Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Project Update: New Purchases, Old Stuff

As I progress through this project, it becomes apparent from time to time that I need a new piece, part or tool. In my case, "new" is relative because I always do my best to purchase quality used tools from Craigslist, eBay, online sites or local dealers. I'm still waiting on the Roller Holder for the table saw fence (online parts site) and the guide bearing for the band saw (eBay); they should be here later this week.

In preparing to cut the dados and rabbets for the keyframe, I came to the conclusion that using a table saw dado blade would be the best approach because a router would take longer and be harder to control for accurate edge cuts and a band saw might result in a wobbly cut, which is unacceptable. So, I purchased a stacking dado blade set from a guy on Craigslist for $25. Along with this, I dug out my dado throat plate, a necessary accessory if I want to use the wider (thicker?) dado blade.

While looking for the dado plate, I came across a zero clearance plate I had purchased a while ago. This plate requires me to install with the regular blade recessed, turning the saw on, and cranking the elevation handle while the blade cuts into the throat plate. The reason I want this plate installed is that the harpsichord cuts are tighter and of higher visibility than some of the other work I've done. When using the regular throat plate, it provides insufficient support to the wood, which results in "tear out," a condition that is unsightly because it mars the wood. When cutting the zero clearance plate, I will clamp a piece of plywood over the plate while raising the blade to prevent tear out on the plastic plate, as well.

While searching for the dado set on Craigslist, I ran across an affordable 16" band saw. Delta tools are my favorites, so this one fit the bill. The trouble is, it is missing the blade guide setup necessary to use it as a saw - the former owner was using it as a sander! I purchased this base setup for $100 and it will cost me less than $100 to complete the blade guide. When completed, this saw will provide a 16" cut throat, rather than the 12" on my current beloved Delta band saw; it will also allow me to cut my own boards from larger pieces of lumber, including veneers and soundboards, saving me hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars over the long haul.

Finally, I took a lunch break from the Day Job and walked down to Gilmore Wood Co. to see if they had anything I could use for the keyboard naturals. Of course, I was initially shown their $200/bd. ft. African Ebony, which was not exactly in my budget. After careful consideration, I settled on African Blackwood from a bargain barrel that is of high quality, just awkwardly shaped and typically suitable only for wood turners (which I am not). I will be cutting this wood down using the table and band saws and they will work perfectly fine for the keys. I paid $6 per stick and even got one of them for $1.

Now, it's time to stop buying stuff and get the keyframe and keyboard completed!

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