Thursday, April 8, 2010

Working on the blocks

Here we have all 6 blocks glue-tacked onto the form -- the plywood. The metal template shows how the blocks need to be trimmed before the ribs can be placed. The metal template was also used to create the plywood form (or mould). It was based on the Stradivari "Red Diamond" violin. In 2006, after a decade of working on my own doing mostly repair work, I finally took the opportunity to attend a violin-makers workshop, this one in Eureka, California, and taught by Boyd Poulsen. He had worked in the Hans Weishaar shop, which was where the Red Diamond was restored after it was washed out to sea near Santa Monica. (see I made my template from one Boyd had. I was able to attend the workshop one more year, 2007, again for a week of making. Unfortunately, that was the last year for the workshop. Fortunately, I was able to get into Michael Darnton's workshop in Southern California (see Unfortunately, I no longer had access to the Red Diamond shapes, but by then, Strad Magazine had put out a nice poster on the Titian Stradivari, which was close to this form. I made a few modifications to the outline, which certainly could have been errors of mine when making the original Red Diamond. I don't know if they were made on the same Strad form or not.


I don't actually use the corner templates to form the curves of the corners. In fact, the original Stradivari corner templates don't seem to fit original Stardivari corners, so I think there is some doubt that the templates were actually used (or even made) by Stradivari. What I am doing now is to square up off the corner block cut-outs and sketch in the corners. This is probably not a very good method, but it is a method and seems to give reasonable results.


Here I have cut out the C-bout curves on the blocks of the treble side of the instument. Holding it up to an outside light, at arm's length or further, is a good way to see problems in the curves. Here the top curve seems to drop a bit too far on the outside, but part of that is that the outside of the block is still rough and too wide. I'll fit the C-bout ribs before trimming the outside of the corner blocks.


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