Monday, March 20, 2017

Project Update: Straight Edge Woes and Looking Ahead

As you may recall from my last post, Random Roger Green helped me prepare the beautiful spruce planks for the soundboard of the instrument. Unfortunately, I discovered a bit of rounding on each end, which is a typical unforeseen outcome when using a jointer, even for seasoned woodworkers like Roger. You can see a miniscule gap between the two leftmost boards in the photo below.

Unfortunately, even a 1mm gap when gluing up two pieces like this is unacceptable. So, I decided to put together an impromptu shooting board to flatten all of the planks.

It worked pretty well, as far as I could see. The real proof will be the "light test" pudding in which I can hold it up against another flattened board and not see any light peeking through. I didn't have time to work on any others, so the test will have to wait. I remain hopeful.

On a tangentially-related note, I did manage to acquire a "new" jointer over the weekend. It's an old Rockwell that will fit right in with my beloved Rockwell drill press and I just love the old guy. It's got stops for 15-, 45, and 90-degrees (and will accommodate all degrees between, of course) that will make it dead accurate for such cuts. When it came through the door of Tortuga Early Instruments Worldwide Headquarters, it was in pretty rough shape.

But I worked at it a little at a time.

And whadya know, it looks pretty darned good.

This one I will keep forever and ever. And ever. My good friend, Alan Ollivant, is coming for a visit this week and he has promised to help me tune up the old fella - there's a bit of a nip at the end of each cut, which means the beds need to be adjusted and aligned. Alan is just the guy to help me accomplish this - he's forgotten more about such tools than I know.

When Random Roger Green helped me, he gifted me a print of a Christopher Schwarz composite Roubo graphic; it shall live in a place of honor in the shop. Thank you, Roger, you are a gentleman and a scholar.

Finally, on a completely unrelated (and random) note, I discovered through a friend, David Bolton, the most interesting harpsichord I've ever seen: the Cristofori 1690 oval spinet (spinetta). I've been captivated by it and am actively trying to locate detailed drawings of the instrument. Tony Chinnery generously provides CAD drawings on his website, yet some of the detail I would need to make the thing are missing, such as case height and jack design and dimensions. I've emailed Mr. Chinnery, so we shall see. Hey, I know it's crazy to be thinking of the next instrument at this stage, but it is highly motivating and will, I believe, move the current one along much quicker now.

I also discovered through David samples of the instrument and it's fantastic. I can't wait to begin construction of this little guy.

Until next time...

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