This morning I received a note from my friend Drora, telling me that I needed a balalaika for the cottage. She pointed out that they are, many times, painted in the manner of the ceramic hand that I showed you yesterday.
I told her that I do have one, but I am not allowed to take it out of it's frame. April wouldn't be happy if I did.....So.....I decided to take a try at copying it.
I measured it, made notes and started cutting wood. It is a complicated little thing. Mine is not going to be nearly as nice as the original, but I am going to see what I can come up with.
There are a lot of very small, little, fiddly pieces to contend with.
I cut the body from a piece of 3/8 balsa. That was the only wood that I had that was thick enough. I think that the original is a chunk of either cherry or maybe mahogany. It's hard to tell with the thing pinned down so that I can't turn it over. I used maple and cherry for the face and end of the body. The little neck piece is also cherry. All of the knobs and bridges were cut from toothpicks. The more that I looked at the original, the more pieces I discovered that had to be cut.
After all of the cutting was done, I started putting the pieces together. I got as far as getting the neck on and the little tuning keys for the strings in place. I clamped it together with hair clips and went away to let the glue dry.
I still have to put on all of the details, varnish and do the decorative painting.
I think that is about as far as I am going today. The rest of the day is going towards finishing socks.
When I went back to check on the progress of the glue, here's what I found....
Tessie was "pretend" strumming what there was of the balalaika and singing "Moscow Nights" to herself.
She looked up at me and announced...."This one is MINE. If April wants one, tell her to get her own!"
It looks like I may be making a second one. Oh well. The more that I make,hopefully, the better they will be....Let Tessie have the first one.
See you tomorrow.