Saturday, April 28, 2012


Music - shaken, not stirred.

I made this a few years ago and recently discovered it as I was doing some cleaning.

The guts are a M+S Paia stereo microphone kit, and the result of a trip to the liquor cabinet and plumbing section.

It's for sale on my Sculpture site.

The case that it came in was a box, and quite boring, but functional.
The body of mine is a martini shaker that I was about to get rid of which I took with me to the plumbing section.  The neck of the shaker just happens to fit into a brass sink drain pipe.  The shaker is stainless, so I can't solder it, but I pinched it between the lip on the brass tube and a copper pipe splice, soldered in place.

The pipe then get's soldered to a large 90 deg copper elbow.  A M+S (mid side) mic needs 3 elements which are housed in a straight 1/2 inch copper coupling, and 2 90 degree elbows jammed in and soldered in place.

The elements are epoxied to two wires that stick out from the body.  Because the case of the microphones are connected to ground, I isolated them using a primer coat of epoxy to avoid ground loops.  The brass screen cage also is attached with epoxy because it has to go on after the microphone elements, so I can't use a torch to solder, lest I melt all of the wires.

The finish on the body was made by "painting" the stainless shaker with a torch.  This has aged quite well, no noticeable degradation in the 2 years I've had it.

I think the best idea to come out of this project are the free form knobs carved with a rotary tool, labels burnt into the end with a soldering iron.

this one looks like it needs more finishing oil to make it more shiny.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The joys and dangers of sharp tools, or alternative nut shaping techniques

I've recently come into some old hand planes that belonged to my grandfather and one probably from his father.  When well polished (I use whetstones, up to 8000) they are impressively efficient, even in this day of power tools.  They also don't make dust and are quiet, two advantages when working with an infant under your jacket.  The rocking motion also puts him to sleep.

That's not what this post is about though, as there's lots of info out there about plane sharpening and use.
I'm in the process of building a guitar and need to shape the nut.  Usually this involves lots of sanding, a painfully slow process I avoid whenever I can.  Instead I set the plane on my lap and started taking nice fine shavings off the side, leaving a perfect finish.  The nut is made from cow bone and doesn't seem to wear the edge.

the only problem is...
------------------Warning: After the break, there be blood-------------------