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So recently it started warming up and I got back to work on the guitar case.

I'm not claiming this is a cause and effect scenario--but I can't help but notice that having the workshop be slightly warmer has coincided with my being willing to spend more time out there.  And once I started standing around looking thoughtfully at the guitar case, it occurred to me that there might be an easier way to get the jig out.

Last time, I built the entire bottom of the octave mandolin case around the jig I used to hold the side strips in place while I glued them together.  Removing the jig was quite difficult because while whacking the jig into the case broke the hot glue bonds, the jig became wedged in place.  This time I attempted to make jig removal easier by only hotgluing every other strip to the jig and relying on friction to hold the strips between them in place while the glue dried.  This worked fairly well in the gluing stage, and I figured breaking half as many hot glue bonds would be about half as hard.

But it occurred to me--maybe I could sand the sides smooth on the outside -- and then fiberglass the sides before I glued the bottom on.  So I pulled the screws out (the ones that ran into the columns so I could support the jig on the soup cans while I whacked the top off, remember?) drilled the holes out with a forstner bit, patched them, did the epoxy seal coat, and fiberglassed the sides.

Then I carefully sanded away any fiberglass sticking out from the sides, laid the whole thing flat, and whacked all around the jig with a mallet (and a short piece of 2x2 to direct the mallet's force exactly where I wanted it--think mallet and really blunt chisel).  Once the hot glue bonds were broken I simply pushed the whole thing out the open side.

Last time removing the jig took me two hours.  This time?  Six minutes. As a bonus I can re-use this jig if I want; I did not have to saw large chunks out of it.  As a second bonus I went around what will become the bottom half of the sides and removed the blobs of hot glue through the open space where the bottom will go.  Much quicker than trying to remove them once the bottom is in place.

I was worried I would tear the fiberglass, but it looks fine.  I was worried the sides would be too floppy to glue to the bottom in their proper configuration without the jig.  They were definitely a bit floppy.  I stabilized them somewhat by laying the lid, open side up, on the workbench, laying a layer of wax paper over the lid (I did NOT want to end up gluing the sides to the lid with a stray drop of epoxy or dookie shmutz (epoxy plus sawdust)) and then fitting the sides into the lid.  In one place I used a short stick to brace the sides out where they were trying to squeeze in more narrow than the lid.

That seemed to stabilize the sides properly so I went ahead and glued the bottom on, and spent my work time today sanding the bottom back to match the sides exactly.  With a bit of luck I should be done with the outside fiberglassing by the end of next week.
catsittingstill: (Default)
Today was Non-Profit Day, as I spent the morning working in the Jefferson Rural Clinic and the afternoon at a League of Women Voters organizing meeting.

As a result I got nothing done on the instrument case today.  However in the previous couple of days I used the new coping saw to saw the top to match the sides reasonably closely, then refastened the top and used spokeshave and sander to get the top as exactly flush with the sides as I could manage.  In the process I abraded the skin off the knuckle of my left little finger and started leaving dots of blood on the white pine.  Which, by the way, stings.

I can't think of any major woodworking project I've undertaken without shedding (hopefully only a little) blood on it.  Maybe this is some kind of metaphor for a maker's investment in her making, but it would be okay with me if it stayed on the metaphorical level.  Just saying.
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So I mentioned I had family over, and they don't care for my singing plus I was very busy so I didn't practice the whole time they were here.  Plus I was so busy for about a week before that I didn't practice much.

Well, I swear to you that my throat got out of shape.  (Walking wise I stayed in pretty good shape because we went hiking several times.)  Yesterday I sang 2 fifteen minute practices several hours apart because I couldn't hold my voice steady after fifteen minutes.  Today I think I did a twenty or twenty five minute practice, and I think I was holding up better.

Of course, having to work back into practicing in short stages is not necessarily a bad thing because my fingers need to get their strength and endurance back and re-toughen the calluses.  I lost less technique than I would have thought, and I'm getting both voice and mando back faster than I would have expected, so good on that.

I have written one new song this week, and finished another which sounds like it may sprout harmony, --I'm thinking about putting the latter up for Alice Day--so I'm feeling good about that.

And today I spokeshaved and sanded the bottom of the instrument case flush with the sides.  The only problem is my disk sander kind of gouged into the sides because the sandpaper doesn't stick properly on the disk.  I think I can sand the gouges out with my random orbital sander but it was kind of annoying, and some of the gouges are fairly deep.

I also bought a coping saw so I can saw the top out by hand and hopefully have to do less spokeshaving and grinding to get it flush with the sides.  Getting the top flush will be pretty important because I mean to make the lip in the same way as the sides, and for the lip to glue properly to the top, the fit will have to be pretty close.  I have the top about 40% cut out and so far the coping saw is much easier to use than I remember it being the last time I used one.  Of course that may have something to do with being more coordinated and patient than I was when I was seven!
catsittingstill: (Default)
I glued the sides to the bottom today.  The details, for those who are interested. )

In other news, it is finally starting to cool off!  Kip and I walked around the block just after sundown and when we came in the house was warmer inside than it was outside!  I think this is the first time since May that that's happened.  I wasn't expecting that in August, but I'm glad it's here and I sense some serious canoe-time in my future.  And--ha!--this time I got the canoe finished *before* prime canoeing time instead of almost missing it completely like I did with Constance.

I got Finale PrintMusic 2011 for my half-birthday (the general birthday celebration we conduct while the family is together) plus an inexpensive-but-got-good-reviews pair of earphones to use for mixing.  PrintMusic 2011 is now loaded on the newer laptop (I'm pretty sure the old one won't even run it.)  It has changed somewhat from the (2007?) version I was running before, but hopefully not so much I can't work with it.  I still need to unpackage the earphones and try them out, but I will do that soon.  I went to Carson Newman but they don't have the schedule for the building with the studios yet.  I have been slowly getting back into practicing but found that--while I can still play reasonably well, and I can still sing everything, I can no longer play and sing for an hour at a time.  Well, plus I bet I've lost a lot of the finer edge of my playing, but right now what I'm noticing is the ache in my hand and the wobbling of my voice.  However, I have a plan; I practiced 15 minutes this morning and I'm going to go practice 15 minutes when I'm done here, and see if I can work my way up to a solid half hour in a few days.

Also I missed two Alice Days in the run up to having family over and then while family was visiting.  I will try to catch up at some point but I think at the moment I'm aiming to make the next Alice Day at the end of this week.

And I have three more little things to change on the LWV Booklet and then it's ready to print out a copy for our Thursday meeting for the "board" (leadership team?) to sign off on.  Then that goes to the printers, a comfortable three weeks before I need to hand it out.

So life is actually pretty good with me.  I hope you folks are all doing well too.

catsittingstill: (Default)
I'm making an instrument case for Pearl, since I can't find an octave mandolin case anywhere. It seems to me that if the wood strip method can make canoe hulls, it should be adaptable to other shapes.

Pictures and discussion )

I figure it will take a month at least, but I will be happy to have a case that doesn't chew on my fingers, and that will be uniquely mine.

Woodshop

Aug. 9th, 2011 09:02 pm
catsittingstill: (Default)
So Sunday and Monday I put in a new chisel rack, hinged at the top, so I can still get at the smoothing plane behind it, and now all my chisels can live, not only on the same wall of the shop, but in the same place, all laid out and organized and easy to get to. I got the red-handled chisels for Christmas, but didn't have room for them in my rack setup at the time, so they lived on a different shelf, behind the scrap wood... ah, I would like to say "bin" but realistically at this point it must be termed a "pile." As you can imagine, this meant I didn't use the Christmas chisels all that much. I hope I will use them more now.

Chisel Rack

I have decided my next project will be trying to make an instrument case for Pearl, because her current case is made for a banjo, and balanced entirely wrong because banjos have a very heavy body and octave mandolins don't, and as a consequence, the current case chews on my fingers anytime I try to carry it for any length of time, which is dissuading me from taking Pearl places.

The easy part is making the flat top and bottom; one of them (I haven't decided which) is pictured here, pinned by a holdfast.  I have also secured one corner with a clamp to keep the workpiece from rotating around the point where the holdfast pins it.  I hate it when stuff moves when I'm trying to work on it.

Holdfast

Holdfasts are cool and there is a brief description of how they work at the flicker version of this picture.  I have got the proto-top and bottom glued up and mostly sanded flat.  The next step is to make a form for the side walls; I have glued up 1 x 6 for this and will hopefully saw out 2 outlines and mount them about 4 inches from each other.  Pictures will follow if I can make it work.

catsittingstill: (Default)
For my canoes I like to include through-holes as a means of fastening the boat. This means I need to make cylinders of wood (brass is heavy, plastic doesn't look right) and then drill out the centers to make pipes of wood. Holding a cylinder to drill the center out is kind of difficult; this is what I use to do that.
Behind the cut to spare your f-list )
catsittingstill: (Default)
I am happy to say I laid out and cut the mortises and tenons for the seat today. And i fitted them and glued them up. It looks like a rectangle now (and I can't mess with it until the epoxy is cured) but it is a seat and not some random lengths of wood.

Laying everything out is quite time consuming, but it's a step I can't shortchange. All the outlines I saw and drill must first be scratched onto the wood (a pencil line is too thick for this), along with drawing the "cabinetmaker's triangle" that lets me find again the proper orientation of every piece if I set one down the wrong way around.

You see, my tenons are each fitted individually to their mortises. So if I try to put in the wrong tenon (even if it's the exact same part on the other side of the seat, even if it's the exact same part but I'm trying the top tenon instead of the bottom tenon, even if it's the exact same tenon but I have it twisted 180 degrees)--it won't go. I think this may be a common problem--hence the cabinetmaker's triangle.

This takes a long time to explain and is really obvious in person. I couldn't find any good pictures on the web so I took some.

Explanatory pictures (and bonus picture of Moxie!) behind the cut )

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