RWHS-2: The Alamo

February 24, 2018

My This Day in HIstory email alerted me to this today, so I felt it was appropriate. This Real World Harper Song is sung by Frankie Avalon.

 

On this day in 1836, in San Antonio, Texas, Colonel William Travis issues a call for help on behalf of the Texan troops defending the Alamo, an old Spanish mission and fortress under attack by the Mexican army.A native of Alabama, Travis moved to the Mexican state of Texas in 1831. He soon became a leader of the growing movement to overthrow the Mexican government and establish an independent Texan republic. When the Texas revolution began in 1835, Travis became a lieutenant-colonel in the revolutionary army and was given command of troops in the recently captured city of San Antonio de Bexar (now San Antonio). On February 23, 1836, a large Mexican force commanded by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana arrived suddenly in San Antonio. Travis and his troops took shelter in the Alamo, where they were soon joined by a volunteer force led by Colonel James Bowie.

Though Santa Ana’s 5,000 troops heavily outnumbered the several hundred Texans, Travis and his men determined not to give up. On February 24, they answered Santa Ana’s call for surrender with a bold shot from the Alamo’s cannon. Furious, the Mexican general ordered his forces to launch a siege. Travis immediately recognized his disadvantage and sent out several messages via couriers asking for reinforcements. Addressing one of the pleas to “The People of Texas and All Americans in the World,” Travis signed off with the now-famous phrase “Victory or Death.”

Only 32 men from the nearby town of Gonzales responded to Travis’ call for help, and beginning at 5:30 a.m. on March 6, Mexican forces stormed the Alamo through a gap in the fort’s outer wall, killing Travis, Bowie and 190 of their men. Despite the loss of the fort, the Texan troops managed to inflict huge losses on their enemy, killing at least 600 of Santa Ana’s men.

The brave defense of the Alamo became a powerful symbol for the Texas revolution, helping the rebels turn the tide in their favor. At the crucial Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 910 Texan soldiers commanded by Sam Houston defeated Santa Ana’s army of 1,250 men, spurred on by cries of “Remember the Alamo!” The next day, after Texan forces captured Santa Ana himself, the general issued orders for all Mexican troops to pull back behind the Rio Grande River. On May 14, 1836, Texas officially became an independent republic.

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RWHS-1: Gutenberg

February 22, 2018

A few years ago I posted about Real World Harper Songs [link] that I’ve begun compiling into playlists on YouTube. I’ve decided to occasionally feature one on this blog, keeping to the ones of better quality. I’ll try not to repeat myself.

The first one is from Amy Burvall and is about that German innovator, Johannes Gutenberg.

Brass F-hole cleat clamps

February 12, 2018

Who doesn’t love clamps? I made these 5 light duty clamps so that I wouldn’t have to buy them. You can get the comercial variety for $16-$20 each plus shipping. Mine came in at about $5 each.

I made them from 5/32” brass rod, 10-24 threaded rod, nuts, a 6mm t coupling for air lines, and some JB Weld to put it all together. Read the rest of this entry »

Breehah glyphs and numerals

February 10, 2018

I’ve finally designed the letters and numerals of the breehah language. In the image below you can see that I’ve also given the letters names. In writing the words of the language these letters also act as syllables. So like our texting abbreviations, they don’t write the vowel after the letter if the name of the letter already has that vowel, much like the we write ‘OK’ instead of ‘okay’.

I’ll make a TinyCard deck for those who would like to learn this alphabet. It’s all fun. Hais horpe breehah horgah?

 

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Brass hair gauge

February 5, 2018

The other night I spotted this string gauge [Below] and it inspired me to make something extremely similar to measure bow hair.

Read the rest of this entry »

Luthier’s Knife

February 3, 2018

The luthier’s knife looks very much to me like a common carpenter’s striking or marking knife. Be that as it may, I don’t have either, so I made one. Read the rest of this entry »

Ram’s horn soundpost setter

January 27, 2018

I was looking around for pictures of violin soundpost setters when I found one on eBay with a ram’s horn hook on one end (my term).

Its uniqueness attracted me, so I went down to my workshop, grabbed a length of 1/4 inch brass strip. I split one end with a hack saw and cold chisel and shaped the ram’s horns with taps of a ball peen hammer. After I got that end to look satisfactory, I used files, my belt and disc sander, and a brass wire wheel to shape and polish the instrument. I actually had to use it today on a 1/2 size violin and it worked like a champ. Read the rest of this entry »

Smaller soundpost setter

January 27, 2018

I already own two violin size sound post setting tools which I purchased online. The other day I was setting a sound post in a less than full size instrument and I got the feeling I was stretching the limits of the tool. I got the post set successfully, but it entered my mind that a smaller tool might be handy for if I should have to work on a 1/4 size violin or smaller someday. Read the rest of this entry »

DIY Violin and cello neck clamps

January 27, 2018

I’m going to post a few items here pertaining to my new craft as an orchestral repair technician. These posts previously lived on my LumberJocks blog. You can see the entire kit and kaboodle here [link] if you wish.

There are at least two instruments in the shop that need necks reattached. I was shown how to do this when the entire neck is detached, but two cellos are broken at the joint and the method shown me might not work so well. Google to the rescue! I found photos of commercially available models, selling for multiple tens of dollars, and decided I could make my own. Read the rest of this entry »

No Frets Shirt

October 12, 2017

 

no_frets_tshirtOccasionally I put a new shirt design up on CafePress. In this case I was trying for something that was about violins, but didn’t necesarily say that the wearer plays the instrument. In my new job as a repairer of violins and cellos I obviously know how to bow and pluck the strings so that I can test the instrument, but as of now I cannot be said that I actually have the ability to play the instrument.

If you like this shirt design and would like one, they are available via CafePress here: [link]  There are styles available for men and women, plus mugs!