Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Once more, I'll rant about neck carving. It is (I think) my favourite stage in a build. I've gotten a bit too fast for my own liking though - it's over almost as soon as it's begun.
So tonight I worked really slowly and tried to make it last. [It took 25 minutes in the end, hardly a success.]
What I had was the rough sawn neck blank with the tapered sides. I used these tools:
- double handled draw knife
- small contour plane
- sloyd / whittling knife
- 1 1/2 inch chisel
- low angle apron plane
- small finger plane
But doing it slowly paid off. The mahogany had some rather difficult reversing grain that I could control by angling the contour plane carefully to match it.
And look at these pics of the result. It damn well shines! It is totally untouched by any abrasive tools or sand paper. I'll tell you my secret at the bottom of the post, after the pics.
The secret of my success tonight, then. Sharp tools.
Friday, December 6, 2013
I slotted the fretboards and got ready to taper the sides. Holding them finger tight on the necks I marked with a pencil along the edges of the neck. Then I placed a steel straightedge at the marked line and scored a deep line with a marking knife.
I want the fretboard edge to be ridiculously straight - chances are the edges of the neck are not at this stage. But I can fix that by sneaking up against the fretboard with a scraper when it's glued.
Before, I would've sliced off a bit on the small bandsaw before planing. But now I have a couple of planes that'll make short work of bringing down the width.
First up is a Stanley Handyman. It's a simpler version of the 4 1/2, the mouth is too wide and it lacks the adjustment screw for the frog. I've put a camber on the iron and it works sort of like a small jack plane.
This plane hogs off most of the wood but is prone to tear the grain a bit.
Next one is a proper 4 1/2, with the tighter mouth and the blade ground and set for smoothing.
With this plane I work closer to the line and make sure it's dead straight. That's easy since the tool itself is a great reference.
Finally I made a few passes with the small apron plane to get right into the scored line.
And all this in ten minutes, both fretboards. I couldn't have done it faster with machines or sandpaper, and this way I only had a few handfuls of curly shavings to clean up instead of nasty dust.
Continuing the low tech, stubbornly backwards way of doing stuff, I carved the ends of each board with my sloyd knife. Templates, spindle sanders and router - pfff.
Fun stuff, methinks. (In the well of the left one you see traces of the never ending Argapa quest for quality control.)
Upplagd av Sven Nyström kl. 11:59 PM
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
If you've read enough of my rants on here, you know that I really don't like finish sanding. It's messy, noisy (if you use machines), tedious, and above all it simply doesn't give me a good enough result.
(The above statement is how I feel about it, but I will admit that sometimes I'm pleased with both process and result: sitting outdoors with my cordless sander, a dust mask and some fine grit paper ain't too bad. And some parts of the neck I shape partly with coarse paper.)
But what to do with scratched and uneven wood if finish sanding is out of the question? You scrape. Or more precisely, you get scrapers and sharpening stones, you watch videos online and you buy a burnisher. Then you try, fail, start over and practice.
I'm getting better at lapping, sharpening and burnishing scrapers and as I do my results improve.
So this morning I trimmed the overhanging bits on these resos, then I sanded a bit with the Abranet system (a handheld sanding block with a dust collecting hose) to get drops of glue and bumps I missed with the chisel and contour plane.
Then I scraped them with these. A Bahco card scraper, a goose neck scraper, and a Carruth scraper from Stewmac. In the pic you can also see the burnisher I bought from... was it Stewmac or Lee Valley? Can't remember. I did have some regrets after buying it because I wasn't pleased with what it did, but that was me using it in a wrong way. Now when I compare the edge it gives with an edge I get with a traditional burnisher I find that it's actually better. And it's easier to use.
But what of the results then. I don't expect it to be perfectly clear in this picture, but it's silky smooth and perfectly even. All traces from the thickness drum sander are gone (and they're usually around at delivery time for each Argapa uke).
The species are English walnut to the right, and some highly figured Swedish ash to the left. Yes, it's the same as Jukka's and Aya's wedding uke.