Like Jack Benny said when asked how old he was, I’m still 39—again. Another year’s gone by, and I’m thinking more and more about Grecian Formula. I’m also thinking a lot about (time to get serious, folks) my life, and how to complete everything that’s on my “do-before-I-croak” list. Hm-m-m. I had an early mid-life crisis, maybe now I’m having an early later-life crisis.
Well, it is my birthday today. I missed being born on Halloween by almost six hours. (Thanks Mom.) I celebrated by getting up at my normal time, seeing my wife off to work, and carving/sanding in my studio all day. (My wife is taking me out to dinner tonight. Yum!)
A lot is going on in my studio. I recently got a bed extension for my Jet Mini Lathe, so I can turn longer pieces. The reason I got it is that I’ve decided to make some medieval furniture to go along with my medieval instruments. The first piece I’m working on is a medieval-era 3-legged stool. There’s several visual references to 3-legged stools in mid- to late-medieval and renaissance paintings. Remember, floors weren’t flat like today’s. In fact, many homes had dirt floors, or unevenly sawed planks, that a four-legged stool would rock on. Three legs mean the stool sits stable. I’ve already turned the legs and rails for one stool so far. The wood is salvaged urban forest wood, poplar logs given to me over a year ago. They’re pretty dry, but turn easy like green wood. I sand them while the lathe is turning, and they turn out quite polished and ready for a finish.
I’m still working on a Mountain dulcimer (“White Lady”), Chapter House Portative Organ, and Starnina Harp. Off and on, in between stints on the instruments, I work on spoons and spurtles. I finished two today, and four more to sand down tomorrow.
On the restoration and repair front, I’m working on a 1927 Kumalae “Royal Hawaiian” ukulele, and a Hawaiian guitar, a sort of inexpensive Weisenborn copy. I just started on the guitar, so there’ll be more info on that later. On the uke, I still have to put a few “cleats” on the inside to the top to help strengthen the cracks, similar to the cleats on the back crack repairs in the photo. After that, it will be time to glue everything back together and start working on matching the old finish.
That’s about it for now. We just got back from my birthday dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants. My grilled Alaskan salmon and pumpkin pie desert were fantastic.
Time change this weekend. Onward through the fog…