Sunday, March 24, 2013

Almost finished ...

Getting ready to glue the sharps onto the keyboard.

The sharps after getting their first coat of oil.

Trying out the first jack - one down and only another ninety nine to go ...

At this point all that I am really trying to do is to make a first attempt at determining the most appropriate "on" and "off" positions for each register.

The case with the lid open showing the shellac finish on the inside of the lid. Overall I am pleased with most aspects of the case decoration - the natural wood finish just slightly tinted by the shellac is exactly what I was looking for and is a nice contrast to the deep red color of the outside of the case. The one thing that I am not completely happy with is the outside surface of the lid. The vertical walls of the case are very forgiving of my less then perfect painting technique, but the large flat surface of the lid shows up every defect and I will probably end up repainting it one more time once everything else is completely finished.

With the jacks all cut to length it is time to start voicing.

The white damper cloth in this picture is what was supplied with the kit but it just didn't feel quite the way that I wanted it to so I ended up using some very slightly thicker red cloth that was left over from the previous instrument.

The back 8' is now in and voiced sufficiently to be playable. I have it sitting pretty much as close under the strings as possible and still a little "over voiced". The touch feels about right and it is clear that this instrument wants to be loud ... In fact the whole instrument feels very "live" and resonant - so much so that voicing was made difficult by the sympathetic vibrations from all of the undamped strings - I realized quite late in the process that I could just lay some towels over the offending strings  and that helped a lot.  Once all of the dampers are installed things should quieten down a lot but I suspect that there will still be quite a few random noises and vibrations what will have to be tracked down.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Pinning the nut

Painting the case and the lid

The case and the outside of the lid are painted with milk paint and finished with several coats of boiled linseed oil which gives the paint a very nice deep and rich color.

After considering several possibilities for the inside of the lid I decided that the wood looked sufficiently good that just coating it with some light amber shellac would work.

The outside color extends all of the way to the bottom edge of the molding on the lid and the flap and initially I thought that it might be difficult to get a clean line between the paint and the shellac so I decided to apply the shellac to the inside of the lid first, then carefully sand the bottom edge of the molding before painting the outside of the lid. Milk paint really only adheres to bare wood so I was hoping that it would be easy to clean off any of the paint that might bleed through onto the shellac. In the end it didn't really matter because I managed to get a very clean line just by using masking tape on the molding and being very careful.

After finishing the inside of the lid I fitted the hinges to the lid and the flap.

The lid flap folded back ...

... and the lid open.

Next I painted the outside of the case.

Here it is after getting its first top coat of boiled linseed oil.

Here you can see the contrast between the flap which has just been painted but not yet oiled and the rest of the case.

The lid and the flap getting their first coat of oil.