Friday, June 29, 2012

Laying out and cutting f-holes

Using a few straight lines -- down the center, across the stop length (where the bridge will sit), and across at the low point of the c-bout purfling -- and circles of 32- and 64-mm, I'm trying to make the f-holes look right.

I'm using the lay-out scheme featured on Michael Darnton's website, as well as an image of a Brothers Amati f-hole he likes.  Even with all that, I still end up adjusting it a bit by eye.  And in doing so, hope to train my eye in the long-run.  Finally, say 'good enough' and cut the holes.

At this point they've got something of the shape, but still a little too thin.  How to decide that?  I make them wide enough to get the soundpost through.  I'm sure there must be a better criterion, but that works for now.

After a bit of clean-up work, I think I have them ok.

The poster below is of a 1666 Nicolo Amati, son of one of the Brothers Amati, and what I used as a model for my eye.  Again, not a perfect copy by any means, but something I hope works and looks decent.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Southern California Violin Makers Workshop 2012

June is typically a busy month for me.  Since 2008, I have been attending the Southern California Violin Makers Workshop for a week, sometimes 2, and then during the third full-week in June, we have the shop set up at the National Old-time Fiddlers Contest in Weiser, Idaho.

So today I'll post about the workshop.  It's held in Claremont, California, put on by Jim Brown, and taught/led by Michael Darnton of Chicago.  The grounds are not too bad.

The violin-makers workshop was held on the ground-floor in this wing of the building --

while the bow-makers were across the way in this wing, behind the arched walkway --

Most of the attendees had been to the workshop before, and all (in the first two weeks) had built previous violins.  Everyone was at a different place in their current violin and the atmosphere is such that we can ask questions about anything at any time.  We all just set down at a bench and start working.  Seeing what other people are doing, how they're doing it, the tools they're using are all wonderful ways of learning.

For me the greatest thing is that I learn so much I didn't even know to ask about.

One of my goals this time was to learn more about the outline and corners.  I believe I made a major conceptual breakthrough in my understanding of corner geometry.  I was never happy with the shape of  my violin corners, mainly because I didn't have a clear picture in my head.  Now, after years of having it presented to me, something finally clicked.  It's now a matter of execution.

Towards the end of my week there, I got the purfling in both plates of my Brothers Amati fiddle.

And I spent some time working the edges down.

The workshop's official site is here.  If I understand it correctly, the workshop is accepting beginners during the third week.

I have more photos of the workshop here.

Michael Darnton's website is here.