Transoms and Then Some

Inner Transom 


(to start of project)

 Yellow Pine smells like Georgia.

And Sandalwood incense.

And the rosin in my grandfather’s fiddle case.

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Winter Sky

Heading Home

Days grow longer by increments now. Light, gaining strength, lingers on the rim of hills a bit longer each evening, before slipping back down to black. Some nights the twilight spreads all the way around the horizon, like a red hem on winter‘s star-sequined gown.

Took some photos on the way home, shivering, so cold I couldn’t feel my finger on the shutter.

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Cattails in winter twilight 


(to start of project)

It’s been really cold lately. On Saturday, when I went down to the shop, it was 4 below. I don’t remember it being that cold here. In other parts of the country, New England and the Midwest, it dipped into the -30’s. My folks marveled it was snowing at the beach in South Carolina.

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Planing Pine 


(to start of project)

There really are great people in this world. It constantly amazes me.

I don’t have a planer. I’ve never needed one before, and don’t expect to need one again, so it doesn’t make sense to buy one, though I’ll need one several times off and on for this project. Couldn’t even find a used one locally. But a perfect stranger has come to my rescue. I posted a query on our local Freecycle bulletin board and, only hours later, Kim in Ivy offered to let me borrow theirs. Very cool. (Thanks Kim!)

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Laminations & Lamentations

Epoxied stem laminations 


(to start of project)

The strips are laminated together with thickened epoxy. Barto suggests laminating the entire stem together in once piece, then cutting the whole thing apart to form the inner and outer stem portions. As Tony Thatcher pointed out to me, that task is much easier if you have a band saw handy, which I don’t. Instead, I applied tape to the strips between one of the laminations to protect them, and skipped that layer when spreading the epoxy. Once the epoxy cured, a putty knife separated the two sections. They can be trimmed and shaped separately when the time comes. Doing it this way will make a couple of tasks  easier down the road.

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Getting Steamed

 Steam bent strips of Ash, cooling and drying


 (to start of project)

Soaking the wood helps. I knew something was different as soon as condensation started dripping out the bottom of the tube. That didn’t happen before, as though the wood was soaking up all the moisture. Still, the whole bundle had to stay in the cooker for an hour.


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Cooking Wood

Ash Slab to Ash Strips


(to start of project)

This steam bending stuff is not exactly rocket science, which is too bad. I mean, with rocket science you have formulas and calculations, and you do your pencil work and it all comes out right. This ain’t that. Everything I read said rule of thumb is steam 1 hour for every inch of thickness. I thought it odd that all the sources seemed to be quoting the same guy, who obviously had never tried it.

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