You can see my dilemma. Now, my good friend and building mentor, Owen Daly, was about ready to break a foot off in my ass because he had asked for string speaking lengths for all Cs and Fs between the eight foot nut and bridge and it appeared I was making excuses for not sending him the data. I had not sent it because I was fed up with the lack of space. The shop is already small enough, you know? So, I did what I always do - I engaged Cheapest Guy Alive Mode and jumped onto Craigslist.
Within minutes, I found what I was seeking: large pallets I could take apart and use to build a stand for the CNC. And they were right up the street. And they were yuuge, like three feet by six feet with 2 x 8s running their lengths. This was a major score and I was able to fit them all into my beloved KIA Soul with the help of my lovely wife. After nearly an entire day of cutting, cutting, cutting, fitting, and screwing, I managed to create this:
It's a little tight between the new stand and the end of the Roubo, but you make do with what you've got, right? Besides, I can just swivel the seat around and use the drill press table to my left as a computer stand when running the machine. So, mission accomplished. And I reclaimed my entire assembly table.
I feel like I'm working on a football field and I like it. Now, back to the soundboard.
The first thing I did with the soundboard was to fit the plan to it using the parameters supplied by Mr. Miller in his eBook Most Excellent. Once that was completed, I spoke with both Mr. Miller and Owen about fitting the bridges. I'm going to end up drilling holes near the Cs and Fs between strings and use these as alignment points with small nails. Yep - I'm drilling through the bridges into the sounboard and nailing them all to the assembly table.
I'm currently taking my time getting things lined up properly because, honestly, the thought of doing this makes my poor, old stomach hurt. But it must be done. I'm hoping to have everything solid within a couple of days.
As I thought about gluing the bridges to the soundboard, I realized I would need cauls for the glue-up procedure. A caul is simply a fitted piece of wood that sits between the subject of the glue-up and whatever you're using for clamping (in my case, it will be go bars) and spreads the clamping pressure across more of the subject piece. So, I started to make cauls in two pieces given the fact that one side would need to be cut at a 30-degree angle to fit on the bridges properly.
I'll have enough to clamp and glue both the eight and four foot bridges.
On a couple of tangentially-related notes, I was able to attend the Western Early Keyboard Association (WEKA) Spring Soiree this past weekend. Several performers, including Owen Daly, entertained us on instruments made by Owen and Paul Irvin, both master builders. It was a wonderful time with like-minded people and I look forward to the next gathering.
|Owen is playing his Vaudry copy while Paul looks on|
And, finally, I must give honorable mention to another shop improvement: Roubo bench tenon plugs. I know what you're thinking: "Whada?" Well, when I cut the mortises for the bench, I did a pretty horrible job until I discovered a way to cut them that resulted in minimal tearout, which happens a lot with a laminated spruce beam. Naturally, I discovered this on the last mortise, so the other three were pretty rough.
One day not long ago, my friend, John Finn, said, "Hey, why don't we just plug those tenons?" The voice of experience always rules the day at Tortuga Early Instruments, so I took him up on the offer to help. A couple of days ago, he showed up with a template, a plunge router, and clamps - I made and served breakfast. A couple of hours later, all four tenons looked like this:
An amazing transformation. Two or three coats of Watco Clear Danish Oil and all will be well. Did I really need to do this? Heck no. But, sometimes, the better part of valor is attending to appearances. Thank you, John. I couldn't have done it without your help and guidance.
Until next time...