Updates and Shop Happenings- Oxwood 2017 and the year ahead (Part 1)

This past year has been filled with some very interesting turns and events.  We took off in our remodeled camper...got to South Carolina and turned back around.  Sold the camper, remodeled a bathroom, packed up and moved to South Carolina, moved OUT of South Carolina, then went to San Diego where I interviewed and accepted a job as a cabinet maker.  Whew...and the year isn't over...nor are the twists!   

I landed back in Detroit a couple weeks ago with the intention of packing all of our stuff, which was still in boxes, into a u-haul and taking it back to San Diego.  I had the job, I had lined up a place to stay- everything was in order or so it seemed.  But these past few months have been some of deep reflection and inner examination. Where are we? who are we? Why do we feel so desperate to move away?  Is it the cold?  Hmm, didn't seem to be bothering me all that much.  What do we really want out of life...or at least the next 5-10 years?  Definitely want to own and renovate our own home.  Was that even possible in Southern California for us?  We wrestled with the options, numbers, possibilities, long term vs. short term plans and even though we want San Diego, something just didn't feel right.  Today, we feel the same way, something just isn't right about it for us.  We love Southern California and definitely want to be there, but at the end of the day have decided that there are circumstances and bigger reasons that have lead us to stay here in Michigan after all, and I'm definitely looking forward to relaxing a bit and finally letting go of this "we have to get out!  How are we getting out?!" madness that has plagued the last 9 years of our lives.  Which brings me to the rest of the year and what I am planning for 2018 and beyond.  

As of now, I'm in the process of setting the shop back up and tying up some unfinished projects that have been lingering for years.  Clearing out the 'in process shelf'.  The first is this nylon string 00.  Using a combination of this awesome book from the 1970's, Ervin Somogyi's books and a few internet searches I took my standard steel string 00 shape and built a sort of classic/crossover style nylon string prototype.


Gluing the fingerboard in place here- with a two way adjustable truss rod.  This guitar will have a pretty thin, Spanish Cedar neck and I wanted to have maximum adjustability and stability.  And then also getting the top binding glued in place.  Continuing with the somewhat modern rendition of a Classic instrument, it will also include a small bevel on the treble side of the upper bout for a bit of comfortable access to some frets past the body joint.  It 



I hope to have in in finish over the next couple of weeks.  My initial thought was to French Polish the entire guitar, but being that its a prototype and it will likely be in the laps of many players, I'm leaning toward finishing the back, sides and neck in nitrocellulose lacquer and French Polishing the top.  Here's where were at-



There's still quite a bit of work left to do, but I'm happy with the progress and the way it's all coming together.  


Stay tuned for more progress pictures of the build and things around the shop and follow me on instagram to see more frequent updates and build photos- @brad.the.guitarmaker


Black Limba OM- Finished

I was able to finally get the finish buffed out on the OM last week and assemble it.  With only 4 days of being a guitar I couldn't help myself and wanted to play with my new Rode mic.  So, here is a little clip in open D tuning.  This is an original tune, though I don't consider myself much of a player let alone a composer.  Just a little tune to demonstrate the guitar.  Put on your favorite head phones or ear buds and give it a listen.  


If interested, it is for sale, please contact me.  I will get some finished/professional photos of it later next week and add a for sale section to the website with more info and photos.  For now, cheers.

A Travelin' We Will Go!

A few weeks ago I wrapped up the woodworking on three new guitars.  I also hinted at something exciting that was happening for us and I'd like to share a little bit about whats happening now.  Here are a few photos of the work.


As some of you know, we left Michigan with our travel trailer in search of warmer weather and adventure...and just in time!  They got hit hard just 2 days after we drove out.  That would have been ugly.  

Anyway, we've always had this dream to travel together as a family, exploring the United States (and hopefully the world).  Lonnie is 2 1/2 years old now and school is just around the corner.  We want to make sure we get in as much quality family time in these early years as possible and also show him some of the unique and different places as well as some of our favorites that we've found over the years.  We're all having a blast so far.  I figured since we're going to be out and about I should take this opportunity to meet up with fellow builders and players with a couple of guitars in hand.  I'll be doing my best to document the whole trip and even providing some quality sound samples when possible.  

Here are the two guitars that will stay with me on this trip.  I snapped these just after I sealed them up with shellac.  Then I packed them into their cases and headed out the door.  First is a Carmen (OM) in Sitka Spruce and Black Limba.  


The second is an Ox (Modified Dreadnaught) in Sitka Spruce and Curly Maple.  

In order to get out of Michigan before the snow flew, it required some finagling and figuring out how to accomplish the finish and assembly on the road.  Luckily I have a friend in South Carolina who owns a cabinet/furniture shop with a nice paint booth.  He was kind enough to let spray the lacquer on these guitars over the last couple of weeks.  So I threw together this crate of tools to complete the guitars amidst the travels.  So far I haven't figured out that I've forgotten anything, fingers crossed!

As of now, both guitars are in their final curing stages and will be buffed out and assembled later this week.  More updates to come.  Cheers!

The 00's from Woodstock

Earlier this year I was overjoyed to open my email and find an invitation to the Woodstock Invitational Luthiers Showcase.  I'd been wanting to exhibit in this show for quite some time.  Builders, players, collectors and appreciators from all over the world are in attendance.  It's a truly wonderful time to chat with enthusiastic guitar lovers and finally meet the other builder's we see around on the internet.  

I started to think about what I would bring with me.  Immediately I thought was a great opportunity it would be for me showcase a 2 1/2 year project I'd been working on- the Oxwood 00.  I decided since I was also celebrating 10 years as a luthier I should build something very special.  I chose the most beautiful set of Brazilian Rosewood I had in the pile and a wonderfully silky Lutz Spruce top.  I paired it up with a second 00 build of Amazon Rosewood and Western Red Cedar.  So, without further ado, here they are...and stay tuned for a more in depth post about my journey through finding my sound in the 00.