Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Day 52: Sanding, Scoring and Notching

I've been working on lightly sanding the sharps using 320-grit sandpaper and 0000 steel wool. Based on what I'm seeing, I believe I will do the final sanding with the steel wool, remaining careful not to remove too much paint during the process. I just want to smooth them up a bit.

While doing this, I've been testing the scoring jig and looking at how best to notch the natural key tops near the second score line. You can see in the photo below where Mr. Miller has notched to the second line.

Photo courtesy of The Harpsichord Project E-Book 3.1 by Ernest Miller.

The African Blackwood I'm using for the natural key tops is extremely hard. So hard, in fact, I feel like I'm notching a piece of stone. The key (pun intended) to success here, as Mr. Miller states in his eBook Most Excellent, is to take it slowly. And by "slowly," I mean a fraction of a millimeter at a time; otherwise, you stand the chance of driving the blade of the X-Acto knife completely through end of the wood. I'm not saying I've actually done this multiple times, I'm just saying it could happen...again and again and again.

I should have the final two coats on the sharps in the next couple of days. Then, it's touching up with the steel wool and knocking out the natural key tops. Easy peasy, right?

Until next time...


  1. I like using 3M's 0000 Extra Fine Synthetic Steel Wool for finishing. Its big advantage over "real" steel wool is that it doesn't disintegrate nearly as much in use and you don't end up with tiny particles of steel everywhere.

    1. Ah, perfect - thank you so much for the suggestion! I'll seek it out and start using it this weekend.

      Are you a builder? If so, do you have a page or site I might enjoy?

  2. I am an amateur builder who had, so far, built two Italian instruments from kits. I also have Ernest Miller's e-book and may, one day, get around to attempting that (or something similar).

    1. Yes! Your site was one of the three or so that motivated me to take the leap!