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Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Luthier: Part II- Framing II

When I built the first frame for this project, it was intended to be used as the one stop forming solution, but that of course never works. Trying to clamp down with the needed pressure in that configuration was not working, so I needed to think of another solution. And that happened to be building another frame, this time in the form of a press rather than whatever that other one is. The first will still be invaluable during the building process, so it was not entirely wasted time.

First off, I wanted to solve the problem of height. The original frame was about an inch too short for the height of the sides, which is good for laying the supports and back onto the sides, but not so much for the actual bending. To solve this, I went with stacked plywood. Four layers thick brings me to within a few millimetres of the side height, which is close enough for me (famous last words...)

The problem was breaking it down by hand. Without a workbench.

Eventually I got it cut to size, four rectangles that I strategically sized so I was able to use it in three different positions relating to the three shapes I need to bend with it.

The layout for the shape was a challenge in design, having to think about the reverse cuts without being able to align them first. The double line in the centre is for the main curve of the body and the first corner, which will also be used for the other side that does not have it but is shorter in length. The other side is broken down into two parts. First (bottom left) is for the other half of the second side, which takes two compound curves. Second (bottom right) is for the part that meets the neck. That will be two pieces, mirrored. All together, I will be getting five different shapes out of the two piece frame. (the fifth being a small bit for one of the corners only an inch or so long)

Instead of trying to draw the lines four times, I just cut the first and used it as the master for the other three. Unfortunately, I had to make all the cuts with a coping saw that is just a bit too short to reach the full depth of the curves.

Also, without a work bench, I am forced to use my computer desk with a block of steel to weigh it down. Far from a good solution.

To reach the inner curve, I needed to take off the outsides first, that small distance being critical to reaching all the way across.

It was tedious and difficult with the space constraints, but eventually I had the first sheet cut. Three more to go.

In the end, it was finally done. Several painstaking hours with the coping saw and they were close enough in shape that I was satisfied to glue them together.

After a considerable amount of shaping and sanding, the sides were flush and square.

Next up I had to drill some holes to accept the clamps, as I do not have any deep enough to span the entire press.

With a hand brace, it was slow going. Despite only having to drill three holes, it took nearly two hours. It did not help that the teeth on the hole saw were worn out and chipped from drilling through sheet metal a while back.

As expected, the saw was too shallow to drill all the way through the form in one pass, so I had to extend the pilot hole to the other side and start again.

Periodically, I would chisel the pieces out to help relieve the trapped sawdust, which was not expended by the saw.

At long last, the holes are drilled and the form is ready to press.

For the first configuration, here are the clamps. Now finally, I can get to work on the actual project.

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