Friday, 22 May 2015

Renaissance Lute, chapter 1 - The Mold

The year is twenty-eleven AD. I participate to an instrument making workshop that takes place in the castle of Gruyères. In a small team of amateurs, under professionnal supervision, we build a beautiful renaissance harp. (I may come back to that some time later...) During one of the concerts of this early-music event, a lady approaches me and tells me about lending me a box containing detailed instructions to build a lute, written by some englishman, who uses all sorts of unexpected tools like sellotape, old electric irons, cooking pans, mad cow skin and toilet paper to make said lutes...

As I discover later on, when I actually receive the box, the englishman turns out to be David Van Edwards, who is not to be presented anymore to anyone interested in lute making. And the box is this. I read through the instructions and start to realize that the whole thing is actually doable! So I set out to find some suitable wood and assemble the missing tools. Some nine month later, it will eventually look like this :

But for the moment, all is yet to be done.
November 2011.

The first part is the construction of the mold, following the plans.
 I'm using a home-made saw to cut the curves out of the MDF, having no bandsaw at home. But it works perfectly fine.

 The mold is made of faceted ribs, to be cut out as accurately a possible.
 Once all assembled, the neck block is screwed to it and sawn to size. Mine was made of linden (basswood) as I had leftover from carving wood.

By the way, that big panel ripsaw is handmade from Two Lawyers Toolworks and works great.

I made an adapter for my photo-tripod in order to hold the lute, at any height and any tilted position. Very handy to be able to put it out of the way when needed!

Now, the actual work on the lute can begin...

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