Lutherie First Floor

Here is shown my main workbench. This is where I sit to do most of the handwork, and I've got most of the tools I use constantly arrayed around me here. And I look out into the a beautiful meadow (nope, no bears there) through a small grove of two or three cedars. Really pleasant light.

This is an end view of my woodrack. I resaw the wood a little bit at a time--I try to keep about a year ahead--and store it here. After resawing, I join and bookmatch these. At this point the backs are about .150" thick. The tops, about .120". I have a thickness sander in the basement of the house, where I take the book-matched tops and backs down to about .075" thick, at 100-grit finish. You will notice that these extremely thin pieces are quite flat, showing no warp or twist. This is the result of careful quarter-sawing, and humidity control.


Here's a look at the way I use shelves. I tend to be super-neat, and have an assigned place for everything. It looks obsessive, but it's a survival mechanism. Otherwise, I spend twenty minutes looking for what I just had in my hand, every time I put it down. I got so exasperated one day when I was about 14 years old! It took me practically all day to find something amidst the intense clutter on my workbench. I decided then and there that there had to be a better way. So now, I only allow a certain amount of clutter in the shop before I declare a field day and tidy everything up.


This bench is where I do the primary building operations. I tend to divide the shop up into distinct areas for each major operation, so I can have all the tools and materials close at hand for the jobs I do at that place. Beside this workbench is a small 4" joiner planer, for incidental truing up of edges and surfaces.

This is the assembly bench, where I put in all the internal bracings and linings in the body. There are two more windows here, looking out over the neighbor's garden. In the spring he plants cana lilies, dinner-plate dahlias, and vegetables. I get to watch the deer eat them all for dinner. I was looking out this window one day as I worked and saw a red fox saunter past. I think I live in a heaven.


Here's my lathe. It's an Austrian-made Maxi-Mat, marketed in the mid-1970s. A beautiful small lathe, with a vertical milling head. It enables me tremendous freedom of scope where it comes to accurately machining metal and turning wooden parts. I came across it by being in the right place at the right time about 13 years ago. It's no longer in production, and--being Austrian--spare parts are hard to come by. So I've laid up some spares, bought all the manuals, and treat it very kindly.

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