Monday, March 11, 2013

record label saver

i have about 200 vinyl records that i started collecting in the early 2000's. Most of my collection is made up of primarily deep house music, with some various electronic tracks and an even smaller section of "everything else". I've been toying around with the idea of digitizing all of my vinyl records. i think it would be super cool to have the audio files of these hard to get songs in my pocket. the down side to this is that each record holds anywhere from one song to 45mins worth of music. recording them all would be a huge feat, imagine recording one record each business day for an entire year.

back when my friends and i would go digging for records, i'd buy most of these records for only 1 of the songs on the record. most records have 3 other tracks (2 songs per side seems to be the most popular format). so there is also the possibility that i'll discover some gems on sides of records that maybe received 10 seconds of my attention while i stood at a record store turntable auditioning stacks of records.

i recently input my collection of records on discogs (see my list here) to find that i have 246 records that are in the discogs database, and about 10 that aren't. The discogs database is real easy, each recording has a alphanumeric identifier making the lookup process real fast. doing this made me want to digitize even more.

but before i do an analog to digital conversion, i want to make sure that i can minimize as many snaps and pops that accompany old records as possible. i thought about buying different record washing mechanisms, but wasn't convinced i'd be happy spending $79.99 on a spin clean washer without trying my own diy project first.

i came across a label saver idea called groovmaster on an audiokarma thread. the design was simple and effective. after reading about different brush and solution ideas, i went to the hardware store and bought  a few items.

these two mini plungers looked perfect. and at $1.99 ea how could i go wrong?

record labels are 4" in diameter, this is just the size i needed.

i cut the handles off and drilled holes for the threads.

slipped the threaded bar through, with some washers and wing nuts for clamping power, and there you have it. two plungers that will end up squeezing my record during bath time.

i somehow have a copy of the original westside story broadway show, and it has been beaten to hell. i couldn't think of a better record suited for job of test drive the washing.

i washed a few records successfully, using a solution of 1/3 90% isopropyl alcohol, 2/3 water, and a drop of dish soap. after scrubbing along the grooves using my paint pad, i rinse with lukewarm water. some microfiber towels are used to dry the records and i'm good to go!

here we have an analog to digital recording in progress.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

live edge trestle table part 7

sometimes woodworking requires a bit of clever thinking, especially when you are dealing with the cards that you've been dealt. this knot that wasn't very firmly attached to the rest of the tree was coming more and more loose. we tried to glue it, but there was no success.

so i drilled a big fat hole in it, and the hole went all the way through to the solid table slab.

here's the hole where the dowel and glue will be inserted.

here you can see it all. the dowel will be trimmed when we get closer to doing detail work on the edge.

link to part 8

live edge trestle table part 6

with the top glued up, and the location of where the legs are to be mounted nice and spot faced, it's time to get working on some legs. you've heard the phrase "measure twice cut once"? we measure 5-6 times, we chalk it up, we draw it out on paper a few times, then we line up the cut, and quickly review our chalk and paper, then we cut. and still there are times we goof it up.

these beautiful pieces of crotch walnut are also bookmatched. you can see the piece on the left has been planed and cleaned up, the piece on the right has not. but just imagine the saw going right through this piece, the cracks line up, and so do all other patterns.

here's a rough idea how the leg will look mated to the stretcher, of course this is upside down and the legs have to be trimmed yet.

so back to the router we go. the fences are set and clamped so that we cut exactly the width of our stretcher.

here's a router level view of the action.

we made the mortise 7/8 of an inch deep, plenty of contact area for strength.

this was a quick trial to see if everything was as we expected, since the stretcher is finished lumber the dimensions are similar enough to this piece that substitution was acceptable. the actual stretcher needs to be cut still, and will be more than twice this length.

it turns out our sled wasn't big enough, and the legs didn't quite fit. after a few minutes with the palm router we were set.

we measured the stretcher, and cut it to dimension, then set up the legs for another dry fit.

the stretcher fit perfectly into our mortise. with the base firmly in place, the only logical next step is to set the table top on and take tons of pics!!!

strike a pose with the table during the first time ever that it is assembled

link to part 7

live edge trestle table part 5

the last piece of wood i needed was a stretcher. the stretcher is the piece that goes between the legs, acting like a brace. i wanted a big beefy stretcher to match the thick slabs of wood that make up the rest of the table. this piece is a bit over 6 feet long, 11 inches wide, and 2 inches thick. i'll only be using about 4 feet of this beautiful walnut piece.

with the glue dry, we took the clamps off the table top and started determining the table height. it's amazing how used to standard heights we are. roughly dining tables are 30" tall, counters are 36" tall, and bars are 42" tall. i sat at every table in my parents house, and even put some of the tables on bricks in order to experience the difference between heights.

i ended up choosing a 32" table height. 32" is tall for a table, but my table is going to be substantial, and i want it to feel that way. next up we toyed with exactly where the legs should go.

at first this table will be my desk. it'll be up against the wall with computer monitors, speakers, and other electronic devices sitting all around. but it may not always be a desk, and in the case that it needs to serve as a table, we wanted to make sure that we could maximize the function. we figure 6 people could squeeze at the table for a casual meal.

on a little bit of a tangent, i took a small piece of walnut and cut it to the same size as the mulberry spline. this is simply cosmetic, and will be cut flush to the end of the table when the glue has cured fully. as of now the table is only black oak and walnut, introducing another wood, even just a small spline reveal, loses consistency. so this is a cover up, only i'll truly know all the woods that make up this desk!

because we didn't plane the underside of the table top, the surface remains very rough and wavy. mounting legs to an uneven surface isn't an option, so we made this sled for our router. the piece in the middle is about 3" wide.

we put the sled where we want the leg to attach to the bottom of the table, and used shims to get it nice and level.

with a few quick passes of the router, we've got a nice flat place for the legs to attach to the table.

hard work like this deserves a craft beer and a nice cigar. cheers!

link to part 6