I want to talk about my instrument case for a few minutes. I have got all the latch shims finished and attached the latches and made sure they all close properly. I gave up on cutting down the 1 inch thick open celled foam (foam dulls a cutting edge fairly quickly, by the way) and discovered that, if it is possible to find local open celled foam in sheets using google, my google-fu isn't up to it. I stepped down the tech to a five year old yellow pages, and found a company that sells upholstery supplies, and made a special trip into town for 1/2 inch foam and 1/4 inch foam. They sell it by the running foot, but the roll is five or six feet wide, so now I have quite a bit more foam than I need but the total was $4.50 so I can't complain--anybody need some foam?
I wanted uprights to cradle the neck in two places, which I would then put a lid between to make a little box under the neck to hold things like a capo and a tuner and picks and such. And also eventually straps, because I want detachable straps so I can carry the case like a backpack when that is convenient.
So I made cardboard fakes of the uprights, and fitted them, while the belly of the case, padded out at the sides with 3/4 inch of foam, held the instrument in the proper position. I constructed small blanks of fitted white pine strips (some with a boxwood or cedar stripe) epoxied and fiberglassed on both sides. I used the cardboard fakes to cut the uprights and discovered I had let myself in for a lot of fitting and trimming and fitting but eventually got them fitted to the case. Then I discovered that they also had to be fitted to the neck at the two places they were going to hold the neck, so there was a certain amount of filing to do. Then I decided that I had better pad them, and cut up a retired SCA belt pouch to provide a little leather. I figure this will provide enough padding to prevent the cradles from scarring the neck, but still be firm enough to keep the instrument from rattling around in the box. So now I need enough clearance for the leather, and that was more filing.
Also, I mentioned that I want to be able to carry the case like a backpack. I don't want straps permanently installed; they would flop around and be annoying. I want something installed on the case that I can clip straps to when I want them. So far the best thing I've found that I could actually track down and order was a ring post from Hardware Elf. So I got five of those--the extra so I could install it in one of the blanks (in a part that was going to be cut off to make the cradle) and test it to see if it would be strong enough to do the job.
I clamped the blank to my bench, put a rope through the ring, and started hanging weight off it. Three full 2 liter bottles, no problem. But that filled up my hanging space so I took them out, and started hanging Kip's hand weights off it. I got up to 35 pounds, both perpendicular to the blank and parallel to it. (I clamped it two different ways for two different tests.) The ring post showed no visible strain, and neither did the blank. Since case plus instrument weighs 10 pounds at this point, I decided that was probably going to be good enough.
So ring posts it is, but they come in two parts, one placed on the outside and one forced through a hole from the inside. Alas they don't screw together; they have to be pounded, so I don't want to install the uprights until I have the ring posts installed, so that I will have a little more room to work on the inside of the case.
But, when I did the fiberglassing, I was running out of epoxy. So I didn't fill the weave of the fiberglass, because that doesn't add much to the strength anyway, and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to finish the fiberglassing on the inside if I filled the weave on the outside. I bought more epoxy, but had been putting off filling the weave--but now was the time, so I removed all the hardware and shims (need to epoxy the shims on, but I may not be able to do it without permanently installing the hardware, so that may be a late step) sanded the outside with 80 grit, and put the second, weave-filling, layer of epoxy on last night.
So now I have a bunch of interlocking jobs to do. Still hoping to get this done by OVFF but it may be closer than I thought.