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Everything posted by arglebargle

  1. "Come on, we're making violins, not watches." Said in response to me fussing over some minor detail.
  2. Yes! The underside (inside) should be dead flat and the planning surface should be totally square to it all the way along the surface. In addition, the top (outside) should have a flat area also square to the planning surface. I take my plates down to about 5mm of my desired height. I also cut out the excess wood from the upper and lower bouts at the corners of the plate and the c bout before I begin joining them. I clamp the joint using my bench vise and dogs at the c bout cut away, then bar clamps at either end. The plates are upside down on the bench (the top facing down). Great info in the links above.
  3. Hi all, This isn't working for me: I would love to hear/see how other manage their clamps, specifically these kinds of clamps. Thanks!
  4. My two cents: If you are asking yourself "should I pursue a career in violin making" then the answer is no. There is no "should I" in this field. This is something that you will either chase down until you succeed or you will fail. So this has to be something you are absolutely committed to, or don't bother. It's the same as asking "Should I be an artist?" You are an artist because you have to be, and if success follows, so be it. A lot of people come to violin making latter in life, after a fruitful life in another field, and all the monetary comforts that provides. These people are not you. It's not that they don't have knowledge and insight, but that they have comfort and safety as they make violins. You are 19. If you choose to pursue this it will all be on you. Making a living as a classical musician is hard. Making a living as a classical instrument maker is much harder. You already know you have the skills to do the former, do you have the stamina (not skill) to do the latter? The skills you can learn. The hard part is the work, the failures, the further work, the additional failures, the small success, and then some more failures. And in the meantime, you have to eat and keep a roof over your head. You will not graduate from violin making school as a violin maker earning a living ONLY making new instruments. I'm sure that there are exceptions out there, but vanishingly few. What will you do to compensate? In 1996 a light went on over my head and I decided to pursue this path. I did so with an ignorant tenacity that only the truly stupid possess. Here I am in 2020, earning a living, but only by (happily) having to keep a rental fleet, a repair business, selling new instruments, and selling my own. And any other f**king thing I can do to keep the doors open. Happily. As obscure and unknown (and redundant) as I might be, I still consider myself a success in this business. So Santagiuliana, of course you should become a violin maker, but only because there is no other choice. Good luck.
  5. I've been using them for years, and have yet to find anything better. I tried the Chinese knock-offs a while back and I did not care for them. The Herdims are worth the money.
  6. Not me. As I said, many talented makers use them. I believe M. Darnton is among them, and he is pretty firm about their usefulness. (Please correct me if I'm wrong.) It's just not a method I find useful or enjoyable.
  7. My issue with arching templates, and templates in general, is that one tends to work towards the template rather than the piece. This can be a good, even necessary, thing in the process of making. I think a workable mold and rib structure is dependent on an accurate template. I need my scroll templates to set me on the right path, but after a certain point, I don't. Do I need a template for the pegbox? No, but it saves me time not having to lay-out the thing for every instrument. I think arching is of such a fundamental importance to an instrument that I would not trust it to a set of templates. The arching is where the woodworking skill, intuition, and artistry all come together. It is the best/most fun part of violin making. The loosest, most fuck- it part. And as such requires the most skill to execute well. When we make an instrument we are sculptors and wood carvers, not carpenters. We should keep that in mind. That being said, there are a lot of very fine makers that use arching templates, and I say more power to them. It's just not for me.
  8. Any two surfaces not glued has the potential to buzz or really screw up the sound. I could see your un-glued upper block area turning into a buzzing kazoo very easily. So yes, any two wooden surfaces that "interact" need to be glued. Do they need to be glued super hard so that they will never, ever come apart? No, but they do need to be glued.
  9. Do you use the atomizer while curing varnish or just during the tanning process?
  10. It is my understanding that most of the varnish effects on early instruments, Cremonese in particular, occurred in the first couple of decades of their life. This is a reflection of the nature of the varnish (soft at first) and the utility of the instrument (they were sold and played as soon as they were made) and the kinds of cases available back then.
  11. What is a "Japanned" finish?
  12. Here are my roughing gouges. All are socket gouges bought on ebay, cleaned up, and fit and epoxied to the handle, then reinforced with cord and epoxy. The handles are pre-fab railing components from big box hardware, a few bucks each. The one on the left in my go to tool. Got me through several cellos. They are straighter than the pictures make them look. Keep in mind, a sturdy, immovable bench is just as important as the gouge.
  13. Do you want to simulate varnish wear, or just dirt? No shading? For dirt I use various oil paints, straight from the tube, rubbed onto the area, then wiped off with a sheet of paper. (Ordinary printer paper) This allows the color to get into any nooks and crannies and stay there while being removed from the surface. Of course, the surface that you are starting with will determine what you can and can't do. A perfect, smooth, glass-like finish won't take the oil, as there are no nooks to fill, but I don't like that look anyway.
  14. Are you buying a varnish job or a musical instrument?
  15. The neck joint should be strong enough with no mechanical assistance, bolts, screws, dowels and the like. Make sure the mortise is deep enough, and every surface that should touch does, and you should be set. And good fresh hot hide glue.
  16. Too late for you now, but I always carve the pegbox first. With the blocked squared remove the wood on the face of the pegbox, draw your desired design, and go to town. I find that this makes the work go much faster, as you can clamp the block more aggressively and really go at the pegbox without any worry of damaging the beautiful scroll you just spent hours carving. No worry of blowing out the pegbox walls either. Not sure if this would address your concerns, but there you go.
  17. Yes, he's asking us not to re-graduate.
  18. I just took the top off a Charles Ehricke violin (Albany, 1934 #50) to start on a button repair and found an interesting inscription on the top and back. Goes to show that messing with other peoples violins was a common enough practice way back then to merit a warning. Alright Mr. Ehricke. I won't scrape your violin, but I will fix your broken button.
  19. Um, the best cello case ever made? Sure, it doesn't have wheels. And the handle tends to fall off. And it's a bit heavy. But by god, I would take a million of these cases compared to the crap we have now. This beast got me through high school, college, and is still going strong today. You know, in a community filled with brilliant structural engineers and creative thinkers why a workable, affordable cello case hasn't been made is beyond me.
  20. arglebargle


    Hunter, you have never played the violin before? Yes? If that is the case I might recommend renting one first. The reason being you have no idea what you are listening for when you first start, much less what feels good to you. Think of it like buying a car without knowing how to drive. You can always buy an instrument later, and you will have a better understanding of what you like and don't and what works for you.