Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Day 64: Stretching and Ripping

As I mentioned in the Day 63 post, I've been having a wobble challenge with the 1" resaw blade on Big Bertha. It's being caused by the new tires, so I emailed the dude I bought them from on eBay. He asked if I had used the nifty tool he sent with the tires to stretch them once they were mounted. Well, of course I didn't - why would I follow the directions he included with the tires? Knowing the answer to his question, he recommended I jam some dowel or a screwdriver between the tire and wheel and wind it around to give it a good stretch. So I did.

As you can see, it was a delicate operation. Okay, it wasn't delicate at all. Like everything else when a bandsaw tire is involved, it was dang difficult and a little scary because I didn't want to harm the integrity of the $55 tires (I think I spent less on four tires for my first car). I also realized that, given the hump in the middle of the tires, I probably should have gone with a 3/4" blade, which would take up less real estate on the tires and, hopefully, reduce the potential for wobble as it moves over them. Another lesson learned.

At any rate, I got the job completed and realized during the operation that I need to figure out a way to clean the tires as I'm making cuts; they accumulate a thin layer of sawdust between the blade and the tire. George Vondriska of Woodworking Guild of America fame offers a video on how to epoxy a toothbrush into the body of a bandsaw for just such a function. I'm not sure my electric will work for this, so it's a trip to the store to purchase a brush and some epoxy.

On an unrelated matter, the 1/16" roundover router bit arrived yesterday at the Tortuga Early Instruments Worldwide Headquarters. This is good because I'm planning on using it to round the edges of the natural key top heads as I engage my three-part approach to the naturals. I have no idea if this will work, but I'm willing to give it a shot. The African blackwood is hard to work with and chips easily as I notch the corners near the second score line (discussed in a previous post).

Because the key top heads are consistently the same size (3cm x 2.3cm) , I will be ripping pieces of thinly cut blackwood and then using the roundover bit to get a good, consistent rounded edge on all of them. This should work, as I've heard from other builders that it's being done somewhere out there (Bill Jurgenson in Germany to mention one builder doing it this way). Regardless, I was able to get the blackwood cut to size using the new Rockler Woodworking and Hardware thin rip table saw jig.

The next step is to start ripping pieces to width (2.3cm) for the keytops and additional pieces at 5mm for the scored strip that will join the keytop heads and tails. I'll be using the table saw crosscut sled with the Freud thin rip blade to accomplish all of these on the table saw. Safety first at Tortuga Early Instruments!

Until next time...

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