Monthly Archives: February 2016



I met Raven at Bucky’s for coffee. I need to pick up a few things, bottle water, O chicken, jasmine rice. Next stop Goodwill is open Sundays. I found a lamp chimney that fits my fancy oil lamp, now just need a fill cap. Raven found a California map book and a paper punch. Home.

I broiled the chicken marinated in O soy sauce, Chinese five spice and horse radish. Raven brought asparagus from her new garden, I found a couple more out by the peach tree. Some jasmine rice to boil. Meanwhile I prepped some bagget crostini with olive oil, salt, garlic powder, Parmesan and dry garden basil baked a 350 for while flipped until crisp. They’ll be good for soups or just munching. I made a quick meatloaf for lunches, burger, garden herbs, half onion, garlic, a glug of ketchup, an egg and some bread crumbs, topped with more ketchup, 350 for an hour. We ate the chicken, rice and asparagus out front in the partial sun, simply good food.

Raven’s working on amber necklaces as I hand carve out the guitar back plates for purfling to cover the router marks. Raven chose the rattan basket stock I have doubled up to fit the inlays instead of the bone colored plastic. I agree, it looks like (is) wood, can take the bends, and fills the space. I glued in the first section with superglue and let it dry. Working on the second electronics section, the new modified curved Xacto blade works great for carving these curves. I even used a plastic hammer to move the wood faster at an angle. I belt sanded down the first inlay section to see how it works perfect.


The second section is mostly right, I’m sanding the cedar to get the fit right as it’s softer than hickory. I’ll need to use wax paper or plastic wrap to keep the panel unglued to access the electronics with three screws counter sunk.

Raven and I walked down to the river for a break, gathering stones for some rune stones. I picked up two sizes of flat rounded rocks, 24 of each plus a few. We used copper markers to make the runes, two bags, my small batch and a larger one of Raven’s. She took a couple large to make an even set. Later I made another set of 24, slightly different sizes to make the set pictured.


I worked some more on the guitar back inlays. Time for Raven to head for her new home, with a can of smoked trout to go. A great day.


Today I worked for Elliot putting in smoke detectors, fixed the shower faucet, chopped a lot of roses with welding gloves, picked a bunch of oranges with the new fruit picker on a bamboo stick for Elliot’s birthday present. Cathy made Cost Plus shepherds pie, pretty tasty. A fun day. Half the day I thought it was Sunday and that’s tomorrow, cool. Elliot checked out the Altoids practice guitar amplifier I made (the first one of several), it buzzes a little, even picked up some Mariachi music off the airwaves, but it’s a good tiny practice amp. I let him borrow it. Cathy gave me a nice jewelry box about the same size to put another one in. I’ll add a fat capacitor to knock down the buzz.
On the way home I stopped to check on my boat Frolic. As I walked into the boat yard, a woman in the back of a step van said “Danny, Danny Piper?”
I looked back at her, I know this woman, “Who are you?”
“It’s me, Cindy Taylor.”
“Holy shit, Cindy!” I met Cindy in Venice Beach, she was 19, I was 22. We cooked together for a lot of people at Kickback Farms in Arcata.
I showed her my boat, it really needs a new paint job. She showed me her new today boat, a 36 foot Hunter will need very little work. Her husband spent the day power washing the hull on the hard. It’s a nice boat, worthy of a crossing. So good to see an old friend, we exchanged numbers.
I drove home. Some more fine shepherds pie for dinner.



I met Raven at the Salvation Army at 1:30 Saturday. I found the toaster oven she needs for her new place and had it set behind the counter for her. Digging through the bins I found a nice bass speaker, a drafting square and full drafting table folder kit with slide squares and angle arm, pretty cool.

Back home, I cooked up some primo chicken soup from the fixings I’d chopped earlier, O chicken thighs, onion, mushroom, carrots, celery, garlic, bouquet garni from the garden, with rice I cooked up separate for a sate chicken breast with cucumbers. Two meals multiplied for a few days work lunch. A jar of soup for Raven.

Raven is working on another bracelet from her Sweden stock of reindeer leather and spun braided wire.bracelet2


Meanwhile, I’m working on inlaying the purfling into the back of the guitar to cover up the router errors. This cream colored plastic ribbon matches the bone nicely and should accent the wood, while covering the errors of a free hand router. Cutting it in is a slow process using an Exacto knife to match the width of the ribbon, cut deeper into the hard hickory, cut to depth horizontally and chipped out. I used a chisel on the straight runs, but the curves go slow. I modified a blade with a curve using the lapidary, that helps. There is a lot to be done slowly. I slipped twice. The final grind and finish will put this below the surface.


I’m halfway through the first small inlay, with the gauge piece installed. Slow, but perfect is the goal.




Happy Valentine’s Day! Another good day. I made a batch of spaghetti with two buckets after I ate one for lunch, then made another batch of chicken and veggie soup, three buckets more for lunches. I make good chicken soup.
I finally carved in the last bridge pickup today. With the partial rosewood knobs from yesterday.
I laid out a 2 x 4 with the pattern clamped to the bench and cut a sample cut 1/8″ deep. The ends were just a little short so I removed the pattern and filed it just a little more. Reinstalled to the 2 x 4 eyed close, I cut just the ends, and checked the fit, it works, it’s in there. Even the rounded corners fit the round router pattern. Clearing the bench enough I clamped the guitar down near the bench end. Two blocks of original hickory scrap held the pattern in place wide enough to clear the router. I cut it in at several 1/8″ passes using the small compound square as a gauge to depth, just a 16th inch high. Something must have moved a tiny bit as there was a small ledge partway down stopping the pickup. I used the chisel and gouge to clear the wood until it fit right. The hole cut into the control cavity which is good as the wires drop right in.
I drilled the wiring holes for the upper humbucker pickups with some difficulty. The first hole into the upper chamber was easy. Connecting the upper to lower was a challenge. I drilled it from above, nearly there but nearing the face, Stop just in time. I drilled it from below and met the hole. Getting the wires through the angled holes was a challenge but I finally got it. I’ll need to do it again after I finish the guitar, probably with lacquer.
Next I’ll need to install the bridge, drilled, glued and screwed on the ends pearled. The grounding bar will need to be drilled into the control cavity. The controls need installing. Shape the pick guard and truss rod cover. Inlay the head, lacquer it, frets installed. Put it all together and string it, adjust things. We’re nearly there. Here’s shots of yesterday’s amp case and Raven’s dried apple kitchen witch head.





An interesting weekend. I drove to town Saturday morning, the truck is having starter problems again but it lit. Coffee, ah, some shopping at Safeway and the dollar store. I go to fire it up, rung rung rung click,… click, click, click, it’s not going to start. I forgot my iPhone, it’s out anyway, due yesterday. I walk over to the close UPS store, I can use the computer for a buck. I try to log into my google account, can’t remember the new password. I know my Yahoo account, log in but it’s not as up to date on contacts, Luis my mechanic isn’t there. I send Raven a note, I’m stuck. Next I walk up town to the O’Reilly’s auto store, no starters but delivered at 7:00 PM, dang. Back to the truck, what to do, pack it up for the bus. “Dan!, hey Dan!” Wow, it’s Raven, saved my day. She was in Santa Rosa and got a wifi connect, saw my email. She dropped me off at home, grabbed her mail and took off for another appointment. Thank you! I paid up my iPhone, updated my yahoo contacts and called Luis. He’s working overtime to install a kiln at the tile factory, “Get the part.” I call it in to pick up tomorrow.

So finally I get to work on the guitar, I clamp the upper pickup jig in place offset to match the pencil line layout. The guitar is clamped to the bench away from the work area, using scrap hickory to match the thickness for the jig, everything is solid. I set the router to a shallow 1/8″ cut and proceed to make the cut. Three cuts made it to depth with a 16th left high. It punched though the lightening cavity, needs a backing plate.


I moved the jig offset for the next humbucker pickup. I cut the first two passes, working on the final pass with several router adjustments to get the two pickups at the same height plane, cut most of it when Pete showed up, an old friend. “Give me 10 minutes to finish this.” Did it. It still needs the corners chiseled out but it’s a day.

Sunday, I finished chiseling out the corners and fitted the humbucker pickups


moments before Raven arrived, coffee in hand, bless you, perfect. We opened the package from her friend in NY, a P Fender Bass, nice git black with a white pick guard plate, one set of humbuckers centered, two knobs. A basic fine machine. I spun a four foot twisted wire pair on the drill with Raven on the trigger, wired it to two 1/4″ jacks one straight, one 90 degrees. Connected to the Altoids amp, it works fine to a set of earbuds. Digging deeper, she has another cable in the soft case pocket.

Meanwhile, I cooked a leg of lamb with garlic and garden rosemary, roasted potatoes, carrots and onion halved. A side of O green beans steamed. Just as it got done perfect, my phone rang. Luis is in Windsor, meet at the truck to fix it. We sliced it up, in to-go containers and headed out. Really tasty on the way, picked up the starter. Raven had her fine lunch in the parking lot, not exactly candle light.. The truck decided to start after a night to recharge, amazing. I drove it to the corner store where Luis took it across the street home and Raven picked me up. My truck will start again. It turns out to be a hot day at 81 degrees F.

Raven wants to make a Kitchen Witch. She carves a couple apple faces, in the oven to dry wrinkled. Wire and cloth to make the body. I carve a simple wooden spoon for the rider. She grabs a buckeye nut and glues green tree beard lichen for hair for a temporary head, electrical tape shoes.


Very cool, with a wire heart above to hang it by.

We walked to the river, it’s down some, changed a bit as it will in winter. A couple fishing boats paddled past. Home and away. A fine day.


A productive day today. I started laundry early, headed to town for coffee, O celery, mushrooms, plus some hamburger and pork chops. Back home, laundry to dry, I cooked up a batch of chicken tenders soup with onion, garlic, garden herbs, celery, carrots, zucchini, parsnip and orzo little noodles, tasty stuff for lunch now and three batches. Next I cooked up some spaghetti sauce of onion, mushrooms, garlic, garden herbs, the hamburger, O tomato diced, celery and zucchini with a hint of star anise for ten minutes to sweeten it up. I cooked up a batch of fusilli spiral noodles to go with it, two batches saved and a half for right now, good stuff.
Donning gloves I removed the poison oak red vardo cushion covers, threw them in the washer with the orange curtains and scarves. I ran them on cold as I don’t want the covers to shrink, but I used two caps detergent and a large dollop of the poison oak soap. The oils are gone for sure. I hung them up to dry outside under the trailer roof beams with spring clamps and clothes pins.
Next I attached a cross beam 25 3/4″ to the bed extension bench with two screws on each end to keep it from flexing, now in an “H” brace. It’s a strong enough bench.
I just made a batch of that O popcorn, yum, back to the report.
Time to play, I’ve been wanting to make some wooden boxes for the LM386 amplifiers I’ve been making for simple guitar amps. I ordered more parts from Mouser electronics Friday eve, for jacks and switches cheaper than Radio Shack. I found a nice piece of mahogany wide enough to fit an Altoids box, cut it in half height wise on the table saw. I cut some grooves for panels, set the fence with a block to cut the lengths with the cross slide. Adjusting the fence and block to the width of the stock, using a scrap extension and cross slide I cut away rabbits on the long sides with a few passes. Nice box sides. I measured the distance plus the grooves on the long side and the width of the short sides, cut some panels for top and bottom. Adjustments of panels on the sander so they fit, each individual box. Four rough units to be sanded true after fitting components and gluing.
I need to get the router pattern made for the long bridge pickup. I cut a piece of scrap birch plywood long enough for the pattern but short enough to use the jewelers saw for an accurate pattern, transferred from the paper. Hand drilled holes for the saw blade, I cut it out. I’ll need to clamp it further out, cutting a longer piece of plywood, marked and rough cut with the jigsaw oversize as the daylight is failing. Filing the pattern true, I’ll need to glue the two pieces together and test the pattern next week.