Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Back on Task

Hi, Everybody. I'm finally back on task with this violin. I've been building a banjo, but I think it's time to get back to the violin. As you can see from the photo, a lot more carving has been done. One of the problems currently is that this piece of maple is pretty high quality, and the flip side of that is that it's difficult to carve. The gouges have to be very sharp, and sharpening gouges is something I have a lot of trouble with. Sharpening a curved edge is really difficult: it's hard to do it evenly. Ideally your sharpening surface should be exactly the curvature of the edge. I've tried to carve out a piece of wood in the shape of the gouge and line it with sandpaper, and it didn't work very well. So at the moment, I'm using sandpaper strips glued to a sheet of glass (grits 120, 220, 320, 400, and 600). I'll let you know how it turns out.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

It's the Economy, Stupid!

... and I thought it was just me.

I'm pretty much fighting for my life here. Now even piano work has dried up, so I've at least got some free time. Last fall I made a rookie mistake: I cut the tab off when I cut out the back from the outline. Now this is a nice piece of wood, so I didn't want to throw it away, so I thought about it for a few weeks and finally decided to try splicing in a new piece of wood. Here's a picture of the inside.

Then I did a bit of carving on the outside, and this was the result.

I've since done more carving. I'm hoping I didn't cut too deeply into the tab when I did. I'll post another picture soon.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sorry for low activity

Hi, Everyone.

The fiddle has been put on hold for a while, because I'm trying to solve a cash flow problem by taking in a lot of short-term piano repair work. I'm guessing that the problem will be over with by mid-August.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Cutting corners

After drawing the pattern on the corners I cut them out and sanded them to make a smooth line with the form. I also roughed out the neck, as shown in the photo.

Farther along

Whew! Got some catching up to do!

I copied the pattern onto a piece of MDF, backed it up with a piece of hardboard to get it to 1-1/4 inches thick, then cut the form out and tack-glued the end- and corner-blocks. Here's the photo with the pattern drawn on one block.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Wood At Last!

I finally got some wood, but it wasn't from the order I've been awaiting for two months. I ordered it from International Violin in Baltimore. It's a great company: good products, decent prices, and man are they fast! Usually I get shipments from them one or two days after I order them . Left to right: spruce for the top, maple for the sides, neck and back. The pieces for the top and the back are split down the middle so they will open like a book, giving mirror-image grain.
I had a setback with violin #1. I carefully fit the neck to the body a while back, then glued it up. But I only yesterday discovered that during the glueup (presumably) the neck shifted and is now at the wrong angle to the body. This after gluing on the back, installing the purfling, and trimming the edges! Now I have to take the neck off and reglue it at the correct angle. I guess I'll take the back off to make it easier. I put the label in the wrong spot anyway, so now I have an excuse to fix that also.
Anyway, this weekend I'll probably do the layout for the new form and cut it out if I have time.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


In the photograph is the layout for the new violin. Actually it's for the mold around which the violin is made. I used some instructions from Stradivari, but there were a few instructions missing and one typo, so I had to do a little editing and revising. I don't really like the way the center bout (the concave curve in the center on either side) blends into the points, so I may smooth that curve out a bit. It shouldn't make any difference in the sound because there are wood blocks that support the points, and that curve is on the outside of the block. Next I'll try to lay out the neck, but I have to learn to do a Spiral of Archimedes to get that right.