New Table Success!!!!

Do you have information regarding zither supplies, such as rings, strings, tables and sheet music? Are you looking for a reliable zither, or have one to sell?

Moderator: Dave

Post Reply
kenbloom
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:50 am

New Table Success!!!!

Post by kenbloom » Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:12 pm

HI All,

For years I've tried different approaches to a zither table that would be transportable and sound good. The transportable part is easy. You make legs that fold up and have space for the instrument in its case to go inside. Usually, all the various versions of portable zither tables I've seen have relatively thin tops made from either plywood or sometimes solid wood. These all sound weak.
I just finished making a table for my Meinel perfekta zither. This time I made the top surface from spruce that is anywhere from 3/4"-7/8" thick. The sides are 3/8" cherry. The bass and accompaniment strings sound spectacular. I don't have to work so hard to get sound out and get them to balance with the fingerboard. If anything, I need to back off a bit. It's going to take some getting used to.
I'll try and post some photos tomorrow. It is not a lightweight package. I think if I had to carry it for blocks I would put in on a wheeled contrivance of some sort, but the huge difference in sound is really worth it. Tables with a thick spruce top are definitely the answer!!! (what was the question?)

Ken Bloom
http:/www.boweddulcimer.org

Rudy Mueller
Posts: 437
Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:33 am

Re: New Table Success!!!!

Post by Rudy Mueller » Sat Jul 27, 2019 8:09 am

Thanks Ken,

Does it have an enclosed "sound box"? or open bottom? Fold-able legs? Why cherry for the sides? Note stand?

Rudi

Rudy Mueller
Posts: 437
Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:33 am

Re: New Table Success!!!!

Post by Rudy Mueller » Sat Jul 27, 2019 9:45 am

Should zither BOTTOMS be made of 3/4 (~20 mm) stock, or table TOPS be made of 3/16 (~5 mm) stock? Piano back??

Rudi

kenbloom
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:50 am

Re: New Table Success!!!!

Post by kenbloom » Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:34 am

Hi Rudi,

Sorry it has taken me some time to get back to you. I've been away at Clifftop, which is a week-long music and camping experience I do every year. I play zither fro everyone every morning and people love it. The table has a 3/4"-7/8" top, an open bottom and foldable legs. The zither in its case fits inside for transport. My Meinel perfekta sounds like a whole new zither on this table. Weak bass notes are now strong. of course new strings help but this is much more about the table. I used cherry for the sides because I had a big plank of it and I didn't want to spend any money. I think mahogany would be better as it is lighter in weight more stable as far as moisture goes. It's not particularly lovely looking. I put it together with drywall screws and covered the weird angle joints with fiberglass inside and out. It is very utilitarian but the sound is fabulous.
Like with my other one, it has three wooden legs and one leg from a photographic tripod. The three wooden legs can sit anywhere and the adjustable leg means it's easy to make it stable on unloved surfaces (like a campsite). If you want more info on it I'll be happy to supply any info you need. The key is definitely the thick surface that I'm playing my zither on. It makes a HUGE difference.

Ken Bloom
http://www.boweddulcimer.org

Rudy Mueller
Posts: 437
Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:33 am

Re: New Table Success!!!!

Post by Rudy Mueller » Sun Aug 04, 2019 8:16 am

Thanks Ken,

I'll try 3/4 inch 9 (~20 mm) spruce solid top for my next table, perhaps 3 legs.

From Wisconsin...why do milking stools have three legs??? The cow has the udder! :D Actually, three points define a plane in space, even on uneven ground.

rudi

kenbloom
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:50 am

Re: New Table Success!!!!

Post by kenbloom » Sun Aug 04, 2019 8:53 am

Hi Rudi,

I've done three legged tables. Be sure you put the single leg down at the right hand end and have the other two at the larger end. that way the pressure is evenly distributed and will feel solid. I still prefer four and having an old photographic tripod leg as the adjustable one works great. I did do one table where a made the fourth leg with a projection that I could adjust. Easy to do but the other solution is easier and stronger. The spruce I used for the table top was not instrument grade. In fact, it was a board that someone gave me where the grain wasn't tight enough to go on an instrument. it functions perfectly well for the table. YMMV>

Ken Bloom
http://www.boweddulcimer.org

Rudy Mueller
Posts: 437
Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:33 am

Re: New Table Success!!!!

Post by Rudy Mueller » Mon Aug 26, 2019 4:38 pm

Cherry sides?

Do the cherry sides affect the acoustics?

Cherry is awful heavy. We have a 36" (one meter) wide secretary's desk here in our kitchen which takes two people to lift.

Would a lighter sound wood, such as cedar, help avoid the "schlepping" cart?

By the way, a good natural and long lasting finish for smooth sanded (but not previously "sealed") cherry is plain old canola oil (Rapps öl). It leaves a slightly darker finish. What type of finish and sealer have you used?

Rudi

kenbloom
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:50 am

Re: New Table Success!!!!

Post by kenbloom » Tue Aug 27, 2019 8:40 am

Hi Rudi,

I used cherry for the sides because I had some on hand. I would have preferred to use mahogany. Lighter in weight. In the end, it doesn't matter as far as sound goes. It's the top surface that is really important. Here I used a piece of spruce that had a very wide grain, too wide to use for instruments but fine for a table top. The sides are only 3/8" thick or less. I used screws to secure the sides to the top and used fiberglass for the corners which were at weird angles. I fiberglassed those joints inside and out.
My table is pretty utilitarian and not really a presentation piece. If I were to do one that would be more like a piece of fine furniture I would use mahogany for the sides and do some nice dovetail joints for the whole project. I would still use a tough finish on it like a polyurethane. Happily I don't have to do much in the way of transport these days. When I do, it's easy to take it down, pack it up and then set it up at the other end. It's the sound of my bass strings that are really enhanced. The cherry sides might contribute somewhat to the solidity of the sound. I don't know. YMMV.

Ken Bloom
http://www.boweddulcimer.org

Post Reply