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Andrew tkinson

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    Craft history, String instrument making and trying to have fun and learn stuff by combining these two interests.

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  1. Elizabeth Cotten played her right handed strung guitar left handed and having the thumb playing the high strings and fingers on the lower strings seems to produce a different sound to the usual. This difference is really enhanced for me when seeing her play. I am no expert but folk music seems to be a bit more forgiving of individual variation. A left handed classical guitarist needing to play tremolo etc for the expected repertoire, would have to reverse the strings on their guitar if playing left handed as it would, I think, be impossible to play tremolo on the high strings with the thumb.
  2. Hello Matesic, I hadn't intended to suggest that wielding a violin bow or plectrum was analagous to wielding a weapon, although my playing maybe would be improved if I bowed my violin with a club! I mentioned the battle and agricultural team type work as being a possible reason it could be advantageous to have all team members being working in a similar way and maybe this explains why 'society' seemingly from quite early times has put 'pressure' on people to conform to the right handed majority. In many cases left handed workers would be valuable though. I have seen videos of two carpenters working as a team hewing beams facing each other as they work along the beam, one with a more usual right handed side axe, the other working in a mirrior image with a left handed broad axe. I have had quite a bit of trouble using a right handed broad axe as I write with my left hand, but throw with the right so the right arm is stronger but my left eye seems dominant. I was watching the edge of the axe on the inside - left - side of the cutting edge, sort of using the right handed axe but trying to look at it as a left hander? I eventually tried looking to the right, outer, side of the axe edge and found my accuracy improved greatly. I still seem to want to keep holding it in a left handed grip though! When I do try a left handed side axe I find it very difficult as my right arm is stronger and I am used to working now in my mixed up way, using a mixture of left hand and right or either! As a left handed writer I remember being positioned by the teacher to the left of my usually right handed deskmate to avoid our elbows bumping when writing. I also remember buying a cheap fountain pen with a left handed nib hoping it would improve my writing and finding it was as bad or worse as I was used to the usual non handed pen nibs.
  3. Quite often when I was at infant and junior school I was viewed a little disapprovingly by teachers as I wrote with my left hand and was not the neatest writer. The last time a teacher discussed the possibilty of improving my writing by my changing over to the right hand was when I was ten years old. I write in the "overhand" style and tend to smudge the ink with my hand as I move across the page of fresh ink. My writing slopes backwards - to the left - if I try to write with my hand in the more standard position, below the writing being done. When I moved to secondary school the teachers didn't notice the left handed writing as much but instead viewed me disapprovingly because of my slightly naughty older brothers! I have often wondered why it seemed so important, in the past, to be a right hander instead of the 'sinister' left hander. I was reading about the Peloponnesian War and the author, Thucydides, described the tendency of one of the sides, I can't remember which, of a formation of infantry, of even the most disciplined troops, to always start extending and curving backwards as the soldier on that end was more vulnerable, less defended, as the shield was held on the left arm and the spear or sword was in the right. I realised then that a left handed soldier would probably be out of the question in early warfare and maybe the notion that a left handed person could spell trouble may have been a matter of life and death in early times? Perhaps the few people who couldn't be forced to become right handed - like my truly left handed middle brother I mentioned in my post above would have been more suited to and used for ambush type shock troops? Also I think a left handed person would maybe have got in the way a bit when harvesting crops in a team, a person who swung their sickle, or later on their scythe, in the opposite direction to rest of the workers would maybe slow things down, spoil the rhythm or even be dangerous? Maybe the idea of having people all right handed emerged becaused it made things run more smoothly when people were working in team situations? Are there any left handed string players in Orchestras, I wonder? I wonder how a modern ancient Greek would fare in battle, the shield in the left hand, the sword or spear in the right, how would he manage to hold his mobile phone?
  4. I write with my left hand, use a bench plane right handed but am better using thumb planes in my left hand. I use gouges and chisels in the left handed way but hammer better with the right hand. I seem to be mixed up! I 'play' my violin and guitar in the right handed way. I think I write and use a spoon left handed as I copied one of my older brothers. This brother is to me a proper left hander. He doesn't play the guitar but if he picks one up it is in the left handed manner. He started playing the violin in the right handed manner but even after over ten years he feels he might be somehow better off restarting playing ' left handed' From observing his desire to play instruments in the mirror image of other, most usually right handed, people I wonder if left handers learn in a more visual way so feel compelled to mirror their mentors? To me playing the guitar is very visually assymetrical so maybe tends to be mirrored by a visual learner? Also strumming, would seem to learners as being suited to their stronger hand? The violin playing posture is not, to me, so visually assymetrical and both hands seem to need strength, one holding the bow the other holding the violin so my very left handed brother could just about cope with 'right handed' violin playing? He also plays the trumpet, in the 'right handed' manner without a problem, maybe because the view from the front of a trumpet is quite symmetrical? However, this may be nonsense, as I have already mentioned, I am quite mixed up, often forgetting which hand is my usual Crisp or peanut grasping hand -my left I think? - finding either hand will do as long as it reaches the mouth swiftly!
  5. I am maybe risking ridicule from others, but I quite like the 'honest' look of this violin, its shape reminds me of the pointy Gasparo viols in the Ashmolean museum. Value is a strange thing, this old violin looks like it has been played a lot, so in terms of musical function it has probably given a lot more pleasure than "The Messiah" which is beautiful but is largely silent and sleeping in a glass display case. Having attempted to make some violins and discovered how difficult it is I think this violin is pretty good if it was made by an untrained person, they had far more skill than many woodworkers and I can imagine the pride they justifiably felt when they had finished it. This old violin may be precious to someone but I wonder how much it would be 'worth' if by some strange course of events, somehow it could be authenticated that it was Paganini's first violin?
  6. This is interesting, at least to me, instead of a "built on the back" you are doing a "built on the front", BOF instead of BOB, in the manner of traditional spanish guitar construction. Having made three guitars and one uke this way it seems natural to my half baked guitar making instincts!
  7. Hello Nick and Jackson. Many years ago I read the medieval treatise "On Diverse Arts" by Theophilus and recalled something about the use of beech wood as being used in glass making in the past to produce certain desired effects, so I looked on wikipedia and found this (Copied from here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_stained_glass ) "The potash (K2O) found in Forest Glass was derived from wood ash. In De diversis artibus, Theophilus describes the use of beech wood as the preferred source of ash.[12] Other plant matter, such as bracken, was also used.[13] As well as containing potash, beech ash comprises an assortment of compounds including iron and manganese oxides, which are particularly important for generating colour in glass. " So I wonder if beech ash would be good to use when colouring wood as perhaps the manganese oxides may act to help any linseed oil coats dry?
  8. Hello Nick, Boosey took over Hawkes to form Boosey & Hawkes in 1930 so the violin will be from after then I would think. I have a few old Boosey cornets and a few Hawkes cornets and a few Boosey and Hawkes cornets. I got 'carried away' on e-bay and bought lots of old cornets, when I started playing again, after a gap of over 35 years. As my playing ability improved I discovered that old worn cornets are more difficult to play and unlike old violins they are rarely worth spending the money on the major 'engineering' type work (rebuilding the valves) to rejuvenate them! Fortunately, they can be quite cheap at around £50 including postage, the downside is my living room is now a sea of old, attractive but not perfectly playable cornets trumpets and a couple of flugelhorns in their little wooden and leather cases! I have been lucky though and got a few that play ok as they had had been restored, perhaps by sentimental owners, and had the dents knocked out, patches soldered on and the valves replated before being put aside for years until I got them. Apologies for the brass digression!
  9. I sometimes think that these more humble instruments in relatively unaltered condition are more precious in their own way. The high grade instruments will survive and be treasured but the more common variety more than likely could be treated roughly. I have read of how fiddlers would carry their instrument and bow, in between "venues" placed loosely in a baize bag. Most of the cheaper instruments, I presume, would be played to death, the owners would be told that their old cheap fiddle was not worth repairing and it probably ended its days if it was lucky, given to a child or left on a shelf or if it was unlucky, in the fire. As I say though, I am no expert in these things.
  10. I wonder if a piece of old thick gut string could be placed or carefully hide glued into the groove on the bone tailpiece to act as a fret? This maybe would make sense in some ways as viols and lutes had tied gut for frets? However it may buzz but perhaps this may be desirable for folk dance music a bit like the buzz effect on a hurdy gurdy or I think is desired in bray harps? However, I am no expert.
  11. Hopefully this post will finally bring things up to the present. With violas on my mind I took a likely piece of my poplar wood, I split this off one of the bigger sections of the logs I carried home in my wheel barrow last year (described in an earlier post or two). I had left the wood to dry for about a month and I believe this slight drying impaired the cleaving properties of the wood hence the tapered/run out piece. It split amazingly nicely when really fresh I sawed the thicker end off in a piece big enough for a 16" viola back Hopefully I should be able to get a viola back out of this. Now the only thing missing was a Strad viola to copy and draw around - my workshop is very full and cluttered so there may be one in there somewhere but probably not. I have already said that design is not my strong point so I thought this would be a good time to join the 21st century and embrace Computer Aided Design! I have been reluctant to embrace modern methods up to now but, with some trepidation, I clipped some tracing paper to my laptop screen, took a soft pencil and carefully traced the outline of a screenshot of a suitable nice viola which I had enlarged to have an onscreen back length of about 16 inches. I had to move the image - and paper - three times to get the whole back. I couldn't help being amused when near the end I discovered my paper was slightly too short, I moved the paper a bit and drew the last section of outline within the main outline, thinking it should be ok? Here are two tracings I made of different violas to choose from, the cutting edge of Computer aided design? Unfortunately not very visible on this photo. I then planed my piece of poplar flat After some more planing Luckily the smaller of my two computer derived outlines fitted the wood I was now ready to saw the wood to a generously thick viola back thickness. It can be seen, my piece of wood has some troubling knots which I optimistically hoped would get smaller inside the wood. My indoor workshop is so small and full that I can't make use of the vice on my bench, it is too near the wall, so I had to clamp the wood to the bench while I sawed it Alas my optimism was rewarded with a large dead knot! I took a gouge to investigate further and fortunately found the knot didn't penetrate too far I put my outline on the wood and, optimistically again, believe I should be able to 'get away with it'! A close up of the accursed knot The knot isn't too deep, I think it should be ok. "To be or knot to be?" I put "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" and knots out of my mind and refined my rough tracing and arrived at this viola outline. I plan to build my viola on the back and just sort of blunder happily along as I seem to like to do. I can refine the outline more later (If anyone is still reading this ANY advice on this outline would be welcome, I am pleased with it but I do admit I am all too easily pleased!) After enduring the slow and ponderous poplar sawing procedure shown above, I concluded the time was ripe for me to finally complete the wood resawing vice I started making a few years ago (shown in a previous post - somewhere!) I took my brace and bit and predrilled some nail and screw holes so i could fix the frame together I do really enjoy hammering nails in For the screws I used two braces one for drilling the pilot holes, the other with a screw driver bit for driving the screws quickly. Early cordless screwdriver in action I clamped a piece of poplar in the vice and dug out my home made frame saw. the poplar saws quickly in comparison to sycamore I have cut with this saw and I was really pleased to find the big beech jaws of the strong vice gripped the wood with a gratifying firmness! Another view. My bench is somewhere behind those poplar log sections at the rear of the picture! I have plenty of wood to keep me busy this winter, ideal work in my unheated garage. I sawed down about 17 or 18 inches and then cut the divided piece off, I was eager to see what was inside! I really enjoy opening up the sawn wood to see what is revealed. I put rulers in the picture so the width can be seen - about 11 inches The knots don't appear to be as bad as on my first piece I placed my 'refined' outline on the freshly cut wood to judge the best orientation for knot trouble avoidance My foraged wood is mostly left as cleft or roughly planed. I tried to counter for this when I marked the pieces above but ended up with a slightly twisted sawn face when I followed my marked lines. To avoid this when I sawed the remaining part of this piece of wood I thought I would use a small plumb bob and line to help ensure the lines on either edge of the wood were both in the same plane. I used a wedge to make the first line I had made was vertical then maked a line along the end. I stuck the awl at the end of this line on the far side of the wood and hung the plumb bob from the awl. I made a few marks following the vertical string. I haven't explained this very well! With the lines marked I removed the plumb line and wedge and re tightened the vice ready for sawing. The marked lines were probably no longer vertical now but this didn't matter, I just followed the lines and moved regularly, sawing from either side so as to be able to see and correct any deviation from the line. If I had someone on the other end of my saw this moving around would, of course, not be necessary I suppose that is one downside of being a solitary sawyer! Here I am using a straightedge to mark a line following the marks I made following the plumb line After this untwisted face has been sawn I can use my marking guage to mark the thickness of the next piece. Hopefully now my resawing vice is in action I will be able cut my wood up and use it and reduce the clutter and 'reclaim' some space in my garage? I have to admit to quite enjoying sawing wood for hours on end, it seems quite good exercise and there is always the nice or sometimes "knotty but nice" surprise to be had when the wood is opened up to be seen inside for the first time. I now have a few one piece poplar viola backs of dubious quality I hope it is ok for instrument making, the only way I'll find out, I suppose, is to give it a go!
  12. I typed "violin decoy" into my search engine and bagged this little beauty I think I may convert my violin making efforts into decoys like these in the hope of attracting some nice ones during the seasonal violin migration?
  13. Mike, luckily my little alder whale has better things to do than read this thread, he prefers to refer to his physique as "curvy but powerful" rather than fat! Regarding my local wood collection, I think that not being able to drive helps as I see fallen branches and other bits when walking or cycling places. If I was driving a car I would have to watch the road ahead and wouldn't go along the small paths near fields etc that I use when cycling or on foot. I have been collecting wood for years, the beech I showed in the last post I must have had for over 35 years! I like using my own wood as it means a lot to me but if I was trying to make a living from woodworking I would most likely buy nice wood. If anyone is still reading this, I apologise for the lack of violins for a very long while, but a few weeks ago I re-started my violinish efforts. I started by trying to relearn how to carve the Lionish violin head I made a couple of years ago. The one in the middle is the practice head I made back then. The one on the right was the first new attempt made in limewood. He didn't really resemble the model but has a sort of careworn gothic sculpture look. The one on the left, the second recent attempt, in cherry, turned out more like my model and drawings. Another view. Here is a view of my cluttered bench. The recently made hammer handle is at the right still unfitted to the old hammer head, adding to the bench congestion. I then took my violin soundboards and resumed the dreaded purfling operations on the soundboard with the very short corners. The channel cutting didn't go as badly as I thought, although I cut the channel too wide. I finally got around to using the cheap head mounted magnifier, seen in the photo along with some reading glasses and being able to actually see what my homemade cutters and knives were doing helped a lot! I then took the black-white-black veneer sandwich I glued up a couple of years ago for my first violin and used a plane to straighten and make the edge smooth I then took a cutting guage, sharpened the little blade, set it to cut a width of 2 or 3 mm and stated to cut purfling strips on the end of my benchtop I cut on one face then turn the veneers over and cut through from the other side. The strip then can be gently broken off, I then plane the roughish cut surface on the remaining veneer then cut another strip Taking care as i approached the last three strips I managed to cut all of the veneer into strips of purfling As I had cut the channels wide I used the purfling full three veneers thick for the short cornered violin top. For the other top I tried to get a more usual width channel, wearing my magnifying visor I took care to keep my cutters vertical and to avoid deviating and enlarging the groove. Here it is being done, held to my work board with my homemade holdfast. I have a shaped piece of soft wood (shown in a previous post) under the soundboards to raise them up to allow my purfling cutters to be used, My sound boards were arched inside first so this wooden block is shaped to roughly fit the internal arching. I didn't really take much care when making the outlines of these two violins, being focused mainly on experimenting with the making process. This violin has ended up with very long corners, I will take more care with design next time! My cutting seems to be finally improving. I ended up preferring using my left and right bevelled homemade knives for the corners Here are the two soundboards ready to go I dug out my homemade stovetop heated bending iron and went to the kitchen to bend some of my purfling strips I then fitted these dry in the short cornered soundboard, the fitting wasn't perfect but went ok I then took my recently purchased baby bottle warmer and a jar of hide glue and glued it in place, messing up three out of four corners! Well they say you learn by your mistakes? For the second soundboard I used my simple thickness scraper (an old sharp plane iron clamped to a shaped wood block shown hopefully in a former post) to reduce the thickness of the purfling. I used my eye to estimate how much to remove testing the ends of the strips for fit in the cut channels. I use a scraper to reduce the width of the bottom, making a sort of small bevel, on the bent and dry fitted purfling to help it slip more readily in the glued grooves. The fitting went better this time. I got three of my corners ok on this one, practice makes perfect? However when I fitted the purfling a small section of the soundboard started to split off so i quickly applied some warm glue and reached for the emergency elastic bands to save the day - phew! I recalled a strange "crack" noise that my purfling cutter had made when I was cutting the channel in this area - next time I'll take extra care to avoid cutting through the soundboard when running along the grain especially if the edge is quite thin! Close up of purfling glued in my long corners! The same place, after trimming a bit of the protruding purfling off. Small lumps in the black veneer are where it crumpled when I bent it. Here are my two violins back on the go at last, Hurrah! The purfling 'done' I started thicknessing using my homemade planes, strad-style caliper and little calibrated wedge. The pencilled arrows remind me of the direction the wood prefers to be planed if planing along the grain Measuring the thickness My violins being restarted I started to ponder my poplar problem! I showed a scrap bit of it to a violin maker and asked him what it would be ok for and he said "make a viola!" The problem is I didn't have any viola plans, I wanted to make one with a 16 inch back. At times like these one finds oneself thinking "if only I had a nice Stradivari or Amati viola to just draw around?"
  14. Hello Mike, thanks, I like making them, I need to improve my heat treatment of the irons though! After my little planes I seem to have started several new things which are ongoing projects now. I have been volunteering at a workshop where they are making electric guitars so I thought I would make a telecaster type guitar from some of the wood I have been foraging and hoarding for many years now. I got a sycamore windfall a few years ago which I cut up with the idea of making fender style necks. Here is the sawn and dried log reassembled just for fun, a small section is missing as I used that for the ribs of my first three -as yet unfinished - violins. I decided to make my neck a bit wider than a usual telecaster as I have big hands. I soon realised my small knotty log was not the ideal wood for a guitar neck, it seemed a bit silly to spend a lot of time and effort on wood that was not the most stable and was quite plain so I looked through my wood hoard and took some nice rippled beech, a fallen branch I got many years ago that I had used many years ago to make the legs and bed of a pole lathe. Here is the beech pole lathe leg before I started sawing Sawing a neck sized piece Here it is after planing a bit, the grain is nice and straight and hopefully stable, it also has an attractive ripple figure not so common, as far as I know, in beech I thought I would continue with my sycamore neck so I could get any mistakes out of the way on that one before using the nice beech. Here I have sawn the neck roughly to shape I bought three truss rods from an e-bay shop and then used a gouge and chisel to shape the head a bit It was at this point i realised my big mistake! My choice of an extra wide neck would mean that the standard telecaster style hardware and pickups I had planned to buy would not work for my wider string spacing. So I have paused this project - for now! My Violin makers shaving horse project! Around this time I was thrilled to find this 1946 photo here https://www.geigenbauschule.ch/en/histoire-de-lecole-de-lutherie/ of the "Workshop of a scroll carver in Schönbach" which, surprisingly, shows a nice shaving horse or carving bench (Schnitzbank) in pride of place! I decided I too must have a shaving horse! In an earlier post I showed pictures of me getting some small ash logs last year from a windblown branch in my local churchyard. I picked the biggest piece and started to chop! I thought I would make the 'dumb head' or foot operted clamping piece first My axe was not too sharp and I looked around my extremely full (full of split logs poplar and beech etc) garage and rediscovered this well used old stone, which I used to touch up the axe's edge After the preliminary chopping with the English 'Kent' type axe I contiued with a European side axe. I bought this axe in 2004 from an e-bay seller in Transylvania and made my own copy of the offset handle as the original was woodwormed beyond usefulness I axed the sides of the log flattish. Work is very awkward as I can hardly move for a 'surfeit' of poplar wood, some of which can be seen, hemming me in, at the upper part of the picture. The two axes can be seen, the broad side axe is, I think maybe a coopers axe? It is just light enough for me to manage to use with one hand. I have to admit I don't really know what I am doing but I am learning, getting exercise and having fun. (I'll have to sharpen the left handed side axe, I've got somewhere, to exercise my left arm?) After quite a bit of chopping and some sawing the rough shaping was complete. After each work session I stored the workpiece on the floor on top of and covered by the damp axe chippings to help avoid the still fairly wet wood from drying too fast and developing cracks I then went to seek a long bit of wood suitable for the 'seat' part of the my shaving horse. I had recently re read that most excellent book, George Sturt's "The Wheelwright's Shop" and remembered him mentioning something to the effect that his father, a skilled Wheelwright, preferred ash logs that had "lain in a ditch for a couple of years". With this knowledge I revisited the field where I had got a small log a couple of years or so ago and found the rest of the tree lying left to decompose amongst brambles and nettles. I sawed a suitable length of log that looked appropriate for my purpose and found that the timber was still nice and sound and not splitting even though it had been lying on the ground for at least two years. George Sturt's father obviously knew his timber! I really suffered to get this wood as I seem to be irresistable to horse flies and this summer seems to have been a very good one for them! In between sawing I kept having to flail my arms around as a horsefly deterrent. I got several bites each day I was in that field but luckily none of the bites were too severe as I managed to swat the fly off me as soon as I felt the first painful sawing nip of the proboscis! I left the sawn log and returned a couple of days later and here is the section of log freshly split I carried the smaller half up the hill home to use for the shaving horse and a day or two later I surprised myself by managing to carry the larger half home to add to my wood hoard. Here is the small half, just after being carried home, it is not as straight as I would have liked but I was still pleased with it I did my best to straighten out the 'seat' surface using my side axe I thought I would try using a very large old axe I got off ebay a while back. Here are the two axes together for comparison I have to admit the big axe - over 16 inches cutting edge - was too much for me but mainly because I couldn't hold the half log securely so I could use the two, or even three?, hands that this axe needs! I enjoyed trying the big axe though, here is another picture of them lying on the freshly hewn wood, a pair of beauties, I think? Here are the two parts of my shaving horse thus far. I thought i had better let the wood season a bit more before continuing but the main reason for stopping at this stage is lack of room due to serious wood congestion in the garage! So it was time to restart my violins and in the meantime think of what to do with my poplar and other logs to make some room! While I was thinking about what to do next, I made a hammer handle for an old hammer head making use of a 'Zyliss vice', I had got for a reasonable price. I had been wanting to try it out for a while and was tripping over it amongst my clutter. I also got to practice using a drawknife which will be one of the main tools i will use with my violin shavehorse! I took a small cleft piece of ash and used the centres that come with the vice The drawknife in action, the centres work well for holding a handle as they hold it firmly and allow it to be rotated during the making After using the drawknife I used a spokeshave and then a scraper and ended up with a fairly nice handle, I think? Just to add to my clutter, when cycling I noticed a small alder log which just had to be brought home, here it is in my bag I took it in the garage and split it and put it with the rest of the wood to dry, another thing to trip over or land on my foot! The freshly exposed surface is whitish I made a small whale a few years ago form alder, here it is (the person wanted a 'cartoon whale') which shows the wood drys to a sort of dull mahogany colour. I believe some makers have used it for blocks? I am sure I will use it for something - one fine day? I have ran out of time again so this longwinded saga will be continued tomorrow. Still no violins but at least for a change my pigs have not been hogging the limelight!
  15. Hello, thanks for your interest. Many years ago I made a skull lamp base for someone, when I made this I attempted to copy the various views of a skull in an anatomy book. Every SSO (Skull Shaped Object) I have made since then has been based on that skull. If it was from an old anatomy book the skull may have belonged to an executed person so there is a small chance my skull may have been modelled on the skull of the infamous highwayman Dick Turpin? - maybe? As usual I have been distracted from my violin making but recently I have restarted my two violins and plan to concentrate more on these and other instrument related stuff. But in the meantime, in April, I made a couple more pig shaped boxes. I made one from poplar and tried splitting the wood block instead of sawing it as it would be quicker and hopefully the joint line on the box would be almost invisible because no wood had been planed away. Here the block splitting operation is being watched anxiously by the original pig box The block split nicely but created a new problem, namely I had to take great care to make the internal box cavities in exactly the same position on the top and bottom otherwise the irregularities of split surfaces would not align properly Here shown together, the split surfaces lining up fairly well I then started to saw the pig to shape, first pausing for tea and biscuits for me and my assistant/supervisor The next picture, I am ashamed to see, shows my poor neglected violin soundboard on the bench nearby being trampled on by a small, but insistent, pig! Another thing I discovered is that my poplar, while being soft and quite light wood, is not as easy to chisel or carve cleanly - in some directions - as lime or sycamore. I hope I can use it for some instruments as I foraged a huge amount of it and it is presently completely 'clogging up' my garage (see previous posts). I gave the poplar pig a liberal coat of boiled linseed oil and here he is getting some sun on the windowsill I will try to keep the descriptions of these latest pig related activities brief as I have described the making of them in relentlessly full detail already in earlier posts. I use some of my trusty old shell bits to drill some of the waste out of these boxes. In an effort to speed myself up, on my next pig, I made some improvised depth stops/wooden collars, from poplar scraps, for a couple of my drills. Here is one in use, drilling out the stomach compartment of a sycamore pig. They work reasonably well, at least well enough for pig purposes. In late April I put my pigs to one side, and as usual avoided my violins, to make a couple of small boxwood planes. I managed to make these slightly better than the ones described in my earlier posts. I had read about the effectiveness of a "blunt" chisel - a chisel not sharpened as usual but having the tip ground/honed to an angle of 90 degrees - to avoid tearing the 'interlocked' grain of boxwood which I discovered, on my previous boxwood planes, can happen unexepectedly when using a chisel sharpened in the more usual fashion. (I read about this on the excellent planemaking site of Bill Carter which can be found here http://www.billcarterwoodworkingplanemaker.co.uk/ ) Here the two latest small plane bodies are half made After a bit more work, i had hoped that the knot on the bigger body would get smaller inside the wood but unfortunately it got bigger, but the plane will still be workable, hopefully! The two new planes (on the right) nearly completed, shown next to some earlier efforts. I then went into the garage to cut some steel for the plane irons I have a long piece of 'swedish knife steel' which can be seen here clamped to a piece of wood held in the vice, amongst the extreme, work-impeding, clutter of my garage I marked the steel with a try square and pencil, my blade width measurements are written on the small bit of paper I put a little oil on the line to help lubricate the hacksaw blade during sawing and hopefully prolong the blade life The irons cut, the ones in my hand have been shaped, smoothed off and had their bevels filed. I left the edge of the bevels about 1 mm thick to try to avoid the possibility of burning a really thin sharp edge during my attempts at heat treatment I heated the irons on my much abused kitchen stove top but struggled to get enough heat. The small plane irons after tempering, I think the one on the right has been hardened and cleaned but not yet tempered shown to compare the colour of the irons after I heated the gently aiming for a medium 'straw' tempering colour. I don't think I got them sufficiently hot through and for long enough during hardening - I still need to work on this process! This takes me up to the end of April of this year so far but it is bed time here I will continue with more tomorrow and hopefully get up to the present with my recent resumption of my violins and the beginnings of my 'Villanous Viola' - and not a PSO (Pig Shaped Object) in sight, hopefully!
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