Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Day 97: Starting the Case Bottom

Now that I can walk through the shop without bumping into anything, knocking anything over or tripping over anything and the bentside lamination is completed, it's time to start the case bottom. Because I'm building a harpsichord modeled on a 1640 instrument originally built by Flemish harpsichord maker, Andreaus Ruckers, the sides of the case sit on top of the bottom. In my case, the bottom is made of really nice clear (no knots) pine I purchased at Home Depot or Lowe's, can't remember which.

The first part of the bottom to be completed is the front. Due to how wood tends to expand and contract under different temperature and humidity conditions across the grain, this part of the bottom is built with the boards running right to left lengthwise (or left to right if you're left-handed) to allow a little more flexibility for movement. The first step was to plane the 5 1/2" x 72" boards from 3/4" to 1/2" thickness.

My goal here is to end up with four 5" x 34" pieces that I will joint into a single board. Once the boards were 1/2" thick, I cut them to length.

And then ripped them to width, taking 1/4" off each side so I would have nice, clean cuts for jointing.

The result was four pretty nice, little boards ready for jointing.

I had built a jig to glue guitar tops and backs a while ago and realized it would accommodate this glue-up just fine, so I pulled it off the wall, found the wedges under the assembly table, located the twine and...BAM! Dead stop.

I didn't have any waxed paper in the shop - or the kitchen. Waxed paper is necessary to prevent the pieces you're gluing from sticking permanently to the wooden jig. In this case, I would cover the bottom of the jig and the top of the boards with the paper - hardened glue just peels right off waxed paper (which is probably why I covered the bentside with it during the lamination glue-up for no apparent reason - old habits). I know the jig may look a little odd/confusing. I'll post more about how it works in the next few days, after I pick up some waxy paper.

Until next time...

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