Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Day 59: Sharp Key Top Covers

I was able to get enough quarter sawn red oak cut last night to, I believe, cover all of the sharp key tops. As you will recall, I'm building this instrument in the Craftsman/Arts & Crafts/Mission style using quarter sawn oak when and where appropriate. This is one of those places where and when it's appropriate. It also obviates the need for me to use bone, as is the custom these days, especially since ivory imports to the U.S. have been curtailed.

As with the arcades on the front of the naturals, I cut my own quarter sawn oak pieces for the sharp covers. Rather than purchase the wood from a specialty, exotic woods store for $9/board ft. or more, I simply used some red oak I purchased from Lowe's. The piece is flat sawn, yet, as a consequence, the sides are nicely quarter sawn and cost me a fraction of what I would pay for wood from a place like Woodrafters or Gilmer Wood Company. I think the entire board cost me something like $12 for a 3/4" x 6" x 8' piece, rather than $36 elsewhere.

The laminates are only 1/16" thick, so cutting them on a full-sized table saw is a bit tricky. The key is to set the feather board (the blue thing in the photo above) at 1/16" from the saw blade and move the rip fence closer to the blade as I cut the slices from the board, and to also use the zero clearance insert (the red thing in the photo above). Easy peasy, but still a little scary given the small tolerances. I'm thankful every time I use the table saw for my GRR-Ripper from MicroJig (the yellow thing in the photo above). Safety first at Tortuga Ancient Instruments!

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was putting together a custom miter box that would allow me to use one of my smaller pull saws to cut the natural key tops. The plastic miter box was okay, but it required me to use a saw that was pretty rough on the laminate cuts as I trimmed them down. With this new box, I can get finer cuts that will sand nicely and create a final product of higher quality.

The next step is to cut the remaining natural key tops using the new miter box so I can get this keyboard wrapped up - it's been six months already!!

Until next time...

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