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Eggplant excellence, a guitar in progress

Eggplant excellence, a guitar in progress Eggplant excellence, a guitar in progress

Is there anything better than eggplant parmesan?

Recently, we harvested some big, fat eggplants from our garden and made this Italian classic. We bathed egg-battered and fried eggplant slices in spicy marinara created with our garden tomatoes and herbs, topped the whole thing with mozzarella cheese, and baked all of this deliciousness to a golden brown.

Fabulous. The eggplant was perfectly mooshy and delectable. The tomato sauce was tart and wonderful. The cheese was chewy, gooey and salty.

A steamy heap of eggplant parmesan is an ultimate statement about a backyard garden.

It’s so good.


For many years, my family and I have attended Tri-Tone Jazz Fantasy Camp in Bailey’s Harbor in Door County.

I go to learn how to plunk on the guitar a little better.

This year, there was no camp, the result of the COVID-19 pandemic. That meant we had to get creative.

We elected to put together our own online jazz camp by hiring a vocal teacher and guitar instructor and holding classes over Zoom. At the end of the five day camp, my wife and I recorded four songs in a jazz arrangement to send back to our instructors.

During the camp, we splurged with special meals.

It’s not easy to live on your computer. Nor to take a vacation on one.

Yet, we had a pretty good time with our distance learning adventure. Both my wife and I received more personal attention than we would have at a regular camp. We also got a bunch of recorded Zoom lessons that we can rewatch.



That’s the sound of my QualSpray sprayer covering the archtop guitar I have been building (like forever) with atomized Cardinal lacquer.

This past week, I turned my driveway into a makeshift spray booth and, thin coat after thin coat, started a slow build of gloss on my guitar.

The guitar is starting to look really sweet. The spruce top and maple sides and back are dyed vintage amber. The gloss lacquer catches the light, giving the finish sparkle and depth.

My big mistake was padding dye over the cellulose binding on the guitar. Wrong move. I wound up sanding it off. The better move was to, as I later did, mix a little of the amber dye into some lacquer and spray a little bit over the binding. The antique effect looks great. It reduces the contrast between the binding and the guitar body.

My next steps are to layer more, heavier coats of lacquer on the guitar, flatting the finish with wet sanding. I use a chunk of Styrofoam as a sanding block.

At some point, when the finish is thick enough, I will use a series of auto body polishes to bring the finish to a gloss and 12 inch buffing wheels to send that gloss into the stratosphere.

These are exciting times in my woodworking shop.