Monday, October 19, 2015

Project Update: Go Bar Deck Accomplished

Because I've worked on guitars before building this instrument, I used a go bar clamping system to glue back and top bracing, among other things. This is a great way to clamp because it applies consistent pressure and is especially effective if you use cauls to spread the wealth. O'Brien Guitars often posts helpful lutherie tips to YouTube and have supplied a great introductory video about go bar clamping.

Once I had completed the 4' x 8' assembly table, I knew I would need a go bar deck mounted to the ceiling if I wanted to use the system for the instrument. The thing about this method is that it puts enormous pressure on the top and bottom decks. On a past visit to Owen Daly's shop, I noticed that his go bar setup is so robust that the pressure from the bars has actually moved his rafters up a bit. Thus, I knew that rock-solid decks would be necessary if I wanted this to work.

First, I started building the frame so I could mount as little of the structure to the ceiling as possible.

I had help with this part, but my help had to leave before I completed the entire structure. Regardless, we were able to at least get the frame onto the ceiling. Note that I have to mount 2 x 4s crossways on the ceiling based on the funky 12" studs. Weird. The next step was to start fleshing out the beast.

This I accomplished on my own. It was pretty hard work and I largely don't know what I'm doing, so it was an interesting exercise in drawing things out, cutting them and then having to recut where necessary. In the end, I got the frame built out.

The next challenge was how to mount the 3/4" plywood onto the bottom of the structure by my lonesome. Because I was completely, utterly exhausted from building the framework (yeah, I sit on my butt all day at the day job), I decided to sleep on things. I awoke the next morn having dreamed about a way to get the thing mounted by myself. First, I clamped a 2 x 2 to the far end of the table. I then clamped an adjustable roller stand to the table using an oak plank and some 2 x 4 cut ends for spacing. Once that was solid, I was able to tilt the plywood up onto the roller and loosely clamp one end of the plywood to the frame before clamping the other and then both tightly.

The rest was, as they say, academic. And I was pretty pleased with myself until my neighbor Mike pointed out that I essentially built a good downward load-bearing structure, but the upward load design pretty much sucks. I'll be reinforcing the structure as he advised throughout this coming week. Hey, I tried, right?

The secondary function of the upper deck is wood storage. I have lots and lots of specialty woods that I need to get out of deep boxes and organized so I know where they are. I cleaned out one huge box, the bottom of which I've not seen in over five years. Ridiculous. I got rid of a lot of scrap and got the remaining pieces up onto the assembly table for organization over the coming week, as well.

I'll be setting up a couple of shelves with the woods boxed by species against the far wall. This will help enormously because I just found a local wood source who sells logs and half-logs and carries several species priced at 1/4 of typical retail. I'd better get the SUV tuned up and ready to go, but that's another post for another time.

Until next time...

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