November 17th, 2012:
I know a lot of you have been wondering when I would begin my next instrument (the Weissenborn). Well, I haven't started it yet, because I've been using this past month, since finishing the Size 5 commission, to fix up four guitars for three friends and my church.
The first one I did was for a friend at church; I fixed up my fourth guitar (1995), a D-41 dreadnought, for her to use. It had been just sitting in my workroom, unused, for many years; its plastic binding was in need of repair, so I fixed that and did some refinishing. I also re-leveled and dressed the frets, and made a new nut and saddle (intonated). In fixing this one up, I gained a lot of new experience in guitar set-up and fret work, and it turned out pretty well! After I was done with that, I did the same for an inexpensive guitar which that same friend had given me as a kind of "trade" --- she told me to do anything I wanted with it, and I ended up donating it to my church to use in their kids' program. The third one was for the Worship director at my church; he will be returning home to Guatemala right before Christmas, so I thought it would be a nice going-away gift for him. Originally, I had thought about building a Size 5 for him, but realized there was no way I could finish it before he left in December. So, I decided to give him the Size 5 I'd made back in 2009. (I can always build another one for myself.) Again, I re-leveled and dressed the frets and made a new nut and intonated saddle, and it plays like new! Finally, I just yesterday finished fixing up my fifth (1996) guitar, a mahogany dreadnought, for a teacher friend of mine. It needed rebinding and refinishing. I stripped its finish and refinished it with Tru-oil. And, once again, I leveled and dressed the frets, and made a new nut and intonated saddle. I wanted to give her this one, so I could take back the guitar I had given her long ago --- I had given her the very first guitar I ever made, and lately have been wanting that one back, for nostalgic reasons, and so that I could laugh at it and be reminded of how far I have come in my building. (That first one had a severely back-bowed neck, resulting in a too-tall saddle, and a blotchy lacquer finish.)
Besides the joy of being able to give these four guitars away, I also gained a lot of new experience in working on frets and in doing a guitar set-up job. These are areas in which I have felt pretty weak, and the more I do in these areas, the more confident and competent I feel I'm becoming. (Also, what's helped a LOT are the new fret-leveling bars I just purchased recently --- they work so much better than the simple mill file-on-a-wood-handle I've been using up to this point!!!)
SO....now I am free to begin work on the Weissenborn. Keep an eye on the site --- I will be posting updates in the near future!!!