Archive for the ‘Anticipation’ Category

Miter box repair & roundover bit

Friday, June 10th, 2011

It’s been a hard couple months. Okay… where was I on the hurdy-gurdy? …cutting the buttons?

A couple weeks ago I bought a new aluminum miter box, but the slots were too wide to hold a straight cut. My old X-acto one originally had narrower slots. I took it back – Revell, I think? The only other one I could find was a Midwest one that is plastic. Hope it holds up. Another idea was to epoxy something along the worn out slots in the old one to hold the saw straight again. I tried that last night, using old X-acto blades.


Re-narrowing worn out miter box slot with worn out X-acto blades

I would like to round the vertical-cut edges of the buttons to match the top and bottom edges. So, I wanted to use a router bit if possible, instead of trying to do it by hand and keep it uniform. I have a 1/4″ roundover bit over 20 years old, but I tried it last weekend and it is too dull. The trip to the hardware store was unproductive because what I needed is sold as part of an expensive set. When  all else fails, look on eBay! The seller shipped this yesterday, so I am waiting for it.


eBay router bit I ordered for rounding the button edges

I hope this cuts well. The whole idea may not work out, anyway. Maybe some edges can be done on the router, if the bit is any good, and some will have to be done by hand.

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!

Instructional DVD by Ina Lemm

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

I  have had some nice email exchanges recently with Dr. Ina Lemm about her very impressive-looking “Learning to play the hurdy-gurdy” course on DVD. There is an English version in PAL format, but she tells me it will play fine on computers here. I saw a couple of her clips on YouTube, and have been interested in getting one ever since, but wanted to make sure it would work in the States first. Now that I know the procedure, I will order one closer to the time of completion of my hurdy-gurdy.

Tutor and Maintenance DVDs

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

I had a couple email exchanges with Neil Brook earlier today and ended up ordering both his Maintenance DVD and the new G/C Tutor DVD. No doubt I desperately need both! I was going to wait until later, when I had the instrument put together, but as we discussed, it makes more sense to have the Maintenance one on hand, as it will be helpful for the initial setup. I’m also wondering if it might not prevent my building problems into the instrument, due to not knowing subtle things to watch out for. The less on-going aggravation down the road, the better!

You can see a sample video from each DVD on YouTube.



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.

2010: The Year We Make Contact

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

[That was the expanded title of the disappointing 1984 sequel to the classic, but strange "2001: A Space Odyssey," my favorite sci-fi movie as a kid in 1968. If you know anything about the original film, an alien rectangular object ends up outputting a high-pitched screeching noise. Well, here it is really 2010, and I made contact yesterday with a foreign rectangular object that showed up at my front door. However, it will take awhile before any screeching noises emanate from it. I do expect 2010 to be memorable year, due to this strange object's arrival. As Dave Bowman repeatedly says in 2010: "Something wonderful is going to happen." Except that I expect my actual 2010 will be more wonderful than the goofy sci-fi version of 2010, where Jupiter is turned into a small star, unidentified aliens oversee evolution, and everyone lives happily ever after.]

All that to say, my Hurdy Gurdy Crafters “Monarch” kit completed its 15-day odyssey from Michigan to Texas yesterday, apparently running the Postal Service gauntlet without mishap. No more fretting over whether it was lost in space, damaged by meteors, or stolen from off the front steps by aliens. Driving home from work last evening, I was relieved to spot it sitting in front of the door…


The kit was well packaged in very sturdy outer and inner boxes with styrofoam peanuts cushioning the inner box. The binder with the construction manual and the envelope containing the strings were packed outside the inner box…


Mel and Ann’s kits have a professional and attractive appearance…


The careful packing of the pieces in the box was also impressive, and must be a science of its own…


The pieces all seem to be very precisely made from quality materials using fine tools: clean and sharp edges, etc. For a detail-oriented person, it definitely passes initial inspection…


Various bags have labels listing their contents. Everything has the look of having been very well thought out and user-friendly. I haven’t totally emptied the box yet, nor completed the inventory, but I have been reading the manual, which has many color pictures illustrating each step in the process.

A recurring thought as I was browsing through the box was: “I can’t imagine Mel making all these complicated pieces.” The next thought was “I can’t imagine me putting them all together!” What have I gotten myself into? But I can’t think of making that giant leap, just taking one small step at a time.


Dremel discovery

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

Yesterday [Saturday] was Home Hazardous Waste Collection Day here.  I rounded up a bunch of old paint cans and other containers of household chemicals collecting dust and rust in the garage. I need to do a bunch more straightening up, especially on the cluttered workbench to make room for hurdy-gurdy building.

In the process of cleaning up, I ran across a Dermel tool box my father-in-law had bought me a couple years ago, which I never have used. He got it at a yard sale, or something. It has various attachments and contraptions — I don’t know what all they do until I read the paperwork. This should really come in handy for working on the hurdy-gurdy, especially the carving, I should think.


I actually have 3 Dremel tools of various ages.  The oldest one has a rheostat that no longer works, but it still runs on the highest speed. This is fortunate, because I have a very useful router attachment that it fits in. The second one is a cordless which I charged yesterday, and it still works. Then there is the one in the tool box. All are different shapes.


My mother’s marquetry portrait

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Portrait after sanding

While waiting for the hurdy-gurdy kit, I’m completing a marquetry portrait of my mother, who died in October. The portrait is based on her early 1950s engagement photo. Last night I contact-cemented the veneer picture to the 3/4″-thick wood base, after veneering the four sides. Now I’m doing the sanding to get all the different veneers level and smooth before applying a finish. It is 8 3/8″ x 12.5″.

I will do one of my father from the same era. I hope to do some marquetry on the hurdy-gurdy as well.

Nine days so far on the kit.


Peg search update

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

I talked to Mel Dorries of Hurdy Gurdy Crafters today, and after all his careful research, he recommends Brian Burns’ 945B planetary pegs, which are 9mm diameter viola size. These are made by Chuck Herin of  Pegheds.


#945B guitar peg illustration from Brian's site

After studying a traditional peg box profile, Mel doesn’t think different lengths are going to be necessary. [The problem we ran into is that the different lengths Brian has are not available in the same diameter.] I trust his expertise here, and intend to go with these.

The kit was mailed last Monday, but is still enroute.


It’s in the mail!

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

I should mention that the anticipation is almost over, as Mel let me know that my Monarch kit was shipped yesterday [Monday] and should be here shortly.

The pegs will be shipped later. I’m not sure at this point what was settled on for those. The previous plan had been…

Two sizes —the long and short— are more readily available, so we are going to go that route.

…but it turned out those were discovered to also be two different diameters, and that wouldn’t be suitable.

Definitely no need for the pegs any time soon!