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Author Topic: Instrument Makers  (Read 2752 times)

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Pete Dunk

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Instrument Makers
« on: July 29, 2009, 08:14:28 PM »

Off topic straight away because this has nothing whatsoever to do with melodeons.

I love watching an artisan at work: the skill, dedication and enthusiasm born of a lifetime of craftsmanship and experience. The crazy clutter of the workshop and bench where anything that's put down is lost for several minutes.

I came across a series of four ten minute videos on youtube which I found hugely enjoyable and thought some of you might too. Making a Northumbrian chanter reed

(Theo's workshop is a bit like that too  ;D )
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Morrisbox

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Re: Instrument Makers
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2009, 09:08:40 PM »

The man in question is Colin Ross who is an exceptional craftsman, and an extremely helpful person.  Always very keen to pass on his knowledge and to encourage others to keep an old, and at one time nearly extinct, musical instrument alive.

He is also a talented musician, and played with the High Level Ranters for some years

Trevor
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Theo

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Re: Instrument Makers
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2009, 10:30:34 PM »

Here is what I did yesterday, repairing some broken fretwork on an early Wheatstone English concertina.
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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Andy Simpson

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Re: Instrument Makers
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2009, 01:09:19 AM »

You're quite right, Pete, watching someone who's really good at what they do is something to behold. A friend who also makes and repairs guitars told me about how his tutor at London Met was quite testing company as a person but to watch him at work was just, in his words, beautiful.

I spent today cutting binding and purfling channels and taking a fretboard from rough to thicknessed, profiled and slotted, two of my least favourite jobs...but tomorrow I've got a bridge to make and a neck to carve, two of my favourites. (:)

The crazy clutter of the workshop and bench where anything that's put down is lost for several minutes.

That sounds about right...my mini Maglite and one of my scalpel handles seem to have vanished off the face of the earth ???
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Bill Young

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Re: Instrument Makers
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2009, 08:36:43 AM »

Great to see a craftsman at work, and explaining so clearly what he's doing.

Theo, that's a bonny piece of work.

Keithypete.

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Re: Instrument Makers
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2009, 03:09:00 AM »

I very much doubt one can go into a shop anywhere in the land and purchase a tiny little bench-hook for forming chanter reeds, as featured in the you-tube clip. Reminds me of my grandfather, Herbert W.Tyson, joiner, wheelwright, cabinet maker, and towards the end of his life - instrument maker; violins, violas, cellos and double basses. The fiddles were really very nice in an artisan/English sort of way. He had two tiny brass thumb planes, one was about the size of a pencil sharpener. A chap who does 5 string conversions for D.Bs knew of his existence and sought us out and made himself known to us,this was probably 25 years ago. He says barely a day goes by that he doesn't use one or both of them. Which is nice.
    Grandfather once had one of those lapses of concentration, for which one often pays dearly, whilst using the big band-saw planking a tree. The blade went nearly all the way through his thumb, just the skin at the back holding firm. He went ito the house, grandmother applied a poultice of some description and a brown paper bandage, he then marched over half a mile to the hospital.
    We still have some of his lovely furniture, but alas none of his tools have survived. Except the two brass planes!
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Chris Ryall

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Re: Instrument Makers
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2009, 08:16:48 AM »

Found the Colin Ross film(s) captivating. My bagpipe making and playing friends tell me that a well made reed is fundamental. This was a good insight into why and how ...
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Theo

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Re: Instrument Makers
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2009, 08:38:30 AM »

.... He had two tiny brass thumb planes, one was about the size of a pencil sharpener. .....
    We still have some of his lovely furniture, but alas none of his tools have survived. Except the two brass planes!

Like this?

I love browsing tool catalogues, and Dick must be the most enticing
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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Malcolm Austen

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Re: Instrument Makers
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2009, 09:08:49 AM »

When I first started my Engineering training I met a wonderfull selection of old but highly skilled people and when my youthfull arrogance had been knocked out of me, by finding myself total outclassed, I found most were generous teachers if you asked and then listened. I have for the rest of my life been fascinated by true craftsmen and have tried to remember what they showed me, in particular, the value of good tools and how you should treat them.
malcolm

PS I still habitually search through old tools for good wood chisels and only the other month found an old Marples that with a bit of cleaning and regrinding is now a wood chisel again and not a paint stirrer.
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Keithypete.

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Re: Instrument Makers
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2009, 02:34:02 PM »

Yes Theo, exactly like that. Was unaware of Dick until now. Thanks. Oh! and by the way - the thumb was saved.
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HallelujahAl

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Re: Instrument Makers
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2009, 02:33:55 AM »

What a wonderful site Dick is! Have had fun trawling through their catalogue. Thanks Theo.
AL
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xgx

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Re: Instrument Makers
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2009, 09:56:47 AM »

If planes take your fancy have a browse or three around Bill's site:

http://www.billcarterwoodworkingplanemaker.co.uk/

he's a fine craftsman who's willing to pass on his skills...
 scroll down to the sequence of stills of Louise making a plane.... a thing of beauty... (the plane is very pretty too  :-*

http://www.billcarterwoodworkingplanemaker.co.uk/10.html
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Graham

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