Saturday, May 16, 2015

Day 86: Lamination It Is

After visiting master harpsichord builder Paul Irvin's shop last weekend, I've made a management decision: to go with laminated sides for this first instrument. Sure, I'd love to bend the sides with a huge steam box or bending tool, I just don't have the room or the power in the shop to make this happen. Paul also described how he's experienced "cupping" when he's attempted bending in the past. This happens when the bent wood curls in from the width (sides), rather than the length.

Given the fact that I don't have 220v in the shop, the potential for cupping, and the fact that I want to get on with things, I've decided to go ahead and laminate the sides for this instrument. Besides, I'm keeping this one and there is precious little chance anyone is going to order an instrument from me based on whether I laminated its sides or not. In fact, there's precious little chance anyone will order an instrument from me. Ever. According to Mr. Miller's eBook Most Excellent, the first step in the lamination process is to construct the form. Yes, there is a little bending involved, but they're really thin sheets. The photo below illstrates part of that form.

These are mounted to the sides of the form and hold the cross members that keep the lamination sheets under control. The photo below is from Mr. Miller's eBook Most Excellent and more clearly illustrates what I'm trying to describe.

Photo courtesy of The Harpsichord Project eBook 3.1 by Ernest Miller
The parts in the first photo above are the small blocks on the sides in the second photo above. Now that they are all cut and drilled, I can begin preparing the cross members and all of the other pieces necessary to get this thing completed. I'll also spend some time gathering the bolts, nuts and clamps you see in the photo.

In my ongoing efforts at improving the shop with tools and accessories, I acquired three new gadgets this past week. The first is Boeshield T-9 protectant for the table saw. Okay, it's not exactly a gadget, but it is something I'll continue to use for the rest of my shop days. Boeshield T-9 was developed by The Boeing Company as a metal protectant for highly corrosive environments. The table saw top is extremely sensitive to moisture and rusts if I look at it sideways. The T-9 will prevent this from happening in the future. One of the ingredients is paraffin wax, so it will help with pushing lots of wood though the machine, as well.

Another improvement is a "bench hook" first described to me by Jan van Capelle, a master luthier located in Holland. I whipped this little gadget together from shop scraps; it essentially acts as a brace for small tasks such as carving, chiseling and otherwise creating wood shavings.

In the second photo above, I'm carving the notch that holds a passive pickup for a little electric cello project I'm completing for my youngest son, Reed. This tool was great at holding the cello body fast while I carved away with a 1/2" chisel. I expect to use it a lot more in the future.

Finally, I welcomed a new Stanley family member to the fold last week.

When I head out to Sandy to see my kids, I occasionally stop at an antique/junk/auction shop in Orient. From time to time, they have hand planes in various states of disrepair. The one above is not in bad shape at all and only cost $15 - I had to pass on a couple others that were more expensive and rusted beyond repair. I'm not sure if the new member is a 3 or 4. It's fairly new, yet still of high quality. I look forward to cleaning it up and putting it to work soon.

Until next time...

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