Saturday, August 13, 2016

Day 128: Liners and Gifts

Once the lower braces were completed, along with their attendant trenails, I could start preparing and gluing up the soundboard liners. What are liners? Well, they're pieces of wood 1/2" thick and 1 1/2" wide of varying lengths that run around the inside of the body 1 7/8" below the top of the case sides. Ultimately, the liners serve two functions: 1) To support the soundboard and 2) To hold various hitchpins that are the distal termini of the strings. More about those later.

Given the fact they run around every side of the case, they're referred to as the tail, spine, bentside and cheek liners. First,  I started by trimming a 1/2" piece of poplar to a couple of 1 1/2" pieces.

I started with the tail liner as recommended by Mr. Miller in his eBook Most Excellent. One of the reasons for this is to mount it so that the spine and bentside liners butt up against it when they're mounted later. This helps buttress the end of the case against the enormous amount of string tension presented when the instrument is strung.

I used good, old Titebond for all of the liners, along with a wet rag to help clean up during the glue-up process. And it was a process, mainly because it's been in the 90s (Fahrenheit for my European friends) this past week. I really don't mind the heat when using Titebond because it helps cure the glue quicker. If I were using hot hide glue, it wouldn't be too terribly bad, either, but for a completely different reason - it would help extend the setup time of the glue.

Once the tail liner was in good and solid, I proceeded with cutting and gluing up the spine liner.

Next, I worked on the bentside liner. This one was interesting because I chose to kerf it (rather than laminate on the lamination form and hope it fits) to help make the bend in the bentside. What is kerfing? In this case, I cut 7/16" slots into the 1/2" (8/16" for my mathematically challenged friends) piece starting at 1/4" spacing and then gradually spreading them farther apart as I neared the tail.

You'll notice I put a stop behind the band saw blade that provided a perfect 7/16" depth for every cut. The miter gauge helped support the wood at 90 degrees. I also did this one in two pieces, which helped make both the kerf cutting and glue-up a little (okay, a lot) easier.

It doesn't look like much of a bend in the photo above, but it is and the kerfing allowed me to match the liner up perfectly with the bentside. Then, I glued on the tail end of the bentside liner.

After this, the only piece left was the cheek liner. You'll notice in the photo below that I cut a 3/4" x 3/4" notch into this one on the upper belly rail side to allow some extra space for a 4' hitchpin rail that will be mounted to the underside of the sounboard - more on this later, as well.

Installation of the soundboard liners represents something of a milestone for me. Over the last couple of weeks, stuff is starting to get real. Though I still have a ways to go, I inch a little closer every day. It's a good thing.

On a couple of completely unrelated notes, Random Roger Green presented me with two gifts when I visited his cavernous shop a few days ago. The first was an aluminum planing stop that I will mount into the workbench in a recessed notch (to prevent hand plane blade damage) and the other is a vise spacer used principally for the tail vise. The spacer helps prevent the vise from wrenching sideways when I put a thin board into it and tighten it down. I did not know such a thing existed until Random put it in my hot, little hand.

At this point, I really should be showering Roger with gifts for his help and guidance with the bench. Of course, there is always the problem of deciding what to do for a guy who already has everything. I'll think of something (please email me suggestions).

The other note is related to hand plane restoration. For the first time, I submerged really rusty plane parts in a white vinegar bath for 24 hours. Unfortunately, I didn't take too many photos of the process (not really sure why not), but I did snap the one below of the parts gurgling away in a plastic container.

These parts are from a Stanley Bailey No. 5 and I must say the amount of rust that was removed was truly remarkable - and with a minimum of effort on my part, which I like very much. Once I wire brushed the parts down, I rinsed and bathed them in a solution of water and baking soda to halt the stripping process. I'll post more photos of the plane as I put it back together later this week.

Until next time...

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