It is always nice to receive a pile of bits and asked to turn it into a usable instrument.
The xylo is actually complete, including the frame, however requirements and expectations have moved on somewhat since this was made.
The first thing I need to do is get the note bed repaired. All the joints are loose, and it looks horrible, so I will disassemble it down to components, and strip the finish off.
In the first image, it can be seen that the notes originally sat on felt strips with the note cord running along the outside of separation pins. This is rubbish, it’s going to be really noisy, so I will substitute the pins for note pegs which means drilling bigger holes.
The consequence of this is that the rails need to be moved further apart, because the note cord now runs down the centre of the note rails as opposed to the outside edges. The benefit is that the instrument will be that little bit wider, which is no bad thing.
Above you can see new end blocks between the note rails which have been glued and pegged in place. I don’t often use nails or screws when making a frame.
Zooming in on the photo, it can be seen that the note rails are a bit arbitrary in length. There are several reasons, but essentially it is because it was made wrong in the first instance I have tried to reach the best positioning of the notes, so they run parallel to the ends. The ends need to be parallel so I can make the base frame square.
Underneath all the clamps, I have added onto the outside of the instrument a spacer and and end plates. The end plates will make it look nice, and protect the notes, and cover the top of the legs. The spacer is just another bit of wood (the offcut from the board after the end plates were cut out), but it will give me something to work with when I make the base frame.
I mixed up some stain to colour the end plates to somewhere near the colour of the note bars, so that the instrument will hang together aesthetically. It will also bring out the figure in the wood. It is now ready to be varnished whilst I make the base frame.
The second half of this project in in Premier Vintage Xylo (part 2)