Monday, April 10, 2017

Day 146: Finishing the Soundboard Joinery

While I've decided to make new upper and lower registers (aka jack guides), I didn't have room to run the beech board through the table saw because the soundboard glue-up was in the way. That's okay because I'm slowly learning that concentrating on just one thing practically ensures success. Okay, well, it prevents screwups. Mostly. So, it was more soundboard joinery this past weekend. Rather than comment on each photo, I'll just run them below with a few comments here and there.

Progress so far below.


And done:

Never fear: the darker wood will get lighter when I run it through the thickness sander.

One thing I did that was most helpful was clean up all of the joints before gluing them by creating an impromptu (notice I didn't say "makeshift") shooting board. This allowed me to turn my beloved Lie-Nielsen low-angle 62 hand plane on its side and run it along the edge, creating a perfectly smooth interface for each of the boards.

It's a really great way to clean up the edges and leaves a nice curl if your plane blade is razor sharp.

Orthodox Plane
Mixed media, 2017

I'm quite concerned about the thickness of the soundboard at this point and also about its width. It's generally better to joint thicker boards, but mine were planed down nearly to their final thickness of 1/8". This made the glue-up nerve-wracking, to say the least, and I'm hoping additional cleanup of the front and back surfaces doesn't result in a soundboard that's too thin to be useful. If this happens, it's back to the drawing board.

I was also left with a scant 1/8" overhang on the width - that's just 1/16" on each side at the keyboard end. This is not the best situtation, either. I would have preferred sufficient width that overhangs the outside of the case. That would have allowed me to cut the soundboard down along the outside edges and then trim it back to fit the inside walls of the case. Now, I'll need to be quite creative with how I approach the final fitting. It's not like I haven't been in similar situations with this instrument before, right?

EDIT: On further reflection, I realized I could simply line the spine side of the soundboard up with the inside of the case, which will give me more overhang on the cheek side. Crisis averted. I think.

Once the soundboard was glued up, I did finally turn my attention back to making new upper and lower registers out of steamed Eurpoean beech. I cut a 6" x 32" piece from an 8' board and did the impromptu shooting board thing again, this time on the Roubo.

Because I decided to not go with the Hubbard jacks specified in Mr. Miller's eBook Most Excellent and make my own, the dimensions of the jacks are different. This means I need to cut new upper and lower registers to accommodate the new jack dimensions, which is not such a bad thing because I'm now using the beech, rather than poplar, which I found to be a bit flimsy for the uppers. I'm looking forward to working with the beech - it cuts and cleans up like a dream and makes me feel European, so there you go.

Until next time...

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