Tenacity/Frugality/IQ test

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Well, here's what happens when you're "just smart enough" to think to yourself "... this is doable..."

but "not quite smart enough", so you think "... it won't take too long..."

Plus, you're too cheap to take the piece to a machine shop and pay someone to do it, and you don't have a band saw (gotta get one of those sometime...), nor even a ready friend who has one (why is everyone always busy...?)

Anyway, here's the result after only about 2.5 hours (yes, I really am using a hacksaw for this). Not too shabby - I actually surprised myself with how much I got done in a couple of evenings. Should have a nice bending iron in a week or so... (for reference, the block is 3" X 3" X 4")


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Tenacity/frugality/IQ test.


With respect to the concept of making things, it is very easy to allow the first two traits to dominate both hemispheres, thus diverting all brain activity so that little or no intelligence remains. I used to make, build, or fix everything myself, and I thought I was clever because I could. Then one day, an actual day, it dawned on me just how expensive it is to do all things, and that I was not so clever after all since I often wasted valuable time making something that was much simpler and cheaper to buy, if one were to truly examine the costs in materials and labor.

These days, I make just some things, usually the things I can make better, cheaper, or faster than I could get elsewhere, and there is no one who derives greater joy than me from paying for the things I used to think I saved on by doing it myself.

Tim, you seem like a nice guy, but your entire method of manufacture, complete with hours of hacksawing by hand, puts you in the gallery not far from Yuen in the What on Earth was I Thinking Hall of Fame.

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True, it is rather silly from a cost/benefit perspective, and in truth, on most accounts I'd probably have been better off simply buying the Ibex iron. However, this is a GREAT way to relieve frustration, something that is of particular benefit at the moment. And, yes, there's the fitness aspect to it as well. Not something I'd want to do very often, tho...

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David Burgess wrote: "...attach it with a rope to the back of your car."

Giving away antiquing techniques here? I've heard of folks doing that to instruments, but tools?

Genuine Stradivari bending iron, made in the 1600s, even says so on the inscription.

Tim -- you must have many frustrations to work out!

Keep smilin',


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Strad's bending iron ("piegafasce", in Italian) can abe seen in the Museo Stradivariano and is pictured in the Italian version of Sacconi's book, perhaps in the English vernsion too.

It's made of iron, massive, it was heaten in the fire and clampled in a bench, but had no thermostat....

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Originally posted by:
Andres Sender

Tim if you think this part is fun wait 'till you start filing.

Truly, I don't mind taking a bit of ribbing. I'm well aware most people wouldn't do something like this, at least not this way, but I did want to show that pretty much anything is possible, even with few resources, if one has the will. As with any project, you can choose two out of three possible attributes - money, time, quality. Or something like that. Time has always been way easier for me to come by than money, so I do tend to spend more time than money on stuff like this. I also wanted to serve as a warning to anyone else who might venture down this road - it truly is not for the faint of heart. It would also be a very different story if I were attempting to make money off this craft - then I would value my time far more highly (I do have to take time away from the instrument to do this, after all!). Still, at the moment, I do need a bending iron to finish this instrument (I'll need to bend linings, and more purfling), so it's worthwhile.

Andres, you do make a very good point about the saw blades. I'll have to see if I can scare up something coarser. I'm not a masochist, after all...

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What are you going to use for a heat source?

If I were forced to make a heater under threat of lancing with a sharpened soundpost, I would start with metal tube (1/8" wall) of appropriate diameter. I would use a small sledge hammer to roughly form a desired shape (which would take about fifteen minutes) and then finish with a file.

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I've got the guts on order, they should hopefully arrive by the end of the week, or early next week. A cartridge heater and power cord from M-C, and an infinitely-variable switch from Patriot Supply. Even if it takes me ~20-30 hours to make this, it will serve me well for years to come, which is, I think, not a bad trade-off...

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Actually, aluminum is quite benign. It's present in the very air we breathe, as well as the water, and some of our food. It's quite impossible to avoid it. Rumors that it's implicated in alzheimer's are just that - rumors. The steel industry has been spreading falsehoods about aluminum since the 40's in an attempt to destroy the market for aluminum cookware. I brew beer also, and this question comes up regularly. Check out snopes.com for answers...

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Well...be aware that aluminum dust IS dangerous, in terms of being potentially explosive-- I am talking about pure aluminum dust which has a strong affinity for oxygen, not aluminum oxide, which, of course, is stable.

Tim, the aluminum in the environment is all in oxide form. Jessupe may be talking about the pure metal, which is not so stable.

In the steel industry (since you mention it) aluminum is used as a powerful de-oxidizer in steel production.

Aluminum powder is also the reagent in Thermite welding, wherein iron oxide (yes, rust) is mixed with pure aluminum powder, then ignited in a crucible which is, in turn, connected via a sprue and a gate, to a shaped chamber between two sections of steel rail (track). When the ignited mixture of iron oxide and aluminum gets going (as the aluminum robs the oxygen back from the iron) the soup of molten steel hits several thousand degrees Fahrenheit, and drops down through the crucible, igniting all the mix.

As the reaction ends, the gate is opened, allowing the molten steel to flow into the chamber between the two sections of rail. There is sufficient residual heat to melt the ends of both rails, and produce a sound weld. After it cools, they remove the crucible, and cut off the lump on the top, where the steel came in through the sprue. Grind it smooth, and you have a welded track.

All that to say, aluminum can be dangerous...

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wassa matta jezzupe? You losta you voce? You remova alla you clothing before enter la casa, you getta arrested by di coppas!

Aluminium is one of the most abundant but also one of the most reactive metals in the earth's crust, which is why is doesn't exist in its natural state anywhere. What you see as shiny aluminium very quickly reacts with oxygen to a very thin layer of aluminium oxide which stops further oxidation.

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I would be more concerned if I were using, say, a belt sander to shape the aluminum, as there would then be quiet a bit of fine aluminum dust I could breathe in. Using a hacksaw, and files, my experience is that the aluminum bits produced are not fine at all, and tend to fall down on the workbench and lay there, rather than filling the air around me. I sweep them up and dispose of them. I doubt if there's much to be concerned about with this method.

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