Stay in Tune vol# 110
By Luthier Patrick Podpadec
Since I have been working back at my old job for a few months it's been harder to keep up with the steady flow of instruments that keep arriving at my shop. It's starting to get a little crazy in the shop. When I start running out of room to put the repairs while the glue is drying or the lacquer is curing or whatever may be the case. Believe it or not this is when the shop starts "humming". I line up about 8 instruments and start working on each one of them for two hours at a time. Some of them get finished within 2 or 3 turns of this and some have to keep coming back. Before you know it instruments are be packed back in their cases and sent back off to their happy owners.. What I have noticed with this type of repair procedure is that my shop ends up looking like a bomb went off in it at the end of the day. I start using different tools for different repairs and everything seems to be spread out all over. I have to start the next day off by cleaning and reorganizing all of the tools, clamps and jigs just to get and idea where I need to start again. I'm certainly not complaining, it just seems as though I'm always running out of room. I need a space where the guitars that come in can be tagged and set in a row that can be easily accessible. This usually can be anywhere from 5 to 25 cases laying around in my small shop. There is also space that is needed on some of the benches where the instruments have to sit for sometimes a couple of hours while something is drying or when I have to start on something else. There is a small place in the corner that I have set aside for a desk with a computer and all of my reference books, but it seems to get swallowed up with things such as jigs, boxes that parts come in, or wood that I have selected for a certain project or something else that I'm building. I have tried different methods of repair procedures to try and make the whole process more efficient but it always seems to come down to the problem of "space". I can't have enough of it.
I had mentioned in a past article of my dream to add on to the shop in the fall, but everyday that goes by I see that the need for expansion may have to come before the Fall. If not that I will have to again re-evaluate my methods and rearrange my shop again. this is something that I guess every shop owner must deal with from time to time. It's a constant struggle to try to be more efficient so that you can eliminate silly things that happen in the shop that eats up time such as "where the @%#&% is that #$&*$digital caliper I need to measure this $%^# fret so that I can fix this ^$#& guitar?"or "What the $&#@ is this &%#^ doing over here?" and of course there is the everyday "Where am I suppose to put this ^%#& thing?" Oh well, where would we be without life's little hiccups? We all have them. I guess that is part of the whole process is to figure out how to work with or around those damn hiccups.
On a lighter note, Things are looking very good. The weather is showing signs (just not very many of them) of finally wanting to become Spring. This always means time for my favorite "Music Festivals". I usually start out the Spring season with a trip to the Riverside Inn located in Cambridge Sp. Pa. to a festival in mid April. This year however seams to be a bit of a mix up in the scheduling of this event. I have just recently checked the website and it has been changed and there is no mention of their event scheduling. Rumor has it that it may not being held this year due to management changes. (not absolutely sure on the rumor). This would be unfortunate because through the years (maybe 10 or more) my wife, son and many friends gather there to hear great music and have great fun. Well I think we will still plan the trip anyway and start our own little music festival there.
There is always the ever improving Blue Sky Folk Festival that is being held on May 17th on the grounds of the Universal Unitarian Church on Rt. 306 in Kirtland. As usual I will be attending with my booth full of "all things musical", I will be hosting a "Repair Workshop" and I also will be sponsoring another "Blue Guitar" to be signed by all of the musicians and raffled off at the festival. This has been a big hit the winners of the past festivals.
The festival promoters are also starting up a new "concert series" that will be running through the year but starts of it's debut concert on March 29th with Missy Raines and the New Hip along with Rebekah Jean. This is a Sat. night concert with ticket sales being $16.00 on line and $20.00 at the door. For more info please visit the website at http://www.blueskyfolkfest.com/#fest . Please do not get the two dates confused.
Besides the great festivals coming up I have been busy trying to figure out and build my latest Harp guitar. I started the project last spring but had to put it on the back burner for awhile. It's finally back up and running strong now . I hope it to be one my most rewarding challenges to date. There has been a few design changes along the way, but now most of the bugs have been ironed out and the project is under way. I have added a few "new features" on Harp Guitar that I have not incorporated into an instrument yet, such as separate "fine tuners" on the treble bank and geared viola tuners on the Bass headstock. There will also be a removable access panel located in the bottom bout so that future repairs or other design changes can be easily accomplished. I look forward to all of these new design features and all of the challenges and new things I will learn along the way that will add to my never ending luthier experience. So, again it's time to bid you "Farewell"! and I hope that you can "Stay in Tune" until another article comes out in the Voice.
Patrick from Liam Guitars/ Wood-n-Strings