Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Bass Bar and other Events

Today I just about finished my bass bar, the last step being sanding with 220 grit sand paper. Oh looking through my notes I see one very important and exciting step I neglected to mention (this is why I need to write more). . .graduating the inside of my top plate. It was quick for me and fun, but the guys are still ahead of me. We were given different thicknesses that we used fingerplanes to get to. They were rough dimensions. As I reached these dimensions Brian began to explain what we were looking for. After all, all wood is a little different.....so the order of importance I was told is 1)Flexibility 2)Weight 3)Taptones. He explained the different ways to check the flexibility also. Flexing the plate with the grain, across the grain, and diagonally. Now I know there are people out there that put great importance to taptones and although I know relatively little about the Carlene Huthchins method, I don't doubt there is truth there. It is just interesting how very diverse making can be and the importance people put on each step. Anyway, so we don't go crazy with taptones, but I have to say Brian justifies it quite well. Here's something I thought was interesting. Brian said you have to be careful of making the area below the f-holes too thin, because it can produce wolf tones if you do. As I began to take my plate thinner and thinner Brian was able to deduce that my wood is dense and therefore a little stiff. My rough dimensions from edge to center started out at 2.8mm, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, and 3.2 below the f-holes. I ended after scraping with my final dimensions being 2.3, 2.6, and 3 in center. Brian gives us ranges of thicknesses for almost everything we do. It really all depends on the wood. After I finished my graduation of the top plate, its weight was 68.2g and I had a taptone of an E at the edge and Dflat at the center. Which is close to an octave which is good. So this whole process took me about half as much time as the boys and I began feeling better....
                Then since we left the wings of the f-holes attached to do the graduating, I went back and completely finished the f-holes. Then began bass bar placement. I first cut, shaped, and glued the cleats. One very handy tool we use in fitting the bass bar is soft white chalk. This way we can scoot the bass bar on the plate after rubbing the chalk on the plate and see where the bar is touching the plate already and where to cut more. The point with the bass bar is to create a little tension on the ends. To test this you hold the ends of the bar down and you should be able to either see or feel the f-hole wing just above it move up. This is sort of your tension gauge. You also want the bar to roll from one end to the other nicely, no bumps or flat spots or points where it rocks like a teeter-totter. So after the bar was glued, I removed the cleats and began shaping it. At one point while graduating the spruce and after weighing and taptuning it Brian said, "Wow you are building a race car here Tess, I don't know if you can handle it." You know what I said..."Oh yes I can."
           On another note, I took my fiddle in today to glue a seem for the second time. This dry weather is rough. My roommate either wants me to move out or he is thinking he might, and I am still uncertain what I want to do with my life....You know I had a thought today. I had a great weekend this past weekend, approaching the best weekend I have ever had. It was fun. But for me, life is about a little more than just having fun. I think that was important for me to realize because you hear people talking about wanting to be happy or living a happy life. You are happy when you are having fun right? But the fun can't last forever, and when it ends, what is left? The trick is to be very happy at something that makes you a lot of money :)
               Today I also began graduating my maple after taking it of the rib assembly and form....

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