Documenting the process.

It occurs to me that almost nobody sees me doing the work that I do the most – building horns in the studio.  Since even the simplest of them have a complexity of steps that I rarely articulate, it seems prudent to make a few notes.

So maybe you read this and wonder, ‘Why would he cut it in two only to glue it back together again?’

The answer is that wood, even wood that has been cured for three years, is going to shrink after you cut it open.  Shrinking means it may check (crack).  The trick is to get it to shrink slowly and evenly from the inside and out at the same time.  So, once I’ve begun a new bell from such a solid piece, the best chance to avoid checking is to get inside and rough out the interior as soon as possible, get some of that wet mass out.  After that, the pieces are glued back together (with a paper barrier to ease later reseparation) while the outside shape, hinges and other gewgaws are finished.

For all of you out there working on your own empresswood, single chamber horn project, remember to store it in a plastic bag on your porch, out of the sun, when you are done for the day.



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