My summer was wonderful, but now it's back to school. Getting back, I started right in to working on my Amati and Strad model rib assemblies. I did some filing and sanding. One file we use in this process is a crosscut file or what I remember it as....a bird's tongue file. When sanding, we begin by sanding with 100 grit, the ribs and the lining. Then we wet everywhere we sanded to raise the grain, let it dry, and sand again with a finer grit. We do this a few times before finalizing the corners. One thing we work toward is symmetry. Then we set the rib assemblies aside for a while to start working on the plates.
Plate preparation begins by using a rip saw to saw the plates apart, then planing. Last year I did all my flattening with a block plane. This year thanks to Brian keeping a close eye on ebay, I bought from him a bench or smooth plane. It is a number 4 plane so it is bigger than my block plane. It is not brand new but it's in pretty good shape, so I began using that to flatten plates= the process went faster. Last year since I was just working on one instrument I had to flatten two sets of plates, this year I did four. So by the end I was able to flatten the last one in half an hour :) what a relief. One thing I learned that can be pretty important to look for is run-out, mostly in the spruce. Back in the day the wood was split instead of sawn, so they didn't have to worry about it so much. But now since everything is sawn, the saw doesn't necessarily parallel the grain. That is how I understood it anyway. When we get wood it is often much thicker than we need to make up for the fact it might not be cut with the grain and so we can adjust it with planing. To say the least, I am beginning to look at wood very differently. It is really amazing. There is a lot more to learn about different woods than one would think.
I also got some experience using oil stones and what I believe are Arkansas stones. I have Japanese stones, because it was what Brian suggest we buy, but Japanese stones are softer than these other two kinds. I am still struggling with sharpening. I believe I ended up regrinding my jointer plane blade three times before I was done, because I would quickly round the edge to the point where sharpening became close to impossible....talk about aggravating. I have also began getting my all wood jointer plane ready to start planing my plates. Which is also a very meticulous process, one that Brian says not even a machine could handle.
Oh and to my mom......Happy Birthday!