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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Luthier on the run

Believe it or not, even your favourite hardest working luthier needs a break now and then. So I packed a case with three ukes and went to Italy via Paris. In Paris I was invited to a uke jam in the 11th arrondissement, first pic shows the ukes putside the pub. 

I played alongside a pretty stern and extremely loud gentleman, so that was three traits we didn’t share. I’m lax, quiet and no gentleman. They went through songs as if there was no tomorrow, never pausing for beer. It was unlike any gathering I’ve been to. 

And here’s the view of today. The pool, the crossword, the fugly wanderer and the insane mountain behind it all. I’ll see how long I can lie flat before looking for the tool store. 

Bonus pic: in Paris I was happy to learn they really care for their metal heads. This is the Maison des Metallos, surely a home for worn out headbangers where they can be fed diluted beer and Carcass on low volume. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Piccolo, back glued on

Just a quick report of what I did this morning before running off to the office. 

I clamped the piccolo on the workboard with the matching solera insert. I shim the neck to get the correct angle, this is held by the back. Determining the height of that shim was very complicated so I store it in a safe place. 

With a mdf caul I clamp the back with slats of wood geld down by long screws with wingnuts. 

And after clamping I check for squeeze out around the body with a mirror. 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Mock lute soundboard and piccolo assembly

Having done the back of the mock lute I started on a spruce soundboard. I needed to access the innards of the body to reinforce some seams of tricky geometry, that’s why I build backwards this time. 

A sharp number 4 plane with a cambered blade rushes through the wood as if it was a thick dairy product. Butter or cheese. 

Then I made the rosette channel with my rosette cutter, easily the coolest tool I ever invested [rather heavily] in. Two cuts with a knife-like blade, then some routing with a narrow chisel blade. 

I bent a mahogany strip on my secondary bending iron. It’s a huge soldering iron with a tip for, I think, de-horning cows. It gets crazy hot really fast so I have it plugged in for a couple of minutes tops. 

After some fiddling it fit, the strip is 0.5 mm so four turns to fill the 2 mm slot. 

I glued with thin, and after that medium ca glue. Here’s me paring it down once the glue is dry. With a Narex paring chisel. 

Bracing in the go bar deck, after this pic I added a single brace across the bridge patch to secure the dome in the soundboard. 

And some miniature plane action. Of cöurse!

While the glue on the rosette dried I marked out a centerline on the cherry piccolo, and matched the neck to the body. Avoiding sandpaper means you have to have sharp scrapers so I had to build a sharpening jig for my Stewmac ultimate scraper. 

And here it is after assembly. The still square lute soundboard behind it reveals the jumbled timeline, but hey - it’s my blog and you can cry if you want to. 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Piccolo neck carved, and progress on mock lute

I carved the neck for the piccolo in progress, as always my favourite task during any build. I started out by making recesses as entry and exit points. 

The rasp makes short work of it, at the heel and at the headstock end. This piece of cherry has a bit of figure to it, and is quite hard. 

Then with a couple of different spokeshaves (but mostly this small one) I connect the recesses, keeping the width and creating the slight v-shape that I favour. 

Ta-daa! It was over much too soon. Around twenty minutes and that was working slow on purpose to make it last longer. 

Then I bent a couple of walnut pieces to close the back of the mock lute. I’m not a hundred percent sure of my strategy yet, it will become clear in a few days. 

Here are the pieces clamped to the rest of the mock lute, the joints were ok but needed some adjustments afterwards.