 inch. This is a good user plane. Bottom and sides were jointed, not much patina is left on sides and bottom. A piece of ebony has been inlayed to close the mouth, finish work on mouth has not been completed. 85% of japanning remains on metal parts. Knob is in good condition, tote has some dings, patina remains on top and ends of plane. No manufacture mark on plane body, Fulton Tool Co. is on the 2 5/8" wide plane iron which still has plenty of length for use and no pitting. Light pitting on plane cap. This plane needs a good home! Please direct any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Jose Luis Romanillos, luthier
Today marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Antonio de Torres.
Those of us who love the classical guitar owe this man everything, he created a model of the guitar that continues to capture the hearts of true music lovers.
He really didn't do anything that hadn't already been done by other guitar makers - other makers had used larger bodies, the so-called fan bracing, domed tops, longer string lengths, all this was already known - but Torres guitars sounded different from others.
Many contemporary classical guitar makers build copies of the original Torres guitars, there are several well known classical guitarists that concertize on original Torres guitars because even after 130+ years those guitars still have wonderful voices.
Antonio de Torres apprenticed with a carpenters guild in Vera, Spain when he was 12 years and when he was 17 he was listed in the guild rolls as a master carpenter. Several writers have stated that Torres was a "simple" or "lowly" carpenter, but to be a master carpenter in 1834 was anything but simple.
You were expected to know all the latest building styles and construction techniques, many of these techniques were published in books which meant that you had to be able to read. At that time in Spain, 76% of the population was illiterate, yet, Antonio de Torres could read and write. Torres' father was a tax collector, perhaps he taught his son how to read and write. In the book, Antonio de Torres, Guitar Maker, by Jose Romanillos, Romanillos speculates that Torres attended local schools before he became an apprentice.
I have done some research on the Internet about traditional Spanish carpentry and discovered that Spanish carpenters of the time dealt with the same construction problems the rest of Europe had to deal with, namely how to keep the building from falling apart. As a master carpenter, you would know la carpinteria de armar(how to construct a building); la carpinteria de lazo, (loop carpentry) and perhaps mostly importantly tocar de madera, (how to work wood).
I want to believe that Torres was a carpenter, not a joiner, because a guitar is in a way, an architectural creation. It is constructed so it can stay together under pressure (a modern classical guitar is subjected to 90 pounds or more of pressure from the strings). If the top is not properly braced to take this tension it will collapse or even worse the whole guitar may fly apart. Most cabinets and chests are not subjected to a constant pressure. Cabinetry is not carpentry.
It is claimed that Torres went to Granada, Spain in 1836 to learn how to make a guitar, when he returned home he continued as a carpenter and tried several other business ventures. His first wife died in 1845 and that is when he moved to Seville and by 1852 was known as a guitarrero.
I would like to thank Don Antonio de Torres Jurado for the work that he did. The guitar is a beautiful instrument, but Torres took all the work of the great makers before him and made it the most beautiful instrument ever created.
If you are interested in learning more about traditional Spanish carpentry I recommend that you click here to visit the Albanecor website on carpinteria de lo blanco.
USDA Plants Database, Engelmann Spruce
I apologize for not having posted anything on this blog for a while, as all of you know life can get in the way of doing things.
The New Mexico Guitar Festival is next month, June 15-17, and I will be attending as a vendor.
Much of my time these last few weeks has been spent finishing the two guitars that I want to take to the Vendors Expo at the festival: this 1961 Hernandez y Aguado style guitar, with an Engelmann spruce top and ziricote back and sides and a 1963 Hernandez y Aguado style guitar that is made entire from locally sourced wood. I'll post about that guitar in the future.
Tomorrow, I will level and re-crown the frets on this spruce/ziricote guitar, grind down the nut and saddle, attach strings and set up the playing action. I can't wait to hear this guitar!
Here are some photos documenting the building of the spruce/ziricote guitar.
From left to right: spruce/ziricote, redwood/black walnut, redwood/Indian rosewood.
Here's a video of Stephanie Jones, a wonderful young guitarist from Australia. Click here to watch videos of Ms. Jones playing all five of William Walton's Bagatelles!
Roy Underhill, The Woodwright's Work Book, 1986
If you own copy of The New Traditional Woodworker, by Jim Tolpin, then perhaps you have constructed his workbench tote project.
My workbench is always a mess and now that I am getting to the finishing stage for two classical guitars, I thought I would try to mend my ways and keep a tidy bench. A workbench tote is a start in the right direction.
I held fairly close to the dimensions in Tolpin's book, but used some nice pine that was on hand (I think it is lodgepole pine, it's hard to find good ponderosa pine these days) for the sides and handle, with pine plywood for the bottom.
A carpenter by trade, I decided to build this tote in the house carpenter tradition, nothing fancy, just 45 degree miters, a table saw cut groove for the plywood...
...glue and pin nails from a trim gun to hold everything together.
The tote handle shape is a personal decision, you don't have to copy anyone's design, make it look the way you want it to look.
Boring the holes for the handle made me realize that I need to spend some time sharpening my augers!
It is a tote for the workbench, so the handle is held in place with trim nails - rulers, chisels and gauges aren't heavy enough to warrant larger fasteners.
It's not as fancy as the one in The New Traditional Woodworker, but it was a fun, quick project.
I save the fancy work for my guitars,
you know, something like this!
Now, get out in your shop and make something!
Here's a video of Stephanie Jones, enjoy!