Thursday, March 18, 2010

Lyman's Tenor

This ukulele was finished in May of 2009 and gifted to a special little man not soon after. It has a Sitka Spruce top, reclaimed 'Mahogany' back/sides/neck, Rosewood fingerboard/bridge and is strung up with Worth strings in a Low-G tuning. It is a joy to play and was an adventure to build. Hopefully it will inspire and sing for years to come.

The third image is a colleague and friend of mine taking it for a spin, ultimately giving it a seal of approval.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Scratch Paper

'4 minutes 33 seconds' Scratch #002

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pinhole Photography

Before I even begin to tell of what and why I took these photos, I must explain how. This is an Abelson Scope Works Cuboid Multi-Aspect Ratio Pinhole camera. This amazing compact camera was designed, engineered, machined, assembled and shipped by Matt Abelson of Boylston Massachusetts and is simply put a piece of art. I am one of twelve fortunate individuals, including himself, to have one of these cameras. Please take the time to watch this video were Matt shows how he builds cameras in his home shop and view some of his photos posted to his flickr page. Hopefully I can do his camera justice...

'The Falls of Chagrin' Jan2010
'Ice in Chagrin Falls 01' Jan2010
'Ice in Chagrin Falls 01' Jan2010

These were taken in Chagrin Falls Ohio with the Cuboid using 120 format Kodak T-Max 400 black and white film. Exposure times range from ~5 seconds for the first two photos and ~45 seconds for the third photo. The film was developed at DODD camera and scanned at 2400dpi on an Epson Perfection 4490 Photo scanner. And yes, a little Photoshop...

View more of Mikes photos at his Flickr site.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Scratch Paper

'Crazy Eyes' Scratch #001

Count it! The first installation of hopefully many titled 'Scratch Paper'. A documentation of the thoughts and doodles that go unseen and unnoticed. Maybe there is a reason for this...

Friday, January 8, 2010

Emergency Off

I really missed the safety off button we had on the table saws in school. You know the large paddles, sometime painted red, that you could hit with just about any part of your body to power down the machine trying to kill you. It was a mixture of pure laziness and accidental safety every time I turned that something off. Either way it was convenient and I missed it.

So I recreated an emergency off button for our office shop. All our tools are plugged into this 'ancient' wall mounted surge protector and it seemed fitting to start with that. I sanded down a PVC pipe to act as a lever for to turn off the power and a couple through holes to reactivate the power after the disaster has been narrowly escaped. Notice I used a bunch of zip ties and a dowel to keep it level, never leave home with zip ties and dowel... It was a pain to put up, I really hope no one takes it down.

It serves as the safety break for all the tools powered through this power strip. Including our shop ventilation.

Final Conclusion: It works!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thickness Sander

the beginning (bits and pieces)

disassembled (showing abrasive roll and dust hood)

finished 20" wide thickness sander

Getting a consistent and accurate thickness for a guitar soundboard is one of the most crucial and important steps in creating, voicing, and differentiating a custom instrument. Because every piece of wood is different in density, flexibility, and species this means every sample has a specific target thickness to achieve the 'perfect' or desired sound. By passing the stock under the abrasive wrapped drum the dimension can be dialed in far more accurately than I am capable of using hand planes, scrapers, and calipers. Not to mention a consistent outcome can be achieved in minutes rather than hours and, with the addition of dust collection, there is virtually no visible dust tossed around the shop or blown into the laundry room...

After fine tuning with shims, the drum and table are accurate to +-.006" over a 20" wide area which is not too shabby for a pile of scrap wood and mostly scavenged parts. The cherry wood was destined for a fire pile and the major parts (motor, shaft, and pulleys) donated by my generous father. Which meant all that was left to procure were the pillow blocks, piano hinge, short length of threaded rod, 3/4" plywood for the table, abrasive roll, and drive belt. I'm not certain of the final build cost but I do know this sander was far less then the Jet 22-44 and is just as capable for anything I will require.

The final product was certainly worth the effort and if you think you may want to make one of these please be inspired by Dominic's Drum Sander and this PDF article which I roughly modeled my machine after.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dining Table

cherry tree early 1990's

basement shop 2009

finished table (chairs crafted by skilled Amish hands)

Climbing practice, third base, clothes line post, target practice, kite stealer, leg almost breaker... and now dining table.

A few years back a cherry tree that we grew up with had to be taken down in my father's yard due to insect damage. Rather than chop it up for firewood, or pay the city to turn it into mulch, he had it milled over at Metro-Hardwoods in Cleveland Ohio in hopes it could/would eventually be used. Fortunately I grew up with a wood shop and was able to use his power tools to plane and dimension the seasoned lumber for the table top, apron and legs. Final jointing, leveling, fitting, and gluing were done in my basement shop with a collection of hand tools I've inherited. Oh and a new cabinet scraper, I don't know why I have gone so long without this, forget burning your thumbs with card scrapers on flat surfaces.

I could not decide on a finish for a longest time and eventually went with General Finishes High Performance Polyurethane EF because it has two UV stabilizers, one to keep the finish from breaking down and another to keep the wood from darkening too much. Also appealing was the 'EF', which stands for environmentally friendly because it is a water base and has low VOC. It is a little more difficult to apply but I finally found a finish I could apply in the basement without fuming my wife out of the house.

After too many coats of finish and a stressful session of wet sanding it seems to be ready to enjoy. Hopefully for generations to come.