Monday, August 30, 2004

If you get it wrong you'll get it right next time

Ah, the lute project. I may have mentioned a week or so ago that I got the neck off the lute. I had to split the top along the grain in the area where the neck connects to the body to get it out. Most of it will be broken up by the darkwood, decorative frets that will go over that area when it's all done. So -- while not ideal, it isn't too much damage for someone who's never done this before and had no idea how the neck actually attached to the body before he started.

This weekend, I got the gumption to put it back on. I fitted, adjusted, etc; glue-free, for practice. Decided how best to do it, and mixed up a batch of Knox gelatin hide-glue and went for it.

It didn't turn out ideal, partly because with the top not completely off I couldn't see well how I was setting it inside, and partly because I was quite timid about working the glue at all after putting it in.

I could see as it hardened that there was a decent chance I would never be able to string it. The action would be too low on strings 5 and 6, maybe 4.

So I decided I had to take it off and re-set it. I got the pressure cooker and steam hose going again and started to steam it off. In the process, I snapped the block the neck glues to where it was cracked.

Actually that's not such a bad thing. In the end it means it'll be a better, more thorough repair job. It means my glue job on the crack wouldn't have held anyway. It also means that my glue job on the neck itself was very strong. It means that now the best thing to do would be to remove the entire top so I could screw the block together in addition to gluing. Unfortunately, I wasn't quite sure how to proceed.

I started by trying to steam the top off near the bass of the instrument. But I wasn't getting far. Then I noticed the trim around the edge of the top started coming off up by the neck. Frankly, I hadn't noticed it was a piece of trim separate from the rest of the top. I used my thumbnail to separate it and was able to remove it pretty easily.

There was a second piece of trim which I removed in a similar manner. Now I could see the joint between the top and the body. With the help of a knife and my homemade steamer, I managed to remove the top completely. Re-glued and screwed the neck block. And now I have access to the entire inside of the body. Including the questionable repair job that had been done by the person who tried to repair it 40 years or so ago with wettable postal tape and stickers.

Sunday I removed all that. I bent some wood to replace that support with some ribs. Now I'm pondering how to repair the hole(s) in the body down by the bottom end.

I have some wood to try it, but Ron says since I'm not going for a complete historical involved rebuild, why not just use wood-epoxy to replace the material where the hole is? It's stainable... what the hey.

Had a decent time with the neighbors across the street yesterday's lovely evening. Ryan, Daryl and I tossed the football around while Mia chased the ball, and occasionally got to it first and slobbered on it. Once she actually got it by the laces and was trotting around proudly with it. The women were laughing hysterically. We flat wore Mia out, which is a good thing. She was running after it like her life depended on it at first -- by the time we were done, she was trotting between us long after the ball was caught... we were nice and waited for her. Kristy brought her out a nice big drink of water and she was still and quiet for about 30 minutes. Which is unusual for her. She was panting so hard she had to break her drinks up into short ones so she could still get enough air.

Then came in and watched Star Wars Episode II, which we hadn't seen yet. Much better than Episode I.

1 comment:

  1. "Then came in and watched Star Wars Episode II, which we hadn't seen yet. Much better than Episode I."

    Very possibly true. But then three times zero is still zero.

    And I find Hayden Christiansen even more (if it's possible) whiney than the young Mark Hamil in Episode IV.