Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Day 110: Cutting Things

When I don't work on the instrument for more than two days, I start getting antsy because, you know, I'd like to actually finish it someday. The recent Christmas holiday prevented me from spending much time in the shop, so I jumped back out to my Sacred Space in earnest yesterday. The first thing I concentrated on was getting the Sitka spruce wrestplank cap trimmed flush to the red oak plank.

In doing this, I neglected to route the short sides first. This would have prevented the inevitable tearout I experienced when routing the long sides first. The most frustrating aspect of this is not that spruce tears out quite easily, it's that I knew better and charged ahead without thinking things through. The result was that I needed to chisel out the torn pieces and glue in tiny, little pieces of filler, hoping they will not be too obvious in the final product.

I did trim it up a bit with a razor knife, but then decided to let the glue set for another 12 hours before hacking away at it again. Another lesson learned.

Once I had the cap glued and taped up, I turned my attention to the bentside. I'd been successfully avoiding cutting it to width, which is really the height of the case, for a couple of months. So, I decided yesterday was the day.

As you may recall, I did not follow Mr. Miller's instructions in his eBook Most Excellent when laminating the bentside. Mr. Miller directs the builder to leave one of the boards 1" heavy in width, creating a straight line for trimming it to size. Of course, I ignored this directive and ended up with the boards overlapping so awkwardly at each end that I needed to add a thin poplar strip to one side to create a straight edge for the final cut.

In the first photo above, you can see how I used the thin strip against the table saw fence to get a perfectly straight cut. It worked like a charm, but I would have preferred to have not had to work up the kludge. In the second photo, you can see where I moved the fence to the other side of the blade for the final cut. This resulted in a loss of the blade width in the final measurement. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind this time to measure the distance from the fence to the blade - three times.

I cut it a little rich, knowing I would be cleaning up the edge with a newly sharpened hand plane.

I'm quite happy with the end result, though I'm not sure how the final veneer of quarter sawn red oak will cover it once it's mounted to the case bottom. I need to think this through very, very carefully before proceeding. I'll figure it out, it's just going to take some finesse on my part. If I were simply painting the case, I would not have to worry about the 1/32" tolerances for the veneer. Heck, it sounded like a good idea at the time.

After the bentside, I went ahead and cut the cheek, tail, nameboard, and lower belly rail pieces from poplar. I may end up replacing the nameboard with a solid piece of quarter sawn red oak, rather than laminating the poplar. Before making that decision, I'll confer with Owen Daly about it and report back here.

Until next time...

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