Elforyn™, a modern synthetic ivory substitute, is very soft and can easily be engraved. The technique is identical to traditional decorative engravings on real ivory, bone, celluloid and plastics. You only need a “pencil” with a hard and sharp end, coloured wax and a scraper. The pencil can be made out of an old and worn triangular file. Shape and sharpen the tip thoroughly with a fine grade grinding stone. Check the sharpness and try to write your name on piece of wasted plastic first. Make sure to engrave the lines equally deep and wide.
Wax is used as a filler. Prepare it by melting it slowly. Be careful not to overheat. Also, …damps can be dangerous! Add some nice colour pigments to the melted wax and stir. Use a scraper to apply the wax on the engravings. Let it cool down and scrape the excess off.
A scraper can be made out of an old and worn blade of a hacksaw. Make the edges surface nicely straight and perfectly even. Don’t be afraid to polish it up. Then learn to scrape by holding it almost perpendicular to the surface.
Ever seen these low, rigid and robuste wooden tables with a vice ?
It’s a clever and easy idea… to provide your universal bench vice with a stable and ergonomic base. It makes this handy basic tool so much more versatile. It’s a very useful tool for lots of sitar (and other -) work. A no-miss for jiwari work (!!), parda making and mizrab making. Over-all convenient for general wood work – cutting / sawing / drilling / glue-clamp. Although in India hands as well as feet are trained to perform together in sitar making, this always available, never tired and always strong helping hand will become surely your daily friend.
This photo: Hari Chand on my workbench, Bierbeek 2000. Photo by Shivoham.
I’ve added a simple and illustrated “how to build” guideline to Maintenance / Tools – page. Or click here.
Watch this video from Mr Simonggill about present-day sitar making in Calcutta. Here the real work is done…!! These small factories almost cover the worldwide production of sitars. They produce prefab sitarbodies for all well-known sitar makers such as both Rikhi Ram’s, Hiren Roy, Srishty Musical, RA Sitarmaker, Hari Chand, Raj Musicals, Kartar Chand Dhiman, etc… Far gone are the old times…!!!
The music is from Ustad Vilayat Khan: Raag Hameer.
During my learning school at Centrum voor MuziekinstrumentenBouw, CMB, at Puurs, Belgium, in 2000 I made a Gibson EB-3L replica. I’ve choosen this electric bass because of the unique and original “slotted head” construction which I applied later to my new style sitars SAS-01 etc…
This guitar has a Honduras mahogany body and neck with Indian rosewood fretboard and head top plate.
Because the original instruments sound wasn’t very inspiring I decided to replace the pickups with some modern and better performing types made by Di Marzio. Their DP145 Will Power™ neck model is very deep-sounding with great low-end definition. Its dimensions are the same as the original replacement Model One™, but it’s a little louder and fatter-sounding, and pole piece spacing is slightly wider for better string alignment with long-scale basses.