1-a-day synth wood work project

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julian
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1-a-day synth wood work project

Post by julian » Mon Jun 15, 2020 3:19 pm

I found that the 1-a-day lock-down panel series was great for keeping me focused and motivated. I received a lot of support for it, and, indeed, there were only two negative posts. But in both of those cases, they were just from people who had commercial interests, so I'm ok with that.

I've got some (synth) woodwork stuff to do. I've been putting it off for a while as it's fairly time consuming, but I figure if I do one stage a day for a week or so, it will all be sorted.

I won't watermark the images, put website links or anything, just a photo of each day's progress and a description.

I'll use a couple of days to set the scene... : )

Some years ago now, I purchased a whole load of mahogany flooring from a school. It was popular in high volume places like schools and other institutions, here in the uk, in the early to mid 20th century.

There are all sorts of regulations regarding mahogany now, due to deforestation etc. so, whilst you probably can still buy it, you certainly can't for any sensible money, hence me buying the reclaimed.

I purchased about 3/4 of a metric tonne, and have been plotting what to do with it ever since.

I'll start processing it in earnest tomorrow, but this is what it looks like at the start -


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Re: 1-a-day synth wood work project

Post by weasel79 » Mon Jun 15, 2020 7:01 pm

wow planing this thing (or a 3/4 metric ton of it, for farks sake) into something remotely usable seems like it's gonna be an absolute nightmare, lots of disappointment and a 3/4 ton of time wasted in agony.

i wanna see every single bit of it. photos were you can't take a video. do you have joiners/plainers for it?

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Re: 1-a-day synth wood work project

Post by electricanada » Mon Jun 15, 2020 8:39 pm

Take care that it wasn’t treated with asbestos, or had asbestos tiles glued to it.
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Re: 1-a-day synth wood work project

Post by NeolithicElectrophones » Mon Jun 15, 2020 9:09 pm

Wow, I'm sure your'e only planning on sorting whats needed for some smaller synth projects,cases and not processing the whole 3/4s. Would be very interested in how you plan to get the tar off without mucking up a planer too badly. Hopefully thats the worst of what you got. Part of me wants to see it cleaned up brilliantly. The other wants to see a case made of it raw with nothing but error instruments trash drums in it.

Second the health concern from electricanada though and also wanted to add that if the wood was processed in a larger mill that also made pulp or bleached stock for laminates at any time, dioxins should be of some concern. Other VOCs as well, although if its been sitting a while outdoors that may not be a problem. Be safe, people still need you to make high quality panels :hail:

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Re: 1-a-day synth wood work project

Post by EATyourGUITAR » Mon Jun 15, 2020 11:32 pm

with all that wood having the same laquer, I would think about a chemical stripper. you might not need to use the planer. only the needle nose pliers for removing nails.

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Re: 1-a-day synth wood work project

Post by jochem » Tue Jun 16, 2020 12:48 am

That should be nice wood to build cases with. Bit of a nightmare to clean the wood first, by the looks if that board.
I enjoyed your 1-a-day series, thanks for the sequel.

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Re: 1-a-day synth wood work project

Post by julian » Tue Jun 16, 2020 7:30 am

So, as I mentioned yesterday, this stuff was the source of some bother.
Its stuck down with molten bitumen (tar).  I initially figured Id run it through my thicknesser and it would just skim the tar off...
Really, don't do that.  It might work in very cold climates, where the tar would just skim off, but it just melts / slimes over everything, messes up the feed rollers, the little entrapped stones knacker the blades.. it's not good.
I tried with a hot air gun.  Kind of works, but would take more time then i want to waste in this lifetime.

We have two "cookers" here.  Now my partner is very tolerant, and I get away with more than your average chap, but there are limits!
...she would only let me use one of the cookers.


People in England might well be familiar with Rayburns.  They're a poor-man's Aga.  Basically a load of cast iron with some hot plates on the top that you chuck stuff in to burn.  If you want it hotter, you chuck more stuff in.
The only reason why my other half let me anywhere near the rayburn is that, if you throw enough fuel on them, they get crazy hot.  As in i've done cup-cake aluminum ingots on ours etc (yeah, i told you i got away with more than most! - i only did it once though - carrying crucibles across the kitchen floor that are hot enough to be emitting light well into the visible spectrum really isn't the greatest of plans!).  
Anyway, she let me on the rayburn as it can be run hot enough to, umm, clean my tom-foolery out.
Rayburn kind of worked ok, ish.  But it didn't really have the space, and i ended up waiting too long, smearing molten bitumen on the kitchen floor, etc.

So, my chosen solution, and what i've been doing today - 

In silk screen printing (of fabric), you have an item called a "flash dryer".  It's basically a big grill on a stand.  You use it for flash curing colour layers on multi-pass prints.
I have one.  It's fairly large.  And hot, and, once i modded it with a PID (which you can just about see in the back of the photo) and a thermocouple, controllable enough that i can just about start a production line, where i keep feeding blocks in at one end, and they push out at the other end at the right sort of temperature for scraping.  Kind of like how i read the Windscale piles worked, but that's a total digression....

Anyway, i don't need very many more cleaned up to finish off the job that i've started, so, today, i've managed done this stack without burning too much of my life away - 



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Re: 1-a-day synth wood work project

Post by EATyourGUITAR » Tue Jun 16, 2020 7:42 am

I just did an internet search for bitumen remover. it does exist. that might make things a whole lot easier.

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Re: 1-a-day synth wood work project

Post by julian » Wed Jun 17, 2020 1:04 pm

Wood day 3 -

At this point, it always feels like I'm getting somewhere, even though I'm still under half way there.

The start of today's job wasn't a whole load of fun either, if I'm honest. As i said, these are ex-school, and there are staples and all sorts stuck into the bitumen (which is still on the edges that i was trimming)If the physics works out just right, little bits of metal get flicked, quickly, toward your face.
A very small number of you may be aware that I was ill for a lot of last year. Pneumonia, lung x-rays, no end of pills and jabs... Because of this, my usual lackadaisical approach to PPE goes out of the window when it comes to dust. So there's only a small amount of my face that the little shards of metal can still hit.

Imagine the odds of being able to launch a staple off a bit of wood, using a spinning blade, to the one bit of unprotected face in the vicinity if you tried....

It probably wasn't that visible yesterday, but i had also touched the edge of every piece on the belt sander.There is no reason for this, other than to take off any high points, and stop one side rocking on the table saw fence, and to give me an opposing reference to trim the old edge profile off. At this stage, I'm not worried about finish at all.

Anyway, all that's really happened now is that I've trimmed the edges off, leaving enough material as possible, and split the parts down the middle. I get two parts of about 28mm each, with parallel sides.

The ends have been roughly trimmed, but I'll need to go through the stack to cut out all the defects and trim back some of the ends further. Length isn't important, excluding being able to span the thicknesser rollers tomorrow, but it is essential that the ends will be square in relation to the freshly cut, now parallel, sides. Tear out isn't important yet either, as it will all be sorted out tomorrow on the thicknesser.

The parts are still looking rough, but at least they are looking like wood now! In a few more days they may start looking like something worthy of a synthesiser!

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Re: 1-a-day synth wood work project

Post by devinw1 » Wed Jun 17, 2020 2:13 pm

That's crazy they put tar over mahogany.. I had never heard of such a thing. What a freakin way to treat a lovely hardwood. Oof.

Hopefully you can salvage these stuff.!

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Re: 1-a-day synth wood work project

Post by jorg » Wed Jun 17, 2020 2:37 pm

devinw1 wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 2:13 pm
That's crazy they put tar over mahogany.. I had never heard of such a thing. What a freakin way to treat a lovely hardwood. Oof.

Hopefully you can salvage these stuff.!
I think the tar was used as glue on the underside.

Glad to see this endangered species being treated with respect so it can live a new life as a synthesizer!

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Re: 1-a-day synth wood work project

Post by roglok » Wed Jun 17, 2020 3:10 pm

following this with interest

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Re: 1-a-day synth wood work project

Post by bitflip » Wed Jun 17, 2020 5:15 pm

Excellent progress, and i look forward to the next installment.

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Re: 1-a-day synth wood work project

Post by julian » Thu Jun 18, 2020 3:09 pm

Wood day 4 -

Ok, a confession - I've not been near the job today! Its foul weather, and I've been doing indoor work (I mean the machines are not outside, but even getting to the other buildings is not fun today)


So, I've found this old photo to explain the next stage, which some of you may well have guessed at anyway.The parts are 28mm ish currently. That gives me 3mm to play with on the thicknesser (which i should have done today, but haven't). I'll explain that tomorrow, but, for now, assume they're all 25mm finished size.
The photo shows the planning on what to do with these parts. The paper stuck on the steel angle was for me to mark out the centres for drilling


Again, this is past tense, but I drilled the angle with a load of holes, on 25mm centres (again to match my 25mm stock) and, thinking I was clever, mig'ed on a load of M8 nuts, before welding the whole thing into a frame.
I don't really keep much mild steel about, so in went stainless set screws....which also wasn't a good idea. The inner threads had caught weld spatter and stainless has a habit for binding. So out came my trusty impact grinder to...

Swiftly sheer off all the bound set screws... : /

Mig is great for farm gates, or crawling around under a Land Rover, but I kind of hate it for other things. Tig is far more civilised, and almost certainly would have avoided these issues.

I was even less happy at this point than my partner was when I covered the kitchen floor in molten bitumen smears....I remember cursing a fair bit before reaching for the grinder.

Mk 2 was the same plan, but id run out of non-galvanised nuts, and had to soak galvanised in sodium hydroxide overnight (I buy it in 25kg sacks for an entirely different reason, so always have some about, should I ever need to saponify any waste flesh, etc.)

Anyway, I re-welded them, cleaned the threads with an M8 tap, etc. and it was all good in the end. Of course I should have just tapped the frame to begin with and saved myself a load of work!

Most of the idea of this series is to motivate me to do a stage a day. I'll need to make sure i get something done tomorrow, as i don't think i can buy any more time with old photos!

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Re: 1-a-day synth wood work project

Post by jochem » Fri Jun 19, 2020 12:46 am

I think it would have helpend if you cleaned the oily skin off of the steel angle profile. Using the tig i would still chase the threads after, just because the heat required can deform the nut.
I only use tig for exotic materials or precision work. The rest is mig.
Personally i would have drilled and tapped the threads.

I like the direction you are heading with the wood blocks.

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Re: 1-a-day synth wood work project

Post by julian » Fri Jun 19, 2020 1:42 pm

Wood 5 -
Today it was thicknessing. I think our American friends call it a jointer?

I mentioned yesterday that my cleaned parts were 28mm or so. That gives me 3mm to clean up the edges and normalise to 25mm.

My thicknesser is really just a hobby unit. One day I'll come across a nice Wadkin BAO/S or Dominion or something but I doubt I'd be allowed it currently. (I probably forgot to mention yesterday that there are two AGS10s here - not even intentionally. I seem to acquire tools like other people collect eurorack...)

Thicknessing is another slow job, but there's nothing bad about it at all, and it's one of the more "transformational" parts of the process, which is fun. For those who don't know, you basically feed wood into a machine at one end, it slides along an, in this case, cast iron, plate, under a spinning blade, that skims the surface of the wood. The distance between the cast plate and the blade can be altered, so as the wood running through is given parallel faces (not an issue in this case, as the faces are more or less parallel from the table saw yesterday) but also that the thickness of the wood is normalised to whatever you set.

Even on my (not especially) cheap from china machine, i can work to about 0.1mm deviation across a batch, which is absolutely fine.

I'm still not altering the sides that would have been the walked-on side of the wood, nor the bitumen side. I'm simply working on the sides that I cut yesterday.

For anyone interested, the planer is an axminster AW106PT (but, really, it's just a re-badged Chinese thing) connected up to one of the big Axminster cyclone chip collector things.

And then the parts go into the jig that I outlined yesterday. It makes the job more attractive if the joints are randomised more than would be the case if all lengths were identical.

The photo shows a "test fit" before glue up -

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Re: 1-a-day synth wood work project

Post by Eloc » Fri Jun 19, 2020 8:07 pm

That's a lot of jig there. I would have just used a bunch of clamps... but I admire the methodical approach. Are you planning to glue up many of the panels?

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Re: 1-a-day synth wood work project

Post by julian » Mon Jun 22, 2020 3:06 pm

Day 6 - He's made a plank of wood!

After the weekend, I'm now at the point where you would be if you just went down to the timber merchant and picked up some hardwood. Although, as I said, you can't just nip down the merchant and buy south american mahogany any more, and, if you were to find some CITES compliant product, its cost would likely be rather prohibitive.

Some brief numbers -

The mahogany block was popular here in the first half of the 19th century.
As a pin the tail on the donkey, say, 1925 for a mid way point in this range. Mahogany grows fairly quick, so, say, these trees were 60 years old when felled.

That takes us to about 1865 for germination. About 1.5 centuries ago. Or about 5.5 human generations. Very rough guesswork, but curious all the same.


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Re: 1-a-day synth wood work project

Post by roglok » Mon Jun 22, 2020 3:12 pm

:yay:

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Re: 1-a-day synth wood work project

Post by Jarno » Mon Jun 22, 2020 3:32 pm

That is a very nice plank-o-wood. Gotta say though 1" thick is quite generous for a eurorack case, or is this going to be something else?
You might be able to resaw it to 11mm or so, and then thickness it again, maybe that's going to be a bit thin, come to think of it.Or one thicker piece and one thinner, to be used as a thick veneer?
Regardless,that is very nice mahogany.

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Re: 1-a-day synth wood work project

Post by steviet » Mon Jun 22, 2020 3:41 pm

Wood working, metal working, synth working. I can barely slap together a paint-by-numbers DIY project, leave some of the talent for the rest of us!!

Looks amazing! Enjoying both of these threads.
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