Sunday, 30 June 2013

Garden Planters Build Part 2

I almost forgot to do my completion article on the planters but here it is.
The planters frames were completed and then given three coats of general Finishes Exterior 450. I sealed the end grain of the legs with 2 part epoxy using West Systems Epoxy.
Small planter without cladding

Large planter without cladding

Like any furniture job clamps and a workbench
are essential

Then I started to clad the outside with western
red cedar tongue and groove boards. I fastened them
on with stainless steel 18G nails.

The final part of the construction was the mitred face frame around the top perimeter fixed with some stainless steel screws. I then cut some pond liner material to size and pushed it into the each box. I made slits in the bottom so excess water could drain out and then filled with compost. Once it was around 3/4 full I fitted some more red cedar cleats to hold the pond line in place and then trimmed off the excess. The boxes have considerable weight in them now so I was glad I had moved them into position before doing the last jobs.

Then all that remained was to plant up the boxes, install the self watering system and enjoy them. I hope you like them.

Happy woodworking


Face frame fitted and a few plants installed

3 of the boxes in situ.
The other box is somewhere else in the yard.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Baritone Guitar Build Part 4 - The body slab and imbuya cap

The main slab of the body is African mahogany with a book matched imbuya cap. Bill Quinn over at ToneTech Luthier Supplies showed me a nice piece of South American imbuya that he'd had resawn to book match it. I pondered over it for 30 seconds and just had to have it.
The imbuya boards on my
kitchen countertop
Drilling the pickup cavities
The next thing I did after hand planing the mahogany board flat was print out my plan full size and glue it onto a piece of hardboard (masonite). Then I cut it out on the bandsaw using a spokeshave and sandpaper to blend in the curves.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Baritone Guitar Build Part 3 - The neck and fretting

The neck

The neck is laminated from quartersawn sapele
and 5mm thick rock maple.
 It is roughly cut to shape in side profile with a 10 degree headstock. I glued some sapele blocks to get the full width. The truss rod channel was routed out, two way truss rod installed and the fretboard glued on. The picture above shows the fretboard prior to the inlays being glued in.
Some luthiers scarf joint the headstock to minimise on stock use but I normally use 8/4 stock (2" thick) quarter-sawn boards and am able to get two necks out of one board with a 10 degree headstock.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Baritone Guitar Build Part 2 - The fret board

I opted for using ebony for the fretboard and nickel silver frets. I also wanted to inlay the board with some nice red abalone I had. First of all I chose a nice theme for the inlay and this was an Arabesque pattern I saw a few years ago.
Using a jewellers saw and some fine blades along with a simple piece of softwood with a slot and a hole I broke several blades but ended up with a nice set of inlays.

Then I run the ebony through the jointer to flatten one side and then ran it through the thicknesser to get it around 7mm (9/32") thick.
The next task was to put the radius onto the board. I used a 12" radius aluminium fret levelling beam from StewMac with some self adhesive sand paper of 80 grit to do the initial shaping.

Essentially the aluminium beam has a concave radius of 12" machined into one face. You stick the sandpaper onto this face.
Then with the board fixed to the bench with some double-sided tape you transfer the concave radius to the board by moving the beam back and forth sanding a convex radius onto the board.

I then cut the board edges slightly larger than finished size on the band saw.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Baritone Guitar Build Part 1 - The Specification

Back in 2011 I had the idea of building a baritone guitar after seeing one being used by Joe Bonamassa. For those of you who don't know a baritone guitar has a longer scale length than a regular guitar and is normally tuned from B to b on a six string guitar (B E A D F♯ B) with thicker strings and longer scale lengths.
Over the years a number of companies have made and still do make these types of guitars but they are not so common.

I myself have been making guitars/basses for a number of years but never made a long scale one such as this.
So I designed it on AutoCad (before I got hooked on Sketchup) and it has the following specification:


  • Double Cutaway body
  • Main body slab - African Mahogany
  • Top - bookmatched South American Imbuia (Ocotea porosa) burl


  • Neck - Sapele and maple
  • Fretboard - Ebony
  • No of frets - 24 
  • Scale length - 700mm 
  • Fretboard radius - 12" 


  • Pickup system - Seymour Duncan AHB-1 Blackout set - active electronics
  • Bridge - Schaller Hannes
  • Machine heads - Schaller M6 2000 Locking
  • Strap button - Schaller security locks.
All the hardware is black.
Baritone CAD design
As can be seen in the picture all aspects of the design have been covered with the hidden structures/routs shown.
After the design was completed the first part to be made was the fretboard and that will be covered in Part 2.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Wood dust - I hate it

I was doing some routing of the baritone guitar pickup routs last weekend and took the thickness of the slab down a little with the jointer.
I made the mistake of running the router for a couple of minutes doing the initial cut without my PPE on - the shop vac was connected and running on the router.
I could smell the embuya dust in the air so put on my PPE comprising a 3M respirator with twin filter cartridges on.
I did a little shaping of the curves with the oscillating spindle sander and some normal sanding with the random orbit sander. I had the shop vac going and the shop dust extractor connected to the OSS.

After finishing in the shop for the night I showered as normal and later in the evening went to bed. Whist in bed before I went to sleep I coughed something up and got the smell of embuya again. I looked into my handkerchief (not a pretty sight I know!) and saw quite a lot of black and brown dust in the "deposit".
Next day I decided enough is enough. I went to the trouble of equipping the shop with all the correct dust collection equipment, including a ceiling mounted shop filter, what I thought was decent face PPE - ok maybe I should have put it on before starting the cut - and still the dust got through. Sooooooo..... I ordered a Trend AirShield Pro

It was expensive and it arrived today. I thought what a price to pay for decent lungs.
There will be a full review on the blog as soon as I have tried it out for a while. Watch this space.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Kari closes her blog

In case you hadn't heard Kari Hultman, the person behind The Village Carpenter blog, has hung up her keyboard for the time being.
Kari has blogged about everything woodwork for the last 5 years or so and is always a very entertaining read.
Fortunately for us all she has left her blog complete with the archives for us to read.

Her comments and journeys through woodworking will be sadly missed from this blogger.
Have a look at for a good read.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Environmental concerns

I saw an article the other day in a newspaper that stated "When buying furniture ask if the timber used has come from accredited sources"
I looked into this and found that all the timber I use in my products is supplied by companies that are accredited by FSC and PEFC. Below are details of what they do.
I can now rest assured that my products use timber that comes from sustainable resources.

What is FSC?

Wood is one of the few materials which can be described as truly sustainable. Some of our best loved and ecologically rich ancient woodlands have supplied timber for ships, houses and furniture for thousands of years.

But more and more people are rightly concerned that the wood they are using might be contributing to the destruction of forests around the world. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international non-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion of responsible forest management.

What is the Forest Stewardship Council?
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has developed a unique system of independent forest certification and product labelling, helping consumers identify timber and products from responsibly managed woodlands. The FSC is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation (NGO).

What is certification?
Certification is the process of inspecting forests to assess their management according to an agreed set of principles and criteria. These include recognition of indigenous peoples' rights, long term economic viability and protection of wildlife. A wide range of forests have already been certified, from Swedish pine plantations to tropical rainforests in Brazil.

Who supports FSC?
The FSC system is backed by a range of environmental organisations. These include WWF, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the National Trust and the Woodland Trust, as well as major companies, trade unions and other social groups.

Will it really make a difference?
 Yes, the FSC logo shows that timber comes from responsibly managed forests. More FSC products mean that more FSC certified forests are being managed for the long-term well being of people and the planet.

How does it work?
FSC has developed ten rules, or principles, that define good management. These principles are global they can apply to any forest any where in world.

Principles for forest stewardship:

  • Compliance with laws and FSC principles
  • Rights and responsibilities relating to land tenure and use
  • Indigenous peoples’ rights
  • Community relations and workers' rights
  • Benefits from the forest
  • Environmental Impact
  • Management plan
  • Monitoring and assessment
  • Maintenance of high conservation value forests
  • Plantations.

What is PEFC?

The PEFC council (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes) is an independent, non profit, non-governmental organisation, founded in 1999 which promotes sustainably managed forests through independent third party certification. 
The PEFC provides an assurance mechanism to purchasers of wood and paper products that they are promoting the sustainable management of forests. PEFC is a global umbrella organisation for the assessment of and mutual recognition of national forest certification schemes developed in a multi-stakeholder process. These national schemes build upon the inter-governmental processes for the promotion of sustainable forest management, a series of on-going mechanisms supported by 149 governments in the world covering 85% of the worlds forest area. 
The PEFC schemes account for over 126 million hectares of certified forests producing millions of tonnes of certified timber to the market place making PEFC the worlds largest certification scheme.