So I haven’t gotten to the ribs yet because I need a bending strap and they seem to be harder to get than they should be. First I tried ordering the sheet metal to make one from McMaster-Carr, but apparently I’m no longer considered an “established customer” so they canceled my order. It seems they don’t like to send stuff to Canada, go figure. Next I decided to order a ready made one from International Violin, but they’re back ordered, so I’ll just have to wait a few weeks and it’ll come, so until then I’ve moved on to the plates!
The back I’m using is some European (what ever that means) maple from Bois de Lutherie Aigrisse, it is far too expensive if you ask me, but lutherie wood always is, I guess I’m not a Luthier because I want to be filthy rich. At least it’s not more expensive than gold.
Okay enough ranting!
Thursday I finished my Big Shooting Board which you can see in the projects section. I then used that shooting board to shoot a square edge on the joint side, and the opposite side of the first maple plate. The reason I did both sides is that I’m not going to flatten the plates in the traditional manner, with a hand plane, but in a more production oriented manner, with a thickness planner. So after squaring up the two sides to the flat side of the plate I lay the flat side on the bench top and shimmed it to make the flat as level as possible. Then I glued on two sacrificial pieces of poplar, and it looked like so (actually this is an after flattening picture because I forgot to take a before):
These are needed to run the piece through the planner as the piece is wedge shaped. I glued them on in a temporary manner, a bunch of dots of hot hide glue along the length and let dry over night. I left the ends sticking out so they suffer the effects of planner “snipe” instead of my thousand dollar piece of wood. Action shot:
So after about 50 passes to make it flat I had a nice smooth board and surprisingly little effort exerted. On the next one I may try taking more wood at a time in the beginning, but this curly maple tears out something awful when you take too much wood… perhaps someday a helical cutter head will be a good investment. After the plate was flat I flipped it over an flattened the other side to a thickness of 32mm which gives me about 2mm extra.
Next I took my handy old butter knife and split off the sacrificial wood.
Once started you just pull and it comes right off.
And presto-chango! A nice flat piece of maple ready for the jointer, though it’ll need a sister first.
If at all along the way you have any specific questions, or things you’d like me to cover in more detail let me know, and I’ll do my best to comply.
That’s it for now, see you next week.