Finished the psaltery.

I’d say the experiment was inconclusive; it doesn’t sound much different than the other BPs I’ve made.   I’ll try again sometime and do things different.

But here’s the final round of pictures, anyway.

Shooting lacquer:

Drilling pin holes and adding markers.  C’s and F’s are marked.

Put the pins in:

The hitch pins have grooves cut on the ends, to keep the strings where they’re supposed to be, like so:

And they all need to be facing the right way, obviously.

I’ve used loop end strings before, but ball end are so much easier to work with, it’s worth the extra $.  There’s 144 strings here, but I’ll only use 25, if I don’t break any.

The first string.  Rinse and repeat, 24 times.

The finished instrument.  Stringing can be a real pain.  I think it took me about a half an hour.  But I didn’t break any.

Here’s a couple sound clips.  In the first clip, I play with an old psaltery, then the new one.   Second clip, just the new one.

Scarborough Fair




Todays work.

I started an experimental instrument.  I recently ran across a thread where someone mentioned something called a “Virzi plate”.  What it is, is a thin, flexible plate of spruce or cedar that’s glued to the underside of the soundboard on an instrument (with space between).  It’s supposed to make a big (positive) difference in the tone, at some sacrifice in volume.  This guy was putting it on an archtop guitar, but I’m putting one in a bowed psaltery.  Bp’s are too loud anyway, and they go together so quickly, so I thought that would be a good instrument to start with.

So, here’s a few pics of the BP, in various stages of assembly.

Gluing together the pin block:

Gluing the A-frame:

The soundboard, which is made from slices off a 4X4 fencepost:

The back, which is mahogany:

The top, cut to shape and thicknessed:

The rosette/soundhole added:

The Virzi plate itself:

The label.  Real classy, huh?

The top is glued to the finished frame, and then the plate is glued on:

Then the back is glued on:

More tomorrow…

The Dark ages.

We are in them.

Our phone line went dead yesterday or the day before, and that means no internet too.  I’m posting this from the parking lot of a doughnut shop.  The doughnut shop is across the street from a library, and the library has wi fi.  :mrgreen:

So, if anyone needs to contact me quickly, the best way is probably carrier pigeons.  Next best, snail mail.  Go ahead and try email.  I might come check it tomorrow.

Verizon is supposed to come tomorrow to fix it….

Matched set.

Someone ordered a set of two knives, and I just finished the bigger of the two this evening.  I made the “small” one last week.

The small one has a blade about 5.5″, the big ones blade is about 10″.

I’m sending them away to have the sheaths made.  bliss






Not the greatest pictures; lot’s of hot spots.  I need to work on my light tent…


A blast from the past.

Well, sort of.  I was going through a drawer full of old knives, and thought I’d post some pics of them.  Maybe some of my readers need a laugh or something….

This group here (except the little one on the left) were all made about 10 years ago, and were supposed to be for my future wife.  Well, I’m still single, and my knife making skills are much better now, so I need to start a new set.  These are going in the trash.  Look at the hollow grind on the knife on the right.  Horrible!  Even Pakistani sweatshops turn out better stuff than that.  LOL  They’re all stainless steel, heat treated in our fireplace, since I didn’t have a proper oven at the time.  Before I trash them, I’m going to test the hardness and see if I got anywhere close with the heat treat.  I’ll be sure to share the results here.  😀

Next group:

The knife on the left was one I made in 2003 or 2004.   My grandfather bought it or traded it from me.  When he passed away in 2007, it made it’s way back to me.

The next one is the second blade I forged, back in the fall of 2004.  I used a small coal forge I bought off of fleabay.  Now I use propane.  Prior to this, all my blades were made via the stock removal method. (grinding)

The next one is my first attempt at a Japanese short sword. (wakizashi)  It’s pretty sad too.  Sharp, though.

The next one is the knife I used to pass the ABS Journeyman Smith performance test, in 2007.  The test involves cutting free hanging 1″  hemp rope, then chopping through a 2X4 twice, then it has to still be sharp enough to shave hair.  Then it’s put in a vise and bent 90 degrees.   If it doesn’t break, you pass.   I passed, but they give you 3 years to take 5 completed knives to the Blade show in Atlanta for judging, and I never got around to it, so I’ll have to re-take the test.

I have some video clips of the tests.  I might upload them to my youtube account one of these days…

The next knife is like the first, but with uglier handle material.

The last one in this group is a filet knife I made.  Today I bent it to demonstrate that it wasn’t hardened properly.  🙂

I’ll be tossing half of these.

In this group, the bottom knife is the first damascus fixed blade I made.  Probably in 2006 or 2007.

Middle one is the first blade I forged.

Top knife is nothing special.  Interesting damascus pattern though.

Bonne nuit,


Guitar is (mostly) finished.

Ok, here’s the semi-final batch of pictures. I need to find some good lighting to take some glamor shots, but here’s some of installing the tuners and stringing it up.

First tuner:

Both tuners:

In case anyone out there was thinking I was perfect, (ha!) I put the tuners on the wrong sides.  In my defence, I looked, and one was marked “L”, which I took to mean “left”, and one was marked “R”, which I took to mean “right”. Sounds logical, right? Well, I installed the one marked “L” on the left, and the one marked “R” on the right, and it was obviously wrong. So I took them off and put them on correctly. Now there’s a couple screw holes to fill.

The strings:

Putting them on:

Then action is too high, so I’ll have to adjust the neck angle, but that was expected. I’ll let it settle in for a couple weeks before I do that.

They say you shouldn’t judge the sound of a guitar right away, because things will change over time, but it does seem better than my previous classicals. It’s louder, and the trebles and bass are more balanced.

Because of the color scheme, I’m calling this one my “blonde” guitar.  It’s just as good as any other color guitar, you just have to talk to it kind of slow.