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Old 05-01-2021, 07:53 AM
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Default Hatcher Guitars Getting Ready to go B.I.G.

I'm very excited to be participating in Tom Bowersox's B.I.G. show in Texas this September! For the most up to date information on the show you can follow Tom's Facebook link: https://fb.me/e/23e9qA644

I am planning to bring four guitars to the show. They are all in the works so I thought I'd introduce them and share their details. Here is one I'm just starting. It will be my Greta GA model with a Florentine cut-away and an arm bevel. It is based on my Red White and Blue theme I have done previously but with some new twists. I have a very special bear claw Sitka top on wonderful multi color pommele figured Sapele back and sides:



The top is floatwood used to float a lumber camp in the ocean up in Alaska for about 40 years. The Blue color comes from the iron cleats they used on the float logs to lash the rafts together. That iron mixed with the ocean water and time stain eventually stains the logs.

Here are some pictures of the original camp, the iron cleats and the salvaged Sitka logs:







In all those logs there was one log that had a small section of bear claw figure and that's what I got:



And were off!



Thanks for viewing and I hope you can make it to the show!
Mark
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Old 05-01-2021, 08:11 PM
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Mark, very glad I’ll get to see you at BIG, and very much looking forward to seeing the guitars you bring! You’re off to a great start.
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Old 05-01-2021, 11:26 PM
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Happy Birthday Mark!!!
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Old 05-01-2021, 11:39 PM
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I really cannot wait! All 3 guitars of yours that I've played just made me want more and more time with them. Looking forward, Mark
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Old 05-02-2021, 04:42 AM
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Looks like a great start to red white and B.I.G.
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Old 05-02-2021, 06:45 AM
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Nice bearclaw!. Great photos of the floating lumber camp, very interesting to see that. I wonder how many of those things are left, and how often they are parted out into nice guitar tops. It will be nice to see these instruments take shape.
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Old 05-02-2021, 05:31 PM
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That top is stunning with the coloration and the degree and symmetry of the bear claw! Lucky to have it coming to B.I.G.!
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Old 05-03-2021, 04:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikealpine View Post
Mark, very glad I’ll get to see you at BIG, and very much looking forward to seeing the guitars you bring! You’re off to a great start.
I'm glad you're coming! I haven't seen you since Woodstock '18. I'm bringing that Bloodwood Greta and would like to hear your impression of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by palolowarrior View Post
Happy Birthday Mark!!!
Thanks! This was a quiet one which isn't a bad thing I suppose except in these covid times it's getting a little old>

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dustinfurlow View Post
I really cannot wait! All 3 guitars of yours that I've played just made me want more and more time with them. Looking forward, Mark
I'm looking forward to seeing you and hearing you play!

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Originally Posted by cigarfan View Post
Looks like a great start to red white and B.I.G.
Thanks cigarfan! This combination really works for me and has been well recieved.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Kraus View Post
Nice bearclaw!. Great photos of the floating lumber camp, very interesting to see that. I wonder how many of those things are left, and how often they are parted out into nice guitar tops. It will be nice to see these instruments take shape.
Thanks Bill. It seems Sitka is the preferred floatwood and the rafts last about 40 years. This one was a smaller one with just 3 or 4 mobile homes on it. Some of them were/are huge with schools and bars etc. Maybe some of our Northwest members will chip in on how many of these camps are still around.

Thanks for the comments!
Mark
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Old 05-03-2021, 09:02 AM
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Smile Spectacular top!

I love that top!!! What a beauty.

This Alaska stuff Makes me nostalgic for my 14 years as a traveling musician and band leader in AK... 84-98. All over the state, repeatedly.

Yes, the winters were brutal, but I spent a good chunk of most in San Diego.
Oh, but what a place!!!

I Often get asked if the people were as crazy as they are shown on the TV reality shows. The answer is no. They were way crazier than that! Ha ha ha ha.
it was a fun place to be the entertainment!!! Folks were VERY appreciative.

The Sitka forests were literally the size of smaller states. No wonder they used it for float camps. There was so much Sitka!

This will Rock B.I.G.

Carry on

Paul
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Last edited by Guitars44me; 05-03-2021 at 09:20 AM.
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Old 05-03-2021, 09:49 AM
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Hi, Mark,

That blue Sitka looks like it has the quality of legend! Can't wait to see what you do with it. No doubt it will be a Masterpiece, which is your standard thing.

I've gotten some of that Alaskan float log Sitka from Brent at Alaska Specialty Woods, and it is superb stuff in the higher grades. And there is no "aroma" quite like it that I've ever experienced, when you run this wood through a sander. It's something you never forget, the olfactory impact of float log Sitka. And in the built guitar, the exotic visual beauty and tonal quality of the wood are out of this world.
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Old 05-03-2021, 09:56 AM
martingitdave martingitdave is offline
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I was reading about the ancient 3,000 year old Sitka log that was located and made into guitar tops. I love reading about these old logs that are repurposed. There's something special about it. I happen to think that all guitars would feel more interesting to the owner if they knew a little bit about the tree they came from.
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Old 05-03-2021, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomB'sox View Post
That top is stunning with the coloration and the degree and symmetry of the bear claw! Lucky to have it coming to B.I.G.!
Thanks Tom! It is a beauty and has the weight and stiffness I look for in Sitka.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guitars44me View Post
I love that top!!! What a beauty.

This Alaska stuff Makes me nostalgic for my 14 years as a traveling musician and band leader in AK... 84-98. All over the state, repeatedly.

Yes, the winters were brutal, but I spent a good chunk of most in San Diego.
Oh, but what a place!!!

I Often get asked if the people were as crazy as they are shown on the TV reality shows. The answer is no. They were way crazier than that! Ha ha ha ha.
it was a fun place to be the entertainment!!! Folks were VERY appreciative.

The Sitka forests were literally the size of smaller states. No wonder they used it for float camps. There was so much Sitka!

This will Rock B.I.G.

Carry on

Paul
Thanks for your comments Paul!

Quote:
Originally Posted by theEdwinson View Post
Hi, Mark,

That blue Sitka looks like it has the quality of legend! Can't wait to see what you do with it. No doubt it will be a Masterpiece, which is your standard thing.

I've gotten some of that Alaskan float log Sitka from Brent at Alaska Specialty Woods, and it is superb stuff in the higher grades. And there is no "aroma" quite like it that I've ever experienced, when you run this wood through a sander. It's something you never forget, the olfactory impact of float log Sitka. And in the built guitar, the exotic visual beauty and tonal quality of the wood are out of this world.
Thanks Steve! I agree with you about the smell of the woods. Actually, one of the things I love so much about building guitars is all the wonderful and often surprising smell of the woods I get to work with;

Amaboyna Burl- Cotton Candy
Desert Ironwood- Hot Buttered Popcorn
Olivewood- Italian Restaurant
Spanish Cedar- Spice
Western Red Cedar- School Pencil
Brazilian Rosewood- Heaven's Waiting Room
Torrified Sugar Maple- Granola
Port Orford- Menthol
Indian Rosewood- Horse Poop
Lignum Vitae- Old Dates

And on and on!

Quote:
Originally Posted by martingitdave View Post
I was reading about the ancient 3,000 year old Sitka log that was located and made into guitar tops. I love reading about these old logs that are repurposed. There's something special about it. I happen to think that all guitars would feel more interesting to the owner if they knew a little bit about the tree they came from.
I couldn't agree with you more! I love knowing where the woods come from and I love a good story. Provenance is a big deal!

Thanks for commenting!
Mark
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Old 05-04-2021, 05:55 AM
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Great to hear. Look forward to seeing pics.
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Old 05-04-2021, 09:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ukejon View Post
Great to hear. Look forward to seeing pics.
Here are some more top pics as I go through the next steps:

After the top halves are joined I cut out the top shape. I cut it oversized which gets brought down to size after the top is glued to the sides:



The black lines are where I'll bring it down to and the red means cut.

After cutting out the oversize profile I clean up the top side with the smoothing plane:





Once that is clean it's time to start the rosette. That starts by marking the center point right here:

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Old 05-05-2021, 10:00 AM
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Default Moving along on the Rosette

The next step on the rosette is to drill the center hole:



From there I can cut out the rosette pocket and install the Amboyna burl center ring and the bordering purfling strips:



You can see I have white teflon spacer strips here which are place holders for the additional Amboyna burl rings.

Here is where it gets tricky. The Amboyna burl sticks that I'll be installing into those groves are best if they are .073" thick. Not .072" or .074, .073". Burl doesn't have any real grain direction and it is very brittle and delicate so I need a clean accurate cut. Preferably a cut that doesn't need to be cleaned up. Preferably a cut that doesn't heat up the burl and make it even more brittle. This is one place where a contemporary hand tool can shine:



This is my hand operated rail saw you can think of it as a manual table saw but instead of a carnivorous screaming rotary saw blade it has a surgically accurate Japanese straight saw blade that you put delicate things like this burl across on a sled:



The sled rides on linear bearings along four rails with absolutely no play. There are a variety of articulated hold down clamps to keep everything in place as you slide it across the saw blade:



Here are the sticks:



From here I use heat to ever so gently bend a curve into them. The curve doesn't have to be exact just close enough that the sticks don't crack as they are glued into the pockets left from the removed teflon strips:





Then it's just a matter of cleaning it up!



Thanks for viewing. You can see this completed guitar at Tom's B.I.G. show!

Mark
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Last edited by Mark Hatcher; 05-05-2021 at 10:31 AM.
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