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A brief history of the MIMF

Posted: Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:14 am
by Charlie Schultz
For 20 years, the MIMForum has been an invaluable resource to many instrument builders, from newbies to professionals. Here is a brief history of our site.

Nick von Robison and Deb Suran came up with the idea for a web-based forum for instrument makers back in the fall of 1996. The domain name was registered on February 13th, 1997 and the forum opened on July 5th of that year. This was back when the web was starting to become commercialized. Dial-up modems were common (14.4kbaud was "fast"), digital cameras were *not* common. You can see some of the early posts in our library for comparison.

Deb continued to run the forum until 2012, when yours truly took the reins. At that time we switched from the old WebCrossing forum software to the current phpbb-based software. The upside was that we got newer software with no support fees, the downside was that we could not transfer over account passwords (thus everyone had to re-register).

Over the years, members have contributed a number of instrument drawings which we offer for sale, see the list here: MIMF plans

Some of the on-line building classes we've run:
  • Inlay
  • Mandolin
  • Archtop guitar (this class got several builders started who turned pro)
  • English flute
Some of the notable accomplishments of the MIMF: Members have also built a couple of instruments to help support the forum: Many thanks to:
  • all past and present contributors of knowledge and money
  • those who purchase from Amazon, Rockler and Woodcraft through our links.
  • those who have done instrument plans for us
  • all past and present moderators
  • all past and present sponsors
  • Deb!
Thank you for your support!

Re: A brief history of the MIMF

Posted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 2:01 pm
by Bryan Bear
This place has been a big influence on me. I stumbled across this site in 2004 after seeing some mountain dulcimers in a local music shop. Before then, I had been fascinated by how stringed instruments went together but never dreamed that I could actually make something like than. The shop owner mentioned that they had kits available so I bought one. Before getting started on it, I did some internet searching to see what I could learn beyond what was in the instructions. That is when I found the MIMF. There was so much great info that I decided to try to practice various steps on scrap before I messed up my kit. I ended up with an instrument designed and made from scratch and I never went back to the kit. It is still in the basement somewhere. Had I not found you guys, I would have assembled a kit dulcimer and probably have left it at that, never having gained the confidence that I could scratch build anything.

Re: A brief history of the MIMF

Posted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 7:50 am
by Brian Evans
I flat out would not be making guitars without this site. I joined many years ago, watched through the whole Katrina/post katrina episode, have many memories of reading such interesting things on this site. For fun, I was deeply involved in building the first coast to coast commercial internet network in Canada in 1995 and 1996 (UUNET Canada). That first backbone was 56 kbps frame relay. For the backbone! The highest commercially available circuit speed was DS-1. My how things have changed.

Re: A brief history of the MIMF

Posted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 11:46 am
by Pat Foster
I found the MIMF in late 2004. I'd had Martin guitars in the 70s, but sold the last one so I could finish school. Early in 2004, I decided I needed a nice guitar again, but after seeing what had happened to prices in 30 years, decided I could build one cheaper. Hah! Well, it was cheaper, but only after I 'd sold my first five. Couldn't have done it without the MIMF. Thanks to all involved.


Re: A brief history of the MIMF

Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 6:50 pm
by Randy Roberts
Thankfully I found MIMF around the end of 2002. I was building my first, a little travel guitar under the wing of a local builder, and that let me have a little peek through the window at this amazing world I'd never known existed, and never would have discovered on my own.
Finding the forum threw the doors wide open, and it's been such a wonderful, challenging, and satisfying journey since. The forum has stimulated so much thinking, trying, and sharing about hundreds of things I would have never known were out there without all of you with your wide range of interests and talents.

I don't know how to even begin to thank all the folks that have kept this place alive and thriving through good times and bad. Deb, I so miss the WHAP! you used to throw down when things would get a little heated around here. I also want the moderators to know this wouldn't be near the resource it is without you guys, Thanks. And thanks to all of you that so selflessly share with the rest of us what, in most other fields, would be kept as trade secrets. And for doing so with such civility and generousity

And a big big thanks to Charlie for taking over what is probably a lot more work than he realized when Deb bowed out. We really,really appreciate your doing so Charlie.

Re: A brief history of the MIMF

Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 3:47 pm
by Simon Magennis
I can't remember when I found this place but it was pre-Katarina as I followed that thread intently.

It is a great resource. Thanks to all who have been involved in running it and to all those who stop by and answer the questions. :-)

Re: A brief history of the MIMF

Posted: Fri Feb 24, 2017 7:16 pm
by Dave Donaldson
I can't believe it, 20 years. I'm not sure when I joined. I remember the 5th anniversary. I think it was during the third year of operation. This place has treated me well over the years. I enjoyed doing the html conversion and I suspect some of my handy work remains in the library. I took four courses too, guitar making, violin making, inlays and recorder making and still have not finished the projects.

May we be around many more years so that when mankind (not sexist!) look back at the thing called the www in 200 years they will see MIMF and say "Wow, what a great group of individuals. So helpful, fun, caring and genuine interest in fellow mankind and boy could build some great instruments!)."

Dave Donaldson
renaissance man
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Re: A brief history of the MIMF

Posted: Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:24 pm
by Gerry Thompson
Back when I started making acoustic guitars in 2001 there was Cumpiano's book and there was MIMF. The two are inextricably connected in my mind and each as important as the other. I even girded my loins way back when and posted a time or two on the old forum and got great advice. I took a trip down memory lane and found those old posts of mine in the archives.

Without MIMF I wouldn't be making guitars. Without MIMF I would never have got the first one made.

So....thankyou for all the behind the scenes work to all moerators past and present and to all members for their willing sharing of information that has been such a help to me and so many others.

Re: A brief history of the MIMF

Posted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 9:04 pm
by Daniel Bingamon
Wow, time flies. I first logged onto MIMF back in 1998. Back then it was called "Musicians and Instrument Makers Forum" and that was until (I think) the guy who ran the Woodwind Quarterly site closed down his forum then from that time the name that should have always been stayed with the forum.
For a short time I was one of the staff for the Woodwind section (which is combined now Percussion and Experiment Instruments)
I stop in now and then but lately been busy with getting instruments made.

It's good to see the forum still going strong.

Daniel Bingamon
Jubilee Music Instrument Co.
Kings Mills, Ohio

Re: A brief history of the MIMF

Posted: Thu May 11, 2017 8:39 am
by Butch Brookshier
Wow. So, it's been that long. I joined back in 1999. I've never been a large contributor, but I do have one minor distinction. I was the last person to post a 'What wood is this?" thread. Mine was the straw that broke Deb's back and stop any more of those questions. I did eventually identify the wood. It was dark red Meranti.

Re: A brief history of the MIMF

Posted: Thu May 11, 2017 10:08 am
by Bryan Bear
Butch, that is quite an honor!

Re: A brief history of the MIMF

Posted: Thu May 11, 2017 12:36 pm
by Rodger Knox
I posted photos of my first in June of 2002, a year or two after I completed it. That was back in the days before digital photography (for me, anyway), so there isn't much except a few shots of the completed instrument. I've been here regularly ever since then.

Re: A brief history of the MIMF

Posted: Fri May 12, 2017 10:13 am
by Butch Brookshier
Bryan Bear wrote:Butch, that is quite an honor!
Thank you. (Bows modestly)