Over 35 years experience making instruments and tools.
Andrew Wheeldon (Andres del Caramillo) is a multi-instrumentalist who became obsessed with making and repairing things as well as music from an early age. He began formal music lessons aged 7 when he began piano lessons but also played woodwind and brass instruments as well as guitar. He has played in various bands, in his youth, including Clipstone colliery brass band and attended North Notts music school at Workshop on Saturdays. After secondary education and 6th form (studying A levels in Woodwork, Music and Math’s) at Rufford School in Edwinstowe, it was no surprise to anyone who knew him that he went on to study on one of the musical instrument courses at Newark college (then Newark Technical college). Andrew chose to study on the woodwind instrument making and repairing course because of the broad skill base required combining levels of craft and engineering, toolmaking and repair in the curriculum. He graduated in 1990 and began working as a self employed instrument repairer trading under the name of “Allegro Services” in Lincolnshire. In 1992 he also began working at Newark College part time on the woodwind making and repairing course.
As time passed Andrew worked more and more hours at the college and after he married in 1997 he began teaching “making specialist tools” at the college. This involved him working in the engineering department instructing students on Guitar, Violin and woodwind courses in making the tools of their trade. In 2004 the family relocated to Newark on Trent and Andrew took over running the woodwind making and repairing course full time. Working at the college made lots of personal and professional development opportunities available to him, apart from ubiquitous teacher training, health and safety and workshop practice courses; this allowed Andrew to study on the violin making evening class, to become a qualified electrician and later to explore guitar making. While making his first guitars he came up with the name Caramillo for his instrument labels. He wanted to have a “Spanish” name for his guitar labels and Caramillo (though often mistranslated as Panpipe) means reed pipe or Shepherds pipe, essentially a chalumeau, the instrument from which the Clarinet originated.
It was while making his first guitar that Andrew made his first bending iron. He made this for himself in order to save money but was quickly persuaded by college staff that he should consider making irons and sell them to the college students. This venture took off and after developing a web site Andrew was selling his bending irons all over the world! This started to present a problem as he was working full time at college and when in 2016 he got a promotion to manage the whole of the musical instrument department he decided it was best to stop making the bending irons and concentrate on “the day job”.
Time has moved on and following a difficult couple of years during covid, Andrew decided that 30 years working at the college was probably enough and wanted a change. Having left employment at the college in Aug 2022 he has spent time re-establishing his workshop and building up stock ready to sell through this website.