I would guess we all have heard about the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s raid on the Gibson Guitar company on August 25th. If you haven’t, you need to push back the rock a little.
The U. S. Attorney’s Office in Tennessee originated the warrants for possible violations of the Lacey Act, as amended in 2008. This act makes it illegal to import any wood or any item containing wood that was harvested, manufactured, or exported in any way contrary to the laws of the originating country. In other words, when Gibson imported wood from India, if any Indian laws were broken in doing so, then the wood becomes contraband and then Gibson is liable for illegally importing that wood into the United States.
A couple of weeks back, I had the opportunity to join my boss, Rob Johnstone, and George Vondriska — one of our frequent contributors — in Chicago at Craftsman Experience. Both Rob and I have been there before to give various demonstrations, and you may have caught some of that coverage late last year. This time around, though, our triumvirate efforts were focused on a very worthy cause as well as some fun woodworking. We were building a kit guitar to donate to Guitars For Vets. These folks provide guitars and lessons free of charge to veterans who are trying to cope with the after-effects of overseas combat.
Last weekend, I visited the woodworking school of our contributing editor, George Vondriska. He was hosting an interesting event to help veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In World War I, they called it “shell shock”; in World War II, the vets came home with “battle fatigue.” Whatever name it goes by, the veterans who live with it call it awful.
As a Navy hospital corpsman in 1974, I saw otherwise healthy men and women returning from Vietnam who were clearly suffering from the trauma they had experienced. Sadly, it was not nearly as well understood then as it is now. According to several reliable sources, nearly 20 percent of the military personnel who have and will serve in Afghanistan and Iraq (and that number stands at about 300,000 people right now …) will develop the symptoms of PTSD. Untreated, it can lead to all sorts of problems, in the vet’s family life as well as professional life.
So what was this interesting event that I visited? (I even helped out just a little bit.) It’s called Build a Vet a Guitar (in conjunction with Guitars For Vets) … but the best idea is to click on the video below and let George tell you about it.
One of the best parts of my job is to see all of the different projects that our readers send in. I never get tired or seeing all of the creativity out there. This amazing homemade electric guitar is no exception; with Les Paul’s recent passing, I thought it would be a timely posting here to the blog:
I wanted to share a woodworking project of which I am particularly proud. Last year for my bother’s 50th birthday I decided that I should do something very special for him. Knowing that he was a “guitar guy” I thought it would be fun to build him an electric guitar to add to his collection. Well, to say it was a challenge would be an understatement! I am not an experienced woodworker, but I had a good start from my father (also an avid woodworker) and have taught myself a few things over the years from books and the internet.
This was my first attempt at an instrument and I think it turned out pretty nice. The woods used for the body were bubinga, purpleheart, wenge and curly maple. The neck was quilted maple. The entire guitar was built from scratch using only a simple body template that I purchased on eBay. It looks great and sounds even better. Just goes to show that you can create anything if your heart is in the right place when you start.