Friday, April 30, 2010

Gluing the top on the Medieval fiddle.

This is the second top I made for this flat-topped Medieval fiddle. Thin, fragile spruce. Maybe a bad choice on my part. The plans called for two cross braces, but looking at it, flexing it, with the two braces in place, I decided I wanted some sort of bass-bar. After all, the plans do call for a soundpost. Guessing on the brace dimensions -- it is an experiment.


After cleaning up the rib-side edge a little, with final shaping to follow, I glued the top to the ribs. It's a box!


Sunday, April 25, 2010

ribs, bent not broken

The title is a bad attempt to parody James Bond...

Between repair work and yard work -- it's spring! -- I haven't put as much time into making as I would like. Here I have the c-bout ribs bent and glued into place, the upper treble rib, and I am in the process of shaping the curve on the upper bass-side rib. This maple has more curl than what I've used before, so bending the tight curves on the c-bouts was a challenge. Easy to crack a rib.


The ribs are glued to the block surfaces but not, hopefully, to the mould. Previously, I had run a layer of shellac around the edge of the mould, and actually a bit of the upper and lower surfaces. This catches the camera flash much differently than the bare plywood, and doesn't look so good. After I get this rib garland off, I might have to just shellac the whole thing so it looks better in photos!

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.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Starting the 3rd fiddle

I have been busy trying to catch up with repair work, and finally forced myself to take a half-hour or so at the end of the day and get the next violin started.


Here I am in the midst of splitting out and squaring up some willow from a tree that blew down years ago. I square up 5 sides fairly well, not so much the outer edge, as it's going to get trimmed off anyway, carefully, to form the outside curve.

After they are reasonably nice, I glue and clamp the neck and endblocks in place. Hope to get a couple corner blocks, at least, in place tomorrow.