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Braces · Attaching the soundboard · Fingerboard · Finishing · Gallery of the completed oud
To clamp the face in position while the glue cures I made small blocks of wood which exert extra pressure on the rib in order to push it tight to the brace end when taped in position.
I applied hot hide glue to the brace ends and to the corresponding areas on the ribs, as well as to the neck and tail blocks. There is no way that I could have done all this (34 different areas!) without having the glue begin to set up. So I took my time by re-heating each joint with this small heating iron (used for model airplane decals) for about 10 seconds. (I tested this first on a scrap of rib stock), and quickly pressed the rib in and taped the joint, working back and forth on one brace at a time, beginning with the widest brace. I also re-heated the neck and tail block areas for a good bond.
To clamp the neck end, I copied Hankey's technique and made this special clamping jig which transfers the pressure to the neck block.
The face mounted and trimmed flush. I still have to sand the edges a bit thinner.
This is a Du-Bro EZ trimmer that I happened to stumble on at the hobby shop. Hankey says to use a modified marking gauge. I like a little smaller tool where my hand is more in contact with the workpiece. This little tool holds an exacto knife blade (that I reground to cut in both directions) and has a fence which has four different settings. I added some paper shims to end up with the setting I wanted. It is meant for use in cutting small parts for model airplanes.
Using the EZ trimmer. It would be much better if it had the heft of brass or iron. The plastic is a little light for this job, but it still worked well.
After I cut the edge away I discovered that one end of one brace was not in contact with the back. This was a bit disappointing. However, with a friend's advise, I was able to fix it. It turns out that the top had shifted to the right (treble side) when I glued it up. A careless and avoidable mistake, but luckily it did not cause too many problems.
The repaired brace end. I trimmed a sliver of spruce to close the gap and glued it in. It is not the best way, but at this point I did not think it was worth the time to remove the top and re-attach it, especially since the edge had already been cut.
The setup for gluing in the edge tiles. There are hundreds of little edge tile to glue in the channel. A simple band of purfling can also be used, and it is much easier. I like the look of the tiles and decided to do them. The glue pot is on the right (for the hide glue), the small heating iron is for attaching the single line of walnut veneer between the tiles and soundboard. In the foreground are the tiles. Walnut, maple, and a tile made up of walnut and maple veneers; it is the same pattern as the rosette. The tiles are brushed with hide glue and pushed in place with tweezers and a small stick. I did the whole top in about 5 hours.
Tiling in progress.
The tiles after gluing. I will let the glue cure for an entire day before trimming them flush.
The edge tiles trimmed flush. I trimmed the top flush, then the edge with a very sharp block plane set for a fine cut.