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About bkwood

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  1. Llike you, I decided to make a viola after making several violins. Reasons I chose Strobel's plans are that I was familiar with his violin book already, and I specifically wanted to make a smallish viola which his plans are for. I hadn't really known that there isn't really a standard for viola dimensions until I looked into it. His viola book is much slimmer than his violion book, and refers you to the violin book for many things. Avoiding the problems Manfio mentions is a good recommendation, but of course getting there might take more than one try. My viola came out nice and seems to play well. But the person I had in mind to show it to lives on the other side of the country and didn't make her annual trip to the west coast this year due to Covid. Good luck. Think about the size. Strobel's plans could be modified if you want to make a larger viola than his plan. Larger might improve your odds of an open sounding C string.
  2. The value of these contour lines is mosly in determining symetry when you’re fine tuning your shape. They’re kind of meaningless otherwise without more information in my opinion. That’s what I use them for.
  3. I agree with that. The surfaces mate perfectly. Looking at the maple carefully it seems perfectly clean. One thing I did not do is apply glue to both surfaces, only the ebony, and maybe the room was cool enough that the maple was too cool. I usually use a heat gun to warm both surfaces, and my shop is usually warm. And I don't tend to contaminate glue surfaces with other materials. Like I say, it's mysterious. But I'm going to clean both surfaces and reglue them with all that in mind.
  4. I took off the strings to see, and it's not what I had convinced myself it would be. I was pretty sure I either wouldn't see any glue or else I'd see the problem would be the ebony hadn't bonded. Actually, there is a clear glaze of glue on all the ebony surface but no evidence of glue on the maple. I've made a dozen fiddles out of the same tree, so I don't know what's going on. I suspect that in some unknown way I contaminated the maple surface with wax or silicone myself before the original glue up, and that I didn't clean up what I didn't see the second time. I don't understand how, but What else could it be? Paint thinner, naptha? Suggestions for cleaning the surface?
  5. Over a year ago I loaned a few of my fiddles, one at a time, to someone interested in buying one. He brought one back saying the fingerboard had fallen off. That seemed weird but I told him I’d repair it and get it back to him. He was actually more interested in another so the fiddle sat around for a long time before I got to it. When I did I took the opportunity to refinish it before returning the fingerboard. A couple weeks ago it was finally done and I loaned it to a friend of mine. He brought it back tonight to play some tunes with me, and as he opened the case and took it out the fingerboard slid free again. The first time it was an anomaly. I reglued it well, after cleaning both faces. There seemed to be no glue showing on either piece the first time. I’ll see what the latest looks like tomorrow. But could their be a contamination issue from the fingerboard blank I used? Has this happened to anyone? For an area with that much contact to fail twice without even stress on the joint doesn’t make sense.
  6. bkwood

    Japan Drier

    I'm using a commercial violin varnish that takes forever to dry, even enough for the next coat. I've never used anything like Japan Dryer. In truth finishing is my weakest link in making violins. I just want something that works. Woodworking is what interests me. I used Heidersine oil varnish a few times and did like that a lot. But it seems unavailable from any outlet now. Does anyone have good advice for using, or avoiding, a drying agent like Japan Drier?
  7. You're right about that, and that's pretty safe to do. I was thinking to what I remember from the first post.
  8. I've used power tools on a daily basis for decades. I've had my share of close calls and learned from them. You may feel something is safe because you've done it a hundred times, but losing a finger or even just startling the bejeesus out of yourself can happen when you least expect it to if you have left any chance at all for stock to pinch or bind. When crosscutting having a fixed block on one side of a piece and a spinning blade on the other is just not good practice. Just a slight shift of attention can have you pull or twist the stock or do something else while the blade is in motion. Everybody thinks they're too smart to have an accident. I have loads of experience and I also still have all my fingers and both eyes, but I've known many people who just made that one mistake.
  9. That works too. I don’t understand overkill comment. They’re both saws. Table saw is very accurate and I’m used to working with it every day for a variety of things. I cut graduated blocks for tapered ribs and I can set it up more easily. The main point is to not create a situation where material can bind or fingers are put too close to a blade, which was the issue raised by the original post.
  10. Yes, that's exactly it. I have a Biesmeyer fence like what's shown there. I made my add-on fence so it slips snuggly over the the inside lip on the Biesmeyer, a light friction fit, it doesn't have to be tight. When I'm not using it I transfer it over to the other side, out of the way. But you don't have to do that. Just use a block and clamp if you only need it occasionally.
  11. A better way is to use a table saw with a short fence attached to the main fence. Use your sliding cross cut fence for your stock and set the short fence at the proper distance for your cut. As you slide forward toward the blade the piece will move past the short fence and be free when it's cut. Years ago I made a short fence that attaches to the main fence that is exactly 1" wide, which makes it easy to use the main fence guide to set distances (just add 1" to any number). There's probably a proper name for this short fence so someone correct me. I'm a cabinet maker and have used mine routinely for years.
  12. I don't think you gain anything trying to fill gaps with hide glue. What gaps are you trying to fill the 2nd time? For hide glue to work well your joints have to fit. Good proctice anyway when making violins.
  13. Thanks. Are you sayiing old glue with less tack is better for the job than new thinned glue (it will be easier to break the bond)? I still don't understand the distinction you are making. Truly, it never occurred to me to intentionally use glue that was old, and I want to make sure I understand. Do you make a point to use old glue anywhere else, like for the whole top?