Today we ripped 25 keys in a little more than 3 hours in the garage. Whew! It is hard to imagine how someone would build a marimba with hand tools. We have all but 11 keys of the 61 key marimba now cut. We put a small space heater in the garage in an attempt to convert Antarctica into only Minnesota. Meanwhile, we spent a bit more time double checking dimensions and laying out the keys, so our time in the garage would be more efficient.
Paul and I have a healthy respect for the table saw. Each time, before I turn it on, I say “Clear!” and Paul responds “yes”. Its spinning blade is frightening. I push the boards through, and Paul uses a small stick to keep the pieces flat and then pull them the last bit.
Some pictures from our improved key-shaping process used earlier this week:
This project is enormous. I don’t think Paul or I fully appreciated the scale of our undertaking. We have shape-tuned (to within 1 whole note) 12 keys. Each takes 30 minutes. That leaves about 25 hours of shaping plus 2 more hours of cutting the remaining 11 keys. It will probably take another 30 minutes per bar to do final sanding, oiling, and drilling of the hole, and another 30 minutes per bar to final tune each — or roughly 90 more hours. Even with 5 hrs on each weekend and 2 hours during the week, it will take us 3 more months. Complicating this, are 2 business trips to Japan and 1 trip to China in the next few months. Yikes. If we really work hard, maybe we can have something ready to play by the end of May….