Okay, so I've decided to post the story of this violin from the beginning, including pictures. Don't worry, I don't plan to post every picture. I just figured it might be cool to have a record of this project where folks can see it if they're interested. I'll try not to post the boring stuff ("... and then I spent yet another hour scraping...").
Anyway, in January of 2007, I finally decided to go ahead and get started with this. I'd been thinking about it for quite some time, and reading about it, thinking about what it would be like, and doing a lot of stuff except actually doing it. So I finally decided it was time to either do it or shut up about it. I had started hanging out on musical instrument forums a while earlier, I think in the fall of '06, mostly lurking and reading, in an attempt to find out what I needed to know. Andres Sender found me on one of those forums, and told me about Maestronet. I sure am glad he did!
The first thing I did was to start assembling the things I'd need, and making some simple tools. I knew I'd need a bunch of spool clamps, so I spent some time making them, by cutting short pieces from a wooden clothes rod, drilling holes in them, and putting a bolt through. I also made leather pads for the wood-facing sides, out of an old leather purse I found for $5 at a second-hand shop. That was a good score! Here's a picture of the spool clamps in progress:
Then I made a mold, from a pattern by Ed. Heron-Allen in his book "Violin Making as it Was and Is", which at the time, was pretty much my "bible" on the subject. This was, of course, one of my (many) mistakes. I ended up making at least three molds, before I finally got one I felt would be usable...