Strum along with us (or at least hum)

JoAnn Bostwick

This month the Robson Ranch Woodworking Club would like to highlight a couple of our guys who make guitars. Larry Balich and Bob Wilking make string instruments by hand. Larry makes ukuleles and guitars while Bob makes guitars and cellos. The choice of wood is crucial in crafting these instruments: mahogany for tops, backs, sides and necks, zebrawood for backs and sides, redwood for tops, maple for backs, sides and necks, and Spanish cedar for tops. These woods used for the tops are called tonewood since the sound is initially generated there from the strings, and the top has to have a tonal quality which is specific to only certain species. The top works much like a soundboard in a piano. Woods used for sides, backs and necks are chosen mainly for strength and appearance. Bob and Larry recently took another guitar-making class tutored by Randy Spencer from Spencer Acoustics in Garland. There they increased their knowledge of “luthering,” which is guitar-making to you and me. This class emphasized the quality of sound in stringed instruments. You might be interested in knowing that there are unique tools needed for this craft, such as side binding machines, heat blankets, body clamps, neck and side clamping jigs, carving chisels, files, rosette cutters and the list goes on.

Drop by the CATC building soon and view a couple of the finished pieces. Sorry, the cello is for Bob’s family and is not for sale.