Saturday, May 8, 2010

Long and Tedious

Really, I got a lot done today honey!!

Today was another productive day in banduristan.  I managed to shape and glue on my "lift" (which I'll get to in a moment), make the bridges and lay out all the drilling to be done - and there's a Ton of it to do.

The String Lift - In Kyiv banduras, there's quite a bit of downforce on the bridge from the strings, particularly the "diatonic row" or приструнки which start low, go up to the top of the bridge and then down do the level of the deck.  Something I do in my Харків instruments is create a "lift" at the bottom of the instrument to take some of the load off of the bridge. Many would argue that this downforce affects the timbre of the instrument and I'm sure it does but, as with any changes, this won't necessarily have a negative effect on the timbre.

Typically, instruments that use a tailpiece type of design, the downforce from the strings keep the bridge in place.  I glue my bridge down so the need for that massive downforce is not necessary and allows me to keep my top and bracing lighter.

One thing about having a domed top is that everything must be arched to match the dome of the top.  Using a spherical dome makes matching that arch much simpler.  In the picture to the right, you can see my 25' domed workboard on my motorized sander.  The "lift" is glued to a piece of larger wood using hot melt adhesive to give a little something more to hold on to.  The lift is 3/8" tall.

I purchased a matched set of a 25' dished workboard and a 25' domed workboard at the same time.  If you search the internet you can find many techniques on how to make your own but in my mind, the $80/board I spent was well worth it when you consider how much time and effort is spent making your own.

Here you can see how I keep track of how much sanding I've done.  I want to lose as little height from the lift as possible.  I draw on the bottom with a white pencil.

Here you can see I've almost made it to the edge

Once sanded to match the domed top, I glued the piece on and used my flush trim bit  to get it right.  There were some mistakes made but I have no intention on going into them now.  Needless to say, good thing I'm building a prototype first!

The reason I needed to get that done was because I need to lay out the шемсток (shemstok) for drilling.  It needs to be drilled prior to being glued to the rim because the holes for the tuning pegs are angled.  If I'm doing a layout, I may as well do everything at once.   To that end, I made the bridges as well.

Below is the setup I use for layout - which I've covered in previous posts.   The rub with this method is it takes a very long time but, it's ultimately flexible.  While it's not suited for serial production, it's very suited toward one offs.  Seeing as I'll only be building one more of this style of instrument, I see little point in making dedicated jigs for this.

Not the greatest shot, but here you can see the шемсток with all the layout marks for drilling.  Next step is to build a fixture to hold it in the proper angle for drilling the tuning peg holes

And finally, here's a shot of the perfectly fitted bridge with the spherical dome.  I found a local source of Bolivian Rosewood so I'm using it for the trim and bridge pieces.

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