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Thread: thoughts and reasons

  1. #1
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    Default thoughts and reasons

    I've always had this desire to build some instruments but held back because the old thought " man I don't know " until I read an article in Fretboard Journal about Lynn Dudenbostel. He made this statement " to not do it, or be overly cautious because you're afraid you'll fail, is a bigger failure than jumping in there and doing it and messing up a piece of wood".
    So I took the step, and lots of saw dust on my shop floor later, I'm really enjoying the process. I like reading how other's do things and then develop my own methods. Life is lived outside the harbor.

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    Luthierus Amateurius crazymandolinist's Avatar
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    Default Re: thoughts and reasons

    Yessir, this is quite something innit?
    "The Beauty of Grace is that it makes life Unfair" - Relient K

    "THEY'RE HERE!!! THEY'RE HERE!!! the Albino Brain Chiggers!" - Harry from 3rd Rock

  3. #3

    Default Re: thoughts and reasons

    Well let's see some pictures! Unless all you've got left is sawdust on the floor .

    I'm on my first instrument. It's great fun, though it is time consuming the first time around. It's got some flaws but it's not entirely embarrassing either (for a #1). It's always fun to see what other amateurs are building too.

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    Mediocre but OK with that Paul Busman's Avatar
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    Default Re: thoughts and reasons

    I make mainly wooden Irish pennywhistles, but the principle is the same. When I got started, my mentor/teacher, the late great Glenn Schultz told me "get yerself a bunch of cheap wood and make a lot of chips. Be prepared to ruin a lot of wood". Most of that early stuff ended up as firewood, but it taught me how to confidently run my machinery, keep that machinery in fine operating condition, how to keep tools sharp and use them well.
    On a similar note, when I started skiing I came home all excited one day and told a friend who was a good skiier that I hadn't fallen even once. His reply was "Then you didn't learn anything".
    For wooden musical fun that doesn't involve strumming, check out:
    www.busmanwhistles.com
    Handcrafted pennywhistles in exotic hardwoods.

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    Default Re: thoughts and reasons

    I'll work on some pictures! Because this is my first build I'm making alot of the jigs and fixtures as I go, which makes it a bit more time consuming. I'd like to say time isn't a factor, but it is. It is satisfying to take a block of wood and make something out of it.
    I'm building my first couple of mandolins out of some nice figured cherry, there is a hardwood mill not far from here and the owner lets me pick through his supply. I cut several necks out, screwed a couple up, but it was good practice.
    What I really love is seeing some of the tools that ya'll have made instead of buying the more expensive ones from a store. Last Saturday my plan was to make a pipe rig to bend my sides, I've got some scrap metal around, as I hate to throw stuff like that away, but I couldn't find just the size. There is an old flea market not far from here, the outside is packed with old wagon wheels and what looks like enough scrap iron of all shapes and sizes to build anything one could imagine. I spent 2 hours there looking and never did find the right size, I left laughing and shaking my head. I finally found the size pipe in my stuff. Life is an adventure!

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    Default Re: thoughts and reasons

    My adventure continues on , even after all these years...My first build took 18 months , with a total of two top replacements and a total refinishing ...But boy did I learn a lot about the build...and that first one is the first I get out to show anyone that wants to see my work....being tight with the dollar, I also make as many jigs and forms as i can...I have even made forms for other people...keep up the search; it will come back to you.......Keith
    kterry

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    Default Re: thoughts and reasons

    Murph, remember... every builder here had to start somewhere. Some may have had some prior knowledge about building, others , like me, did not have a clue! Some of the best learning you can get will be from your mistakes. Jerry

  8. #8
    Laps, Banjos, & Mandos rudy44's Avatar
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    Default Re: thoughts and reasons

    Two quotes come to mind. first, the old "It's better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all". The second comes from my very first instrument construction book by David Russell Young. I have to paraphrase it, but basically it was "If you've made a serious mistake you should have the wisdom and integrity to be able to throw something that is deemed beyond salvaging away and start over."
    A lot of my false starts went to the burn barrel rather than causing me to make a lot of excuses for something that was not implemented correctly. That's how I learn. Luckily, the longer I do this the lower the amount of kindling I generate.
    rudy44

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: thoughts and reasons

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Busman View Post
    On a similar note, when I started skiing I came home all excited one day and told a friend who was a good skiier that I hadn't fallen even once. His reply was "Then you didn't learn anything".

    I'm pretty sure it was Mario Andretti who said: "If everything is under control, you're not going fast enough."

    It has been mentioned here several times that people's early efforts were "not perfect", "got some flaws but it's not entirely embarrassing either". Well, I can say with confidence; get used to the feeling because they are never perfect. No matter how good we get there will always be something that isn't perfect, but as we get better the flaws become more and more insignificant, and we become the only ones (builders) who notice them. As we develop our eyes and ears, we learn to see missed details and minor errors that we formerly didn't notice. We go through a period of nit picking; finding flaws in the work of the finest builders, and perhaps even pointing them out to people, but eventually we realize nothing is without flaw and we stop looking for them in finished work.
    Show your work to someone with just a few builds behind them, and he/she will see all the things you didn't get quite right. Show your work to an experienced builder and he/she will see what you did right and may offer some constructive criticism while looking past the minor flaws.
    Build with confidence. Even the finest builders built their first, second and third instruments, and they look just like everyone's early efforts, don't apologize for minor flaws, we're human beings and we learn as we go.

  10. #10

    Default Re: thoughts and reasons

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    ... "got some flaws but it's not entirely embarrassing either". Well, I can say with confidence; get used to the feeling because they are never perfect. No matter how good we get there will always be something that isn't perfect, but as we get better the flaws become more and more insignificant, and we become the only ones (builders) who notice them.
    That's what I figured. On my #1 I've somewhat deliberately not dwelt on fixing/hiding the flaws in the interest of getting the thing done. One thing going against the beginner builder, I think, is having no reference... wondering things like "is this top too thick/stiff to vibrate well or is it so thin/flexible it will collapse?" #2 is going to go faster just because there's less time spent staring and pondering.

  11. #11
    Luthierus Amateurius crazymandolinist's Avatar
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    Default Re: thoughts and reasons

    Or, if you are more adventurous like some of us are, no doubt the build's raised even more questions on how to do things "better".
    "The Beauty of Grace is that it makes life Unfair" - Relient K

    "THEY'RE HERE!!! THEY'RE HERE!!! the Albino Brain Chiggers!" - Harry from 3rd Rock

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    Default Re: thoughts and reasons

    I had not even held a quality mandolin when I started building...But thinks to Brian Aldridge from Drybranch Fire Squad , I got access to some very fire mandos ....that was a true education....thanks Brian...............
    kterry

  13. #13
    Luthierus Amateurius crazymandolinist's Avatar
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    Default Re: thoughts and reasons

    Fire mandos? As in "firewood" mandolins? You must have been VERY deprived!
    "The Beauty of Grace is that it makes life Unfair" - Relient K

    "THEY'RE HERE!!! THEY'RE HERE!!! the Albino Brain Chiggers!" - Harry from 3rd Rock

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    Registered User Rodney Riley's Avatar
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    Default Re: thoughts and reasons

    All those little things you see that are not perfect are what makes them "one of a kind". Never made an instrument yet, but while helpin my son-in-law split and stack firewood yesterday. Was looking and wondering if this or that piece could be used for the sides/backs or necks. Don't believe there is any Sitka Spruce in the area. Will have to spend some time with my dad to learn how to identify what wood is there. Should have listened and learned when he was tryin to teach me things.

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    Default Re: thoughts and reasons

    I like reading this quote from time to time.

    “Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
    ― Ira Glass

    I think it applies to a lot of areas
    Avi

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    Default Re: thoughts and reasons

    I'd like to thank you all for the encouraging words! Mistakes are the best teachers and experience the best guide. This is a slow project for me as I don't have as much time in my shop as I would sometimes like. I place the peices of wood that I've screwed up on in a pile, as a reminder what not to do, and besides that, I hate to throw anything away. Yesterday I was sanding on the long side piece and it got away from me and shot across the room and ended up in two pieces on the floor, after a few*@#%$ choice words I said ok, start again. *$%#^@@ Life is good!

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    Default Re: thoughts and reasons

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    I can say with confidence; get used to the feeling because they are never perfect. No matter how good we get there will always be something that isn't perfect, but as we get better the flaws become more and more insignificant, and we become the only ones (builders) who notice them.
    I've got one of Sunburst's recent mandolins, and I can tell you that, if it's not perfect, it's really close. He mentioned acouple of things, but I don't see them.
    Jack C.
    non illegitimati carborundum

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    Registered User Rodney Riley's Avatar
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    Default Re: thoughts and reasons

    Quote Originally Posted by jackc View Post
    He mentioned acouple of things, but I don't see them.
    I take my glasses off. Then everything looks warm and fuzzy, imperfections disappear. Kinda like TV does for the older leading ladies.

  19. #19

    Default Re: thoughts and reasons

    CLS- chronic luthiery syndrome, side effects may include deepening sense of satisfaction/frustration, minor skin cuts and abrasions, back fatigue, elbow pain, etc. If symptoms persist more than 4 hours, consult your Orcas Island Tonewoods, Old Standard, etc etc..........

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