Saturday, May 10, 2014

Day 9.2: Preparing the Arcades for Drilling

The arcades for each key are prepared much like the keyboard - from a single piece of wood. The product measurements called for by Mr. Miller's wonderful e-book are 1/2" x 1 1/2" x 32". Because I purchased the oak at Home Depot, it comes in 3/4" thickness, not the initial thickness called for by Mr. Miller. While the desired thickness is 1 1/2", I don't see the current 3/4" thickness as a problem because I would have trimmed the 1 1/2" down, anyway (I hope this is making sense).  Here I am preparing to chop it to 32"; I will rip it down to 1/2" depth after this length cut.

No, my chop saw is not pink, it's salmon (that's okay, my wife doesn't buy it, either).

The photo below illustrates the markings for the arcade cuts and the drill press I'm going to use to make them.

I'll be using two Forstner bits - 5/8" and 3/8" - to make the concentric circle cuts and a brad bit (if necessary) to finish off the effect. A Forstner bit is different than a regular drill bit in that it produces a relatively flat surface after the cut with one twist: a dimple in the middle, which is a very good thing. Let me explain.

The way I am lining up the cuts here is to lay the keyboard blank (the big poplar piece that I drew on) flat and tape the arcade piece to it. I then trace the key marking into the arcade piece as you can see in the photo above the drill press. This gives me a perfect representation of my keys as a template - if they're a little off in width, that's okay because it will be relative based on how I used the keyboard blank to make the marks.

Eventually, the arcade blank will be 1/2" high by 1/4" thick. At this point, it's 3/4" high, so I will draw a horizontal line the length of the piece through the key marks at 1/2" below the top of the arcade blank. Where the vertical key marks and my new line intersect, I will use an awl to set a shallow dimple. Because every Forstner bit has a small brad point on its end, I will simply clamp a fence to the drill press that allows me to align the drill bit with the dimple and drill 1/16" deep - 31 times.

I know this is a long explanation, sorry. My point is important: All good wood cuts just end up being geometry and, if you're lucky with multiple cuts, a production line approach. In this case, once I've made the dimples in the arcade blank and properly set up the drill press fence, it will be easy to drill each "hole". The depth is no problem because the drill press has a depth gauge that is pretty darned accurate.

Day 10 will detail my final cuts with the Forstner and brad bits.  Until then...

No comments:

Post a Comment