Monday, January 22, 2024

Got a one of a kind guitar from the maker himself !

This was his first handmade guitar, and when asked he said "The First" was me being silly".It's got all mahogony construction with a solid spruce top.  Stung half and half with steel and nylon strings, with a monster classical proportioned neck.  It is a standard neck length with shortened body.Following is an "as found" photo documentation, dust and all!The other guitar shown paired at the bottom is my Alvarez 5224 I bought new in 1992.  I removed the pick guard about five years later, and added an under the bridge pickup with a strap peg plug.  I intend on doing the same to The First, as well as other modifications which will be shown forthcoming, time willing.


Saturday, June 24, 2023

Sojourner Truth Memorial, Florence MA

I was near the the other had been years since I checked it out so I made a beeline to the site.  

Paul Forth (no website available) did the installation of the monument in 2002, and he invited me to assist in the placement and anchoring of the bronze plaques that were mounted on the stout granite blocks.  The plaques came fitted with anchoring bolts, and my task was to properly align each one, mark and drill the holes, then permanently cement them into place.  It's one of those jobs where there is very little room for error, there can be no screwing up!  The slanted mounting surface added an additional level of difficulty.  We pulled it off, and I'm happy to say the signs look as good today if not better than when we installed them.  There was still time in the day, so I got to carve and install three or four paving stones near the statue. From the website:

"Denig Design Associates of Northampton designed the memorial site. The statue stands on a granite pedestal, set in a central terrace framed by granite seatwalls, which are surrounded by a lush garden. Three informational plaques about Sojourner Truth and the Northampton Association of Education and Industry, of which she was a part, are placed throughout the site."

Working on the project harkened back to my formative years, where there was a prominent stop on the Underground Railroad, the Obadiah Baker Homestead, a half mile from our house. (


Paul and I met many years prior to this work, when my company hired him to join our landscape crew.  We did a lot of stonework, so he built upon his skillset and eventually went out and created his own brand.  We had a few collaborations during that period where I was harnessed for some of my technical abilities.  One of my favorites was the brick-knot patio.  That was a real trick figuring it out and getting the proportions and symmetry to work.  One winter I helped him build a greenhouse at his home, where I got to know the family and sat down for meals occasionally. The picture below shows one quarter of the celtic knot, with bi-color bricklines and carved goshen stone insets.

In 2011 we collaborated along with then Bridge of Flowers Chair Julie Petty, to create the Pothole Fountain.  Bob Compton's (http://www.risingsunforge.combeautiful hand forged signage had recently been installed, and Julie was itching to upgrade the cheap plastic pond that was in the vicinity.  The idea arose between us to design an infinite water pool emulating the glacial potholes, in the spirit of the work of our old compatriate Louis Pomerantz. (  I created a drawing, the committee approved, and Paul was hired to do the installation.  Along the way he proposed filling a difficult gap in the paver stones with polished black stones that form the shape of Africa...a sort of homage to his 2 mixed race daughters....seen bottom left in the picture below.  That's Robert Downy Jr lower right.  Thanks to Gary Warner ( W.R. Hillman & Sons for donating the stone and services.  Paul and his assistant Jason did a marvelous job.  Most of my career has been spent actualizing other people's visions.  This time it was my vision manifesting through Paul and Jason, and they exceeded my expectations.  Their precision and attention to detail is revealed through the apparent simplicity of the composition which overrides the underlying complexity of the project.  I am happy to report it has become a cherished element in the sublime setting at the eastern end of the former trolley path.

©2023 John Sendelbach

Tuesday, October 16, 2018