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  1. Shunyata

    Neck Shaping

    I have been playing awhile - even though it doesn't always show. :-) I am thinking of a spectrum of shapes that ranges from triangle (very thin, super pointy 10.0) to circle (somewhat thin, somewhat flat 5.0) to rectangle (very wide, perfectly flat 0.0) On this scale I am aiming for about a 6.0. This doesn't seem radical. Many other violins I have played seem to be an 8.5.
  2. Shunyata

    Neck Shaping

    Many violin necks seem to have a very oval shaped cross section where the thumb rests on the neck. This profile is too pointy for me to hold well. I prefer a more circular cross section that feels flatter and is easier to hold through shifts. Is there a strongly established practice here? Will I be offending convention if I go with a more circular profile?
  3. And a finger plane is a good way to do that.
  4. Just saw that you are getting ready for purfling. My earlier post was for final thickness. An even 5mm is good prior to purfling.
  5. There seems to be fairly wide variation in practice. Get a good reference and go with it. Never seen anything a thick as 6mm. And you don't want anywhere near the variation you describe. You definitely want to avoid divots! Get your gouges sharper and go microspically slow. Finish with a oval scraper. (No burr for the belly, it will tear the wood.) Would not use a file unless you are using an Iwasaki file. For me, belly plate typically about 4mm, at the top and bottom arches... thicker at the points, about 4.5mm... the C bouts a little thinner, about 4.25. Back plate typically 0.25mm thinner, but same pattern.
  6. Shunyata

    Thank You!

    I recently purchased a Stubai Scroll set that came with a small inside bevel gouge. Having no idea what this gouge was for, I asked this forum. You explained how to use this for hogging out peg boxes. Boy does that ever work great!!!! Virtually eliminates slips or chips. Cant thank you all enough!
  7. If you pay attention to old strings, you will see that the amplitude of vibration increases significantly (wiggles more) especially on the lower strings. This definitely affects the color of the sound and the ability to resonate harmonically. (It also indicates the string is becoming less stiff, mechanically.) When I have had an occasional defective string, it has always had this higher amplitude issue.
  8. Music school, but never found it useful. Learning facility with the guitar fretboard was far more useful to my musical understanding. I am very visual/spatial so working with the chord patterns and intervals was very helpful - seeing them shift and rotate across the fretboard - especially once I realized that I can think about chord positions and shapes on the violin in the same way (same string intervals as mandolin)
  9. I never mean to make light of safety considerations. I wouldn't use the high intensity mercury bulbs myself, for a variety of reasons. That being said, a properly handled and disposed mercury bulb is almost certainly safer than eating tuna fish - and I eat tuna fish. Go figure.
  10. While mercury is nothing to mess around with, the elemental mercury in lamps is less of a hazard than methyl-mercury in fish. Wouldn't worry about the bulbs from a mercury standpoint. The risks of hard UV are a different matter. You can really cook the proteins in your eyes that way. I wouldn't want that around.
  11. My experience is that moving the top has the greatest impact on tone and balance. But I am an ametuer.
  12. Broad and flat can be OK. Go too flat and you will have trouble fitting a bridge. But Jim is right, if it seems reasonable move on. Keep a notebook so you can write down what later steps are affected by your choice. That way you can review and make intelligent choices about your next build. No one ever wants to stop and write things down. :-) I actually write on my wood: don't cut off the button, cut the neck dovetail this direction, knife cuts in this direction, etc. (I can hear the chuckles in the back of the room.)
  13. Also leave extra wood, do not go all the way to the final arch heights. If you are working cleanly with sharp tools, you only need to leave a millimeter or two. Then use a contour gage (or a pencil chucked in a drill press) and work on correcting the contours. Only then, at the last, work the arches to their final height.
  14. You are on the right track and working to develop the instinctive understanding of the shape that you need for this task. Don't be discouraged if the suggestions don't seem to help too much. Once you have the feeling, it will all make sense. I can describe the taste of melon, but you will not know until you taste it yourself. And after that, nothing need be said. I am on my 6th build, and only now do I have the understanding to get close to my desire! A couple of tips. Go VERY slow from the start. I lose the feeling if my works starts getting too choppy. (Also hard to smooth later.) Get your gouges very sharp, the cuts should look like glass, not ragged. This will make a huge difference in the "gracefulness" of your shaping approach, not to mention the smoothness of the final product. Use finger planes, set with a very fine bite, to do your rough shaping. This slows you down and gives smooth lines. Look at a finished violin as you work, look for the relationships in the shaping.
  15. I wouldn't worry about the occasional use of xylene, although I would avoid unnecessary skin contact and use it in a well ventilated area. Nitrile gloves are better than no gloves, but they will be eaten over time. If you want something to worry about, worry about the CFCs in nonstick pans, fabric treatments, and household cleaners. That stuff is nasty: fat soluble and never breaks down