So at the end of 2017 the workshop looks like this. Finally, after a year of persistent damp and minor leaking, it has succumbed to the deluge that has arrived between Christmas and New year.
That’s the opposite corner. There’s no light in the spray booth – I may have to rewire that but I’ve pulled the power on it for now due a slightly different issue. But that’s flooded too – in fact the water you see here has actually run into the main workshop from the spray booth.
The damage isn’t particularly bad. I had struck first by earlier in the winter wrapping stored equipment in polythene sheets and raising anything I could off the floor. But the new year will not be seeing a quick return to guitar building, for obvious reasons.
Unfortunately, the second issue has become as pressing as the first – the wet weather has driven a colony of Rats up away from the River Wensum valley and into the workshop. Mainly, rats requite food and shelter. Its very easy to find food for a rat in any urban environment, but shelter is more difficult. Unfortunately my workshop has a false ceiling, so they nested in there and started breeding. Before long I had a serious infestation – the smell was appalling. Fortunately, I found a really good pest control agent in Acorn, who got to work on it really quickly and we got most of them before they did too much damage, but I will have to check the wiring in spray booth as that area has clearly been chewed!
So what next?
Firstly – I’m not going to close! But there’s no point in me taking on new build guitars for the next few months because I just can’t keep the workshop dry enough to prevent warping of wood and other issues. Not only that, to remedy the problem properly I’m going to have to gut the workshop, probably to storage, and start again.
My plan is to build an internal bunded floor, raised up so that any water cannot run into the main part of the workshop. My belief is that its running down the slope outside, and under the walls. If I strip back the walls to the concrete and lay a raised floor, then put a layer of bricks around the inside of that, then I can hopefully keep the water off the floor.
Then I’ll have to re insulate and rewire the entire workshop. That took me three months in fairly dry weather when I originally did it – I expect that it will take around the same again.
In the meantime
Firstly, just because the main workshop is closed – the electrical, setup, small customisation and repair work hasn’t stopped. In fact, space has been made now to increase this work in the new year.
Secondly, more hours have been freed up for new students to enrol in the new year, in both Guitar/Bass tuition and Kit Drums.
As I start ripping the workshop to pieces, both Musical and Woodworking gear will become available – as I will be reducing the machine tooling in the workshop and moving further towards purely hand tool production and more totally one off designs. The new workshop, when it opens, will attempt to be more bold in terms of design and materials. But it will be more traditional in terms of production, which will ensure a real ‘one off feel’ to everything I make.
It hasn’t been all bad!
Lots of customers have been through the workshop this year. Some interesting guitars have gone out. I think my favourite has been the Viola guitar, which was an experiment in using locally sourced materials and lower cost parts to create a more affordable handmade instrument.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the customers who have been through the workshop this year, all the students and those who have helped spread the word about the work I do here on social media and to friends.
I’ve been in the guitar teaching and building business on and off since the early 1990’s. the first full time workshop opened in Hunstanton in 2005 for customisations, parts building and repairs, and for full builds from 2009. This has been by far my hardest trading year, but at the end of it I’m still standing, and I don’t plan on going away any time soon!
Thanks for all your support – next year will be a big year of rebuilding and redeveloping the workshop. But I’m looking forward to it with renewed purpose.
Have a great new year.