Sunday, November 21, 2010

Plane Tuning, and my direct link with my American past ...

Hello Folks,

I would offer that the " hand tool " is something of a rare concept in today's shop:

I'm preaching to the choir, I guess, if you are reading this, your already a kindered spirit, I'm sure familiar with,if not proficient with the majesty of the hand tool. 
I realize  my approach to this project so far had been, " let's see how effective I can be in getting this done "
especially with the improvised thickness sander.
However, you have to be in the mood to sharpen tools, and if your using hand tools, that are not sharp you will skirt to some power tool to get the  job done.
I  must confess one of the reasons I bought a hand  electric planer was I thought it would be more efficient.

However,  if your going to persist in building musical instruments, the sooner you begin your journey toward hand tools the better.

My Grandfather and Uncle were both carpenters, the long Jack plane I am attempting to restore was my Uncle's at the very least.....curious though it seems, not that high of quality, seems cast, and painted for Gossh sakes!!!  It was the plane I used as fence to rough thickness sand the ribs..
The last pictures represent  a nice little " knuckle plane " probably 50's vintage I bought at a flea market for $ 10 .
It is the first plane I have restored to usable condition, and the one I  will fine tune to finish this project.

Although I have shined up my Uncle' plane it is difficult to get the blade even!!!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thickness sanding the ribs to rough dimension

Hello Folks,

Well efforts continue, I had intended to build a thickness sander, but after evaluating time and cost, I came up with a cheaper version, and since I intend to final thickness the ribs by hand this method worked just as well....
although a little research has turned up all manner of great tools that could take the ribs to final thickness....
here is an example

Tool building is obviously an art in itself, another site of interest is
at this site there are several 10 min plus videos on how to tune a hand plane, mixing hide glue,
Japanese planes etc. well worth checking out.
I still intend to build a thickness sander, but since it started to rain this evening I got these ribs rough sanded just in time.
The final thickness for each rib is 1.6mm or roughly .062 of an inch, I was able to get the ribs between .080 and .120 of an inch or 2mm to 3.5mm something like that, I should be able to finish planing to thickness with a scraper.
I basically took a 3inch drum sander and mounted it in my drill press, then I took an old jack plane, removed the blade and used that as fence to sand the rib against, homely little set-up, but it worked.
Here are the pics, I did burn one rib, but I changed the sanding drum from 100grit to 80 grit and this took care of the problem.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Built a second mold of MDF,MADE A MISTAKE CHECK YOUR PLAN to ensure proper fit up!!!! Mold Master!!!

Hello Folks,
I wanted to share my mistake to help others avoid making it....

Well, if you want to do something right, do it twice:)!!!!!

I did find the plan lay out a bit confusing, even though I read it several times.
I essentially cut out the spine piece wrong, which made the spine to high, and the x brace pieces were lining up exactly 12mm to low. There were 3 ways to fix this, the simplest, cut 12mm off the bottom of the spine section,or build a new ring and raise everything up 12mm, or make a new mold.

I actually built a new ring, and raised everything up 12mm, but after looking at the mold, I just wasn't satisfied
even though I could have made it work.

The best thing about this mistake is that I discovered MDF, what great stuff very easy to work, it will make great mold material in the future for other instruments.
Sorry here are the revised pictures, the latest and greatest mold , along with the old square up your sander pics, then the last two shots show the fundemental error in the first mold, and the second plan view ring glued on to raise everything up 12mm.
So if your looking at this gettin ready to build your mold, I would use the 1/2" MDF to build the mold, it is the easiest to work .
And double check the spine view and the plan view, aspects the plan.

Good Luck!!!


I'll be using the new MDF mold for the lute.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Rib preparation for Baroque lute, planing the staves

Hello folks,
I had some time today, so I worked the staves down with a portable electric plane, a drawknife, and sander.
As I said before I cut the staves thick, if you have more precise equipment you can cut the initial staves a lot thinner and save time, and wood.
Although certainly not a traditional approach with the tools, I found the portable planer worked very well, I have worked the ribs down to 0.150ths or 3-4 mm so I can finish everything off with a steel scraper and sand to finish. As you can see  I set up a  make shift work table, C-clamped on end of the rib, then started planing in the middle , planing toward the end directly over the work bench, this stablized end help prevent tear out on the end.
As you can see in the photo if you start the planer and let it get up to full speed, then come down on the wood, this will start your cut nicely.
The thicker ribs I started planing at 1.2mm per pass, you can adjust the planer from 0.5mm to 2.0mm,
1.2mm is the most I planed off at one time.

You can do this with a hand planer, I de-bulked some of the thicker staves with a drawknife as you can see in the photo...however you have to be careful and not gouge into the wood and split it out, having ultra sharp hand tools helps( which I need to sharpen everything I have) but since I had so much wood to thickness the electric planer was the way to go...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Begin the build 13 course baroque lute after Jc Hoffman

Wood for Staves Cherry, slab sawn so I will make ribs 2mm thick instead of 1.5mm.
As you can see I cut the staves pretty thick 3/16th to 1/4th of an inch, I power planed the rough cut edge
so at least one side will be close to finished. I still have a lot of planing by hand to get the wood down to 2mm, but I had to enusre that I had enough wood to work with.....
more soon.