Friday, August 27, 2010

Fitting the fingerboard

Took a couple hours this afternoon from the back-to-school rush of instrument repairs to work on my fiddle. Here is the result, a fingerboard glued to the neck.


An almost-nasty piece of ebony -- a little chippy, a bit of swirl in the grain. Simple in concept, make the bottom of the fingerboard and the top of the the neck flat, glue them together.


Once everything is flat, I lay the fingerboard on the neck, find the center, and clamp the fingerboard in place. Then I glue a couple little blocks on each side, to locate the fingerboard, and to keep it from sliding when I do glue it in place. You can see one of these little blocks below the left-most clamp in the photo above. This is not my concept, but straight from Johnson and Courtnall's The Art of Violin Making.

I'll leave the fingerboard in clamps overnight, then the next step is to start shaping the neck and root prior to fitting it to the body.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Faded Red Violin

A ca. 1983 3/4-sized student violin, made in Hungary. Not really an extraordinary instrument at all, except that it does show some indication of faded color change over the past 27 years.


The yellow highlights and the reddish edges are probably part of the original antiquing scheme. What I thought was interesting was the footprints of the bridge, part of the varnish that was hidden from light. To a lesser extent, you can see the "shadow" of the tailpiece and some of the chinrest, on the bass, or left, side of the tailpiece. Most likely, this fiddle was far redder when it was new.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Carving the scroll

Here I am undercutting the turns of the scroll, to give it that sculptural look. I tend to like a little more depth, so that's what I do.


Next step is to hollow out the peg-box. Previously, I have drilled a series of holes in the area to be evacuated, but I have heard that some think this is unnecessary and doesn't really save time. I used a small U-shaped gouge, and it did go along quickly.


With the peg-box hollowed out, the next step is the fluting on the outside of the scroll. First on cuts out along the edges, then complete the fluting. I'll still clean it up a bit with a scraper, but now it really starts to look like a scroll.