Endclasp 2

This seems to have worked out ok. I am still cleaning up excess glue. The top edge of the endclasp is planed flush with the rim of the lute body – and both ends shaped so that they can eventually merge with the curves of the soundboard.

Next task is, indeed, construction of a soundboard. I plan to make one from Huon Pine; another from King William Pine; thereafter, cut a Rose decoration in each – and then form a judgement, or perhaps toss a coin: whatever seems appropriate….


If you are already solving the problem with the equipment you have – a pencil, say – why solve it with something more expensive and damaging? If you don’t have a problem, why pay for a solution? If you love the freedom and elegance of simple tools, why encumber yourself with something complicated?

Wendell Berry 1989

Endclasp 1

Almost there.

Seen from above, the horse-shoe curve of the endclasp is reasonably straightforward; its just a matter of shaping it on the bending iron. But shaping the vertical plane is more complicated, because it has to keep twisting in order to accommodate the ever-changing vertical contours of the lute body. And just to complicate matters: where the bottom edge of the endclasp  picks up the edge of each rib, I must smooth away the ridges.

Difficult, but not impossible. My next attempt, on the next lute, should be easier to navigate.

Boatshed Orchids

During the past year, our colony of Greenhood Orchids has expanded: we now have about ninety plants. They clearly like their sheltered home on the lee side of the Boatshed.

Greenhood Ground Orchids are endemic to Fleurieu Peninsula – but I doubt that they occur naturally so close to the ocean. Our Boatshed colony is probably unique, and much cherished.

From time to time the little orchids show their  heads above  the parapet….just as I do with my Boatshed commentaries. In that sense, I see them as kindred spirits…..

Winter Storms 2

Here is the finest salvage yet – a magnificent length of timber, presumably washed away from the old Rapid Bay jetty. Recent storms have shaken the remaining structure;  bits and pieces drift with the current which runs northwards – and these gifts from the ocean are delivered almost to our doorstep….a few hundred yards to the south, where the beach comes to an end.

The length measures 8 1/2 feet by 8 1/2 inches by 3 inches. I think it is what the trade calls ‘Australian Oak’ – which might mean Mountain Ash, or Alpine Ash, or Messmate Stringybark: they have similar characteristics.

No doubt the trees were cut from pristine forests way back, when our native forests seemed never-ending; when there was no notion of careful/selective harvesting and replanting.

All the more reason, now, to treat the driftwood with respect,and use it only for noble purposes. By that I mean: wooden boats, the best of which are surely the most beautiful examples of functional sculpture ever conceived.

I take all these gifts as an unequivocal Message. It is time we revived our boat-building skills, as far as they go, and look to the various castles in the air, inherited and otherwise.

Which is not to say my lute-making is forgotten. On the contrary – in the coming days I hope to glue the Endclasp to the Lute body. It has been a tricky job shaping the correct pattern; fining and refining and muddling through; getting a little bit anxious – but it’s the next and unavoidable step:  it has to be  taken, so I had better take it.