Wednesday, January 12, 2011

1/12/2011 Lotsa Progress

Doesn't seem like 6 days have passed, but the calendar does not lie. I have a lot to catch up with.
First order of the day was to edge join the pieces I would need to have wider- like for parts of the stand legs and the base of the harp.

These Bessey clamps are the best.

Then I needed to cut the angled sides. This was the most dreaded job, and the first rip (with the grain) on the table saw (my second least-favorite power tool). Took most of a morning to assemble the tool and then to figure out what angle needed to be cut. Finally double-sided taped the wood to the jig so that it would not slip during the cut.

Obviously the angle was not perfect, causing the wood to go through the blade at a slightly off angle- hence the burning on the cut edges. No worries, it will be gone with sanding later on.
Then, the slots needed to be cut at 5 degrees, going the same direction on both edges, and the sides needed to be mirror images so that the soundboard and back would slide into them and be planar to the front and back sides. That took a lot of cogitation, but it came out OK, so it was worth the hours of set up.

I taped some 1/4" pieces of basswood to the backside of one of the edges to make the angled cut at 5 degrees on the opposite side. The blade only tilts one way. Last time I used the other side as a spacer- forgot about that this time. Should read my own blog! Would have been easier, and more accurate.

Making the ends rabbets were easy once I got the angles right. I should have dug out and used the $150 SysteMatic dado set, but being lazy I just made repeated cuts with my $110 Forrest WoodWorker 2 blade. I will clean it up with a carving gouge. The dado set would have made a cleaner cut, but it would have take me an hour to set it up.

Now I get to do the fun part- using the band saw- my very favorite power tool. First I essentially designed the harp base on the wood. I had run it through the planer again to make it perfectly smooth on both sides. Here I'm using drafting tools to make nice-looking curves. Then there is the hard part of determining at what angle to make the cuts. Remember that the back and front are at two different angles- and, the side to side angles are different too.

Not one to trust the gauges on the machines- you never should- I set up with this bevel angle gauge. Then, just as a double check (because it is easier to over-check then it is to fix a mistake) I also check empirically, with the side itself.Now you know why it can take me so long to set up.

After making all the cuts I could get at with the band saws I got to do some hand sawing with my Bakuma Japanese back-saw. Love those saws. My Dozuki is my favorite saw and I should have used it here because it has finer teeth and would have made a better cut. Musta been getting tired.

I'm satisfied with the fit, especially considering the complexity of the cuts. I will have to do something to smooth out the design elements, but that will be for later, when I see it all together.
Now I will dry- assemble the base with screws and work on designing and making the top piece.
Additional time= 16 hours over 4 days. Total= 37, so far.

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