A friend who is a great dancer contacted me a while ago with this story:
"Hi Zeke, i have a potential commission for you.. I have moved back to Toronto and in the move the packers took apart and ruined my grandfather's lawyer's bookcase. I am hoping to get it repaired by the insurance, but my daughter had a lovely suggestion if not. We were wondering if you might be able to make us a cello out of the wood of the bookcase."
Of course I replied that I did not think I could do that, it seeming like too much of an attempt to try something I had never done before with material so precious. We did end up making two guitars, however, one for each of the two sisters.
The shelves were made out of stained poplar and some other wood that I think was ash, but that had a grain pattern unlike any ash that I had seen before. These are not the first guitars I have made out of poplar, it's quite a nice tone wood actually. Very mellow. I used the ash for the necks, and I did put a Gibson-style truss rod into the necks. One of them ended up with a really gorgeous wavy grain in the neck, which you can see in the photos of the backs. Of course the green of the poplar will mellow to a honey color over time. Right now it is pretty dramatically green, as poplar is.
The tops I made out of the Sitka spruce ship's mast that I made Seafaring Ukes out of. It is also the top of the oak parlor guitar that I made a little while ago. It has ruler straight grain that is super tight and it sounds awesome. I am actually running out of that material, which is starting to make me nervous. I'll have to source some more.
These are both from the 1900 Lyon-Healy parlor guitar pattern that I have used for a couple of other instruments. I really like the small size of the box, and they are pretty punchy. I have a couple more on the bench that will be this same size.
These guitars sound great, and I had the opportunity to have two of the best guitar players I know play them together. Here are Leo Crandall and Tom Fay testing them out: