I just edited my profile and added the following description of myself…as if anyone cares who I am anyway…sob sob. LOL
I’m Alex, a 23 year old woodworking fanatic who’s affectionately called by my family the ‘Termite.’ I work at a private liberal-arts institution in my hometown as an Architectural Drafter/Designer. Another fanaticism I hold dear is that of Jazz Music. I was raised listening to the likes of David Sanborn, Tony Bennett, Stevie Wonder, Al Jarreau, The Rippingtons, The Crusaders, Ronnie and Hubert Laws, et.al. I have found that my ‘favourite flavour to savour’ is the smooth, stripped down, upbeat mix of Funk, Soul, Jazz, and Bossa Nova collectively called Acid Jazz. And no one knows how to do it better than those beloved mates in the UK and most of Europe. Groups like Jamiroquai, Incognito, Mr. Gone, Natural High, and my fav—Down To The Bone, really get my brain pumpin’ out the endorphines!
Sorry…I can really rant about my Jazz! But all of this leads to my infatuation with woodworking. I have this odd musical talent to be able to listen to a piece of music, and then go play it on an instrument (this was discovered when my parents found me @ a friend’s house playing—not banging on—but PLAYING the piano———at the ripe old age of 3.) Later in life, after teaching myself to play an old acoustic guitar, I got this notion (that is so peculiar to teenage boys) to want an electric guitar—a Bass to be exact—Imagine that! So I saved up my money to buy one , but I bought a regular electric guitar instead of a bass. I was glued to those guitar catalogs the way I should have been glued to my schoolwork…and I got this crazy idea…’solidbody electric guitars look easy enough to BUILD, I think I’ll make a bass guitar for myself, since they’re so expensive.’ At that time I had NO woodworking tools or know-how, so my parents suggested that I try something simple first—like birdhouses.
And so I bought my first power tool, an orbital-action jigsaw. I got some barn wood from an old broken down barn and a couple of plans from a friend’s gardening magazines. I used that jigsaw like mad!! I ripped, crosscut, mitered, scrolled, you-name-it…and I CAME UP WITH SOME BIRDHOUSES THAT I DON’T EVEN THINK THE BIRDS WOULD WANT TO LIVE IN. Anyway, my love for woodworking was born, and I had no idea how far it would go.
I spent three full summers running a lawn care business and building my woodshop. I read the local newspaper ads religiously and jumped on any decent deal. My first major purchase (I’m typing this with a smile when I think of how hard your jaw will hit the floor when I tell you what I paid for my tools) was a Rockwell table saw and an old industrial grinder for $75. I got the floor model Delta 16” VS scroll saw at Lowe’s for $55. My big heavy butt 19 amp router was from Harbor Freight for $80. Then one of my friends just gave me his dad’s old Craftsman cast iron table saw for $0. I bought a used DeWalt 733 planer and a dust collector for $300 total. Another $80 or so, and my clamp rack is COMPLETELY FULL…pipes, bars, springs, and c-style to boot. A Delta 10” Compound miter saw was new in the box from Lowe’s for $120. And more recently, I got a little 4” cast iron jointer from the 1930’s for $35 (which I de-rusted and replaced bearings and works like a champ), and a Radial arm saw with brand new blade guard and work table for $120 (the saw was bought used and the guard and table top was FREE from www.radialarmsawrecall.com).
All the while I was building my woodshop, I was intensely reading a book that is titled, oddly enough, “Make Your Own Electric Guitar”, and I was shopping around online for discount guitar parts. CAN’T YOU TELL BY NOW THAT I’M C-H-E-A-P…ahhhem…I mean THRIFTY? My guitar supplies, including hardware and electronics cost less than $120. I got my wood locally—A killer piece of ribbon stripe mahogany from the Menard’s home center for about $12, a nice board of Ebony from my hardwood supplier for $50, and 60 board feet of Michigan grown White Ash for less than $1.00 a board foot!
All-in-all I got absolutely everything I needed to get into woodworking and lutherie for less than $1500!!!!! The guitar took me about 6 months to actually build…my schedule was (and still is) pretty tight, so weekends were about all the time I had to be a Termite. Look for a future project posting of my first bass guitar (once I get around to developing my camera film!) I hope someday to find a better market for my custom instruments, and my music (did I mention I’m a studio musician too?).
I guess I can sum myself up as a one crazy jazz loving, wood lusting, finger busting, and Bible trusting woodworker, musician, and luthier of a kid who’s really is just a silly old fogey at heart. ;-D
—-—-—-UPDATE: Things I forgot to mention.
I’m going to further brag on my good deals on tools and equipment: I bought a 32” swing radial drill press and a little Delta 9” bandsaw from a friend for $175. This WONDERFUL friend also GAVE me about 75 board feet of 50-year-old seasoned cherry lumber—-in fact, it’s SO seasoned, it’s practically weightless compared to new cherry. It works like a dream, and SMELLS FANTASTIC.
I acquired a 20” 1000+pound industrial three-phase bandsaw from a high school woodshop for…......GUESS!!!!!!!!! I spent a couple hundred on a phase converter, new thermal overloads, and new bearings, but I finally got sick of the three-phase and got a single-phase motor for a steal on eBay. For around $300 of repair, and pain-in-the-rear, I got a bandsaw that would cost today roughly $3000!!! It is a resaw BEAST!
Well, I think that’s everything…....for now. :-)
-- Lane Custom Guitars and Basses