Sunday, October 2, 2016

Day 131: Jig Success

Things have been moving at a glacial pace at Tortuga Early Instruments Worldwide Headquarters lately and I do apologize. Then again, should you not expect this from the Tortuga? Regardless, things have started to free up a bit and are once again moving forward. As you may recall, I spent some time making a register cutting jig. Toward the end, I had serious doubts about whether I could get the thing to work properly. Well, I did.

The first photo above is the jig in action. Well, not exactly in action - you can see the saw it not running. The second is a successful cut to size, provided I make jacks that are the dimensions for which I calibrated the jig. They match a Hubbard jack (that I will not be using), so I figured I'll just go with that size for now. As Owen Daly of Owen Daly Early Keyboard Instruments reminds me on a nearly weekly basis, it's important to just get the first one done. Frankly, if it sounds anything like a harpsichord, I'll consider it a win, so Onward!

Once I proved the jig worked, I printed out a couple of upper and lower register CAD drawings provided by Mr. Miller in his eBook Most Excellent and cut them down to size on the assembly table.

Interestingly, this is the perfect application for the fish glue I mentioned a few weeks ago - the stuff given to me by Mark Roberts of Mark Roberts Guitars and Ukuleles. The thing about fish glue is that it's easy to work with and sets up nicely, yet warm water applied in the right measure will cause it to liquify once again. This is generally not good when building instruments of any kind. In this case, it's great - I'll use it to glue up the register drawings for drilling and cutting the registers and then simply moisten it to remove the templates. Easy peasy.

I've been taking it somewhat easy the past few weeks. My wife, Tonya, and I have some pretty serious health concerns that have caused me to shift down a bit and start sniffing the flowers a little more. We only get this life and I'd like to be remembered for more than a single-minded approach to the shop and making instruments. But, I digress...let's talk about something a little less serious, like the many low-dollar acquisitions that have taken place at Tortuga Early Instruments Worldwide Headquarters lately.

First, I finally got some decent shop shoes. Now, this may not seem like a big deal, but it kinda is. I've been wearing comfortable, yet flimsy, shoes for the past couple of years and have dropped wood and other things on my feet, which still makes me wince thinking about it. So, I purchased these today:

I kinda love em. And they'll be around a long time, so I can enjoy their company for years to come, I'm sure. Another important acquisition was a couple of measuring devices from Incra.

If you've been following this blog with any regularity, you've seen me struggle a bit with a $.69 plastic protractor I purchased at Fred Meyer - you know, like the one you had in 3rd grade. The Incra protractor allows me to draw angles with exquisite precision. Likewise for its partner, the ruler above it (the precision part, not the angles). The ruler offers accuracy to 1/64". Mr. Miller calls for such precision in his eBook Most Excellent from time to time, so I'm glad to have it in the shop. The tool between them is a spring-loaded drill tap thingy (can't remember exactly what it's called). It's a good thing.

A couple of new/old tools also showed up along with the Incras. When I arrived at Rockler on Saturday, I was surprised to see a sidewalk sale going on. Several people had used tools of all kinds for sale, so I picked up a nice hand saw and a drawknife, both of which I've been wanting for some time now (I've grown tired of borrowing Random Roger Green's stuff, you know what I mean?).

You've seen the other tools in the photo above before. I took the photo to share on good, old Facebook earlier today.

Finally, I had a great experience resawing wood last week. Over the last few months, I've gotten to know Alan Ollivant, a really wonderful guy originally from Alaska who now lives here in the PDX area. If you want wood of just about any kind, Alan's the go-to guy, and if he doesn't have it, he knows someone who does. Well, Alan invited me to a resaw session that involved some beautiful curly mahogany and a band saw with a 20' blade.

I've never seen such beautiful mahogany. I've seen maple like this, but never mahogany. So, we proceeded to cut 80 back/side sets for Gibson Guitars, who is fortunate to receive sets of such outstanding quality. Alan oversaw the production and ensured that Gibson would be getting the nicest sets possible, I was just manual labor and enjoyed every minute of it.

Along with this, Alan was kind enough to let me have a 6" jointer to refurbish and work with. As you may recall, I sold the Delta 6" jointer I had so carefully refurbished - and then regretted it almost immediately (like the next day). Frankly, this jointer, though in pretty rough shape, is a bit nicer than the old Delta because it has a closed stand with dust chute, a cast iron fence (the Delta's was aluminum), etc. I'll whip it into shape and you won't even recognize it within the next couple of weeks.

Thanks again, Alan, for the resaw experience and the loaner jointer. I'll get even with you one day soon.

Until next time...

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