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Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Halloween horror show

The lute body is now out of the mould and I have attached the neck blank (with a screw through the neck block and a coupe of alignment dowels). In the upper photo, lit from the outside, the view isn't great but it's not a complete disaster. I have fitted a rather 'rustic' patch where one of the ribs was too thin and some of the spacers are not as clean as they should be where my glue and ebony dust mixture has squeezed through some of the gaps.

However, real horror show can be seen in the lower photo. This was lit from behind and taken with the flash off. The horrible wavy grain is clearly visible, and the bright streaks show gaps in some of the joins between the ribs. I have reinforced these from the inside with some Araldite, and once the shape of the belly has been scribed I will add some paper strips to provide further support.

I was going to crack on with this immediately, but I learnt from my lute book that shape of the belly has to be taken while the body is still in the mould.  Once it's out of the mould, the body 'relaxes' and ends up longer and thinner!

Consequently, I have now started on the belly.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Irritated by spam

I have been overwhelmed with spam as comments from 'anonymous', and although they get filtered out by the system I still get dozens of irritating notifications. I have therefore removed the ability for anyone to submit anonymous comments. However, if you are a real human being (rather than a spambot selling shoes), I would love to hear you comments!

many thanks, Richard

Sunday, December 09, 2012

The lute is fighting back

I am finding the lute really frustrating - hats off to all the luthiers out there!! Working with the very thin yew wood is a pain and there seems to be no room for any inaccuracies. Unlike the bowlback mandolin, there is no tail block - instead the 'end cap' is added to the outside and a 'countercap' is put on the inside after the lute body is removed from the mould. This means that if there are any stresses,  a rib at the tail end will tend to 'peel away' from its next door neighbour.

This happened a lot!

I had fixed the middle rib to the mould  with a tiny screw, but I should probably have done this for the rest of them too.

Anyway, the photos show the making of the end cap, with its black veneer binding. After cleaning it up with a cabinet scraper I bent it into shape on the iron and glued it into place with Titebond.

This has strengthened the tail end considerably, but I have plenty of  cracks, holes and tiny knot holes to fix. I am going to work through these with Araldite epoxy glue mixed with ebony dust.

Meanwhile the mandocello bowl now has four ribs. I am finding these much easier to fit accurately - the walnut is a bit thicker, it has a very straight grain and the tailblock keep the ribs from peeling apart.

I much prefer the mandolin mould design, but the lesson from both instruments is that the mould should be as close to perfect as possible!