Friday, December 30, 2016

Day 138: Patching a Hole

It's been a while since I've regaled you here. Sorry about that. Life intrudes, you know? Not that building this instrument isn't a major part of my life, there are just other aspects of it that have demanded my attention for the better part of the last three months. Enough said.

As you may recall, I had been on some sort of mind-altering drug or something when I cut the middle register hole into the nameboard of the instrument. There are three holes in the nameboard, each intended to hold a rod that helps move the 8' and 4' registers and apply the buff stop. Like not drilling the holes into the wrestplank before mounting it into the case, I wish I had cut this hole correctly before gluing it into place. But, alas, I did not. So, I finally went about filling in the hole.

The bottom photo above is the backside after the putty dried on the front side and I scraped it with my trusty card scraper.

I had decided early on (before I really knew much about harpsichord construction) to build this one in the Craftsman/Arts & Crafts style using quarter sawn red oak veneer over the poplar case. While this isn't a deal-breaker, it certainly isn't the best idea I've ever had. This means I'll be covering the filled center hole with more veneer once the putty dries and I recut it, so that's my silver lining in all of this.

Just for giggles, here's a gratuitous photo of me sharpening the card scraper.

You file, then burnish an edge. Burnishing actually curls the nicely filed edge over and gives you a fine scraping tool. I use the scraper more than I would have expected - it leaves a wonderful surface that, most of the time, needs no sanding or planing.

On a completely unrelated note, the wheeling and dealing at Tortuga Early Instruments Worldwide Headquarters continues. After much deliberation (actually, a quick conversation over a beer), I decided to trade my neighbor, Mike, my Delta scroll saw for his Delta 12" sander. I've needed one from time to time over the last few months, so there you go.

I may put it on a stand, but I don't have much room left for such luxuries. On the other hand, it's a super-heavy, cast iron beauty, so a stand is looking pretty good at this point. A final decision will require a Scotch and cigar. I'll let you know the outcome at a later date.

Until next time...

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Day 137: Jack Blank Heaven

One of the surprise visitors at last weekend's open house was John Finn. I met John by attending meetups of the North Clark County Woodworkers breakout group that spun off from the Guild of Oregon Woodworkers. John is a semi-retired professional who has forgotten more about woodworking than I currently know. He still maintains a pro shop with enormous machinery made by the likes of Oliver.

While visiting this past weekend, John was curious about the jacks I had on display. He asked me what the material was and I said I was considering making them out of European beech. His reply was, "I have some European beech left over from a door project. Why don't you come over this week and we'll cut all the jacks you need?" What a blessing. I took John up on his generous offer and hit his shop last night to watch the master at work.

The first thing John did was trim off down some pieces on his monster table saw. Then, we ran them through the huge planer.

Once this step was completed, we had jack blanks that were dimensioned a little rich for the registers so I can trim them down when the time comes to place them. John then cut them to the appropriate sizes for the 8' and 4' versions.

I ended up with 104 beautiful beech blanks with some left over that I will use for learning how to make jacks. Michael Peter Johnson has reminded me a couple of times that I will make and place the jacks dead last, but John's offer was for this week and one must strike while the iron is hot, as they say.

I'm in jack blank heaven.

Until next time...

Monday, December 5, 2016

Project Update: Open House Fun

As you probably know, we held an open house at Tortuga Early Instruments Worldwide Headquarters this past weekend. About a dozen people filtered in and out throughout the day. It was a wonderful time to see old and new friends and a couple of people I would not have put money on showed up. Mostly, we talked and reminisced and ate cookies and drank cider (and other stuff). Oh, and talked about harpsichords a bit.

The intent was to "close the combs" on the upper registers as a demonstration of what goes on at the Headquarters. Given the entertainment factor, I was not able to do that. So, it was more a rolling party, rather than a real open house where the visitors could watch me work on the instrument. One of them did manage to make some nice curls on some oak with the LN low-angle jack plane, so there was that. In the end, it was, in a word, awesome.

I really was prepared to close the combs...

Have I progressed far enough on the instrument for an open house? Probably not. Yet, this was more about offering my friends an opportunity to see the shop and the instrument in progress and ask any questions they might have had. There were lots of good ones and it gave me an opportunity to realize that perhaps I do know a little more about the harpsichord than the average Joe. True, very little, but more nonetheless.

On a couple of unrelated notes, Random Roger Green stopped by a couple of weeks ago bearing gifts: some tasty ebony tidbits.

Normaly, I'm wary of Greeks bearing gifts, but I don't think Roger is Greek, so I probably needn't worry about it. I am grateful, though. He has requested some of my BBQ as payment, which I am happy to supply at a later date ("I will gladly repay you Tuesday for some ebony today.").

Something I've not talked about much is the inadequacy of the throat plates supplied with the Grizzly table saw; they're about 1/2 rung above crap, so I made a zero-clearance out of - you guessed it - walnut that works great, but the screws were giving me trouble, so I decided to replace them. In my wisdom, I didn't think it through to realize that just about everything from Grizzly is made in China or Taiwan, so I purchased standard screws and managed to snap one off in one of the holes. If I had purchased metric, it would have been fine.

So, I picked up this hand-dandy measuring thing at Lowe's (no more shopping at the Orange Box) to get more accurate screw size measurements moving forward. Not a big deal, I know, but if you feel that strongly about it, you're welcomed to come get the remaining piece of screw out of the hole for me.

Finally, another book found its way to Tortuga Early Instruments Worldwide Headquarters.

It's a good one and I'm hoping it's not outdated, as most of them are these days. I'm sure one of the Master Builders will let me know if it is. Regardless, I'm going to pore over it this coming week to learn what I can.

Until next time...