Monday, January 18, 2016

Day 112: Cutting and Casing

A lot has been going on at Tortuga Early Instruments Worldwide Headquarters the last few days. First, Owen Daly of Owen Daly Early Keyboard Instruments came for a visit to the shop. He gave the keyboard a once-over and, I suspect, conveniently ignored the many flaws readily apparent in it. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Owen is a kind, generous mentor who I've been fortunate to meet.

And he also brought a log.

Owen had been holding onto a Port Orford cedar log that he had purchased over 20 years ago from a guy who had pulled it out of the surf - there's no telling how long it had been in the ocean. His first attempt at having it resawn into just over 1/4" slices resulted in smoke and sparks, neither of which are good to see when resawing any kind of wood. I suspected it said more about the state of the blade being used by the resawyers than anything else, so I recommended we hit Creative Woodworking NW to see how they might go about resawing it without the fireworks.

As you can see, it went very, very well - no smoke or sparks whatsoever. Their resaw blade was a monster at about four inches with an amazingly small kerf for a blade so large. In the end, Owen got about 16 pieces sliced off with a small piece left over that he can use elsewhere. All in all, it was a successful trip, indeed.

Back in the shop, as I was preparing to size and glue up the case parts of the instrument I decided to proceed with adding more light to the shop. This has been an issue since I installed the top go-bar deck, so I went ahead and added a four-foot power strip and a couple of neon lights to the deck. The lights plug into the power strip and will just pop right off should I need more space on the surface of the deck.

Once I completed that little task, I could get to cutting some boards. First, I rough cut the case bottom in preparation for matching up the sides to the lines I had drawn on it a while back.

Next, I had to get a straight edge on the spine so I could cut it to width. For this, I used the same technique I used for the bentside - I tacked on a couple of pieces of straight wood to use against the table saw fence and cut it to width.

Next, I cut the spine to 65 degrees on one end to accommodate the joint with the tail. Then, I cut it to length. The photos below only show the angle cut and clamp up test.

Next, I clamped the bentside on the bottom and began the exacting process of cutting the cheek to meet up with the bentside. This was not a terribly easy task. I ended up cutting several practice pieces and actually used one of my thicker aluminum rulers to angle the wood for the final cut on the table saw. I'm pretty sure there are easier ways to do this, but it worked, so I'm not fixing it. For now.

Finally, I drew up guide lines for cutting the nameboard and wrestplank dados into the cheek and spine, as well as the rabbet at the keyboard end of both.

I may not have gotten a ton done this weekend, but I feel like I did and isn't that really all that matters?

Until next time...

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