Back in the mid 1960's, when I first got into the guitar repair scene, there wasn't much to choose from as far as supplies, information and tools. The only places I could find at that time were George Heinl on Church Street in Toronto, Franz Dotzauer in Erlangen West Germany and Bill Lewis Musical in Vancouver ( which was eventually bought out and moved to California and re-named Luthiers Mercantile ). When the early Guild of American Luthiers issues came out, things finally started to open up. Now of course, thanks to the internet, there are numerous sources to choose from for tools, wood, bodies, necks, hardware, fret supplies, finishing supplies and instructional videos on various repair and fabrication techniques. Realistically, like any trade or craft, it still takes hands-on experience to develop these skills to a level of excellance.
In the "Guitar Repair and Design Courses" at Conestoga College, we cover practical, safe, efficient techniques; teaching the students how to develop a logical approach in dealing with all of the various members of the guitar family. In a small class of 6 students; we always cover a wide range of topics and techniques above and beyond the designated curriculum. The design and fabrication of simple templates, fretting tools and a few other specialised guitar repair tools are covered. The students are encouraged to "cut to the chase" and "think on their feet", as is so often required, in order to get the job done. When dealing with the multitude of tasks that one faces every day in this field of work; this approach makes the difference from " losing money .... to making money" in your shop. Like any other trade or craft, it is not enough to be good .... you need to be good and efficient in order to turn over the work in a timely fashion.
These old shots ( before the advent of digital cameras ) taken at my old Brunswick St. shop, will give you all a glimpse into a time ( 14 years ago ) where I had just started to teach my first Conestoga College "Guitar Repair and Design" courses and had retro-fitted an old chair-factory into a fully functional Guitar Design / Restoration and Teaching facility .
I am very grateful for this period. All of this became possible due to the help, faith and encouragement of countless customers, students and friends who shared the vision and contributed in so many ways.
I am very excited and grateful for the continuing opportunity to share "with my students" and the "Global Guitar Community " what I have learned over the past 4 decades. I look forward to producing some instructional videos of my own in the coming year.
Gratefully in your service,