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Violin Project - First Steps

Tim McTigue


Once I realized that I didn't want to use Heron-Allen's pattern for my first violin, I decided, based on advice from a number of MN'ers, to order a poster from The Strad and use that as a basis. The poster I chose was the Kruse, from 1721. While I was waiting for the poster to arrive (there was also a delay in ordring it, because the Orpheus website was down for a while at the time), I decided to make some more tools, since I knew I'd need them anyway. First up was a few planes. I decided to try making them, because I didn't have the money for a set of Ibex instrument planes, and I figured by doing this, I would increase my skills and confidence with tools, and also give myself something to occupy my time while waiting for the next step.


Anway, the poster finally came, and I set out to make myself a pattern. My method was fairly simple and striaghtforward - trace around the photo on the poster onto some tracing paper, fold it in half lengthwise and "rationalize" the outline to produce a symmetrical outline, measure in 3mm to get the rib outline, then I transferred the outline to a piece of thin cardboard by using a pin to pierce the outline all around at very small intervals. I then cut out this cardboard outline, and was then able to use it to trace onto paper and cut that out. To test the outline, I traced it back onto tracing paper, and measured out 3mm to get to the outside shape. Then I realized I should have measured in 4mm to take the rib thickness into account...


I then repeated the process, and once again traced the outline to check it...


This one was better, so I decided I was ready to proceed to make the mold. I then glued the paper outline to a piece of aluminum sheet with non-permanent glue (like that used for post-it notes), and cut the aluminum template. I used tin snips for the rough cutting, then filed the edge. This was a rather tedious process, but in the end, I had my aluminum half-template:



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