Speaking of Wood: Alonso Ortiz

Welcome! I love the idea of building community with other creative people and learning about a variety of woodworking topics. For this edition of Speaking of Wood, I spoke with Alonso Ortiz from Golden, Colorado. All of the pictures on this interview are his, and he was kind enough to share examples of his awesome work with my audience.

Alonso working in his shop.

Questions:

DM Woodshop: What is your name? If you have a business name and website what is the Internet address?
Alonso Ortiz: My name is Alonso Ortiz and at the moment I do not have a website but am working on getting one launched. My business name is Ortiz Design. 

DMWS: Where are you located?
AO: Golden, CO

DMWS: Are you a member of any woodworking groups or organizations? This can be professional groups, local groups in your areas, Facebook Groups, etc. 
AO: Yes I am a member of several Facebook groups and I am a teaching assistant at a local community college’s fine woodworking program!

DMWS: Do you have any other major interests besides woodworking?
AO: Yes I am a musician, have been playing the Trombone (jazz and classical trained) for 11 years and the guitar (classical trained) for 9 years. 

A mandolin (front) and acoustic guitar (back) built by Alonso.

DMWS: How long have you been woodworking, and what was your first experience with it?
AO: I have been woodworking now for about 6 years. My first experience with woodworking was making a classical guitar footrest with my dad. 

DMWS: What kind of woodworking projects do you primarily do?  Why are you drawn to this kind of woodworking?
AO: I primarily am making instruments, I am a Luthier. I specialize most in classical guitars but have the knowledge to make violins, guitars, and basses. Aside from making instruments I am making art pieces. Anything from CNC art to hand carving I enjoy it all. My ultimate attraction to both of these is because I am a very creative mind. My favorite part of guitar building is rosette making, I make all my rosettes from laminating mosaic tiles for classical guitar rosettes to laser cutting intricate designs for steel string guitars.

DMWS: Are you an “unplugged” woodworker or do you use power tools?  What is one (or more) of your favorite tools?
AO: Primarily I am an unplugged woodworker however I do frequently use CNC technologies for my art as well as template making. My favorite tool has got to be my miniature block plane, I use it in almost every project I make albeit sometimes just for the giggles of shaving wood with a block plane the size of my pinky. 

Shavings made by this small block plane.

DMWS: What are some things (may or may not be tools) that make up your ideal shop space?
AO: Definitely a good workbench, a well made (ideally making one for yourself) workbench makes any workshop so much better. Having a good solid place to work will make your work so much easier and more enjoyable. When it comes to tools I would definitely have both a CNC router and laser, a lathe and a good bandsaw. In my opinion most of the other common power tools can be achieved by hand just as efficiently. 

DMWS: Who are some woodworkers who have had an impact on your work or your woodworking education?  These can be people from any style or branch of woodworking.
AO: I have so many but to name a few, Robert Benedetto, Tom Bills and a friend of mine Michael Roper.

DMWS: What would you say has been your biggest success as a woodworker?  What has been your biggest struggle?
AO: My biggest success as a woodworker has been starting young and seeking the expertise of other woodworkers as much as possible to keep learning new methods.  My biggest struggle is finding sustainable sources of material because I try to be as environmentally conscious as possible This is particularly difficult when sourcing materials for instruments. 

Hollow body electric guitar built by Alonso.

DMWS: What advice would you give to people who are just getting started in woodworking or interested in getting started?
AO: I would recommend reading, many people do not realize how many amazing and informative books other woodworkers have written. So much can be learned through books. 

Thanks again to Alonso for doing this interview and for showing off his beautiful work. For more of his work, check out the photo gallery below. Do you know a woodworker who would like to build community with us? If so, share this page with them and let them know. I’m always glad to learn from and about all different kinds of craftsman.

If you got value from this post, consider sharing it. Thanks for reading!

-S.A.

Author: Sam Adams

I am a musician, educator, and composer based out of Kentucky. I also dabble in wood working.

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