Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Castanets made by José Torregrosa Moltó,

following his own method.

Specials thanks to Elena, my daughter, she helped me to translate this post.

  In Spain we are very familiar with castanets, they are part of our idiosyncrasies, but perhaps in other countries they seems an unusual and primitive instrument.  Instrument is, and primitive almost, some historians attribute its origins to the Phoenicians.

  Although that daily they used as accompaniment to folk dances, can also be soloist instrument with symphonic compositions, but this is another story. There are a very few people in the world trained for play it. To learn how to play them well you have to go to a Conservatory.

  If you like this type of music, you can see the video below. Part of the charity concert: "Voices for peace 2007". With the collection, it was acquired a mobile health unit to Huancavelica (Peru).

Note: If you can’t see it, you must change server.

Intermediate - The wedding of Luis Alonso

Music composer:Jerónimo Giménez
Orchestra: (solidarity musicians)
Conductor: Enrique García Asensio
Castanets: Lucero Tena

  There is another kind of castanets, which  the percussionists use of some symphony orchestras, to accentuate the spaniard nature of some compositions.

Castanets for Orchestra


  Once submitted this nice tool, let's see if we are able to make it.

  For this we count with a manual, a jewel that  José Torregrosa wrote and drew for ... somebody.

  When I returned from my vacation in early September, a marriage of co-workers, told me that the father of him, who was also our co-worker to, was enthusiast of the carving, having write and draw a manual to describe how make a castanets at detail.

Naturally I was very interested this theme, so much that they gave me the manuscript and some  castanets, encouraging me to publish this post.

   José Torregrosa Moltó was born on December 9, 1924 in San Vicente del Raspeig (Alicante), where he died on June 28, 1998. He was passionate about wood and he was practice this hobby in his free time. What he liked the most was the carving. Here you can see some of his works:

  What he loved the most  was make castanets, whose construction manual I show you below.

  The parts of castanets are:

  José Torregrosa called that parts as different way, as he wrote it:  "my way" (Notebook - Annex 1). 

Well, there goes that!:



Get to work!

You will be able to make a nice gift!

Friday, August 5, 2011


For lovers of hard wood, of which I am, utilize veneers is not always attractive, but in a project, depending on technical factors and decorative, It can be advisable use boards. If they were visible, were veneer for aesthetic reasons.
To clean my conscience, comfort me thinking that the veneer after all is solid wood. Besides I procure utilize plywood boards, they went made  with overlapped wooden veneers.
I flee of agglomerated boards (shavings/sawdust and glue in very high proportion), or MDF (Medium Density, wooden Fibres more agglutinates). Yes,I have read it,I have heard it and I have seen it: the MDF is very stable and it has a very smooth surface,it works  very well and it constitutes an ideal surface for veneering. Excellent!  ... But it  only likes me to build jigs or templates.

If sometime you have needed veneer a board and have not dared, or no has occurred  how you  do it, I enclose you a presentation where  veneer a small panel, for the side of a small drawers cabinet.
For veneers large areas, it would be necessary to have of more tools like a press, a bigger table saw and more clamps.
I hope my experience was of utility  for somebody.

If you can not see the presentation, you can bring it down through this link:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Woodworking isn’t my job, but it’s my passion.
English isn’t my language, excuse my mistakes please.

It all started...

 My love for wood was something which grew gradually, almost without realizing it. The story began one day I wanted to make the model of a fishing boat, although I not finished, I decided do it when I retire.

I live in an apartment and I worked in the kitchen, every evening I clear the table, I put a protective tablecloth, then I took from a cupboard the model in construction and my tools. At dinner time, I went back to keep the model and tools, all well sorted in their respective boxes, I returned the cloth to his drawer l to your receiver and then I cleaned. It was a hobby and did not have much time to devote, the time I employed to take, to keep and to clean up, was precious for me.

It was my wife, seening me nervous every time that I got to then save, who told me I needed a workshop. She suggested me to use a little glass terrace 2.5 x 2.5 m (100 "x 100"), which we were giving little use. She was who pushed me to buy my first tools almost  drag she pushed me to Madrid (we live in Alicante about 400 km.), specifically to commercial Pazos, I had idealized trade through an ad I saw year after year in a DIY magazine. At that time Pazos brothers: Beatriz, Jesús and Martín (currently it’s only Jesús), were advising me of everything I needed. Coming out of there with the car full of tools and until a workbench, I was very reticent and my wife encouraged me to buy and buy more excited than me, I was unaware of what was happening.

Once home to the entire purchase, I built a panel to sort and have on hand all my tools. At the moment did not notice anything strange about me, everything was work no more.

Shortly afterwards, a family returned me unrestored, a model of a ship that my deceased father was build, he  tolk me: “Ramón restoration it's very difficult, I can't do it,  it's very complicated, impossible, I'm sorry”.

When I heard the word impossible, without thinking twice, I decided to restore it, I thought: "I can do it". ¿Why?, because the word impossible is a very easy to use, if you try it and you can't do it, you can say it was impossible;  If you get it you're a genius… although for a short time. Dreaming it's beautiful!.

It was a reproduction of the "USS Constitution", US Navy’s frigate Launched in 1797, 1:93 scale. it masts and part of the hull were destroyed in a domestic accident. I put their restoration in my cousin's hands, because he was an experienced modeler and I wanted him will  restore it. I had great affection to this model, My father built it from some plans that I gave her on his birthday. I remember him saying: "What present son, these gifts give a lot work ... well, thank you very much!". So this happened, he worked it a year and finished it.

Despite my failure with the fish I said, "I will restore the USS Constitution in memory of my father." The parents we try to be an example for our children, we treat  they appreciate what we like, our thoughts ... although it happens rarely. But my father did it, though it was after his death.

To tackle this challenge, I was decided build a table to work sitting, they are hours and hours of detailed work. Besides, I needed cabinets to keep the tools and shelves for my books.

And from here begins my story, how  I do it? What wood I must to use? Once I knew what I wanted, I thought do it with beech lumber (Fagus sylvatica), the same wood than the workbench I bought at Comercial Pazos, this timber is quite resistant and also very important to me: It's In harmony with the workbench and the tools panel. I love the aesthetics!

Looking for wood, I learned from the different suppliers some features of some species. Then I bought books. I started experimenting with other Woods, such as the Honduras Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla), to build auxiliary furniture.

I love this wood!

After a year of work, I finished the furnitures of my workshop, I took so much, but I had little free time, I also tried to use only hand tools, to avoid annoying the neighbours with unpleasant noise. Also I fell in love of them, of course!  Long live love!

I then restored the USS Constitution, I took nine months. This work helped me to learn and to meet me with my father mentally, while I was thinking how he had built the ship. I even think that we were discussing as in the old days.

Then I started to make moldings for framing the ceramic pieces that my wife was collecting.

I then made one chess, another model of ship that I try to build at intervals, between other projects.

Later I meet the videos and the blogg of  my today friend Julio Alonso Díaz, I learned many things in them. Julio gave me their support and offered me his friendship. He introduced me in social networks, providing me more and good friends.

With Julio as example, I wanted to encourage beginners to those who feel unable to realize that dream. Want to encourage experts to correct our errors, to teach skills and tricks.

With great enthusiasm, I begin this new project, not without thanking at:

My wife Mª Luz, real engine of my clumsy body, for her support. Without her, this story wouldn't exist, she pushed and encouraged me to develop my hobby, renouncing part of the  time that us share together. She wanted to see me happy!

My son Carlos and my daughter Elena by his moral support for my hobby, by supporting my discourses on wood, tools,... and instruct me in the management of social networking and blogger.

My brother-in-law Angel, fundamental in my learning, for his influence on me.  His ideas, his skill about the management and security of tools, encouraged me to make progress in this hobby. Thanks to him I have reached targets that previously thought impossible.

To my colleagues José Carlos, Pepe and Ximo for your help, your ideas and good advice,... and for supporting me. Moltes gràcies!

To my friend Enrique, by hear my monologues as we walk.

The staff of "Comercial Pazos": Jesús, Soledad, Daniel and the rest of employees,  with a very special memory for Beatriz and Martín who are no longer in the firm. Thank you for your kindness, sympathy and professionalism. They have been very patient with my questions, they provide me an excellent service. The catalogue of “Commercial Pazos” is a authentic treatise on tools, so I always consult it before taking one decision when I want to buy new tools.

My friend Julio Alonso Díaz, for sharing knowledge by his blogg: "El Taller Dominical". For introducing me to social networks, where thanks to him I found very good friends. His website has inspired this project.

My friends also (which I quote in alphabetical order): Al Navas, Andrés Montes, Emilio Rodriguez Muriel, Enrique Mario Kovacevic, Germain Ysidro Lara Avila, Héctor Ramón Collerone, John Morris, Juan Manuel Rodriguez and Luis García Rego. For infected their enthusiasm for the wood and its work, for always being willing to share friendship, knowledge, experience and good mood. You are great!

My friends Lydia and Faustino for their assistance in blogger.

Thank you folks for being with me whenever I have needed.