The week ahead is a little shorter than usual, having been closed on Saturday thanks to the Power Network people doing maintenance on the electricity network and unplugging the whole yard in the process. That will be followed on Monday and Wednesday by late starts as I make my way over to the Kent & Canterbury Hospital for my next dose of Anti-body treatment from last years chemo. We will be open both afternoons though.
Last week’s Cherry Log however, has been sliced up into rough boards and is now residing inside the ‘Drying Box’ where it will stay, along with some other occupants, for a few months. It will get checked regularly for moisture content which, when it went in there the other day, was off the scale on the meters we use. One of these measures up to 45% moisture content, after which it just flashes an error. If you consider that for instrument making we require a moisture content at or below 10%, you will understand that it has a way to go before becoming usable. In our local environment it would be unusual to find air dried timber at anything below 12-15%, so we have both a De-humidifier and a small heating element in there with the timber. These between them have the effect of reducing the air drying time by about 75%. That is not as quick as the commercial kiln drying process, but is very efficient and more controllable for our purposes.
On the bench this week, among other things has been a commissioned Baritone that will be strung in gCEA tuning rather than the normal dGBE baritone tuning of the larger instrument, an interesting project. In the image you see the back being attached with a makeshift go-bar deck, as the normal go-bar deck already had a concert sized instrument in situ. These contraptions are the best way I’ve found of gluing up the radiussed top and backs without crushing them which would happen if normal clamps were used. This one has an English Walnut (Juglans regia) back and sides with a Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii ) front and will have a matching Walnut neck. The Laburnum (Laburnum anagyroides ) you can see in the right hand stack in the drying chamber will be used for the fretboard and bridge.