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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Packed up for MUMF

I’m writing this on the train between Sweden and Denmark, the picture is from the other night when I packed eight or nine ukes in a borrowed suitcase. 

I’m on my way to Wales, if all connections work out. 

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Yet another reso

Sorry for being absent! I have been travelling to benefit the Swedish state. But I’m back for a bit and needed to show you a few kitchen pics of my latest effort, the Argapa 107 soprano resonator. 

Hardware is from whatsitsname, in the US. Maybe Republic? I bought it long ago and can’t really remember. A good and reliable supplier, not like that wanker Colin who still owes me money for the cones he never shipped. 

The wood is ziricote, the neck is alder. It has the slight v-shape and knife marks, the way I like it. I’m finding it harder to enjoy those swooshy necks sanded to 12000 grit where the wood looks as if it was cast in a mould. But there might be laziness and denial involved, I’m no shrink. 

I got the ziricote from a dear friend in the UK, he’s a very talented builder and makes lovely instruments for lovely people. Check his blog out here:


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Another zero sanding piccolo

I had yet another request for a cherry piccolo, by someone who promised to play tango music on it. How could I say no. I couldn’t, and thought it’d be nice to bring it to MUMF in May, finished or half finished. 

The pieces I had kicking about were very uneven both in shape and in thickness. So I set out with scrub plane, jack plane and a few more planes. The jack plane has a new replacement iron from Hock and cut just beautifully. Of course it made me want to do this zero sanding style. 

It’s tricky to clamp the piece down so I used my planing board with stopping strips at two edges. 

I shot for 1.6 mm thickness. When it’s this thin it may want to buckle and crack so I put a lot of my albeit wee body weight on the plane. 

Then I marked out the contours for the front and back. A transparent template makes it easy to line it up with the grain direction. The outer line is drawn with a washer, offsetting the mark an exact distance all around. 

Then the long piece for the rim. This is even more difficult, you can only clamp the back end or it will buckle and shatter. I had to use a small block plane to get at the spots where the clamp was, going almost against the grain. 

But it was a success, 1.6 - 1.7 mm over the entire length and a surface almost as hard and shiny as a piece of glass. So I bent the rim on the iron and put it in the mould. 

Then after the rim had sat for a couple of days I reversed two clamps to spreader clamps and forced open the slot at the top of the mould, enough to get a saw in to cut the rim to length. 

I grabbed an offcut from the travel uke and ripped it to get an end block. I need to set the teeth of this saw, it tends to bind in the kerf. 

My wee bench hook is great for cutting and squaring small parts. Here I use it as a shooting board to plane the ends of the block. 

And here it is, glued and clamped in place. Now I’ll take a break to do some shopping, pack a bag and go to Africa for a few days. Day job is still painfully necessary.