Archive for February, 2011

Trimming the faces

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

I scanned the marquetry of the keychest side so I could trim and tweak the photos of the dancers’ faces to match the pieces of veneer used for their faces. I needed to do this prior to laser-etching the faces.

This trimming was done in Photoshop with the face pictures on a separate layer from the scan of the marquetry. The wood unfortunately couldn’t be cut by hand accurately enough to perfectly match the outlines of the original faces, so they got a little distorted. This meant I had to blend the shading out to the new edges, or trim off where facial shading went too far.


Face image being trimmed to fit marquetry using Photoshop

On this gentleman, besides trimming his sideburn, I had to surgically move, enlarge, and widen his ear to better fit the inaccurately cut piece of veneer. This view is before I adjusted any of the image. It probably would have been okay like it was.


Photoshop view of face image cut to match actual woodwork

This lady, besides some simple trimming and blending, needed me to add in some missing ear on the top edge because the zig-zaggy lace trim on her headcovering couldn’t be reproduced in that much detail, so there was a little triangle of lace over the face veneer piece [barely visible in the photo above]. The clone tool fixed that.

The big thing was getting the outlines of the electronic image to match the actual wooden image. I will probably also have the little bit of detail there is etched onto the two heads turned away from the viewer as well.

I also used a scan of the scroll to arrange the French motto for the scroll. That was done using the program Corel Draw.

2011 National Accordion Convention

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

Almost time for the National Accordion Convention here in Dallas! My wife and I went to the 3-hr Saturday concert last year for my birthday. It was a real treat. This closing concert is open to the general public for a $10 charge.

This year it is March 12 from 7:30 to 10:30 located at the Westin Hotel in Dallas.

When’s the last time you heard an accordion orchestra do “Handel’s Messiah”? Here it is from last year…

[You can also see them do the Tara Theme from "Gone With The Wind," and others.] Some of the individual performances were even more impressive. I look forward to going back!

Opening the keyhole

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Back showing cardboard plug behind hat to prevent glue oozing into hole

The man’s hat covers the first keyhole on the bottom row. Since the keyshafts are wenge, I used wenge for the hatbands to hopefully minimize the fact that he has a hole in his head. The problem with wenge veneer, though, is that it is very brittle along the straight grain, but very hard to cut across the grain.  This caused problems for the top of the hole, as it was tangent with the bottom of the oval of the hat crown. The two slivers above the corners of the hole came out. I filled those spots with epoxy stained with ebony sawdust.


Re-opened hole in hat with black epoxy repairs to top corners

In the above view, the epoxy is sanded smooth, but the excess on the inside edges hasn’t been filed flat yet. That will be done when all the other holes’ sizes are adjusted for the shafts.

As you can see, the keyhole is bigger than the hatband. Perhaps I can put some lighter wood in the lower corners of the keyshaft end?

Keychest ends glued to side

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Having sanded the keychest sides, it was time to glue the ends to the plain side. I had thought I’d be gluing the four pieces together all at once, but decided that trying to clamp them in their exact positions with the slippery glue would be like herding cats, and decided to do it in three steps to cut down on the potential for messes or problems.


Clamped nut base block with excess glue wiped off

Gluing the block at the back went about as expected and without complication. Gluing the front on was more difficult, though, due to its thinner and taller shape, I suppose. It turned out being slightly in front of the leading edge of the side piece instead of flush with it. So some extra sanding will be needed get all that even again. I expected to be able to align it better than that, but the wood glue seemed to set real fast. At least it is off about the same from top to bottom, and the bottom appears to be down flat.


Front glued in place with veneer pieces protecting from clamp marks

Good thing I’m doing one joint at a time. I definitely would have regretted trying it all at once.

Keychest sides sanded

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

The big issue here was sanding the piece down so that all the different thicknesses of vener used in the marquetry were flush. And more sanding than normal was required, because I had done the inlay a little deeper than I intended, which put all of the veneers below the edge of the keychest piece. Sanding sealer was sprayed on to minimize dust from the dark woods from staining the lighter ones.


The right-hand couple and scroll sanded smooth

You can see how they were actually inserted too deeply here.


Left-hand couple sanded smooth

Note the man’s vertically-striped wenge hatband, as the next operation is re-opening the hidden keyhole in that area.

Keychest – sanding sealer

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

It warmed up! Instead of being freezing for days, it actually got over 60 degrees today — back to suitable hurdy-gurdy making weather. Today I sanded both sides of both keychest side pieces, something I couldn’t do in the house. I also sprayed the one with the inlays with Behlen nitrocellulose laquer sanding sealer. That needed warmer weather also. The inlays are lower than the surface, so I didn’t sand down to their level yet.


Inlay piece with sanding sealer sprayed on

Scroll inlay

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

Catching up after a busy couple weeks: I finished the keychest’s scroll inlay mid-January. Since the plan is to laser-etch a motto on it, I decided to use for the center the thick holly which was used to do the soundboard striped edging. I didn’t want the laser to burn through thin veneer with unknown results. Besides, the holly was the whitest wood I had.


Cutting 3/32" thick holly for central part of scroll

Two other slightly darker veneers about 1/32″ thick were used for the folds and ends of the scroll.


Checking the fit of the holly on the veneer design

The thick holly’s outline needed to line up with the parts of the thin veneer design, as it was going to be added in later. The central part of the veneer design was temporary scrap, but it had to match the outline of the holly.


Veneeer scroll in position for tracing with X-acto knife

Then the recess had to be cut out for the inlay…
Keychest side ready for gluing in the veneeer scroll

Keychest side ready for gluing in the veneer scroll

After that was glued in, the deeper recess was cut for the holly center…
Holly piece ready to glue into deeper recess

Holly piece ready to glue into deeper recess

The holly piece was glued in and scraped down. The inlay work on this piece is finally all done! I bought some sanding sealer the other day to spray on it. I don’t want the dark woods discoloring the light ones. Sanding everything down flush and even will be a tricky job. Here lately, it is too cold to use the spray!