Archive for the ‘Hollowing’ Category

Head – width narrowed

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

The outer edge of the girl’s headdress is an original edge of the block and was being preserved to narrow the width of the pegbox to match that of the keychest. I decided I couldn’t keep that intact any longer due to the shaping I needed to be doing. I was hoping to do this later, so none of the good edges would get dinged up while doing the carving.

I couldn’t run the pegbox side over the router bit and keep it level without leaving a second “foot” opposite the one created by the headdress edge.


Partway through the second of three passes, showing temporary foot

I made about three cuts of increasing depths to reach the right dimensions. I did both sides of the peghead while at each depth. Once the right depth was reached, I needed to remove the temporary foot before the bit was adjusted. This was done by using a “crutch” strip of balsa wood the same thickness as the foot being amputated, to hold the piece level.


My crutch spacer used to remove the temporary foot underneath

All of this was a very delicate operation. I was worried about chipping out a final edge. More of a possibility was gouging by the router bit, if I tried to do too much at one time, making it buck, or if the piece rocked slightly. Removing the temporary feet was also very risky, with the possiblity of the crutch moving or not being exactly the same width as what was being removed.


Results of narrowing after routing off the temporary feet

One side had to be routed a little deeper than the other. This was because the holes drilled for the chanter strings did not turn out exactly in the middle of the block. I shifted the centerline of the piece over to match these holes.

It turned out that one side of the pegbox is 1/32 thinner than the other because of how I hollowed out the inside. This is only slightly noticeable, and only visible from the bottom, anyway. I could probably do something about it, but don’t know if I will bother. The thinner side is about 5/16″ thick.

Overall, the operation was a huge success, and one I am glad to have behind me. I hope to eventually put marquetry inlay in the sides of the pegbox, which will match that in the lid of the keychest.

Figurehead – initial shaping

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Before moving on, I cleaned up the inside some after drilling the peg holes – repairing the chipped out places and re-smoothing the inner surfaces. I hope I am done in here for awhile!


First I undercut the chin to the neck with a miter saw and chisel, and added a paper face to the front as a guide.


Then I sanded off the top and corners using Leonard’s disc sander…


…to create a rough outline of her headcovering.


Doing much more rough-shaping will involve losing my nice silhouettes, which will definitely make it harder to get the proportions right. I will need to ponder the order in which I want to do things from here. I could further shape the top of her cap, or remove the bottom to the outline of her head and neck.

Head – bottom chiseling & sanding

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

Over the weekend I chiseled out the bottom, mostly using a 3/8″ chisel. This was the next step to smooth out the stair-stepping and scalloped edges caused by the drilling.


Finished with chiseling - stair steps gone, but still rough

Since it is a very cramped area to sand in, I made a 2 1/4″ wide sanding block that would just fit the width of the cavity to get rid of the chisel marks. Two grits of sandpaper were rubber-cemented on opposite sides.


Sanding in progress with balsawood block made to fit the width



Sanding flat the scalloped edge from drilling overlapping holes

This intensive sanding was a source of several thumb and index finger scrapes against the rough side edges and corners.


Sanding mostly complete

Some final sanding will be done after other work, like drilling the tuning peg holes, but the area is essentially smoothed out.

Head – bottom drilling finished

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

I went back to Leonard’s tonight and spent a couple hours on his drill press drilling out more of the hollow area of the bottom. Since I had routed the area out to a lower level, I was able to lower the drill bit more in the chuck so that it would descend to the depths necessary.


A much bigger cavity now


Chanter string holes intersected with the drilling as planned


Opened up chanter string holes

Now to smooth it all out!

Head – bottom routing finished

Monday, September 19th, 2011

Saturday I routed down to the level of where the ‘yoke’ will sit on the neck. This is 1  1/2″ deep on the flat end of the head. However, that bottom surface is not yet at the right slope for the head to sit properly on the neck. This will probably have to be filed by hand, after more drilling is done. You can see this on the paper glued to the side of the block in the following photo, how that bottom edge tilts upward slightly.


Beginning the deepest cut with the router, starting in the middle

The depth of the routing is also as deep as necessary on the opposite side of the depression, nearest where the carved head will be  [see the final picture, compared to paper plan glued on the side]. It still needs to be deepened closer to the body, and that will be done with the drill press.


Finished with deepest level of routing, showing bit

The two masking tapes in the photo are guides marking the stopping points on back-and-forth passes, since the bit is hidden inside and you cannot otherwise tell where to stop. One setting of the fence is mirrored by running the piece through from both directions.

Since this was the last of the routing, I made much smaller movements of the fence, necessitating more passes on the router to give a straighter edge to the internal end of the hollowed out area seen to the right below. Originally, this edge was more scalloped from the round bit and bigger increments between passes. This will mean much less chiseling.


Close-up showing completion of the routing phase

Head – more bottom routing

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

I’ve spent some of the last two evenings outside until it got too dark routing out the bottom of the head, using a 3/4″ straight bit. I’ve gone down 1 1/8″. I’ve been deepening the cut about 1/8″ at a time. I still have about 3/8″ more to go until I get to the top of the ‘yoke’ where it will rest on the body’s neck. From there, the cavity where the tuning pegs go will need more hollowing with the drill press.


Progress as of Wednesday, September 14


Progress as of Thursday, September 15

Head – router work started

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

I don’t know what real hurdy-gurdy makers call it. I’m calling it a ‘yoke’ — the bottom of the tallest part of the head extending down on either side of the ‘neck’ of the body, like a ‘yoke.’ I got a start on that tonight, using my router table and a 3/8″ straight bit to notch out the part that will straddle the neck. It is not yet the proper width. Same with the depth, of course, which needs to go down to the horizontal mark on the white paper — the level of the soundboard.


Removing this middle part will allow more drill bit clearance for further hollowing. I will probably go a little deeper on it with the router before going back to drilling. I ran out of daylight tonight. I was working out on the driveway.

Last night I hand-sanded off the circular marks from the disc sander.

Head – initial hollowing

Monday, September 12th, 2011

I went over to Leonard’s tonight and used his drill press to start hollowing out the bottom. I drilled three rows of holes at different depths, opening up an area 2  1/8″ x 1  1/8″. I used a rather small bit due to the steep angle of the interior curve. A bigger bit would have cut more area out, but would require more chiseling on the bottom because of bigger stair steps.


I also sanded flat the foot of the piece that will attach to the keychest on Leonard’s disc sander. It was only roughly cut initially on the bandsaw, until the string holes were cut.


It will take another session or two of drilling to get the area completely opened up.