Archive for the ‘Keychest’ Category

Harlequin taped and glued

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012
I removed all the layers of old tape from the individual barber pole strips. The two inlays kept falling apart, because the original  stripes were just taped together. After several re-attachments, I put fresh tape on the front, crossing the joints, which the former tape did not do, because the original taped strips were cut. Using the template I made in Corel Draw on the computer, I traced the trim lines with a fine-point marker onto each piece on the back. This is done before gluing, because you can’t write very well on the glue.

Two inlays with pattern, after taping the fronts and tracing trim lines

After that, I spread carpenter’s glue over the back of both inlays, put tinfoil over that with heavy books for weight while drying. The glue doesn’t stick to the tinfoil. So now they should be strong enough to work with. They want to curl, requiring weight to be kept on them.


One of the pieces with glue coating on the back side, tinfoil removed

Trimming is next.

Keychest bottom sanded

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

As mentioned last time, to get the head adjusted onto the body accurately in relation to the keychest, I needed to first sand the bottom of the keychest so it would match the curvature of the soundboard.

The keychest was run back and forth along its axis over two sheets of sandpaper on top of the soundboard.


Sanding the bottom of the keychest to match the soundboard curvature

The four pieces of the keychest were not perfectly aligned on the bottom when I assembled them, and there were some small beads of dried glue coming out from the joints. So, all that is leveled as well as curved. The two end pieces required the most curving, due to their width and perpendicular orientation.


Front of keychest after sanding bottom

It should be good enough now to finish adjusting the head. It definitely looks much better.

Head – neck notches 2

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Now that the tuning peg holes are drilled, I can go back to getting the head to fit in the notches I made in the neck of the body. The bottom edge of the head needed its final curve to be able to fine tune the notches. Plus, the angle on the two little feet needed changing to make them perpendicular to the angle of the keychest-mounting edge, which is mainly why I wanted to drill first, since the piece would have to sit on those for that operation, and might have dented them.


Chiseling the curves to their rough outlines

[You can see in the above picture where the wood chipped out some on the right-most hole.] After chiseling came the sanding by hand. Leonard lent me a coarse-grained tube from an oscillating sander, and I used a wood dowel wrapped with fine sand paper to complete these curves.


Final smoothing of curves and flattening of feet

The head-shaping that relates to the neck  is completed, but I’m still adjusting the neck to get a good fit. It’s almost there, but the head’s ‘yoke’ still doesn’t quite fit flush against the soundboard. Part of the problem is that the soundboard isn’t completely flat on the neck, so I will work on that.


Upside down view of how the head fits into neck notches

Another thing I need to do before finalizing these head adjustments is sand the bottom of the keychest to match the curve of the soundboard. This will lower the keychest some in relation to the head, which will then require the head to sit lower, too.

I have been worrying throughout the design of this that the head won’t fit in the notches right so that it will not match the vertical end of  the keychest to make a good joint,  but this seems to be working out okay.


Test fit of the body, head and keychest for proper alignment

After this will probably come the final shaping of the top curve of the head where the peg holes are, and narrowing the sides to the width of the keychest.

Split nut – new spacer

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

I didn’t like the ebony spacer I made when I split the kit nut in two. I had used some of the ebony from the striped edging on the body. It was too thin, short and tapered towards the top. Furthermore, there was a gap between the nuts and the sides of the keychest.

So today I made a new one out of some 1/4″ rosewood, the same wood I used for the chanter selectors at the other end of the keychest. I made a tongue along the botton to fit in the narrower groove that I had cut for the ebony one. Not only is it the same wood, it has a rounded front and top like the chanter slectors for a similar appearance. And as an added bonus, the nuts now fit snugly between it and the keychest sides.


Test fit of new spacer for nuts

Keychest hinge notches

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

Today I cut the notches for the coiled wire hinges in the keychest and lid. This took quite awhile. I have three hinges. The standard kit came with two. The angled notches were made with an X-acto knife and a sanding stick I made for this operation. I suppose they came out okay. Perhaps they are a little bigger or wider than necessary, but pretty good for a first try.

I also drilled the four holes for each hinge’s wires with a twist drill. The angles of the holes on the inside came out a little inconsistent. No big deal, I guess.


Trimmed coiled wire hinge, beveled notches and sanding stick

Previously I had cut the wires to a uniform length, as per the instructions. I also filed off the sharp ends of the wires, though that is not shown in these pictures. I also shortened the wires from what is shown.


Hinge shown in notch for a test fit, with lower wires in holes

The wires are put into the holes and the extra part is curled into a circle with needle-nose pliers to hold it snug. I will have to watch this on the first one where the chanter selector is, so there is no interference with the rotation. The hinges are not going to be put in now, anyway. That will be very late in the game. But I wanted the notches done before the finish is applied to the parts.


Hinge seen from inside

The other big thing I did, which took about as long as doing the notches, was sand the surface between the keychest and lid so they fit together better. I also sanded the width of the lid so it was the same as the width of the keychest all along the length.

Lid marquetry – sanded

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

I managed to get all the glue goop off. It still needs more sanding, though. Strange how light the whole thing got by sanding. Looks too light, especially the basketweave part, which doesn’t contrast with the light background diamonds much now. I assume it will darken up significantly when the finish is applied.


The final sanding isn’t done, but you can get the idea.


Lid marquetry – inlaid

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

Like other inlay recesses I’ve done here, the edge was scored with an X-acto knife, the inner edge beveled with that knife, then Jerry’s little plane was used at various depths to gradually hollow out the recess. You can see in the photo how I used a strip of the veneer to keep the plane level, even when the wood was cut out from under it.


This shallow recess made quite a pile of shavings!

I lightly sanded the back of the marquetry, to rough up the glued side and to level up any thicker spots. Then I made some mahogany sawdust to dye the glue to hide any gaps around the edge. I wanted to used epoxy just in case wood glue would eventually be effected by any perspiration from my forearm constantly sliding back and forth along the lid. I mixed up the rest of my 5-minute epoxy and quickly started spreading it into the recess. It got quite messy as it was on my fingers and getting on the edges of the lid, but that should be no problem when it’s all sanded. The last thing I wanted was for it to start hardening before I had it all spread out and the marquetry inserted.

After rolling it down with my marquetry roller, I clamped it to a flat board, with tin foil and and several layers of paper towel. The tin foil is to keep it from gluing to something else, and the cushioning of the paper towel is to make sure any thinner veneers in the pattern also receive pressure.


Making sure the 145 little pieces of veneer get glued in there tightly

After removing the clamps…


Section of inlaid lid showing epoxy mess

Lid marquetry – frame

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

The frame is done. That wood looks the same color as the lid’s mahogany, except with swirly grain. The long sides are segmented into five pieces to get matching grain, so the frame has twelve pieces. The design has been trimmed out of the scrap veneer to its final size.


Completed marquetry inlay shown with lid

Now I have to cut the recess for it into the lid. Jerry again graciously let me borrow his little planes and inlay tools.

Lid marquetry – background

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

Here are the thirty-three background diamonds. Since that wood is real light, the pattern isn’t quite as subtle as I was expecting. Hope it isn’t “too much.”


Pattern completed, awaiting the border

There are 130 pieces in the design. Next is the frame.

Lid marquetry – light shadows

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Here’s the thirty diagonal ‘edges’ with the lighter shadows on the 3D lattice.


Now it actually looks like a lattice

 Next is the ‘bottom’ —those diamonds— which will be the lightest color.