Thursday, July 13, 2017

Day 152: It's All About the Soundboard

Now that ToolTime is coming to an end, I could comfortably return to cleaning up the soundboard. One of the challenges I've had with it is really horrible tearout when hand planing the thing. I attribute this to plane blades that are not sharp enough, so I'm going to get to work on that today. I used my Lie-Nielsen 62 low-angle bench plane and my little Lie-Nielsen adjustable mouth block plane (based on the Stanley 60 1/2), and I got to use my beloved Roubo-esque bench for the work (I had flirted with the idea of raising the bench a bit, but, after this exercise, I've firmly decided against such an effort).

My main concern about the soundboard was that it was too thin to be of any use for the instrument. When I joined the planks together to make it, they were already at about 5mm in thickness, which made for an interesting exercise in keeping them level while clamping them from the sides. I used my 48" Rockler Sure-Foot Aluminum (Aluminium for my British friends) clamps and held them down with boards and go-bars.

As I continued to thin it by cleaning it up yesterday, I was concerned I may be taking too much off, so I was careful to plane as little as possible. I could see quite a bit of light through the shavings, which is a good indication they're pretty thin. A quick book-of-the-face conversation with Owen Daly convinced me I'm still in the ballpark, especially since the outside edges will need to be planed as thin as 2mm. More to come on this as I do the final thinning and prep for the bridges.

On a completely unrelated note, I worked on the lathe stand and tried my hand at the tool, something I've never done before. When I completed the stand, I was glancing through the user manual and discovered a nice schematic for making a stand. I hadn't allowed sufficient room for the handle that tightens the endstock to the pipe, limiting the span of the handle. I cut out some of the top to make room. And it looked like crap, so I prepared some of the Free Box walnut to veneer over the scar.

I finished it with Tru-Oil and mounted it with some of the Norland high tack fish glue. It worked so well, I decided to finally try my hand at the lathe, so I grabbed a piece of 1" oak dowel and went for it.

As you can see, it's nothing to write home to Mom about, but it's an indication that I can, indeed, use the lathe to great effect. I'm told woodturning can be an addictive endeavor, but I'm not seeing that, yet. As long as I keep my turning impulses under control, all will be well.

Until next time...

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