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  #1  
Old 05-17-2017, 12:44 PM
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Mark Hatcher Mark Hatcher is offline
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Default Hatcher Italian Olivewood and Italian Alpine Spruce

I decided to do a separate build thread on a very special build I am taking on. I have been working on a number of new ideas and techniques that I intend to use on this build. I'll start with some of the inspirations behind this guitar to give you a view into my rather manic process of designing a guitar.
One of the reasons Karen and I moved to New Hampshire and to Peterborough in particular was the wealth of art that is ingrained into the community here. It starts with one of my neighbors, Howard Hitchmough. Howard is a fabulous knife maker and all around great guy. To give you an idea of his work here is a picture;



Howard has recently retired and invited a kid (me) into his candy shop (workshop) to see if I wanted anything. You probably have already seen some of his candy on my recent guitars like the partially fossilized wooly mammoth tusk bark etc. Howard asked if I wanted this piece of Olivewood that he had in his wood stash;



Howard was in the habit of dating the wood he acquires;



So you can see he's had it for about 26 years. It's 2 inches square by about 18 inches long. Of course, when I look at it I don't see knife handles I see a bridge;



Figured wood can be a cracking problem on bridges but, when it's that old it's probably has done whatever it was going to do and there aren't any cracks anywhere.

So I've had it out in my shop and have been studying up on Olivewood. It's harder than most rosewoods and tough as nails so no problem for bridges or fret boards.

I thought an Olivewood guitar would be in order when I came across this Italian Olivewood salvaged from an orchard in Italy;



I haven't worked with Olivewood although I've heard some wonderful things about it. I thought I should introduce it to my tools and see how they got along;





What a joy to work with! Went over pretty big with my all Italian wife, Karen too! Part of the joy of working this wood is the whole shop smells like a Northern Italian restaurant as soon as it touches sandpaper. It carves like soapstone.

So I went back and bought all of it. A couple of the billets have a lot of figure and some also have spalting and a few of the billets are big enough for backs and sides.





Of course if your going to have an Italian Olivewood guitar you should probably have Italian Alpine Spruce for the top;



So it begins. I have a theme, new techniques to try, and some wonderful materials. I hope you follow along on this little adventure!




Mark
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Old 05-17-2017, 01:00 PM
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Let's see: I collect knives, play guitars, just returned from Venice, worked in Peterborough for a few years, and I'm a wood scientist. How could I not follow this thread? Looks great Mark.
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Old 05-17-2017, 01:48 PM
Jobe Jobe is offline
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I'm in! Like the navigator in the above picture ( he has his boat listing to port ever so slightly ). All by design to make the next bridge opening. Good wishes as you make your way!

Last edited by Jobe; 05-17-2017 at 02:59 PM.
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Old 05-17-2017, 02:07 PM
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Fascinating! I will be watching!
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Old 05-17-2017, 02:32 PM
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I'm so very much onboard for this build, Mark...
For personal reasons, I've been intrigued with the prospect of an Olivewood guitar for quite some time, and I'm truly envious of this beautiful specimen that you've been able to procure. I'll be following this thread with a curious mind.....and an inspired heart.

Joel
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Old 05-17-2017, 03:37 PM
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Well Mark, you have done it again, found some absolutely stunning wood that will end up being phenomenal. I mean how do you do it, that back is amazing!
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Old 05-17-2017, 04:24 PM
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Looks great, Mark. Of course, when it's completed, you'll have to arrange a demo concert in northern Italy. Full circle.

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Old 05-17-2017, 04:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haasome View Post
Let's see: I collect knives, play guitars, just returned from Venice, worked in Peterborough for a few years, and I'm a wood scientist. How could I not follow this thread? Looks great Mark.
That's great! If you get back up Peterborough way give me a call I'd be happy to give you the shop tour and you can see this Olivewood first hand

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jobe View Post
I'm in! Like the navigator in the above picture ( he has his boat listing to port ever so slightly ). All by design to make the next bridge opening. Good wishes as you make your way!
Well put Jobe, Thanks!

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Originally Posted by ross748 View Post
Fascinating! I will be watching!
Thanks ross748!

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Originally Posted by Wood Knot View Post
I'm so very much onboard for this build, Mark...
For personal reasons, I've been intrigued with the prospect of an Olivewood guitar for quite some time, and I'm truly envious of this beautiful specimen that you've been able to procure. I'll be following this thread with a curious mind.....and an inspired heart.

Joel
I've been poking at this wood for awhile now. Some will recognize a few of these pictures that I have posted earlier. I'm starting from the beginning on this thread so it's all in one spot. It has grown into a very large project for me.

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Originally Posted by TomB'sox View Post
Well Mark, you have done it again, found some absolutely stunning wood that will end up being phenomenal. I mean how do you do it, that back is amazing!
Thanks Tom! Come to think of it a lot of the mammoth ivory on the guitar I made for you came from Howard.
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Old 05-17-2017, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve Kinnaird View Post
Looks great, Mark. Of course, when it's completed, you'll have to arrange a demo concert in northern Italy. Full circle.

Steve
Well now you're talking! Karen and I recently had our 11th anniversary and we had our honeymoon in Italy. It was a great trip to a gorgeous country. Wouldn't take much to go back! Thanks Steve
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Old 05-17-2017, 07:54 PM
The Bard Rocks The Bard Rocks is offline
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Default Olivewood

That is one of the woods which have been on my radar for a while now (can't have them all, sorry, Mark) and when I saw that piece in your shop it certainly caught my attention. I will be MOST interested to see how it turns out and to hear a description of the sound.
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Old 05-17-2017, 08:39 PM
gerberguitars gerberguitars is offline
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I've always thought that Olive wood was one of the most beautiful woods. I'm looking forward to see how this turns out. Kudos to you for giving it a shot!
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Old 05-18-2017, 01:32 AM
Ken Franklin Ken Franklin is offline
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I made an olive and incense cedar ukulele. It was a pleasure to work with as you say, so easy to shape and bends nicely too.
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Old 05-18-2017, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bard Rocks View Post
That is one of the woods which have been on my radar for a while now (can't have them all, sorry, Mark) and when I saw that piece in your shop it certainly caught my attention. I will be MOST interested to see how it turns out and to hear a description of the sound.
Thanks for following along! This is an interesting wood. Tonally I expect it to fall between Rosewood and Ebony, sort of in the neighborhood of Pau Ferro.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gerberguitars View Post
I've always thought that Olive wood was one of the most beautiful woods. I'm looking forward to see how this turns out. Kudos to you for giving it a shot!
Thanks. It really is it's own look and silky smooth to work and hold. It's fun pairing it with trim options.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Franklin View Post
I made an olive and incense cedar ukulele. It was a pleasure to work with as you say, so easy to shape and bends nicely too.
I've bent some test pieces which were as you say. I was concerned that it would scorch easily especially as it is a light colored wood that is so hard that it would require higher temps. Doesn't seem the have a problems though.

Here is a picture of the back joined, back graft on and a new style Olivewood logo chip in place;

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Old 05-18-2017, 11:50 AM
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I like that Howard Hitchmough knife. Excellent to see such old world talent.
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Old 05-18-2017, 11:58 AM
Nemoman Nemoman is offline
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Another beautiful palette from Mark--looking forward to this!

Any idea what kind of tone to expect from Olivewood?
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