Two Tools

This is one of my favorite tools in the woodshop. Like most here it is of no importance to be the biggest or most powerful or expensive; only to be the right tool for the job. This is the small drill press, a cheapie from Harbor Freight that has served me (and you) for years. It drills and countersinks small holes in control plates, cavity covers, truss rod covers, thumbrests, and any other small parts. I’ve even drilled out hand made ebony bridge bases on this. It has a light on it – one of my favorite features a tool can have – and every time I’m chucking in one of the two main bits it usually has in it I think to myself, “This is one of my favorite tools.” I love the way it fits over on the side of the long bench by the windows, I love the way it feels – the tool equivalent of “action” on an instrument, I even like its particular whir. 

The big drill press drills string-through holes in bodies, tuning machine holes in headstocks, and other comparatively big jobs for what we do. The small one drills a lotta holes! All of our plates & covers start as thin pieces of various pickguard material or shaved down slices of wood. Every hole in them once they’re cut and beveled is drilled right here, countersunk by a gentle partial drilling with a specific bigger bit. 

One of my favorite tools in the assembly shop is the ferrule bopper. That’s the Wingfeather Workshop technical term for this rubber mallet we use to seat & drive in the string-through ferrules. Those are the receivers on the back of the body that catch the ball ends of the strings on instruments strung through from the back of the body. That’s most Birdsongs, and every one has been lovingly but firmly bopped in place by this very mallet since our beginnings in 2004. 

Rarely does it leave the bench – I try to keep the tools needed where they will be needed at all times – but it occasionally will wallop something loose or tight on an old car too. I have other car tool mallets but this one is clean, and sometimes even a greasy old musclecar has a spot that needs a little more of a thump but no grease. It's just a good tool - a good tool I enjoy every time I use it. A good tool to me is the one that fills my hand with the ability to get a job done without getting in the way. Like a good guitar or bass it should feel good, balance right, and help you be the best you can be. I am blessed to have many good tools and I’ll show you more in the weeks to come. 

I also released my album of the month for September, “Sonic Light Embrace” – read about it here: www.sbeckwith.com and follow the links to listen / download if it sounds appealing to you. If not, hang in there – more songwriter stuff is coming! Three more albums and I’ll have released 12 this year. It’s not a matter of running anywhere near low on recordings, it’s just figuring out which three sets it will be. There’s plenty – music is my life. And if you’re lucky enough to hook up with what you’re here to do, you smear yourself across the spectrum and do it ‘til you’re a spent shell.

Have a great weekend!

Listening to: Lots of podcasts this week – Dinner Party Download, Marc Maron’s WTF, and Eddie Trunk. I do have a CD in front of me, The Jazz Mandolin Project “Xenoblast” and that’ll be going in shortly.