Friday, 26 July 2013

Modifying theatrical scenery

The guitar is on hold while I tackle an important job. My wife is a member of an amateur dramatics group called Barton Theatre Company. They are just in the stages of moving from their old rehearsal venue of 25 years to a new, much better, venue above Smiths Restaurant.
They have a lot of scenery made from soft wood with a canvas cover for lightness. When they got to the new venue they had to negotiate a stairwell to move all their costume store and scenery store. All was OK until they got to the 5 foot wide "flats". Essentially they would go through the door but they couldn't turn them to get enough height to get them up the stairs due to the internal layout of the stairwell.
Then somebody came up with the idea of cutting them down the middle (making the flats 2 foot 6 wide by 10 feet high) and hinging them. This would mean not cutting the canvas.
I got the call "Terry can you come up with a solution?". Then next thing I knew I had a delivery of 8 flats into my shop.

My solution was to make some timber stiles that were hinged closest the canvas side. I would secure these to the existing framework using pocket screws. Then using a Japanese saw cut the timber cross-members enabling the two halves to hinge inwards. The canvas would fold face to face and this would be enough so they could manoeuvre the flat through the door and have enough room to angle them up the stairs.

I first made a hinge mortise routing jig.
Top of mortising jig.
Made from 1/2" plywood

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Baritone Guitar Build Part 6 - Sanding, more sanding, sanding again and applying stain

When you make a musical instrument it's not sufficient to just sand to 220 apply some finish and call it done.
I chose a nice water based red dye to use from ToneTech for the mahogany rear of the body. The neck was left natural mahogany to contrast.
After masking off the front embuya and the binding with some blue tape I set to work.

You have to go through several stages after your initial sanding:

  • pore/grain filling
  • sanding
  • more pore/grain filling to miss the bits you didn't quite do before
  • more sanding
  • applying wood stain
  • more sanding
  • apply some more wood stain to replace the parts that you rubbed through
  • more sanding
  • sealing with a water based sealer
  • more sanding
  • apply some more wood stain to replace the parts that you rubbed through
  • more sanding
I think you can see where I am going here!

Anyway after several bouts of sanding and staining I ended up with a nice deep red body and the grain structure is clearly visible. I applied some shellac under the waterbased sealer layer so as not to disturb the stain layer(s). Why didn't I just leave it at Shellac? Well the sealer layer sets rock hard and is a good medium to apply the gloss top coat layers afterwards. The shellac stopped the water based sealer from interacting with the dye causing wash-out :) .

Cover plates stained

Rear of body stained

Next time the neck and body are finished.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Shop Update - Temperature

When I had the shop rebuilt I asked the builder to specify some hefty insulation. The problem in the old shop was it had an asbestos cement paneled roof. This let in the heat of the summer and the cold of winter and meant it was not comfortable when it got too hot or cold.
I have great joy to report that the layers of solid hard form insulation he used have left the temperature in the shop at comfortable levels.
Yesterday Sunday 7th July temperatures outside reached 30 Celsius (86 Farenheit) and the temperature inside was a very cool 20 Celsuis (68 Farenheit)
I am one happy woodworker.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Baritone Guitar Build Part 5 - Neck pocket, pickup and bridge routing

Body routing

To make a pocket, or open mortise, for the neck tenon it is necessary to have a router jig. I made mine from a few pieces of scrap 3/4" ply and some jig making hardware. The two halves of the template are held apart on a slight taper that follows the taper of one of my typical guitar necks. The centre piece is an adjustable stop.. Fit the neck into the jig until it is snug on the two edges and simply slide the stop up to the heel of the neck. Tighten the handwheel and then the template is set. Position the template on the guitar body and using a pattern following router bit simply rout out the cavity to the required depth. It the neck has designed to be angled backwards then you can shim underneath the template at the handwheel end until you get the required angle.
Here is a shop made adjustable router template