Friday, November 13, 2015

Day 101: Preparing the Bottom

I managed to pick up some clear, or select, pine at Lowe's earlier this week and finally found time last night to work with it. In preparing the case bottom, the first step is to plane the wood to 1/2", so I brought out the trusty 12" planer and got to work (I'm pretty sure the neighbors love this at dinner time).

The boards were originally 72" x 6" (really 5 1/2") x 1" (really 3/4"). I would eventually need to shorten them all and rip them to 5 1/4" after they were thinned to 1/2" (I really do prefer the metric system).

The final cut list for these boards:

3 - 60" x 5 1/4" x 1/2"
1 - 40" x 5 1/4" x 1/2"
1 - 30" x 5 1/4" x 1.2"
1 - 18" x 5 1/4" x 1/2"

Mr. Miller, in his eBook Most Excellent, lists an additional 10" x 5 1/4" x 1/2" piece, but I'm not seeing how it would fit into the current scheme of things.

For dramatic effect, I went ahead and placed the unfinished bentside on it and snapped a photo.

Things are starting to get real.

On a tangentially-related note, I had to address a self-created issue with the bentside that I had successfully avoided until last night. Mr. Miller in his eBook Most Excellent often provides instructions that I simply refuse to follow. In this instance, he advises leaving one of the lamination boards a little wider than the other. I didn't see that he explained this as a way to help create a straight cut later on. Duh.

You see, when laminating, there is a danger the boards will overlap with a little offset on one or, really, both, ends. This is what happened to me, though one of the ends is pretty clean. Regardless, I realized I have no consistently straight edge to make the final width cuts when that time comes, which will be sooner, rather than later. So, I decided to seize the opportunity to use the leftover trim cuts from the case bottom boards as straight edges by gluing a couple of them to one side of the bentside.

In the photo above, I'm using a measuring stick cut at exactly 11 inches and I was careful to align the end of the stick with the true left side of the bentside. Then, I went ahead and glued and clamped the trim pieces to the edge.

I posted this up on Facebook and expected a barrage of comments from the Master Builders about how I'd screwed things up yet again, but...crickets. I'll take it. The result will be a straight edge that will allow me to proceed with cutting the bentside to width with complete confidence.

On a completely unrelated note, it was my birthday on 11/11. Yes, my birthday is a national holiday. Every year. Last weekend, my wife and I took our monthly pilgrimage to Astoria, Oregon where we visited one of our favorite shops, Astoria Vintage Hardware. Well, lo and behold, I found a nice, old wood vise hiding in the back and Tonya agreed to purchase it for me (for $60) as my birthday present. She's the Best.

Now, I just have to figure out how to mount the thing on the assembly table. Master Builder, Owen Daly of Owen Daly Early Keyboard Instruments, tells me I will need another for it/them to be as effective as I want. He also tells me that I probably won't be able to stop at just one...or two...or...

Until next time...


  1. It's better to make mistakes than to make nothing at all. Every maker who laughs at others has a box with his own clunkers in a hidden corner of the workshop.

    Your work makes my hands itch to make one myself (Sandra would kill me)...

    1. Don't let that happen.

      And thank you for the encouraging comments. The thing that rankles is that Ernie Miller has provided a nearly foolproof method for making the instrument. Nearly foolproof...