This past weekend was my first chance to get out to my brother in law’s workshop. I was really looking forward because it was a chance to play around with some ideas. My main issue is while I can visit a nice workshop (hopefully on a regular basis), it is a cabinetry workshop. That means it’s not geared for making a musical instrument, and I don’t have a bending iron. Regardless, I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

So, my first problem was to make a design without bent sides. Russian guitar is said to descend from the cittern family, specifically the English guitar (which no, is not a guitar but a cittern) and I like some of the old bell cittern designs. So, I figured I could get a similar enough design to that with straight sides and a thicker shoulder block that I could cut a bit of a curved shoulder into. Since this was more of a proof of concept experiment, I just grabbed cheap wood from my local home improvement store, though I did get actual, but still very cheap, spruce for the soundboard.

The body came together well enough with corner blocks and thick shoulder and tail blocks. The soundboard didn’t work out so well. Since I had a thick piece, I thought I’d see what would happen if I tried to carve bracing into it. The result was that the grain of the bracing is all the same as the soundboard, so there was only strength in one direction. Regardless, it was a fun experiment and I really enjoyed working in a woodshop again even if I objectively did a terrible job with everything. Hopefully I’ll be able to make enough regular trips to make progress on this project and see if I need to invest in a bending iron and proper wood to turn it into a real project!

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