• November 06, 2019 6:00 PM | Anonymous

    By Doug Cox:

    Yesterday marked the end of significant wood working on the HatchSpace violin and viola!

    The violin is hanging in the Hatch south window, stained and sealed and absorbing UV for the next 6 months to harden the surface, fade the artificial coloring, and provide a base of natural oxidation before the varnish is applied in the spring.

    The viola had its neck set and shaped yesterday and is on Sunset Lake Road for its staining and sealing process and will join the violin in 3 weeks.

    The mess around my Hatch Work Space is very unusual for me and is the total accumulation of shavings and scraps from this project and will be documented and discussed next week.

    My plan is to continue my Wednesday afternoon residencies at HatchSpace working on whatever instruments currently in the works and appropriate for work at HatchSpace. Please stop in if there is anything you would like to talk or ask about. I am very interested in seeing how your projects and work at HatchSpace take shape.

    Timelapse Video: 

  • October 23, 2019 6:00 PM | Anonymous

    By Doug Cox

    I have been remiss in keeping the blog posted with progress of the “Hatch” instruments.

    The woodwork on the Violin has been completed and it is in  wood treatment process before being sealed and hanging in the sun before  varnishing.

    The Viola is in my workshop  for the week to have the inside sealed and acoustic measurements made before the top is glued on next Wednesday and the neck set in the body.  

    This work will essentially complete the work on these two instruments until they are ready for varnish in the spring.  My plan is to continue to work at HatchSpace through the winter, but perhaps not as much nor as regularly.  I will be looking for other ways to follow the work of my fellow “Hatchers”.

    Timelapse Video:

  • October 02, 2019 6:00 PM | Anonymous

  • September 26, 2019 6:00 PM | Anonymous

    By Doug Cox

    It feels that work is moving very quickly of a sudden. Having to be at HatchSpace for a few hours on Thursday as well as Wednesday certainly added to the feeling, but there is a time in the process when work flows with its own power, and the hope is that I and the needs of my life can get out of the way and allow it to happen.

    I completed the interior work on the violin and it is now ready to be closed and the neck set. The viola arch is complete and the graduation underway and "f" holes should be cut this coming week.

  • September 11, 2019 6:00 PM | Anonymous

    By Doug Cox

    I got the story on the maple I am using on the "Hatch" violin this week.

    The "quilted" maple came to me from Tom Bodett. Tom is a Storyteller. You need to be careful about story tellers. They like to tell stories, and they like to tell good stories. According to Gennarose Nethercott, a Brattleboro raised poet, there are three rules of storytelling:

    each story has its own rules

    at least something has to be true

    the story is bigger than any of us

    the story has to fit the attention available, so stuff gets left out

    stories and numbers (and rules) are relative

    So Tom's story was that the wood was collected, from some unknown (to Tom), source by Rich Blazej. Tom had the wood and it was too unique and too small for any project he had yet imagined, yet too special to not keep for something special someday, and maybe a violin would be that something special, and would I like to have a look at it. So I look and something inside says "yes" and off we go. This is the story of many a violin.

    I didn't know Rich as a woodworker but we played together - he clarinet, me tuba - in Bruce Corwin's American Legion Band during the Iraq war, and I knew Rich as an activist and a voice for a better world. Turns out he was a draft-resisting CO during Korea, me during Vietnam, his son in the Reagan era, family roots in WW-II. Turns out Souza can inspire community and corporate action in many hearts, for marching not all in the same direction.

    So Claude, Rich's son, comes in on Friday with instructions from Tom to tell me more about the wood, now clearly committed to being a violin. Tom knows Claude because Claude made the cabinets in Tom's house and they both love wood. So Claude tells his part of the story:

    Richard "Dick" Steele was a cabinet maker in Cambridge Port, VT. I don't know if barns were invented by Yankee hoarders, or Yankee hoarders were invented by barns, but there you have it, chickens and eggs yet again. So Dick worked in wood and collected lots of stuff: 60 old cars around the property, lifetimes of many magazines stacked in corners: anything too valuable to throw away, or perhaps too much trouble to throw away, found a home, or at least a place to stay for a while.

    So Dick's estate extended to a barn in Saxtons River that had been a tannery. Some things, including wood and magazines like to be dry and the barn filled, as barns will do. The time comes when life ends and new order asserts itself and Dick's stuff was up for auction. Walter Phelps, another woodworker bought the barn-full, or at least what he wanted of it, and needed help going through stuff and moving out what would live on in his barn. So Claude helps out and gets the pick of a few boards, and then Claude asks Tom for some space to store his share in Tom's barn, and this piece somehow falls to Tom in payment for rent or some-such, and from Tom to me.

    So its turns out Rich never saw this wood, and the story is ok without him. The violin taking shape at HatchSpace is the next step in human seduction by extraordinary natural beauty. The wood, as part of the violin, will live on for 300 years in the hands of 12 or more owners. This natural process of seduction and of wood passing through human lives will go on. (The movie "The Red Violin" is a wonderful telling of the story of the life of one violin)

    So I don't know where the tree grew, or who cut it down, or when, or who ran the saw through the log, or what other eyes and hands took its measure and set it aside, but I do know something of the why, and how it came to me. I'm pleased to be passing it on in its new form.

  • September 04, 2019 6:00 PM | Anonymous

    By Doug Cox

    The work today at HatchSpace was primarily fitting the purfling on the viola, after final adjustment of the outline. I also began the graduation of the violin back after a bit of cleaning up the arch.

    Last week I described the violin back wood as spectacular.  Failing with words to describe what that means, here are a couple photos.

    Several good conversations today about projects of other HatchSpace members.  It feels that I don't have a lot helpful to offer on woodwork techniques, as what I do is so specialized, but wonderful exploration on wood choices and aesthetic design considerations.

  • August 29, 2019 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    By Doug Cox

    This week was productive and satisfying.  I spent good time with Bruce Berg going through the thought and design process on the side cabinet he is building exploring different ways to use wood properties, strategies using what we know of traditional construction practices, the meaning of furnishings in our homes and lives, and craftsmanship as a means and as an end. I tried to do a quick estimate of how many different flat surfaces there are in all the joints he is bringing together for this piece.  These kinds of conversations are part of what make the Hatch valuable.

    I mostly worked on the violin finishing the  arch (exterior shaping) and the scroll.  Both will need finishing touches over several revisits to the work with fresh eyes.  I have the  outline of the viola in almost finished shape  again needing several revisits and refinement before I fit the purling, which should happen next Wednesday.


    The blister or quilted maple Tom gave me for the violin works like a charm:  smooth and even, pliant yet substantial.  I feared the crazy figure would make cutting cleanly difficult, but not so.

    Carving the arch is more sculpting than “woodworking” as usually understood at the Hatch.   The process is like the magic of photographs take shape in the developer tray:  big items taking shape from nothing, then details filling in to bring the shape and balance.

    4:00 pm is when bad things happen.  Sugar and caffeine can help, but better to plan safe and routine work.

    Light is so important.  Like all tools, there is no “right” light, just the light I am used to and have come to rely on for the rest of the way I work.  The light where I have my bench is changing with the season.

    Stop in for a conversation next Wednesday afternoon if you can. 

  • August 22, 2019 9:59 AM | Anonymous

    By Doug Cox

    Last Wednesday at the Hatch was frustrating; not unknown in the world of work and art. Having forgotten key tools, I made a trip home, and still failed to have all I needed to work effectively and accurately.  I left early, but did get the violin outline finished and the viola plates roughed and spot-glued on the ribs.

    This week was better  fitting the purling in the violin and  taking the arching the next step.  I would have progressed further on  carving the scroll for the violin had I remembered the collared drill I use to open the peg box.

    The energy at the Hatch was good with Mary Goderwis’s excellent presentation on tungoil based finishing.  This was an excellent example of how we all benefit from sharing experience and expertise, and taking our work seriously enough to pay attention and invest in learning.

  • August 07, 2019 7:19 PM | Anonymous

    By Bruce Berg

    HatchSpace continues to exceed my expectations in terms of the community of thoughtful and supportive woodworkers associated there. I am enjoying having access to the top-notch power tools here, but also, I’m getting insight into the work of the other woodworkers using the space.

    This week, I was able to look over Doug Cox’s shoulder as he worked on the body of a violin. His level of skill and craftsmanship is astounding, of course, and he was happy to answer a myriad of questions I had about his process, and about the design and construction of his instruments. Since my focus is on building furniture, where the challenge is simply to control dimensions so things fit properly, I was interested in knowing more about the added complexities of working on a musical instrument where there are so many more variables that effect how the finished work will perform. Doug is lucid, and thorough in his explanations, and patient, too. Being in the presence of first-class woodworkers like Doug is both educational and inspiring.

  • July 31, 2019 6:00 PM | Anonymous

    By Doug Cox

    Working at HatchSpace continues to be a pleasure this my 5th Wednesday in Residence. The violin and viola I am building move along, with the roughed plates being matched with the ribcages.  Fitting purling may be part of my next residency on August 14.  It is great when as today other hatch members delve into what I am doing, trying, but failing, to ask dumb questions.  I also get a great deal out of seeing others’ work in the space and exploring their design and technique decisions.  The work this week coresponds to this blog

    Bob Audette described well some of my interest in this time at Hatch as exploring what it would be like to work in an urban studio and sharing space and tools with other woodworkers.  What I have learned so far is how wonderful it is to have worked in the same space for 30 years and knowing where everything is and how everything works.  I’ve also learned that I can find other ways to do things if I need to. and that I always forget to bring the most basic and essential tool to the work at hand.  These are important lessons.

HatchSpace is a project of The Hatch, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization  •  22 High Street, Brattleboro, VT 05301  •  info@hatchspace.org  •  (802) 257-3935
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software