If I had a hammer . . . Oh, wait. I do.



These are my back-up pair of glasses. They fell off my face while bike riding and now the lenses are all scratched up.

Somewhere in my mid twenties I had to admit to myself that I needed to wear glasses. I never had any eye correction growing up, although to be honest, I probably did need it. More recently, in my old age, my eyes have only gotten worse. Glasses are now necessary to see almost anything except fuzz balls. I can see those fine.

Cigar Box Guitar

Cigar Box Guitar

About a year ago I bought a book, Handmade Music Factory by Mike Orr, which gave me the confidence to try my hand at making my own string instruments. I already have a guitar. I also have a violin, accordion, ukulele and several other instruments as well – all content for future posts. Don’t let this mislead you. I am a terrible musician – just ask my wife. I would love to be better, and I could certainly spend less time doodling and more time practicing. However, at this point in my life I know that just ain’t going to happen. But it doesn’t stop me from being passionate about music and specifically the aesthetics of music production. Traditional folk instruments like a cigar box guitars (CBG) or diddly bows or  a washtub bass are attractive to me not just because they are hipster-cool, but from a very amateur woodworker and musician point of view they are fairly simple to make. This one took about 6 hours once I had collected to proper tools and materials.

How does my CBG sound? If you ask me to play it, it sounds a lot like my regular guitar – terrible! I plan on making more guitars, cigar box or otherwise, and honestly hope that I get better at their construction, but that is almost secondary. As with many things, the aesthetics are almost more important for me. I love the way my cigar box guitar – that I made – looks hanging on my wall.

I included two versions of the drawing this week – one completed in my typical image making style, and one as snapshot of a byproduct of that process. I did this because I though that each was pretty cool, and this blog is about forcing myself to experiment in ways I cannot do on a commissioned piece. I posted a picture of the original drawing and guitar on my instagram (@stevehaske) if you want to see that. I draw the item with a black pen on paper – this time I went larger than usual on an 18×24″ drawing pad. Then I scan the drawing into the computer. I could photograph it, but I like the better control and resolution the scanner provides for flat objects. The only problem is that my scanner is made for 8.5×11″ paper, so I have to scan it in many times and then piece it back together in photoshop. When doing this, I have often marveled at the accidental cubism that is created when overlapping all those misplaced layers. This time I dwelled on it. I emphasized a few things as I imagined Braque might do, but pretty much left it how the scanner made it.


San Mateo (Hull)

San Mateo (Hull)

Come sail away. Come sail away with me … once I put the sails on.

On my second anniversary with my first wife, we celebrated with some gift giving. (It will be 13 WONDERFUL years this year, and gift giving isn’t as common any more … because I’m a jerk.) She gave me a model ship kit that I had been jonesing for … for a while. I don’t remember what I gave her. Diamonds? Anyway, I was really excited about getting to work right away on this 3 foot long, 3 foot high, detail-ridden beauty. And I did for for many weeks during grad school. I listened to books on tape – yes, tape – and carefully filed and glued and bent small delicate pieces of wood and metal. Then I got busy with other things and it lingered, sometimes for years. It always got picked up again when I had the space and time. I felt so amazed at the beauty of the wood grain and classic design every time I finished a major portion, like planking the hull or assembling the cannons.

Then we had kids.

Baby proofing the house meant putting up high or even away things like files and knives and large breakable boats. Once The San Mateo was put away it was out of itinerary as well. For about 6 years.

Now we are finally in a space that is roomy enough to have the boat and necessary tools out, and the boys are old enough to respect my space, I just might make some meaningful progress. Sail on.


I really like books. It is actually a problem for me. Moving from one apartment to another can be a muscle building activity. Design and Art books have an especially strong pull for my eyeballs. Charlottesville has quite a few indie book stores which I am generally forbidden from entering. I certainly don’t need another de Vinci or Ralph Steadman book, as much as my weak brain might ache for it.

Still, every now and then I need new inspiration in the form of thinly sliced trees neatly stacked and bound. Typography of the hand drawn variety has been an obsession of late, so this one fits nicely on the overburdened shelf.