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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Making a piccolo bridge

I make my one piece piccolo bridges from a length of bridge blank profile. I've made about a meter of profile two times and only have enough left for one more after this one.

In the first pic I dial in the height. I'm happy to say that this value is quite consistent now, after loads and loads of piccolos. Jigs, solera and skillz.

In the second pic I shape the compensated saddle part. With an expensive Japanese gouge. This is the feature most people mention when scrutinizing my piccolos and I believe it's crucial for intonation.

In the last pic it's more or less done, save for some scraping and maybe sanding.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Using the fretting pliers

With an extra caul I should be able to fret a piccolo neck.

The fret is cut to length and the ends are shaped.

The middle pic [is bad but] shows the pliers as I'm about to press the fret in.

And it works! I need to work a bit on the technique, but who doesn't.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Splitting a spruce log

Armed with a riving froe and a helpful brother, I set out to split a log from an old barn. The barn was from the 19th century and fell down near a mate of mine.

Splitting was hard work, but the wood is perfect.

Ripping wood for mr Monteleone

Why keep good news secret? Patsy has asked me to build a mahogany and spruce uke in my piccolo size. And I managed to find a scrap piece of my highly valued 1960's mahogany, the same plank as my own soprano and a few others are made from.

The piece is about the right size.

I planed the edges and scored deeply with a marking gauge. 

Then, with my Pax rip saw, I started to cut from the corners. 

And look, three pieces from a 14 mm board. That's better than I could hope for with my bandsaw at this time - it's wobbly and the driving belt just broke. 

Buy a Pax rip saw, join the 19th century (it's a bit lonely here).

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Out of proportion

Small stuff is built with small tools. Check out the miniature block plane I got from my favourite dealer Lee Valley. It's a mini version of their excellent block planes, and it's possible to give away as a funny but wee conversation piece.

But let me tell you, it works perfectly. This morning I used it to shave the tops of the back braces of this piccolo.

Building ukes has been more or less on hold for two weeks. We've been busy building a storage wall in our bedroom. Maybe that wall will find its way into the background in one of these posts.

And good news, I got a very interesting question from one of my supporters - a custom piccolo. Stay, as they say, tuned.