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Sunday, September 30, 2018

Carving the neck for Dafydd’s reso

Hi all. I’m behind in blogging at the moment. I’ve made progress on a few ukes but to keep it organized I’ll just show one tonight. The mahogany reso will have a mahogany neck. I needed a peghead overlay o the same wood as in the body, but want to be very economic with it. So I looked at the circular piece I got from the sound well. Problem was it had a hole in the centre. I cut it diagonally to get the hole out, and glued the halves back together with a stylish strip of alternating wood veneers, maple and mahogany. 

It turned out really nice I think. 

Then onwards to my favourite part, the carving. I marked out the angles and widths and made starting cuts with a chisel. 

Then I ripped it close to the lines with my Pax rip saw. I gave the teeth on the rip saw a little extra set and it went much straighter. Should’ve done that a couple of years ago. 

And here’s a new knife. I saw someone on youtube carving with a knife with an extremely long handle. And I had a spare blade so I made one like it. Jury’s still out but it cuts well enough after a session on the water stones. 

I made the entry and exit points at the heel and headstock ends. 

And then I took the small wooden spokeshave that serves me so faithfully. With the initial carves made this last step takes me five minutes at most. I wish it took longer because it is immensly satisfying. 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Bending sides of mystery wood

The soprano I build for my daughter Li will have a top of the century old reclaimed wood from a boat. A boat that her grandfather swapped a 1950’s Zündapp motorbike for - I think I told you a couple of years ago and I’m certain you remember. 

The back and sides will be from this dark wood, of a species I shall not guess. Maybe Micke will email me if he sees this, he set me straight on that last reso in april. 

Anyway the wood is heavy, hard and felt a bit brittle. Not unlike plate glass. So I hesitated bending it directly on the form with the blanket, opting instead to bend it on the pipe and then setting the shape on the form. So I bent the sides close to shape and wrapped the first one in paper. It was some packaging paper I had around, but I think a heavier craft paper had been better. 

Then it went onto the form. I started with the waist as usual, clamping it down tight. Then I took the bouts one at a time, and it wasn’t scary or difficult as they were almost in shape already. 

And after drying out and cooling off it looked line this. A lot of resin had come out of the wood and soaked into the paper. I’m glad I chose paper instead of aluminium foil, not that I’m sure there would have een any sort of reaction. 

And here they are. The lower part with the more flatsawn pattern will be cut off and then the bookmatch is surprisingly good. And it’s got two eyes, staring evilly. Is that a word, evilly? Should be. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A few new projects

Many pics of my roaring start. The fall season will be busy. First pic is me resawing a piece of an old door. Spruce or pine, don’t really know, it is old, dry as bone and very tightly grained. It’ll be a top for a soprano with mahogany back and sides. 

Then I spent a gruesome couple of hours kneeling by the drum sander. It’s really hard work but in the end I had processed wood for three sopranos and a reso. 

Wait, this second pic was taken before that. I cut the parts for the reso very carefully from that wide mahogany sheet I made last weekend, laying them out to ensure maximum yield. 

Here’s the one piece rim for one of the sopranos. I bent it on the bending iron and will do that for another one as well. The third sop will have sides in two halves so I’ll bend those on the bender. It’s some dark hard wood so the bending blanket will probably be a bit easier. 

This is my last reso skeleton, maybe I’ll order some more. First I plane the dowels down so the skeleton is smooth and even. The sides will be a one piece rim because it is way easier to glue them on - I have a shopmade waist clamp that puts tension all around the lower bout. 

And that clamp is two dowels and two pieces of all thread. Other clamps may come in handy too. 

Then I laid out the centre points for the sound well and the sound ports. I did make a small mistake here though, glueing the guide blocks before cutting the holes with my rosette and hole cutter. The blocks were in the way but I persevered and conquered. 

I have used aluminium mesh for the grilles but this time I use steel. I think it’s better because it will be stronger, even though the holes are a bit larger. In the pic you can also see the rare appearance of epoxy glue in my workshop. 

And the last pic then, the top glued on. 

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Making plans

Trying to lay out various projects on available wood. At first I thought a few of them would come from my newly sawn mahogany slice but I found many interesting pieces in the stash so I’m thinking again. I have wood from an 1890’s sailboat, spruce from an old door, some dark tropical wood I got from somewhere and I don’t know. Maybe this autumn will be a journey into reclaimed vintage stuff. 

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Resawing, a personal best

Hola! Tonight I have a lot of pictures to show you. Pictures of resawing ancient wood with ancient tools. That’s right, your favourite kind of blogpost! In the attic above our cottage I have some mahogany planks. They’re from the 1960’s and from South America so it’s the good stuff. And they’re huge. I went up with a cross cut panel saw and took a meter off. Why a meter, I hear you (the voices in my head more like it) ask..? Because then I could make a one piece rim for a tenor. If I ever wanted to make a tenor.

Here’s the board. 40 cm wide. That’s 100x40 cm to rip. 

You know the frame saw I built with a blade from Bad Axe? Of course you do! It’s not a bad frame saw but for a board this wide the blade is a bit short. Hard to clear the sawdust from the gullets (the space between the teeth). Lucky me and lucky you then, last year my beautiful wife and me found this HUGE frame saw, this beast of a tool, at a flea market. The blade was rusty but the teeth in good condition. Price was 250 SEK. Google it. It’s cheap. So here I’m cleaning the blade. 

I also sharpened it with a couple of strokes on each tooth with a file. I left the set as it was, but maybe it should have been adjusted for a wee bit wider kerf. 

Then I planed all edges of the board and began slotting them with the kerfing plane. That is hard work, let me tell you. 

Next up was nothing less than my behemoth saw. I could really have used someone at the other end but the only option would have been one of my old parents. I didn’t want to risk their health, our relation, or my mahogany board so I did it on my own. The saw is heavy but cut fairly straight. And fast, probably due to its weight. 

Almost an hour later I got it apart. I was soaked in sweat and really tired but hey, not bad huh? The plan was to rip this board into three pieces, then rip a walnut voard of almost the same size into three or possibly four pieces but this one cut was enough for one day. And it’ll be enough for two or three ukes. 

But resawing something of this width is hard. The blade sometimes wants to bend in the wood, giving you an uneven surface. In severe cases it’ll ruin your yield because you’ll saw through into the next slice. Mahogany isn’t as bad as cherry but I got some humps. I planed them out roughly just to make sure no one laughs at me when I take this home on the bus tomorrow. I think if I set the teeth to a wider kerf this’ll help. If you know otherwise drop me acomment or an email.