Archive for April, 2010

Nose bearing out of joint

Monday, April 26th, 2010

I heard from Mel today, and we have decided that I should send him my bearing brace so he can re-tap the hole and insert a new bearing. I ruined the original one trying to get it in. It needed to be snug, but loose enough to operate later with the provided bearing adjustment tool once the body was finished, to properly center the wheel in the soundboard opening. For some reason, it was just way too tight, even using something with more leverage than the tool and applying some furniture oil for a lubricant.


Nose bearing damage

Kerfing 1

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Yesterday I glued in the first kerfing on the bottom alongside the tailblock, below the tail reinforcement strips:


Tonight I did the kerfing on either side of the bottom of the headblock:


I also glued in the interior supports for the strap buttons:


I put strips of coated paper between the wood and the clamps tonight. The green plastic on the clamps is leaving darkened spots on the wood where they were, sort of like a grease stain. You can see the spots in several of the pictures where other things have been previously glued in. I sure hope those on the outside don’t show when I’m done!

My mother’s portrait completed

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

I have put the finish coats on my mother’s marquetry portrait and have it hanging up in the dining room. Since the finish made the wood shinier, it was harder to get a good picture than it was after it was sanded.


Completed marquetry panel with original engagement photo


Detail — there are eight main levels of shading from eye pupils to earring

I have started the pattern for my father’s, but that will take awhile to draw out by hand. I use Cutout and Poster Edges filters in Adobe Photoshop to reduce the tones to several steps of shading.  I end up with several of these made with different settings, all with very complex and confusing lines. Then I take a sheet of vellum and trace the lines I want to represent in wood, based upon which ones I think capture the shape best, and how much detail I want to try to incorporate. These have to be smoothed and simplified as well. This tracing becomes the master “contour map” that I use to trace the shapes directly on the wood using carbon paper.


My father's original 1952 photo next to computer-generated outlines

This portrait will use an identical background piece and the same woods with a similar number of shading steps.


Tail reinforcement strips

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

I glued in the 1/8″ thick spruce reinforcement strips on either side of the tail block today.


Green map pin forces bridge brace and body its direction to center on plan

I figured it was okay to glue them in out of sequence according to the directions, before the bearing brace, which isn’t in yet due to the bearing fitting too tightly in the threaded hole. It can be seen on the sidelines in the photo above.


Curved bottom edge of spruce support strips

Short brace is in

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

I got this one glued in tonight. Redid the guide lines inside the body twice, because they didn’t line up with the plans as well as they used to. Isuppose gluing in the bridge brace modified the overall shape a bit.


First brace glued in

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

I glued in the bridge brace tonight, the longest one and closest to the crank. It has a large hole for the shaft to pass through. The ends are the closest to 90 degrees of the three.


Final check of fit, especially the vertical position with spacer “feet”

I’ve tested the fit of these things dozens of times, but this time I was concerned with the spacers that go under the braces to put them at the right height in relation to the body and to level the shaft.


Post-it tape made a good guide, but mostly prevented a gluey mess

I rubber-cemented 1/16″ thick pieces of wood on the bottom of the brace at a certain distance from the centerline to accomplish this. I added Post-it tape along my pencil lines inside the body to provide clearer guides for clamping. I thought it would cut down on the glue going everywhere as well. Of course I did a dry run of the clamping procedure.


Glued in brace seen from the bottom, showing temporary “feet”

I applied glue between my Post-it tape strips on the body and also on the edges of the brace. The tape really came in handy while sliding the body down over the brace, and kept glue from smearing all over the body outside the joint area.


Glued in brace seen from the top

After adjusting the clamps and getting the brace properly aligned, I could remove the tape. This automatically removed most of the glue which had squeezed out of the joint. I only had to wipe the top and bottom corners in the recesses along the edge created from arching the brace.

I was a little apprehensive about gluing this in,  but it went well. The biggest difficulty was while checking the shaft alignment beforehand. The bearing was very hard to screw in due to being so tight, and I couldn’t get it in all the way. The one in the tail of the body went in fine. Something to check with Mel about…


Amazing Grace

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

I can’t wait to be able to play this on my new hurdy-gurdy. Just my speed, too — nice and slow.

All present and accounted for

Monday, April 19th, 2010

I received a few odds and ends today which were previously missing in action. As far as I can tell, this should complete the parts inventory: a small Owner’s Manual, a brass pin for lifting the trompette string, some maple triangles to offset some of the top key buttons, and a thin piece of cork which I think goes under the head end of the key chest. [I ordered maple sticks for the top row, instead of the standard wenge for both.]


Smoothing the braces

Monday, April 19th, 2010

The construction manual says to smooth the sharp, inner edges of the braces, so I also did this over the weekend. They sure look a lot nicer. Maybe the resulting sound will be smoother, too?


Good view of corner dowels and centerline alignment marks


Modifications of the tops and sides of first two braces are visible


This completes the first four pages of Part I

These are hopefully ready to install now! Quite a bit of work for something that won’t even show. Too bad — they look so nice! But they are the foundation for everything else, so it is understandable to put in the time to get them right.

I need to do more fit testing to fine tune my brace alignment marks on the body, before taking the major step of gluing them in.


Arching the braces

Monday, April 19th, 2010

The kit calls for a 1/16″ side-to-side rounding of the top and bottom horizontal surfaces, for the purpose of creating a slightly arched soundboard and bottom. Not only does the result look nicer, it also makes the body stronger. Jon Steel used 1/8″ on his Monarch kit. I decided I would compromise, and do 1/8″ on the top and 1/16″ on the bottom. A large part of Saturday was devoted to this.


I used Corel DRAW to create the very slight curves


Twelve templates were printed out, two for each side of each brace


Braces w/rubber-cemented guides ready for cutting - note HGC mug!


Close-up of rubber-cemented cutting guides


Braces after cutting —ugh— pretty rough trying to cut such thin slivers!


Two braces clamped together to hand-sand the same curvature


Hours later, the successful curving of the braces — whew!