Tostra

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  1. I have been in the workshop today making templates, and on my way home I visited another luthier to buy a piece for my bass bar. I happen to know that he works mostly from numbers, so I asked him, and he said about 4mm in the bouts of both plates and then 5,5 at the sound post (top) and the center of the back about 6-7mm. Those measurements sound very standard to me, and is probably what I expected to see on the back of my poster. Interesting theory about the thin-backed cellos. I'm not sure if this is actually a thin back, because then it is thicker in the center, just distributing the wood differently? I wonder if having a havier "membrane" suspended on a thinner back would be a choice to alter playability..? Nathan, great advice. Unfortately, I cannot follow it all. I agree with the make a plan, build the plan. That's usually how I build, and also how I'm building this one. The plan was 1) Do a lot of research on models, tonal qualities and so on, and decide what type of model I want. 2) Choose a specific cello and buy a Strad poster and 3) Build a copy of that cello, changing only the scroll and the neck shape to make it a bit personal and make switching between my cellos more comfortable. I chose the 1865 Vuillaume because I have a great cello already, and I felt like this one would both suit my playing style and add something tonally to my life which my own cello doesn't have. That way, even if I can't make anything as good as what I have, I would probably still pick both cellos up from time to time and it wouldn't just sit sadly in a corner. Before I started the cello, I built a violin as proof of concept. A very rough one, sure, but I got an idea of what I was good at and what I needed to be careful with. And prior to that I have done restaurations on a hobby level for a few years. At this stage, I have tried to copy the cello body exactly. I haven't been able to quite reach the specs, because yes, it really has that thick ribs in some places, and as I mentioned, some other pieces were just slightly too small. I have fixed most things like joining a little piece on one bout of the spruce etc.., so it's fine for me. I still feel like I'm in a proof of concept phase, however this time I do actually want to end up with a really nice instrument. The reason why I think it's kind of okay to not match the measurements exactly is... Well, I have one more set of wood, which is actually much nicer. So while that is just drying a few more years, I'm practicing. So yeah, getting to know the model is something I like too :-) The cello I'm making is this one: https://tarisio.com/cozio-archive/property/?ID=50814 I wouldn't say it's extremely flat, and if I understand the type of arching you're describing, I don't like those either. So far I have made the ribs (2mm thick) and the scroll, I have cut the plates, inlayed purfling and have roughly removed some bulk excess and am now ready to make the arching based on the templates printed on the back of the poster, which I have made acrylic shapes of today. So I'm not about to change the model. I'm continuing with my plan of building this particular cello as my first one, trying to get a really nice instrument out of it that I would choose to play at concerts, although I know that's very. very ambitious. The reason why I asked about these graduations is not that I want to apply one graduation to another cello. I know it sounded like that, but at the moment I'm leaning towards doing pretty much the thicknesses described, as I feel that is the graduations fit for the cello that have resulted in the sound I liked. That said, I think it would be silly to copy imperfections, mistakes, damages, regraduations or similar that would make my new cello prone to warping or weakening over time, as I obviously want it to stick around. That was a long message. I hope I replied to everything and hopefully cleared some things up that I had "worded" confusingly...
  2. Thanks for your replies :-) First of all, I definitely want to do the archings that fit the cello. They don't seem distorted to me, and also I really like the tone of the original instrument and even before I found it, I was planning on something to the flatter side. You would do the back proportionally to the top, you say... I was thinking the same thing, it sounds weird to me that the bouts of the back is thinner than the bouts of the top. But then again, the center is quite thick, so maybe it's about the same mass in the two cellos, just distributed differently. When you say in proportion, do you mean same thickness? I know that they go through a lot of repairs and changes which probably heavily alters the tone. I believe to some extent that if the instrument sounds good now, it doesn't matter so much how it started out, and you might as well copy the thicknesses that you see. So when I ask if it has been regraduated, it's not so much that I want to precisely copy the original idea of the original maker, but rather that I don't think a new instrument that needs settling in, wood that is probably going to change a bit over the years etc. could handle those very thinned out areas as well as an already seasoned one. So if something seems very thin to you, I might just want to go slightly thicker, for instance. Nick, you say heavily recurved archings... I must admit that I don't know if you're talking about distortions over time or recurve/fluting in the channel area?
  3. Really? I'm glad you said that, because I was probably going to make it thinner in some areas. I don't have the poster right here right now, but I think the arching is about 30mm. What about the back, then? It seems quite thin in comparison to the top.
  4. I think that's a lot of fun too, but I'm afraid I can't tell you much. We had a few talks about different areas that might have been repaired, but he didn't know for sure, unfortunately. The cello was not owned by him either, so I'm not sure how much of the background he has looked up, and I don't think he's had the top off. As far as I remember, he wasn't too sure the thickness around soundpost and center of the back, which fell to 5.7mm, and the area near the end of the bass bar was of original thickness.
  5. Hi there, I am an amateur working on my first cello. Although I don't think I can quite match the performance of my own cello, I would like to end up with a good sounding, powerful cello. I'm about to do archings now, and since most of Denmark is closing down at the moment due to the whole corona thing, I expect to be graduating the plates pretty soon. I am basing my cello on a strad poster, a J.B. Vuillaume from 1865. That cello has from the very beginning given me some headaches, as everything is just slightly bigger than what I consider normal, and some of my wood had trouble fitting the specs. The ribs are 123-118 mm tall and 2.5-3mm thick, the bouts are wide and so on.. I have had to compromise on rib height and thickness simply because the rib stock I got was already cut. I ended up with 2mm of thickness and 119-118 mm height. I know I won't have the correct volume, but I'll just have to compromise a bit, as I have a very limited supply of wood here. Please tell me if there are certain things I can do to compensate for this loss of volume. Now I'm arriving at the plate thicknesses, which look slightly odd to me. The top is quite thick, but the back is thin, and I'm considering if this is due to regraduations and therefore something I shouldn't follow? Anyway, I was fortunate that my luthier had a beautiful Vuillaume cello (one of his earlier cellos, he said, if that helps anyone) in his shop the other day when I handed in my bow for a repair, and we measured the plate thicknesses. They seemed very different from what I read on the poster, and sure enough, there is a distinct difference. Here's a quick summary of the thicknesses: Top Edges: Poster - 4mm, Cello - 3.2mm Upper bout: Poster - 4-4.5mm, Cello - 3-3.5mm Lower bout: Poster - 4.5mm, Cello - 2.7-3.2mm (4.2mm around bass bar end) Center: Poster - 4.2-4.8mm, Cello - 4-4.6mm Back Edges: Poster - 3-3.6mm, Cello - 4-4.5mm Upper bout: Poster - 3.2-3.8mm, Cello - 4.5-5mm Lower bout: Poster - 3-3.5mm, Cello - 4.5-5.3mm Center: Poster - 5.5-8.1mm, Cello - 6mm Center edges: Poster - 4mm, Cello - 5.2-6mm Rib height: 110 mm What I see is that the top is generally about a millimeter thicker on the poster than the one I saw, and the back is significantly thinner with a thicker center. My question is, should I just aim towards a graduation similar to the one I'm copying because the original sounds great and those fit for the model, or should I take inspiration from this other one as well? I must admit I'm worried that the top sounds very thick on the original, but is that just me being unexperienced? I hope someone can help me get the thicknesses right. I'm still not sure if I should gauge the graduation by weight of the plate, frequencies, original measurements or something else. It seems that people get great results with either method... Thanks in advance, Tobias
  6. I can't access it, but still... That's interesting
  7. Thanks And yes, that does sound helpful
  8. Thanks Jacob, that is a really nice answer :-) Can you explain what a Thau blank is? I have done a little bit of a search, and to me it seems that it is something like a copy router, is that correct? Why do you think that, btw? Is it just the shape you recognize or some tool marks I don't see?
  9. Thanks, wood butcher. I am aware of him, but I must admit I never did much research on him, partially because I associated him with those very bubble-like violins that I don't particularly like the sound of, so I didn't find him all that interesting I guess. I'll try to remember to have my luthier show me a proper Stainer model next time I'm there
  10. You don't think it's a stainer model? As I said, I bought it partially because I don't know the model, and I have never actually seen a Stainer copy/model in person, so to me, that sounds reasonable. But I actually thought this was just "a violin", not necessarily following a common model, and I'm still leaning towards that I think. What are the characteristics of a Stainer model except for high arching?
  11. I think we all agree that corner blocks are not needed. Yes, leaving out two blocks is saving money if the violin is built on the back and the blocks are only there for it to look "right". But that suggests that there is a "correct" way of building and that methods not requiring corner blocks are wrong and should therefore be camouflaged afterwards with fake blocks. That seems quite silly to me, but as I said, I'm new and shouldn't have opinions... I think what Jacob meant is that corner blocks are not left out to save money, but simply not made because they aren't needed. If they are not needed, it's not really saving money leaving them out but rather adding cost if you put them in to emulate another construction.
  12. Thanks for your replies. I'm sorry for not uploading images. I think my primary question was the graduations, but I realize that I shouldn't ask questions about model and origin without posting pictures. I took as many as I could before the camera battery went dead, but here you go. I hope they are resized properly for the site: It's funny, I didn't even think of stainer models. But yeah, that might be it. I do know about missing blocks on instruments built on the back, and also that it is usually seen on cheap Markneukirchen instruments. I don't think this feels like one of the mass produced violins, at least not the ones I have had. I noticed that the lining of the top side upper bout is significantly narrower than the rest. There doesn't seem to be any taper on the body though. Generally the top linings are a bit uneven compared to the back linings. I'm not sure if that means anything or if the linings were just glued before planing the ribs flat? I hope the pictures help
  13. Hi. I have just opened up a violin that I have had sitting around for ages, and I discovered something that I find quite strange. I bought it because the craftmanship to me looks really good and the model very different from anything I have at home. I wanted to hear if the sound is like I expect, just to test my ideas of the relationship between model and performance, as I'm just beginning to learn about the craft. The arching is high, rising quickly and leaving a long, almost flat area on the top. The edges are very pronounced all the way around, and the plates felt rather thin from the outside. Now, I just got myself a proper thickness gauge for my first cello build that I'm working on at the moment, so of course I had to measure the thicknesses of the plates while I had an open violin. It turns out that the top is pretty consistently 2,5mm, 3,5 over the soundpost and 1,5-2mm around the edges. The back is 2,5mm in the lower bouts, 4mm in the center, 2-2,5mm around the edges, including the C bouts, and then in the upper bout it has an area of 5mm on either side, but only about 3 on the centerline. Also, the violin has lower corner blocks but no upper corner blocks. I was wondering if anyone could tell me something about the violin in here. First of all, is there a reason to have thick areas in the upper bout? It doesn't look like an accident. Secondly, I have heard many people talking of thin edges giving a darker sound. But would thin edges in the back Cs not take away a lot of power? Asking because I'm starting to think about plate graduation for the cello. And lastly, why would one set of blocks be missing? Can that possibly say something about the origin of the instrument? I can take some pictures if anyone is interested or would like some more information than my description, but I'll have to find time to clean it off just a bit first. Cheers, Tobias
  14. Hi everyone, thank you for your answers. Sorry I've been quiet for a while, I'm in the middle of an unhealthy amount of exams. I received the wood and have been weighing it every morning. and saved it it a spreadsheet where I can plot it and other fun things. I love data... The top and back are cut in two bookmatched wedges of 5cm at the thickest point, the neck block is 10cm. Each piece of the top and back were losing 10-20g. of moisture each day, the neck 30-40g. A quick status on the pieces, including total weight for scale: The top stabilized in just three days and have had the same weight for four days in a row now (received it the fourth of december). Each piece weighs just about 2.9kg. The back took a few more days and has now either been the same or a few grams heavier the last two of days. Each piece is around 4.3kg. The neck block seems to be approaching stable as well, having lost only 9 grams since yesterday rather than the initial 38g. The neck block weighed 4.88kg. this morning. They really do seem as dry to me as every piece of definitely dry maple I have. Do you think I could start working with it now or should I wait? What I was thinking of doing is: 1 - Rough out the neck to have it much thinner and just dry a little longer. I would leave 1-2mm extra on the fingerboard surface, an oversized heel and excess thickness as well and maybe very roughly carve out the middle of the peg box so it has extra surface area. I don't see this going wrong, but I'm still worried about warping and twisting. Not so much side to side, as I would make it wider than necessary, but rotational. Should I be? 2 - Cut off the obvious excess at both ends of the plates, so the profile becomes almost a trapezoid, as well as joining the plates and cutting out the outline very roughly. I was considering hollowing out the center as well, but I'm not sure how safe that is 3 - Possibly work on the garland while I leave the other pieces alone for at bit. The rib stock is just a few cm thick, so it should be ready. Please let me know if you would consider this a bad idea, especially roughing out the neck. I really want to do it, as it is a huge block and I want it to be thinner for faster drying, but at the same time I would hate to scrap the piece or end up with a scroll that is twisted in relation to the neck because I couldn't wait... Alternatively I could of course trace the final shape onto the block and saw 5mm of excess all the way around it and not profile it at all. It wouldn't be as fun, it would be a little wasteful and it wouldn't be as thin, but I would probably have no warping problems.
  15. Thanks everyone Yes, I have watched that video and played quite a few very different strad models myself, and that's the reason why I'm slowly abandoning the idea that model is super important. I am still convinced that it makes a huge difference, but maybe not so much on your first one... Right now I'm leaning towards a Strad B, maybe with a widened waist. I don't know by how much though