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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Dead in the water

This post contains gore pics. 

I started carving the necks. First two went well, excellent even. First I made the Spanish cedar neck as a warm up, then an alder neck. The third one was also alder but had a more difficult grain. The spokeshave couldn't make the heel as easily as usual so I took the neck in my hand and started whittling away. 

Did I mention I didn't bring my kevlar gloves? Did I mention I honed my whittling knife last night?

Good news: no tendons were cut. 

Eight stitches at the emergency ward. Yay. 

Now I won't finish the necks here. But fear not, the hand will mend. It always does. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Carving necks in the wilderness

The fight for consistency and quality continues. Rather than carving one at the time I chose to making them in parallel. So after marking the width at the nut and the 13th fret position I connected the marks with lines and drew the angle cuts on the heel end. Then I saw off the waste. 

The leftovers have a very typical shape and are all over the workshop, even this temporary shop. I put them to good use, lighting up the barbecue. 

Then I carve them all at the nut end to give the spokeshave an exit point. At this point I almost caved in and started to carve them. 

But looking at them from this position I remembered all the necks I carved without seeing to the headstock thickness first. So I marked them all with a marking guage, 10 mm all around. 

When I planned these ukes I thought I was going to thickness the headstocks in a drum sander, but I have to use my small brass plane, most likely a concave spokeshave with its handles broken off. 

And I upgraded the hat. 

Heres a pic of the plane. If you look closely at the edges of the headstock you can see the fraying that occurs when the planed surface reaches the guage line. 

First five done, I'll do the last four tomorrow. Then it's time for carving, at last. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Flat pack workshop for the Argapa embassy

I know the big Swedish furniture store sells a table called Sven, but if they didn't they could sell this mobile workshop. Or they couldn't of course, not with their focus on shite quality and fake materials. 

Despite my bitter feelings towards them I used one if their bags. 

In it were a Sjöbergs vise, my neck carving jig, nine neck blanks (I counted to eight yesterday but I was wrong apparently), three socks and a roll of tools. 

Here's what I think I'll need for carving the necks:
The vise
The jig
Measuring tools
Marking knife and marking guages
Japanese saw, for rip and cross cuts
Carving knives and chisel
Sharpening utensils

There's a brass plane next to the marking tools, it should've been with the other planes. 

I knocked a base together for the vise and screwed it down to the front porch. 

And here's an action pic of the Argapanator in full swing and a stupid hat. The shöp is open! Carving necks. I just love it. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A short break from the vacation

Isn't it odd that I manage to build like crazy when I'm working full time and travel around the world? And now during the summer when I am free I can't build anything? Well it's sort of true. When I went to the summer house a few weeks ago, after the hiking week in the mountains, I hadn't anything suitable to bring with me. Everything is resawn, bent and to some extents already glued. Neck blanks were abubdant and prepared. Of course I eyed my dad's mahogany stash as always but I have my own to work through. 

Here's what I occupied myself with. 

But today I came back from the cottage to the apartment, and the humble lair of the Argapanator (my workshop). So I picked up where I left off and continued to work on the neck blanks. Remember I told you I was gonna reinforce them? I made two slots in each, about 10 mm deep. Then I ripped some slats from 3 mm aero plywood, and glued them in. I honestly think they'll do the same as the carbon fibre rods I've mucked about with, and it saves me from using epoxy and ruining my tools. 

It was a bit messy. The slots were tight and glue squeezed out nearly everywhere. But I made eight necks in one go. 

Here's a shot of one of them. The plywood is crazy, I think there are seven layers in those 3 mm. Really strong and stiff stuff. 

So after scraping off excess glue I plane the slats flush (trying not to plane away those knife lines I made a few weeks back).

Tomorrow I'm off to another cottage, and dig this, one WITHOUT A WORKSHOP at all. So I'm toying with the idea of bringing some tools. And a vise. And eight neck blanks. Too bad my borrowed car is really tiny. Stay, as they say, tuned. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Preparing neck blanks

Vacation is well under way, weather's nice and humidity is quite high in the workshop. So I won't glue the tops on the resos yet. Instead I'll prepare hhe neck blanks, a whole bunch of them. I have a new idea of how to reinforce them, and how to cover up any visible traces of that reinforcement. They don't need that much extra strength on account of the string pull but I want some insurance against movement of the wood. I figure a slot, a feather and the glue will give me that. 

First I plane the face of the headstock, getting it flat and roughly square to the upper face of the blank. 

I check with my wee engineer's square. 

Then I plane the upper face. There is something going on here more difficult to show in pictures, I keep checking the length of the upper face to see that I have around 190 mm there. If it got too short when I did the headstock then I push down at the nut end on the upper face. If it gets too long I return to the headstock to shorten it (the aforementioned upper face). 

If it's too long it means I'll have to chop the blank off at the heel end and that might make the heel too small for the barrel bolt. 

The pic shows me checking for gaps and divots against a goose neck led light. 

I scribe a line exactly at the angle to define it. It can be hard to see without the line. Then I scribe a line at the heel end, at 186 mm from the angle. This will give me what I need, a shelf for the nut where the nut itself hides the edge of the headstock overlay. I can't be arsed doing a nut slot between the fretboard and the overlay, that's too fiddly and I don't care for the vulnerable edge of the overlay. 

I have a couple more to make but the pile grows rapidly. 

The mahogany one is for me. I plan to treat myself to another Argapa, about bloody time I'd say.