I guess we can officially say that the summer has come and gone. My question is, Where the %$#@ did it go? I was beginning to enjoy the hot weather we were having there for a while. I looked out in the yard the other day and was half tempted to get the rake out to clean up all the leaves in the yard. I decided to put it back and wait until I really need it.
I just recently had a very large cherry tree (about 80 ft tall and about 30’’in diameter) cut down in my yard .It seemed to have just died this past winter. The upper branches had started to drop and was causing roof damage to my shop and my neighbor’s garage, so I decided it had to go. Now me being the kind of guy who loves wood, especially cherry, I decided that I would salvage all of the wood that I could. I cut up all of the top wood in to firewood and the main trunk (about 30 ft) would be sawn up into useable lumber. I was lucky enough to have a friend that loaned me a wood mill
It is a portable mill that allows the sawyer to bring the mill to the log instead of the log to the mill. It is an ingenious setup that works great. It operates a motor driven 16’ saw blade that moves on an aluminum carriage that can be set up and operated by one man in about a 1/2 an hour. I was able to mill about 6 or 700 board ft of lumber. I estimate that about 200 bd .ft. is instrument grade quality. That adds up to quite few guitars, mandolins, dulcimers, ukuleles, and whatever else I might decide to make from it. The other 400 bd. ft. is of good quality too, but I tend to be very picky when it comes to instruments. I also left about 8 ft of the trunk sitting out of the ground and I am having a large guitar carved out of the center of the log so people who come to visit my shop will have something to look at. I am very fortunate to have met such great friends that help me out in my times of need .Many thanks go out to Mr. Sid Workman for the use of the wood mill and to my brother Mike for the loan of the log splitter, and especially to Mr. Fred Close for the carving of the guitar into the log. This project would not have been possible without their help. Again, I Thank you all! The only thing I did not anticipate was how much work that it was to do all of it. I do take pleasure in knowing that my family will be staying warm this winter and that I’ll be saving some money on the heat bill.
Getting back to the latest news of what’s happening in the shop, About 3 weeks ago I got a phone call from a man who said that his father used to build guitars and that he wanted to show me some of the guitars and parts that he had from his father’s collection. This man Denis Hines and his Brother Gary invited me to have a look at their father’s guitars. I was blown away! I got to the house and here is three beautiful archtop guitars finished with about another twenty or so unfinished bodies, sides, necks, half carved tops and backs, more stuff than I had ever seen in one sitting. It turns out that their father, Mr. Phillip Hines built these guitars sometime in the early 90’s when he was about 60 some yrs. old. He had recently passed away last October (Rest his Soul). I deeply regret that I never got to meet him . After spending some time talking with his sons, I felt that I could have learned many things from this man. He had an exceptional aptitude for production and an eye for quality in all of his endeavors. It seems that he had many. He was apparently working on building a piper cub airplane before he passed. His talents were many. I was asked by the son’s to complete three of the unfinished guitars. It is a great honor for me to have the opportunity to finish these works of art.. The bodies are complete and the necks are almost complete also. All that is needed is to assemble and apply the finish and hardware . These three guitars will bear the “Hines “ name and will be part of a very small collection of some very” high end” solid wood L-5 Gibson style archtop guitars. One of the things that I feel is so unique about Phillip Hine’s guitars is that he was a firm believer in using domesticated woods for his guitars. This is a belief that I also share. Many of the partially finished instruments are made from maple ,walnut, cherry, cedar, and redwood. I again Thank Denis and Gary for choosing me to complete their father’s legacy and the continuing friendship that we have developed since we have met. I’m sure that I will be telling many more stories as they unfold of this incredible luthier who seems to have somehow slipped by without me ever meeting him in the past. Be sure to check back with future issues of the Voice so I can keep everyone abreast on the many interesting developments of the “Hines” guitars and other luthier related subjects.
Patrick from Wood-n-Strings