Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Kaiser Theorbo Neck
After detaching the blank I shape it to its finished contours with a block plane and a flexible steel scraper making sure that neck's curvature is smooth and comfortable to hold. I then apply a primer coat of glue. This neck, when the lute is finished, with the fingerboard and neck veneer in place will be 107 mm wide and 30 mm thick at the neck joint.
In earlier years I have used various woods for neck blanks; basswood, poplar, maple and walnut. There is something to be said for each choice. But now I want my neck wood to be actively acoustical and I think spruce offers that.
white holly spacers numbering from 7 to 19. Here I decided to forego the holly spacers and alternate ebony and walnut strips . I had several ebony ribs left over from another project so I cut these into narrow strips of the necessary length and width and glued them together with an equal number of walnut strips, face to face. When the glue dried I planed one edge of this assemblage flat. Then I laid out the line that represented the taper from one end to the other. I planed that flat and separated the strips by submersing them in hot water. When dry I laid them out edge to edge in order to check for straightness. It is a good idea to plane a slight bevel on the under side of each edge as this allows the assembled veneer pieces to bend around the curvature of the neck. When I lay out the veneer pieces I stretch painter's tape over them to hold them together. More glue is applied to the neck blank and the veneer is taped into place and secured with elastic wrap. The photo shows this sequence after the glue has dried and I have begun to unwrap the neck.
Interestingly, while reviewing the museum photos of the Alban theorbo in the German National Museum I found one that suggested just such an arrangement. Two holes, among others, were drilled in the top of the front block in a position just where such tabs would be located.
Photo: MIR 908
Property of German National Museum, Nuremberg
Posted by Michael