Last week a friend brought me this really clean Craftsman model makers lathe. It belonged to his father who bought it new. For years I’ve been wanting one of these for small jobs.
Just over two years ago Jill and I wanted to come up with some new shop shirts that would be different than anything we’d made before. Up to that point, we did what most people do, buy blank, or plain t-shirts from big manufacturers and have them silkscreened. Even though we were able to buy Made in the USA blanks, we were never really happy with the quality and fit. Jill finally decided to just manufacture our own to get exactly what we wanted, a heavy-weight jersey similar to vintage racing jerseys.
The Smith Fabrication jersey was the first item she made. A few months later, my wife started her own business, Hometown Jersey. Today, Hometown Jersey provides all new jerseys and T’s sold on my Store. I’m really proud of what she’s created, not only for me but for anyone who wants their own custom felt lettered jersey or t-shirt.
This week, Hometown Jersey was featured on the blog of Hemmings Motor News, a publication that I’ve had a subscription to for years. It’s been funny how all of my hobbies and business collide. Below is a direct re-post of the article written by Daniel Beaudry.
This is the raglan-sleeve jersey that Hometown Jersey made for my car club.
A couple of us here are members of a group called the Barnstormers VSC (Vintage Speed Club), and when we decided to have jerseys made, we knew we wanted them to be homegrown and to have old-fashioned style and quality. So, when we saw how dapper the McCann clan of DeLuxe Speed Shop—Mark, Scott and Bryan—looked at The Race of Gentlemen this year, we asked them where they got their regalia. “Jill Smith at Hometown Jersey in Joshua Tree, California,” Scott enthusiastically replied.
Mark, Scott and Bryan McCann showing their team spirit in their regalia made by Hometown Jersey at the 2015 Race of Gentlemen. Above photos by the author.
After the race, I checked out Hometown’s website, and liked what I saw Read The Rest
It’s been a while. I’ve been keeping my head down and focused on the work in the shop the past few months. We have a lot of fun projects that we’re working on so just wanted to jump on and share a few details with more to come soon.
Next week we’re headed to the first Fretboard Summit being put on by Jason Verlinde and the team behind the Fretboard Journal. The weekend will be full of talks by some of today’s great guitar builders, many that I’ve long admired, various players in concert and giving instruction, and the chance to hang out with a focused group of all around guitar geeks. The event is taking place at Costanoa Resort near Pescadero, CA along the coast. I can’t think of a better excuse to get out of the shop for a few days. On Sunday morning, I’ll have the pleasure to sit down with amazing guitar player, Julian Lage, and play a few songs with him while we talk shop with Jason.
Above is a photo of the gear I’ll be taking to the Summit. In the front row is a newly finished sunburst Smith Special, a Tele with my CCll Pole Piece Pickup, my personal Smith Special and a recently completed mandolin that I made for myself. The mandolin is a cross between Tiny Moore’s 5 string and the Glenn Tarver’s 5 string, which I was fortunate to have in my shop for a few weeks recently. Next post I’ll share more photos and details on the mandolin, along with a video where I’ll play and slow down one of Tiny’s solo’s.
Along with the guitars, I’m taking a recently acquired 1957 Magnatone Troubadour, a 1956 Gibson Country Western and my trusty Gibson EH 185.
On another note, every year Jill comes up with a new t-shirt design for the shop. We recently had artist and friend Anika Orrock out for a few days and she created some funny characters of a hillbilly guitar builder in the desert. Oh ya, that’s me. We love her work so decided to honor it on a shirt.
T’s in the store now, printed on custom T’s by Hometown Jersey. Available in Black or Cream. Free shipping in the USA on this shirt through Nov. 15, while supplies last. Use Code: “Smith” at checkout. 100% Made in the USA.
Also offering Smith Fabrication T’s with stitched on felt lettering. Laid out by hand, stitched on one at a time. This one comes in Black, Cream, Navy or White.
If you jump over to our Store, please sign up for “News and Updates” at the bottom of the page. We have a lot of cool videos etc. coming soon that we’d like to share.
This one arrived already refinished and minus any hardware except the vibrato. The original headstock was repaired at some point but there was a visible crack an inch above the nut, so it was a good candidate for a new Bigsby type neck, CAR pickups, and a custom pickguard. It was a blast to do and I’m very pleased with the way it turned out.
Inlay on guitars goes back almost as long as guitars have been made. Some people feel it’s vain to put your name on your guitar but I’ve never felt that way. While in high school, I worked at a machine shop and my first boss had his name neatly engraved on all of his hand tools and cases. A guitar or bass are tools, especially for working musicians so I think thats why I like inlaying a name or a custom design on them.
I started doing inlayed pickguards for my guitars years ago before I ever considered doing it for other players. Pat Capocci was the first player to ask for it and it kind of snowballed from there.
I’m especially fond of the block letters done by Paul Bigsby and possibly a helper. All of our lettering is hand drawn and cut with my 1937 Delta Scroll Saw.
Of course with custom builds, like most companies, we inlay our headstocks, fretboards and continue to do a lot of pickguards. I’m lucky to have artist Ernie Brooks in our shop who has taken over a lot of our inlay work and does an amazing job. We’ve taken hundreds of photos of some of the inlay done in my shop in the last few years. You can see many of them here and a few below. Read The Rest