Friday, January 14, 2011

Urban Lumber - Springfield

Visited Seth at Urban Lumber this morning for a simple planing job. It is always a pleasure to swing by his place. Right now he is mid-remodel, expanding both his shop and retail space, and adding a gallery/showroom as well. This photo shows his trusty ol' crane truck, which he used to haul my apple tree out of my yard a few years ago, which he then resawed and de-humid kiln dried.
Seth is inspiring because he really does things right- he is down to earth, and approaches everything from a fair and reasoned perspective. He also works BIG- big logs, big trucks, big slabs of incredible lumber, and big tools. He just added a wide-belt sander capable of handling extra wide boards (his old one went up to 36" wide, and the new one even wider!)
Next time you're in Springfield, swing by his place at 2440 Main Street- there is always something interesting to see and it is always worth a visit!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chromatic Kalimba

This is a three-octave chromatic kalimba that I am working on- the good news is that it sounds great. The bad news is that, with the grain running horizontally, all of the bridge bar screws are in the same grain line- and with the tension the top has begun to crack! It sounds great, and I am glad this happened now, before it arrive in the hands of its new owner. I also think that I will make the new soundboard graduated in thickness, with a little more thickness towards the bridge bar.

It was a little strange at first to play with the circle-of-fifths layout, but it suggests melodies and harmonies, a lot of dyads (two-note chords) that you might not pluck out on a piano. After only a few minutes I was playing a few really interesting melodies and riffs that I would like to develop.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pisgah trees

An inspiring New Years Day hike lead to this shot of some sun rays in a section of forest along the Northwest side of Mt. Pisgah outside of Eugene. I love spending time in the woods.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Another great bowl-back design

The unique bowl-back of the Timple- an ancestor of the ukulele from the Spanish speaking Canary islands.

Cremonese Mandolin

On the subject, this Cremonese mandolin (left in picture) was apparently the popular form of the instrument in Vienna when Haydn and Beethoven were living and composing there. I had no idea of this when I built the ukulele-version copy (right in pic) as a special request. I wonder if there is anyone out there who still plays the Cremonese version of the mandolin- early music practitioners, mandolin enthusiasts, etc? It has four single courses in gut, according to Graham McDonald's excellent text on the subject, "The Mandolin Project."

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Lombardic Mandolins

I love how these instruments are lodged somewhere in between the Oud and Neapolitan mandolins... it is always interesting to read about the history and development of modern instrumental forms, but when you can plainly see instruments that are hybrids, the 'somewhere in-betweens,' you can see for yourself how various instruments relate in history.

Lombardic Mandolins