New toy

I mentioned in a previous post about the new digital recorder I bought.  I like it because it enables me to post sound clips without showing myself.  😉

So, here is the recorder itself, in it’s protective silicon case, which is important when you have hard floors like we do.

And isn’t that the cutest little tripod.  It didn’t come with the H2, it came with my camera; I just like it more than the one that did come with the H2.

And here is a song.  It’s not that great.  It’s amazing how you can play a song five times in a row just fine, but when the recorder goes on, you just can’t get it right.  So, after about ten takes, I decided to call it quits and this is it.

Jesu, joy of man’s desiring.

On the plus side, it actually makes me sound better than I am.  🙂

More to come.


Fret leveling.

Is a pain.  But it’s what I did today, so it’s what this post is about.  😉

As I mentioned in my last post, the gentleman interested in my guitar asked me to level the frets.  I’ve never actually done this before, so it was a learning experience.

I took some pictures of the process.  First some of the guitar in question, and some info about it.

It was kind of an experimental guitar.  It’s the 8th one I’ve made, and I wanted to try using all cedar for the top, back, and sides.  I’d heard of people using all spruce, but not cedar.   So I tried it.  It turned out pretty well.

The fingerboard is rosewood, so is the bridge and peg head veneer. Binding is ebony.



Here I’ve made a shield to protect the top while I’m working on the frets.  This is always a good idea.  Don’t ask me how I know.  😡  😉



Next step is to paint the tops of the frets with a marker.  This is so I’ll know when they have all been touched by the file.



The file:



After filing:


Now the frets are flat on the top, and have to be re-crowned.  First they’re colored with the marker again:


This is the tool for crowning:


The ones to the left have been crowned:


Now the frets have a rough surface from the file.  They need to be sanded smooth and then buffed.  I had to make a sanding block.  It’s a chunk of mahogany with a groove on it:


Here the first one has been sanded with 400 grit paper, then 1000 grit, then buffed:


Rinse and repeat.  18 times.

Ok, now it’s ready for some new strings:


A fairly tidy tying job:


I also made some labels. People are always telling me that I need to have my name on my instruments.  I keep telling them that I sign the underside of every soundboard, but I guess that’s not good enough.  😉

So, I came up with a very basic label, and printed it on some nice parchment paper and sealed it with shellac.  Now I have to glue it to the inside of the back, through the soundhole.  Should be fun.


Not much to report here…

…but I have had some feedback about my guitars.  A couple days I took my most recent one (pictured in a previous post) in to Sweetwater Sound so my sales engineer could look at it and critique it.  I’ve done that before and he’s had some good advice for me.  He’s a pretty good player himself, and gets to see a LOT of guitars, from all price points.

This time, he mostly had good things to say, and also showed me some custom Gibsons that he thought were comparable to mine.  They were in the $3,000 to $4,000 range.  Whoo hoo!   😀

Then, yesterday someone came over to look at a classical guitar that I had posted on Craigslist.  I also showed him another one I have, and he liked it much more.  He said it was every bit as good as some very expensive ones he’s played.  He’s been playing for 40 years, so he ought to know.  Classicals made by well established luthiers can go for $10,000 or more.  Of course, I can’t command those prices yet.  I told him I wouldn’t ask more than $1000 for the one he liked.  I’d be happy to get $500 for it.  I told him that almost all the materials used in it came from Menards, and he thought that was pretty good.  😉

So, he want’s to come back after I’ve put new strings on and leveled the frets, since a few of them were buzzing.  I’ll let y’all know if he buys it.

It was really nice to hear a good player play one of my instruments.  And also to get his opinion.  It sounded a whole lot better in his hands than mine. 😉  Also, until a couple days ago, the only guitars I’ve seen and heard in person have been my own.  It was the same with knives.  I made knives for several years before I sold any, and it was a few more years before I saw anyone else’s knives in person.

I’ve often wondered if this was a good thing, and I’ve decided that it is.  If I’d seen other makers work before I had become satisfied with my own quality, I would have been tempted to start selling them sooner, and then the market would be full of lousy knives that would be coming back to haunt me now.  I think I can honestly say that I haven’t sold any knives that would be an embarrassment to me.

The first time I saw a knife made by an ABS mastersmith, was at the ABS Expo in Troy Ohio at the SOFA facilities.  I was attending a class about standards, and the teacher passed around a knife by a MS that he said epitomized quality.  I counted 3 or 4 flaws that I wouldn’t allow out of my shop.  😉 The plunge lines weren’t even, the blade was corkscrewed, and crooked, and the handle wasn’t symmetrical.  It was still a nice knife, but if I’d seen that before I’d started selling, I wouldn’t have been as motivated to improve my work.

I want the same thing for my guitars.  The one I showed the guy at Sweetwater was pretty good, but it still has a couple things I need to work on.  The neck angle isn’t perfect, and the finish/polish could be better.  The neck angle issue I’ll be posting about sometime, because I’ve been working on a new system of assembly that will help a lot.

The finishing issue, I’ll either have to just work on it, or hire it out.  Lot’s of guitar builders don’t do their own finishing.  One of the big name finishers lives just an hour or so from me, so I’m very tempted to have him do it.  Or at least pick his brain.  🙂

I’m already planning my next guitar, which should be a stunner, and good enough to sell.  I’ll be using Black Acacia, also known as Australian Blackwood, for the back and sides.  It’s very similar to Koa.

About Sweetwater.  If you haven’t been there, or at least to their website, you don’t know what your missing.  That is, if you’re into music.

As far as instruments go, they used to sell just guitars, drums, and keyboards.  Now they’ve got more stuff.  I saw a bunch of acoustic pianos there (talk about sticker shock! Who can afford $50,000 for a piano? And those were just Yamahas.  How much is a Steinway?), and I think I even saw some banjos in their catalog.

When I was there the other day, I bought a Zoom H2, which is a digital recorder.  I’ve been playing with it, and once I get it all figured out, I’ll post some sound clips of some of my instruments.

Well, this has been a very verbose post.  And no pictures.  😉  I’d better go get something done…


Just finished a dagger.

I like it.  🙂


Steel: O1, ground

Hardness: 59 RC

Blade length: 7″

Total length: 11-1/8″

Blade thickness: 5/32″

Handle material: black paper micarta, with black G10 and stainless spacers.






Thanks for looking,


New knife

Well, it’s been too hot to forge, and I can’t work on any orders until I do some forging, so I decided to make a batch of spec knives via stock removal.  One of them is going to be my new EDC.  It’s been a few months since I carried a knife, and I miss it.  Often.

But this one is for sale.  I have it listed on (here: , but I’ll go ahead and post it here also:

Steel:  O1 ground, not forged

Hardness:  58-59 RC

Blade length: 4″

Total length:  9″

Blade thickness:  3/16″

Handle material:  green canvas micarta

Hollow ground with scotchbrite machine finish. Tapered tang, of course.  🙂

Price:  $225   This one is now sold!

I can take paypal, check, or MO.  Please send correspondence and paypal to phillip at pattonblades dot com

Comes with horizontal carry leather sheath, pictured.

Thanks for looking,

Finished knife and sheath

Ok, here’s the promised pics of the knife from a few posts ago.


Steel:  W2, with a hamon

Hardness:  60-ish

Blade length:  9″

Total length:  14.5″

Blade thickness:  about .200″ at the guard

Handle material:  stabilized curly Koa

Sheath is a low ride with some edge tooling.  Dark brown, with an optional retaining strap.