List of Monumental sculpture projects 2015

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Saturday, 31 December 2011

xyz Qin, shaping the wood embryo

xyz Qin, shaping the wood embryo

There are two prototypes, one with Old Shan wood老杉木 (spruce=雲杉,fir=冷杉, cunninghamia(used in temples w scent)=杉), and the other with WuTong (paulownia tomentosa =tong= 白桐) wood.

The Shan wood was recuperated from an old church and the WuTong桐木 is maybe new? (bottom boards are usually in 梓 (catalpa=梓)).
Shan is more expensive and gives a dark rich sound
WuTong is light in color and weight gives a light singing voice. Says Master Shan单志渊.

However, other woods for top boards could be used too. Pine, cedar, spruce.

The two shosoin shapes are cut based on a pattern I drafted using dimensions given kindly by a Japanese friend who is a specialist in guqin.

A friend, Mr.Ke Huang Yi柯宏毅 used a long trimming tool to shave the board (a plane) into the shosoin shape. Long plane, short plane, and a mini bull horn plane. Long plane keeps the lines straight, mini plane turns and gives good curves used in finishing planing.
He did it in two hours, then Mr.Yuan showed us a "bull horn" shaver took, this little tool will trim the surface further into finer curves. The blade should be held at and pushed in a 45° angle (relative to the direction of the blade) to get a proper smooth curve and not perpendicular to the direction of the cut.

The highest point of qin is at the "chest" level, the thickest part of the qin. at 3rd to 4th hui
At 8hui and a half the board dips down a little bit to accommodate the fluttering vibration of the string.

The dip is at this depth: 1.5mm at 7th string, 2mm at 4th string, 2.5mm at 1st string.
The dip is feathered out to blend in w the rest of the board

Duration of the qin making process:
Minimum 8 months to Two years. This is to allow for the qin to get into position and for the qin to stabilise the overall form.

Here is the minimum duration without considering the settling in process, 23 days as follows:
After the embryo is done,
2 days base lacquer
2 days coarse deer horn powder鹿角 + lacquer
2 days medium deer horn powder鹿角 + lacquer
2 fine deer horn powder鹿角 + lacquer
2 top board base lacquer
2 top watery lacquer
7 top board lacquer 7 layers
last last layer
4 smooth fine polish 2 times

altogether 23 days.

When drying the lacquer needs humidity, humidity 85% is best, should be between 80-90°; if its any higher there will be a misty foggy sheen to the lacquer and it will not be mirror finished.

The "bridge" which holds up the strings should be .9 to 1.2cm thick; .9 will give a lighter sound and thicker dimensions gives a sturdier sound

N.B.Some of the terms of the names of wood and details are found in Jim Binkley's blog: Little Old Qin Maker. Thanks to the Little Old Qin Maker!!

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