Sunday, February 15, 2015

Project Update: Look What Just Showed Up

New tools and machines keep showing up at Tortuga Early Instruments Worldwide Headquarters. Yesterday, I walked into the shop and what might I see? Why, a Ridgid oscillating spindle sander sitting there looking back at me. Sure, a couple of its parts were missing (quickly ordered from and it's a little dusty, but it works great. The dude who sold it to me knocked $25 off his asking price of $125 so I could order the missing 1 1/2" and 2" rubber spindles it so badly needed. Another good guy meetup via Craigslist.

The beauty of this sander is that it not only bobs vertically while the spindles roll the sandpaper horizontally, it can switch from an edge sander (the configuration in the photo above) to a single spindle in an array of sizes - 1/2", 3/4", 1", 1 1/2" and 2" in a jiffy and the bed pointing at you in the photo can tilt up to 45 degrees. This will be helpful when sanding intricate parts for the harpsichord, as well as other instruments such as the electric cello I may or may not be building for my youngest son's upcoming birthday or the Baroque guitar that will be started soon after the cello is completed.

That was yesterday. Today, I stepped across the threshold into my sacred space only to discover a 40"/14" wood lathe sitting on the workbench! It's a monster that came into the shop for only $50. It needs some cleaning and TLC, but a lathe is a very simple machine and will be easy to restore to good health. This one is a 4-speeder and the measurements above are the maximum length and width of items it can turn. While I'm not an overly enthusiastic woodturning kinda guy, I'm going to have to be eventually, especially when I need to make harpsichord stand and bench legs, cello and guitar pegs, etc.

It does need a stand, but so does the Ridgid. I'll put both of them on wheels to make them more accessible over time. And I need to do the same for the new jointer.

This concludes our tool acquisition program at Tortuga Early Instruments for some time to come. I was just saying to Owen Daly the other day that all I need to complete the shop buildout are a Ridgid oscillating spindle sander and a wood lathe and, voila!, here they are within a couple of days. I guess I should be more careful moving forward about what I put out to the Universe.

Until next time...

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