Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Day 70: Scraping the Keys into Submission

Fair warning: The photos of the keyboard I'm about to post look exactly like the photos of the keyboard from the Day 68 post. But they're not; they're fundamentally different because I used my handy cabinet scrapers to give them a nice sheen so that all of the keys are completed, including keys 20 and 51.

Speaking of cabinet scrapers (also called card scrapers), they have been used for ages by craftsmen of all kinds. The concept is simple. Take a sturdy piece of medium gauge metal - rigid, yet flexible - and put a fine edge on all of its sides. In fact, give those edges a bit of a burr that really bites into the wood as you scrape it. Then, use it to give your project a nice gloss right before putting a finish on it.


I purchased the set above off of eBay; they're made by Crown and are extremely high quality pieces. The piece with the handle is a burnisher used to give them the burr. In the future, I may end up making my own, especially if I need one with an oddly-shaped edge. Until then, I'm happy to purchase them online. Today, I can get two of the rectangular scrapers for $12.99 with free shipping on eBay. This is definitely a case where I have to ask myself how much time and effort I want to put into creating a tool that can show up on my doorstep ready for use.

I used the scrapers on each key last night to trim them flat and, on the naturals, to clean up the rounded edges, which ended up making them all more uniform in appearance. Using the scrapers was suggested by one of the Seasoned Builders on the Facebook project page and I may not have used them without the suggestion because Mr. Miller in his eBook Most Excellent recommends using sandpapers of increasingly high grits. You can see the end results below.

I have one more step remaining that involves one of my secret finishing weapons: Scotch-Brite pads. I'm pretty confident the Seasoned Builders would think I'm crazy using them, but I've found they provide just the right amount of polish to finished pieces. Once I've used them, I'll dye the sharp tops and apply at least two layers of tung oil to all of the keys. The final step will be using paper spacers to level the keys (more on this later). Once that is completed, I can call the keyboard done.

Until next time...

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