Monday, July 18, 2016

Day 124: Building on the Bottom

This past week has been a fairly productive one at Tortuga Early Instruments Worldwide Headquarters. As you know, I had decided to leave the bottom off, allowing me greater access to the inner workings of the instrument, or so went the theory. As I started the process of adding the bottom braces, it occurred to me that I may as well follow Mr. Miller's suggestion in his eBook Most Excellent and go ahead with mounting the case sides onto the bottom.

As I laid out the glued sides on the bottom, things, of course, did not exactly line up properly. In the future, I will most likely not draw up and/or rough cut the bottom until I have the sides glued up. In this case, I simply needed to add a little real estate to the front of the bottom - the part that supports the keyframe. I had decided to add just 1/2", so I grabbed a piece of 3/4" pine and ripped 1/2" from it. Then, I decided to plane the piece down to 1/2" so I would have the correct thickness (the bottom is 1/2" thick).

Yes, I was tired. No, I was not thinking clearly. As I gleefully planed away with the Stanley Bailey No. 7 on the new bench, I kept thinking, "Boy, that sure looks like a thin 1/2"." Good grief. In the end, I realized that by ripping a 1/2" piece from a 3/4" plan, I would have my 1/2" thickness with a 3/4" extension off the front. Easy peasy. And it turned out I needed that extra 1/4" wiggle room. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Sometimes, I scare myself.

Once I had the piece ripped (again), I glued it up and let it sit overnight.

I then proceeded with the sides-to-bottom glue-up.

The session went really well and I ended up with sides securely mounted to the bottom. Finally, I'm "building on the bottom!" Of course, after all of this effort, I saw Owen Daly of Daly Early Keyboard Instruments over the weekend and he summed it up nicely (as he always does): "Heck, I just throw a few trenails or nails in and call it good." He mentioned nothing of glue. Oy. So, I guess I now have a box that will not warp or curl in strange ways over time. Thanks, Titebond.

Once I got the sides mounted, there was some overhang that I needed to clean up with a router and a "bottom-bearing" router bit. This router bit has a small bearing mounted on its bottom that matches up perfectly with the diameter of the business sides of the bit. This way, it acted as a guide against the sides as I routed off the bottom overhang.

The spine needed the least amount of cleanup.

The bentside was a bit more challenging because I still had the excess piece hanging off of the bentside/cheek joint. I don't have a photo, but I'll detail this a little more later as I clean it up. I did cut the overhang from the bentside/cheek joint and will be rasping it down over the next couple of days - more to come on that.

I saved the front trim for last based on the way the wood was situated and what I had learned about end-grain tearout when putting the bottom together. Saving it for last worked perfectly.

My son, Trey, had come over for another visit and was once again quite helpful with suggestions and helping me get things into place for the trimming efforts. In the photo below, he contemplates our next steps.

Well, it turns out the next steps are to rasp/trim back the bentside/cheek overhang cut and start putting the lower braces in. It looks to be a busy week ahead, indeed.

Until next time...

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